“It’s hard to deny it; a podcast is mainstream again.” – Advertik Media
Currently, there are about 700,000 active podcasts, making up almost 30 million episodes in 100 languages. The people that subscribe and listen to podcasts tend to be extremely loyal to them and follow a listening routine. According to Podcast Insights, an excellent all-round information site, 80 per cent of podcast users listen to all or most of every episode and play about seven episodes per week. The demographic data is also of interest: the audience is 44 per cent women and 56 per cent men.
Podcasts span the globe in terms of listener audience. Thirty-five per cent of all Americans report listening to a podcast in the last month, whereas 58 per cent of South Koreans do the same. In Europe, 40 per cent of Spanish, 36 per cent of Swedish, and 22 per cent in Germany have all reported listening to an episode during the same time frame, and the numbers keep increasing. These types of statistics are why more and more businesses are considering or implementing podcasts as part of their content marketing strategy.
Podcasts are a great addition to content marketing because they are a way to reach a new audience. They also allow you to repurpose your existing content into audio format, which will enable you to get more mileage out of the content you’re already creating. Another essential reason why podcasts are so crucial to a content marketing strategy for many businesses is that Google announced at their 2019 Google I/O development conference that they have begun using AI to transcribe podcast and YouTube videos automatically. This data is indexed, and snippets of audio and video files get included in search results. Google directs users to the exact part of the YouTube video or podcast where they can find the information they are looking for:
Google doesn’t make the transcribed files available to us; it is for their indexing purposes only. It further proves that podcast and video marketing are something that can’t get ignored. Just producing written content and hoping it’s enough may not be the best long-term strategy for your business.
Do You Really Need a Podcast For Your Business?
Of course, as with any type of marketing, a podcast won’t necessarily work for every business, so make sure to do your research first to determine if your audience is listening to podcasts and if there are any likely competitors. The goal is not to copy what others are doing, but rather to figure out how you can do it better. You can also look for angles or niches that you could cover in a podcast that have not been covered by someone else already. For instance, there are undoubtedly a lot of podcasts about entrepreneurs, but there may not be any about owning a NL business in another country or running a technical company as a female founder for example.
You can also be niche on topic but your audience can be broader. For example, London Real focuses on interesting topics that you often won’t find anywhere else, each episode that clears up misconceptions or tries to solve mysteries. These topics can be interesting to a wide variety of people who are interested from politics to science or tech. However, try to be as niche as possible to create content that supports your values and company goals, but make sure it’s also useful to the listeners. You don’t ever want to create a podcast that doesn’t really provide value, because people won’t spend their time listening to it.
The format of the podcast is also important: would listeners like:
- An interview format, where a host interviews a guest expert
- A solo format, where the host does the entire podcast alone
- A storytelling or narrative format, where the information is told with a storytelling flourish
After you do your initial research to determine what type of podcast will work best for your company, you can start getting into the details about what technology to use and what would work best in terms of strategy and content development.
Podcast Technology and Platforms
One big draw to starting a podcast is the ease with which it can be produced. And you don’t need a huge amount of equipment to get started. Hosts can run a solo podcast, where they are the only person recording the episode, they can have a co-host that is with them on every episode, or they can have a different guest each episode. Some podcasts, like the JRE podcast, have the guests meet the host, Joe Rogan, in his recording space. Other podcasts are done remotely, where the host and guest(s) are in different parts of the country or the world. Podcasts can be recorded virtually, as we’ll discuss below.
To create and launch a podcast, you need the following key components:
- Recording platform (like Skype or Zencastr, with more examples mentioned below)
- Editing software (like Garage Band on Mac)
- Hosting platform (where the podcast files will be hosted, like Blubrry)
- Publishing/distribution platform (where the podcast is published for people to stream and download, such as Spotify or iTunes.) A podcast can be listed on several different publishing platforms.
At a minimum, the host of the podcast will need high-quality internet, good headphones with a high quality microphone, and a platform on which to record and distribute the podcast. Some people choose to also tape a video of the podcast recording to be published on YouTube or social media. If this is the case with your podcast, you’ll need to use a recording platform that also records webcam video as well. Then the host and any guests will need to have all the relevant technology needed to run webcam video and have a high-quality connection to record the podcast.
