I have gotten a lot of questions from clients recently about starting a podcast.
This inspired me to jump in and do a bit of research – hello high Kolbe fact-finder!
The general themes I’ve been hearing from clients wanting to start a podcast seem to be aligned: they want to expand their reach, provide valuable and meaningful content to their audience, and really just grow their business!
The other common theme from these conversations was that they faced overwhelm when trying to figure out where to start. So, I put together an outline of the initial planning considerations in order to start taking action. I told them to think of this as a “table of contents” for the Podcast project we will ultimately create, implement, and manage for their business.
The most important thing is to create a clear vision of what your podcast is going to look like.
If you only take one thing away from this blog, I hope it’s this: Before you do ANYTHING else, if you are considering starting a podcast, the very first thing I suggest is that you identify a place to organize all of your research and planning efforts. It can be as simple as a Google Sheet or you can map it out in your project management tool; I don’t care what you choose but pick something that works for you. Give this project a home because there are a lot of moving parts.
Here is an example of a simple spreadsheet that I recently put together for a client’s initial planning call. I use this in the initial stages to clearly map out the rough outline and then build the bigger plan in Asana or Teamwork for tracking due dates, assigning to specific team members, etc.
Figure out what your Podcast will look like. Draw it out. You need a clear vision before you can successfully move forward.
Get clear on these key areas:
- Identify your target market.
- Identify your format. Will it be a monologue, an interview or a combination of both?
- Identify your theme.
- Pick a name for your podcast. Spend some time on this. There are a lot of things to consider. Is it available? Episode Naming Considerations: Good practice to avoid using “Episode 1”, “Episode 2”, etc. Make it clear to people what they will get from listening to your show. If you look at any podcast directory you will see shows with titles like “How To…”, “Five Tips For…” etc. These are popular because they work. You can search iTunes by episode name, so choosing episode titles that highlight your material is important.
- Identify your Schedule.
- Cadence – how many episodes per week?
- Length of podcast – Industry standard for episode length: anything from 20 up to 45 minutes seems to be within the “sweet spot”
Drill down further by considering the following OPERATIONAL PLANNING components…
Action Item: Do you have a scheduling tool for booking guests? If not, you will need one. My preference is Acuity Scheduling*, but there are other options out there as well. I have used Acuity* for over three years for myself and have set it up for many clients.
Why I like it: It’s easy to integrate with your own calendar and their tech team is super responsive.
Action Item: Identify your list of potential guests and prepare a strategy for how you will invite them (via email, who do you want as guests on your initial shows, etc.) Once guests have confirmed and booked in with you, be ready with information to send them in order to prepare for their show as well as marketing materials that they can use to cross-promote the podcast to their network.
Action Item: Identify your recording space. Record in an echo-free room. Do you have access to one of these in your home office? Or will you need to seek out co-working spaces, etc.
Action Item: Purchase a microphone. If you are going to record in your own office, you need a microphone – and a good one at that. My suggestion is the Audio-Technica ATR2100 $79.99 from Amazon* Why I like it: This model continues to pop up as a “must have” across the board. A lot of trusted resources use it. It’s a good quality at an affordable price point.
Action Item: Select a recording service. I like Zencastr ($20/month) records files locally to each person’s computer for maximum audio quality, and automatically uploads them to Dropbox. Why I like it: you can have unlimited guests, unlimited recordings, access to a live editing soundboard, records in high quality MP3 and 16-bit 44.1k WAV. There are also 10hrs of automatic post production included each month.
Hosting + Editing Logistics
Editing can be time-intensive. If you don’t have the bandwidth or the skill set, you might need to consider hiring someone for this role. There are lots of freelancers out there with these capabilities. Check out FIVERR*, for example.
There are free options such as Audacity that you can use for basic edits/adding music. A few editing considerations: Intros – way of introducing yourself and your guest and what you will discuss Outros – should have a call-to-action for the listener.
Music resource for both intros/outros: AudioJingle royalty-free Hosting and Streaming.
Hosting costs can vary depending on number of downloads, etc. Some of the popular platforms are: Podbean, Libsyn, Blubrry and Pod.ad. There are many other options out there as well, but this is a starting point for your research journey!
I like PodBean for a few reasons: they are all-inclusive and have a free version as well as a number of affordable options with monthly and annual pricing. Their site is easy to navigate and has lots of tutorials including how to submit your podcast to iTunes.
For people to stream your show, register it on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and TuneIn. If you have to start with just one option, iTunes seems to be the most popular destination.
Adding Transcripts to Website or Blog Adding transcripts and show highlights to a website can have a strong SEO value. NOTE: This process can also be time-consuming and is a great thing to delegate to your virtual assistant or outsource.
You may want to consider Done-for-You Services. Like the name suggests, these service providers can take care of the entire editing and production process for you. For many people just starting out, this is cost prohibitive, but still, something to consider as you scale your podcast.
Here are a few key players:
- Market Domination – Uses podcasting as a tool for those writing a book.
- PredictiveROI.com – Produces podcasts, and builds sales funnels for their clients.
- Brandcastingyou.com – Specializes in end-to-end podcast production and marketing.
You will need copy written for a variety of marketing avenues including emails to send to your lists and promotions for social media.
Action Item: In your planning tool (whatever you end up choosing), make a template for capturing show notes for each episode. These should include a headline, episode summary and highlights (with timestamps) for listeners. These will serve as an excellent resource for promoting your new episodes and referring to historical episodes in social media posts and email marketing efforts.
Graphics for cover images and social media – you can create these in Canva or work with a designer, depending on your budget. If this is a solo venture, apart from your current business, you might want to create a unique Podcast logo.
Social Media – 5 Key Tips:
- Share in Facebook groups that you are part of (where allowed)
- Ask your network to promote it/share on their pages
- Do a Facebook Live on your Business Page
- Give teasers
- Invite people to ask questions that could be answered on future shows
Email Marketing – Start With These Two Points:
Utilize your current network for promoting the podcast. I can’t say this enough. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing. Always keep it genuine. If you don’t have a huge list, or even a list at all, that’s OK! We all have to start somewhere. Create genuine email and send it to former co-workers, employers, your cousin…get the word out there.
- Send out a series of emails promoting the podcast itself. Give teasers about upcoming topics and guest appearances.
- Include links to current episodes in your newsletter.
Wrapping this up (for now)…
A lot to consider, I know, but this should get your well on your way to planning the outline for WHAT your podcast will look like.
If you feel overwhelmed or a bit stuck at this point, it would be smart to consider enlisting the help of an OBM (online business manager) who can help you plan this venture and manage the logistics so you can focus on the content and just doing your thing!
In the meantime, find a home for your planning and research (remember, that one take away I mentioned in the beginning) and start brainstorming. Now get out there and have some fun with the planning process; you’re going to be great!
If the idea of partnering with an OBM sounds like something you might be interested in, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more about my services here. If we aren’t the right fit for one another, don’t worry – I’ve got an amazing network of people and I will happily share my resources with you!
*I am an affiliate for this company and may receive a commission if you purchase. I only recommend products and services I truly believe in.