Learning how to set up a podcast is not as difficult as you may first assume. Though it certainly takes a great deal of time, dedication, and vision to be truly successful, the actual process of launching your business's podcast does not have to be an arduous experience.
Indeed, a podcast allows you to discuss critical issues that are relevant to your business or industry, build trust with your customers, create an audience, and offer a point of interaction with large numbers of listeners at a given time. Therefore, it's worth taking the time to do it right.
Starting a Business Podcast
To help you achieve all of this, we've outlined the eight essential steps on how to get yourself started. Setting up a podcast for your organisation has never been easier, so what are you waiting for?
Here's what you need to do:
1. Identify an Audience
Before you begin the process of recording and publishing your podcast, you must first determine what kind of audience you are going to attract. This will dictate what type of content you produce and, generally, what the podcast will become known for.
As a commercial venture, it is vital to foster a distinction here. Is your podcast going to act as a PR vehicle, designed to inform the world of your company's latest news or social responsibility actions? Could it serve as a mouthpiece for your concerns and opinions as a business owner and a thought leader? Or is it going to take the form of a B2B resource, discussing key issues and concerns within your wider industry?
Recognising your niche and honing the focus on that area of expertise is crucial for establishing an audience, so ensure that you clearly define what the point of your podcast is going to be.
At this point, you need to consider the branding of your podcast, too. This means coming up with a name that reflects the editorial decisions you've made, as well as creating high-quality artwork (either yourself or through a professional designer) that aligns with your wider brand identity.
2. Plan Your Topics
Once you have finalised your angle, you should then draw up a list of viable themes and topics that you can discuss in each episode. This doesn't just serve the purpose of giving you something to fill airtime with; it will also indicate if the podcast is viable going forward. If you're struggling to think of ideas, then it's likely that you'll run out of things to talk about by the fourth episode.
As a business podcast, you don't need to be recording every day, but once a week – fortnightly, at a minimum – should be enough. Your episodes can be as long as they like, but you should target at least twenty minutes per episode.
As a result, this should give you some indication of how many ideas you'll need to generate. A good tip is to draw up a shortlist of crucial issues, and then dig deeper into each one to find sub-topics to focus on. Of course, you don't have to stick religiously to this plan; you can accommodate accordingly if a good guest becomes suddenly available, or if a relevant trend or news item takes precedence. Having a content plan in place is vital for longevity, though, as it ensures you don't run out of ideas and you can plan ahead for episodes, including the booking of guests.
3. Create an Outline
Once you have a list of meaty topics, you can begin to structure individual episodes around them. You can also identify how the overarching structure of each episode will pan out.
For instance, the first few minutes might always be a recap of any relevant industry or business news before the guest is then introduced. Alternatively, you might want to jump straight into the interview.
Whichever way you want to do things, you need to outline the recording to keep things on track, and to ensure that you don't forget to cover any critical discussions that you want to have. If things go off on a tangent, or you don't like how particular segments of the show turn out, you can always change things around in the post-production process, but it's highly useful to have a basic script of proceedings to work from in the first place.
4. Obtain Access to Recording Equipment
Of course, it's no good planning topics, writing scripts and booking guests if you have no way of recording your planned conversations. Therefore, you'll need access to audio equipment that offers high-quality recordings.
Don't be tempted to scrimp and record the show on your iPhone, or your laptop's internal microphone; listeners will turn off straight away, no matter how good your content is. Whether you buy, rent or borrow equipment, the important thing is that it provides a crisp and clear audio experience and that you and your guests are easily understood.
You'll also need an editing software suite to piece together the recording, too, and ensure that it is coherent. If you have the resources, you can even consider commissioning a jingle (or recording your own), but always remember that it should align with your overall brand strategy.
5. Record Your First Episode
With a script established and equipment procured, you now need to record the podcast itself.
The individual(s) presenting the recording – whether that's you, your content team or a professional presenter that you have hired – should have a clear and confident voice, conveying the tone and message of each episode to listeners in a way that is equal parts informative and engaging. This is an opportunity for a unique style to emerge, and for the personality of your podcast to shine through.
If you're having guests on your show, then ensure that you do them the basic courtesy of researching their background and expertise, too. Ideally, you want the conversation to flow naturally, but it's always a good idea to have a list of interesting questions prepared in case your discussion starts to dry up.
Don't worry if you are still finding your feet at this stage. Many successful podcasts have started shakily, whether in terms of technical errors, episodes being too long or too short, or a structure needing to be finetuned.
6. Clean the Recording and Upload It
As already touched upon, it's highly unlikely that your entire recording will go smoothly without any mistakes or dead air – this isn't live radio, after all, and you're not a broadcasting professional. Therefore, it's likely that individual sections of the recording will require tidying up.
This is nothing to worry about, as even the most basic audio editing software allows you to cut out unwanted material and hold onto the best content. This process also enables you to splice together clips in any way you want, allowing you to arrange them in a way that is cohesive, informative, and easy for listeners to follow along to.
Once you have edited the clips precisely as you want them, you then need to publish them to your audience. Upload them to popular streaming services such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Sound Cloud (to name just a few) - as well as on your company website and social media feeds, of course. If there is a video recording of the podcast, why not upload it on YouTube, as well?
7. Market the Episodes
If you want people to listen to your podcasts, then, as with all your other products and services, you need to market them. Publicise new episodes on your social media and your company blog, and even include short snippets of the recordings to entice people. You could also produce (or hire someone to produce) a short trailer for each episode if you have the budget and resources.
If you have guests, ask them to push the recording within their networks, too.
8. Seek Feedback and Adapt Accordingly
No matter how good you think your ideas are, and how carefully you have planned the content, the ultimate judge of your podcast is going to be its listeners. Encourage their feedback and take it into consideration, especially in regards to where you can improve.
Whether its a common element that people are enjoying – in which case, you should continue doing that "thing" – or a particular aspect that listeners dislike, treat every comment and review as a learning tool for the next episode. It's unlikely that you will find the sweet spot straight away, so don't be afraid to adapt and tweak the format until you find a happy medium. Learning how to set up a podcast does not happen instantaneously and paying attention to what your fans are saying is a great way to help yourself improve and gain more traction.
Do you think your business is ready to implement a podcast into its communications strategy? If this is something on your company radar for 2020 or a project that you have already begun undertaking, let us know your plans in the comments below!
Additional content provided by Sion Phillpott.