There are many different platforms available to record podcasts. Here are a few:
- Anchor app, currently free
- ZenCastr, paid and free options, (browser-based)
- GoToMeeting, paid
- Google Hangouts, free
- Ecammrecorder (paid) for Mac, to record conversations and videos on Skype
New platforms are sure to become available as technology continues to develop, but be sure to choose a recording option that works best for the host and the greatest number of people likely to be pulled in as guests. As your guests may often be recording/calling in from a different location, It’s important to establish technological needs with them with plenty of notice. For instance, running a program that requires them to download something which is only PC-based might not suit many of them.
Once you’ve recorded and edited your podcast, you can then upload it to a hosting platform. This platform will need to give you an RSS feed of all your uploaded episodes to your chosen podcast stores or players, like iTunes Store, Spotify, or platforms like Stitcher.
Some hosting options include:
Anchor (currently free)
Ideally, you want to look for a podcast-hosting platform that offers as many data and analytics points as possible. Sometimes it’s hard to get correct data about subscribers or listens depending on what platforms people are using to listen to your episodes, but it’s important to track download numbers, if possible, so you can gauge the growth and success of your podcast.
Note: “Listens” are how many times an episode was streamed, whereas “downloads” were how many times the actual file is downloaded.
It’s worth considering allowing your users to stream or download podcasts directly from your website. There are a variety of available podcast players and plugins to use on a website. Smart Podcast Player and Soundcloud are examples used by many of the top podcasts. Your hosting provider, like Libsyn, may also have an embeddable player you can use, depending on your monthly membership level.
There are a lot of options out there for hosting, technology, and distribution platforms. Go through the pros and cons of each to determine what’s going to work best for your specific audience and podcast. For instance, you might find data indicating that your target age demographic uses iTunes more than any other platform for listening to podcasts. If that’s the case, then it would make sense for you to upload your podcast onto iTunes first, and then focus on the other available platforms second. You can have your podcast on several different stores and directories, it isn’t considered duplicate content. We will discuss publishing your podcast later in this article.
Once you’ve got your technology set up, as well as knowing what recording and hosting platforms you’ll be using, it’s time to focus on the branding and content surrounding your podcast.
Podcast Branding and Basics
The next step is to move onto branding and podcast basics, like building a website and writing out your information pages.
Graphics and Design
When you are just starting out your podcast and you don’t have a big budget, your logo doesn’t have to be complicated. If you already have an e-commerce site with Shopify you can use their free logo generator called Hatchful that asks you for your topic and aesthetic and then shows you pages and pages of options. Once you choose one, it will build you a complete branding package automatically.
Along with a logo, it also gives you cover photos and profile images for social media. Many of these options can be resized and used as an episode photo. The episode photo should be the same for every episode (with only the episode title and number different on each album), as your audience will begin to look for it in their list of new episodes in the list of podcasts they are subscribed to in their player of choice.
If you have a friend who’s a designer, or you want to go a more professional route like hiring a freelancer designer or using a service like 99Designs, Design Pickle (pro plan), or Fiverr, that may give you a more customised option that allows for tweaks to the design.
You can’t make a lot of custom changes using the Shopify logo builder as you would with a design service, though you may pay more. Designers charge a reasonable rate for their expertise and service but will make it much more custom. Another consideration is that Shopify doesn’t give you the original data files to use to edit layers or dimensions in graphics packages like Adobe PhotoShop or Illustrator.
At Advertik Media, we are offering quality assured personalised design services, so feel free to send us a message through the contact page if you need any help.
All podcasts should have a website (or section of your website if it’s part of a business or personal brand) to host episodes and provide information about the podcast.
At a minimum, the podcast page(s) should have the following information:
About the podcast
About the host(s)
Episode notes and/or recaps
Where to subscribe and listen
Sponsorship and podcast guest suggestion/nomination information, if applicable
If you are creating a website specially for the podcast, building one in WordPress is usually the easiest solution. We at Advertik Media are also able to make the website for you, and handle everything that comes with it.
You’ll need to do the following:
Purchase hosting and a domain
Install WordPress onto the site
Add a theme/design to the site
Add any necessary plugins, including Yoast SEO for optimisation and Google Analytics installation
Begin adding and customising the pages
A website should have the following information:
A separate page for each of the information sections mentioned above, except for the “where to listen” section, which can be on the homepage and website footer.
The episode recaps and embedded players could be published on the blog section of the website as separate blog posts for each new episode.
The homepage should also have some overview information about the podcast and then links to an “About” page and the list of episodes.
The contact page could include some fields where users can indicate if they have a question, recommendation, sponsorship request, or guest nomination
Adding applicable keywords into your podcast episode title, summary, and episode descriptions are important for how and where they will display in search results. There is a little more to the research aspect of keywords besides just guessing what would work best.
