In recent years, podcasts have skyrocketed in popularity. As of January 2020, there’s over 850,000 podcasts with over 30 million episodes to consume. It’s a great way to reach people too. A survey conducted in 2019 found that 51% of consumers, above the age of 12 in the US, listen to podcasts.
It’s likely they’re popular because listeners can passively engage with them. You can listen to a podcast while driving, biking, walking, or cooking – which isn’t something you can do (or should do!) with videos or written works.
If you run a business, a podcast can be a great way to share knowledge, boost awareness of your brand, and find new clients. But if you Google ‘how to start a podcast for your business’ it can be confusing. There’s a lot to sift through. Where do you start?
This is what I’ve learned during my time podcasting.
The most important aspect of creating a podcast is determining what the end goal is before you begin. Your end goal will affect your format, who you decide to have on your series, and any potential sponsorship opportunities. Some example goals include:
- I want to increase brand awareness of my business through thought leadership topics
- Gain more sales
- I want to promote a certain mindset, idea, or philosophy
- I want to engage more with my current customers
- Provide more information about my products and/or services
Whatever your intention is, make sure you always refer back to it as you build your series. You can think of it as your ‘North Star.’
This will help your podcast content stay consistent, which is a building block for gaining a consistent following. That’s because listeners will always know what they can expect to hear from one of your episodes, and it’s why they’ll keep tuning in for new episodes.
Design your podcast format
Once you’ve decided on your podcast intention, you can start thinking about format. This includes how often you release your podcast, how you format episodes, and how long episodes will be.
There’s no magic bullet for how often you should release a podcast, but consistency is king when it comes to gaining followers. Ideally you should have a schedule that allows you to release quality content on a regular basis, whether it’s once a month or once a week.
The same goes for podcast length: experts say that quality matters more than length. But if you want a good starting point, many podcasters recommend 20 minutes for a podcast episode. That’s because the average length of a one-way commute in America is 27.1 minutes.
And when it comes to structuring your podcast, this is where you can really leverage your creativity. Your episode format can be anything you dream of – don’t be afraid to try something new. Here’s some examples of podcast formats:
- The podcast host interviewing special guest(s) (Armchair Expert)
- An investigative series about an unsolved mystery (Serial)
- 3 personal stories from guests based on a central topic (This American Life)
- A guest gets 1 minute to share a scientific topic, and comedians try to explain it to another comedian, and on it goes (Science Telephone)
- Back-and-forth banter and storytelling between podcast hosts (My Favorite Murder)
You can choose to vary your episode format too, and see what works best for your audience.
You may notice you’ll gain more listeners with a particular style.
Pick your tools
Once you’ve decided on your podcast structure, you can start selecting tools to turn your dream into a reality.
This may be the toughest aspect of starting a podcast – because there’s so many types of microphones and audio equipment to choose from! In general, here’s a good starting point:
- If you need to conduct interviews where you may not be near a power source look for a field recorder, for example:
- Zoom H4N
- If you’re recording on your laptop, look for USB mics, for example:
- Blue Yeti Nano
- Shure MV7
- If you’d like the flexibility to record on both a recording device and your computer, make sure the microphone you select is USB and XLR compatible
If you’re interviewing a remote guest, you can see if they have any audio equipment available themselves, or you can ship them audio equipment. You can also ask them to record a voice memo on their phone, which usually gives better audio than an in-built laptop mic.
The general workflow for recording a podcast (depending on your episode format) is:
- Build out a podcast release schedule and tentative topics (WriteWay Writer is great for this)
- Research relevant information and guests for your episode topics
- Coordinate interview times and guest equipment (if needed)
- Record the episode (Zencastr and Zoom are great options)
- Transcribe the episode (For American English accented speakers, Otter.ai works well)
- Edit your episode (Descript, Garageband, or Audacity are our top pics)
- Post your episode on a podcast hosting platform (like Podbean or BuzzSprout)
- Release to the world! (Through social media, sponsored ads, or however you like to get the word out)
Now that you know the basics of starting a podcast for your business, all you need to do is start (easier said than done). Remember that building an audience takes time, but that producing consistent, quality work will help you achieve your ‘North Star’.
If you want more in-depth info about building out a podcast, we recommend this resource. Otherwise, happy creating!
Making WriteWay Work for You
The WriteWay team is excited to show you all the new features and apps we are cooking up to help you create better content. Sign up for our Waitlist to get notified immediately when new products and features become available. Our tools help you streamline your workflow by providing a clean interface and dynamic document creation. Discover the WriteWay to get work done.
About the Author
Nicole is WriteWay’s Customer Success Technical Writer: focused on creating documentation and experiences that help WriteWay users succeed. She was also the producer and co-host of the Discovery to Recovery podcast series for geologists. It peaked on the Apple Podcasts charts as the #1 earth science podcast in the USA and #4 in Canada, and is ranked in the top 10% of podcasts for global popularity.