Podcast SEO is the act of optimising your podcast content for search engines.
Based on the Google I/O podcast indexing update mentioned previously, you also now need to be thinking about the actual words you are using in your recordings as well.
To find out what keywords or topics to focus on, you’ll need to do keyword research. This follows the same method others use for normal keyword research for SEO on websites and in other types of content, like blog posts.
Find a research tool to start your search. There are several paid tools available, like SEMrush, SERPstat, Searchmetrics, and others that allow you to do advanced research and tracking of keywords. Some offer initial free reports as well.
Some free tools that won’t give you as much detailed data as the others are:
KeywordTool.io (uses Google Autocomplete, free and paid versions
BuzzSumo (free and paid versions)
You can also use conversation search tools to see what others are saying about topics on social media and across the internet. This can be a good way to see what people are talking about, asking questions on, or just mentioning, online.
Some good places to look are:
As you work your way through the websites, create a spreadsheet to store the results for each episode and this will help you brainstorm topics of conversation pieces for the podcast. Once you cover them in the episode, be sure to include them in the description (and title, if applicable and doesn’t make the title too long).
Again, make sure it feels natural within the content. Search engines serve users first, and if they see content that is choppy, incoherent, or seems to contain keyword stuffing, they are apt to ignore it or not rank it as highly in search results. This is also because not a ton is known about how the search engine behind iTunes and other podcast-listening platforms works in terms of how results are displayed. Google itself has an estimated 200+ ranking factors and even more algorithms and data points that help the search engine rank search results.
Keyword research should be done for every episode. Some people do a number at once (e.g. if you have already chosen topics for five episodes) or one at a time as they are prepping for a podcast recording.
In the About section or page, include a summary about the podcast. This should be just three to four sentences that cover the purpose, audience, and topics covered. Be sure to include any keywords from your SEO research that people might be using to find podcasts.
Here’s an example:
“The Acme podcast was launched in 2019 by product engineers Joe Johnson and Sally Smith. Acme podcast covers the latest developments in Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Whether you’re a product developer, business owner, or technology enthusiast, listen to Acme podcast for interviews from developers on the front lines of IoT, how IoT can help you collect smarter data, automate processes, and create a more streamlined experience for your customers.”
In this example, the summary includes Internet of Things, IoT, and technology, which are all keywords an interested listener might use to find the podcast in a search. It’s important to use applicable industry terms, but not to go overboard, as mentioned previously. Use them in a natural way that is useful in the summary. After the summary is complete, the home page can include an even briefer synopsis of the summary, with a link to the About page.
Ideally, your website and branding should be done before your podcast is launched. This is to ensure you can have links to your website in each episode description and notes, and also to share and promote the podcast website on social media. It also makes the podcast look more professional and thought through.
Once you have this aspect of the podcast done, you can start focusing on actually recording episodes!
How To Launch a Podcast
It’s now finally time to create your podcast! Here are some of the components you need to put together podcast episodes.
Ceating an Intro and Outro
Record a 60-second intro for each episode that summarises what the episode is covering, then launch into the recorded intro that is the same for every episode (similar to opening credits for a TV show).
- Start off with the recorded intro for the podcast, without the unique 60-second episode summary before it.
Which route you take depends on what would be most useful for your listeners and what you have the ability to do. Some podcasters don’t want to worry about creating a separate 60-second intro for each episode, especially since it’s more editing work to splice in the recorded standard intro before the actual episode.
If you are new to editing audio yourself, going the second route may, at first, be better. You can always change formats if you need to. Also at Advertik Media we offer audio editing services, so feel free to contact us if needed!
Another thing to consider is if your episodes are mainly interviews. If you start each recording with the interviewee already on the line, or in the studio, then also recording a 60-second summary intro may be better since you can do it after the episode to highlight what you talked about. If you need help creating an intro, there are freelance editors or experts-for-hire like us at Advertik Media that can do this for you. We can add music and record an intro on your behalf so then you would have a professional voice artist announcing your podcast in the standard intro, instead of your own voice that the audience hears throughout the episode.
Many podcasters also have a set “outro”, the signoff at the end. This includes information given in every episode, such as website URL, social media handles, and where to contact the podcast hosts. If you want to provide a standardised outro, using the same one is the best approach. However, many podcasters prefer to do it manually every time, using a script to remember and say the information. An outro is also a good opportunity to include any last sponsorship shout-outs or reminders about things mentioned during the episode (like an upcoming conference or a giveaway).
Episode Recording Schedule
Before you start recording, outline your recording schedule. Some podcasters prefer to record several episodes at once, especially if they are doing it by themselves or with another dedicated co-host. This approach is more difficult if you have interviews with others to schedule since it’s hard to find dates and times that would work for everyone in the right order.
If you are recording several episodes at once, you only have to record once a month or once a week, depending on how often the episodes are actually released. Many podcasts do a new episode per week, but if your content is more timely, having more episodes in a week might be more useful to listeners. It also depends on your capabilities for recording.
If it’s difficult to find time to record, only publishing two episodes per month (e.g. every other week) probably makes more sense. As your podcast audience grows and you gain more budget or sponsors, you can scale to doing episodes more frequently if you’d like to.
Based on an analysis of ten million podcast episodes, Pacific Content estimated that the average podcast episode is almost 39 minutes long. They also found that the length of the podcast varied greatly depending on the topic or industry. For instance, video game podcasts were the longest, whereas language podcasts were the shortest. Software, technology, investing, and business/marketing podcasts lie in the middle.
It’s rare for a podcast episode to be longer an hour, simply because the audience listen rate goes down as an episode goes longer. There are several reasons for this: mainly that the audience loses interest or they stop the episode to do something else and don’t finish it at a later time. Usually, aiming for 20-45 minutes is a good middle ground. Try to keep all episodes around the same length, unless there is a unique circumstance, such as a celebrity guest or special episode topic.
Once the intros are done and the episodes are recorded, it’s time to edit the intro/ outro and the individual episode itself into one episode. This can be done using free software like GarageBand, which is included on Apple Macs, or Audacity which works both on OSX and Windows. If you want to go more pro you can use Logic Pro X, Ableton, or Pro Tools.
If you need someone else to edit, we at Advertik Media can make sure episodes are edited cleanly and ready for publication. In addition to including the intro(s) at the beginning of every episode, we will also edit the sound quality of the episode itself. This could mean removing silences or mistakes where the host/guests had to re-record a portion, as well as improving the audio quality if, for example, someone was in a noisy location and had a lot of background noise. At Advertik Media we believe in having an ongoing relationship in knowing your podcast and your recording style. In this case, we will learn what to look for in sound quality and the process goes faster since we know what to expect.
Once you get the hang of the recording and editing process, it becomes a lot easier. Create a recurring appointment in your calendar at the same time every week or month to record (if you’re recording by yourself or with a co-host). That way it’s easier to make sure episodes are recorded and to make it part of a regular routine.
The others involved in the process, like audio engineers, designers, writers, and editors, will also know when new recordings will come in for them to edit or complete their tasks. As you go through the recording process, you may also find that different platforms, technology, or routines are easier than what you were initially using. It’s important to be flexible and continue to tweak your process to find what best works for you.
After an episode is completely finished, it’s time to upload it to your chosen podcast hosting platform. Think about whether your podcast should go live at a set time or on a certain day. Some hosts allow you to schedule episodes to go live in the future. Publishing at the same time and day can allow your audience to reliably expect when a new episode will be available.
When uploading, be sure to fill out the title and description completely. Just like the podcast summary mentioned above, be sure to use applicable keywords in the title and description that interested listeners may be using to find your episodes.
Where to Publish Your Podcast
After you have a few finished episodes, it’s time to launch! Most podcast information websites recommend launching with two to three episodes at once to get your audience hooked on your content. It also gives listeners a few topics to choose from in case one particular topic doesn’t interest them.
At a minimum, you should be placing your podcast (its profile and RSS feed of episodes) in these places:
These two platforms are also popular:
You might also ask your audience via a poll on Twitter, Facebook, or through email what other platforms they use besides the above to listen to podcasts.
Most of these platforms require the RSS feed URL, your cover image, your description, and a few keywords that will help people find your podcast more easily. When it comes to the summary or the keywords, you can change these periodically to see if that helps you get found better in search.
After this is set up, the RSS feed will automatically import each episode’s information that was entered during the upload process.
Once an episode is uploaded and published, it’s time to promote it. Create a list of places where you can announce each new episode.
This may include:
Social Media Channels
Your Email Subscribers
Homepage of website
Conferences, webinars, or other live events happening around the time of publication
Additional podcasts the hosts are involved in
Live streaming platforms
The guest(s)’ own social media, email lists, blog, or additional platform
Basically, anywhere your audience can connect with your company or the podcast hosts or guests is a great place to promote the latest episode. Set up a promotion schedule so you know when and what goes out after a new episode comes out. Some promotions can be automated using services like IFTTT, Zapier, MissingLettr, CoSchedule, Buffer, and HootSuite.
In your podcast editorial calendar, include a column for each promotional platform and the dates the promotion was sent out. This ensures you are publishing a note about the new episode on each applicable platform. You can also get your guests in on the action too. After a podcast is published, send them an email with the link to the episode and corresponding blog post, then include applicable information they can share to promote the episode. You can also use clicktotweet to pre-write tweets for them to send.
Once you share the podcast on your platforms after it is published, your promotion shouldn’t stop there. Tools like MissingLettr, mentioned above, allow you to schedule recurring shares of the podcast episode for one year. BulkBuffer allows you to prewrite posts for Buffer and upload them as a spreadsheet. This way you can promote the episode over and over again on social media, increasing the chances it will get more clicks, downloads, and traffic.
Later posts can use language like “Missed this episode on______? Tune in now instantly: URL” or just not mention when it was recorded so users don’t think it’s outdated. Repeat sharing is a good reason not to include dates in any of your podcast titles or illustrative images unless timeliness is the point of the episode, like covering a Google algorithm update that happened in a specific month and year.
Once you’ve gotten your promotional messages and schedule out, the next step in the podcast process to think about is repurposing. Repurposing content is the act of taking one piece of content and turning it into a different piece of content. Repurposing is very valuable because it allows you to create something new from something that has already been done, saving time and resources. It also allows the content you are creating (in this case, the podcast episode) to be seen and heard by more people. For instance, someone may not listen to podcasts, but if you turned the episode into a video on YouTube, that person may be more likely to listen to it since they follow you there. Here are some areas and ways to repurpose podcasts.
Transcribed Blog Posts
We recommended earlier in this article to write and publish a blog post with every new episode, but besides a recap and inclusion of links or resources mentioned in the episode, podcasters can also include a transcription of the blog post. This can be edited to read better and usually ends up being an additional 1500+ words to add to the blog post. A written version of the content may be preferable to someone who doesn’t like listening (or can’t) to the audio version. Amberscript is a good resource for transcribing audio or video, they charge €15 per hour to transcribe audio to written content, however monthly or per-minute pricing is also possible.
You can create new audio files from the entire episode and create snippets that can be published on social media, embedded into content, or even shared via email.
As an example; you can take an excerpt of something that was shared in a podcast and make it into a video that has a solid image (the podcast episode image) overlaid with the audio. You can then shared this on Twitter and other social media platforms.
An audio file can be converted into a video using a stock image or slideshow of images with the audio placed on top as the “soundtrack.” This video can then be uploaded on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or any other platforms that allow video uploads.
Note: many platforms are preferring native video over YouTube links, so it makes sense to upload the video to multiple places. If you don’t have a video editor on staff, hire a freelancer or use an automated tool like InVideo to do it yourself.
Repurposing Other Content into Podcasts
Finally, repurposing also works the other way around. Is there content you already created that could be turned into a podcast episode?
These may include:
Video interviews: extracting the audio and uploading it as a podcast episode
Presentations internally or at a conference
Blog posts read out loud
Articles read out loud
Make sure that all recordings have written permission from the guest, event, or others involved before recording and uploading. The sound may not be as high quality for live events as it would be for a regular podcast recording, so be sure to mention in the show notes and description where it was recorded so users know what to expect. If the interview or other content is shorter or longer than the normal episode, be sure to explain that as well.
Podcasting has become a valuable content strategy for any business and marketeer. It can be a fun way to reach your audience, as well as to explore new topics and have discussions with experts in your industry. The podcasting community is usually positive and helpful, so be sure to ask questions on message boards like r/podcasts on Reddit or in Facebook groups and in Quora.
Popular podcast resources, like Podcast Insight, may also have FAQs or knowledge centres where you can learn more about podcast best practices and answers to common questions.
As long as a routine is established, where everyone responsible knows what they are doing at every step of the way, podcasting can become a well-oiled machine for your business that can boost your team’s creativity.
Many podcasters enjoy recording and producing new episodes and look forward to talking to others and learning from their expertise. Whether they are doing the episodes solo or with a co-host, podcasts are also a fun way to learn more about a topic they are interested in as well.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different branding, episode lengths, or formats as time goes on and your listener base grows. Always be on the lookout for new opportunities to expand and repurpose content where possible. Podcasting offers a lot of creative flexibility, and it’s crucial to take advantage of it!