Podcasting is great for your business, but how do you go about it, and where do you start? In this blog post, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about how to start a podcast for your business, from interview questions to editing software.
Defining your concept, your key message and the value of your podcast.
All great things start from an idea. Try and think of a concept that can be summarised in a short title and that aligns with the values of your business. Our podcast concept, and title, is Never Settle, which comes from our manifesto. It’s about never settling for less and always striving to do and be better. Never Settling is to bite the bullet, to put yourself out there and forge your own path, and we’ve deliberately chosen podcast guests who encapsulate that attitude of innovation. Inspiring individuals who do things differently and challenge the status quo. So, Never Settle is an extension of our brand, the work we do and the values that define Ashton McGill.
(If you’re struggling for initial ideas, try defining your key audience first, so you can then create a podcast concept that speaks directly to them.)
Defining your key audience.
If you’re starting a podcast to boost sales for your business, or as part of a wider marketing strategy, then the audience for your business and your podcast will most likely be the same. However, you might be looking to target a specific niche of your audience. For example, if you’re an architect looking for more residential work, you might create a podcast that speaks directly to home owners about house renovations and extensions. Either way, once you have your key audience in mind, you can tailor your content to appeal directly to their needs and wants.
Creating a podcast brand identity that speaks to that audience.
Visually, it’s a good idea to keep your podcast branding similar to your existing brand. That way, they exist together harmoniously and will appeal to the same audience. If you’re new to graphic design, or don’t want to hire a designer to create your podcast artwork, Canva is a great online design tool with hundreds of free templates.
Who to interview.
Try and find experts in your field, people who you know you’ll have interesting conversations with. It could also be an opportunity to reach out to people you’d like to work with. And think back to your target audience: what kind of podcasts are they listening to? What kind of conversations are they having? Then let this inform who you interview and what you ask them.
What to ask your guests.
Take a leaf out of Simon Sinek’s book and Start with Why. According to Sinek, we’re all inspired by a sense of purpose (our ‘why’). So, this should come first when communicating, before ‘how’ and ‘what’. And we’ve found asking our guests ‘why’ makes for much more interesting podcasts. You’ll dig deeper into their motivations, their sense of purpose, and hopefully inspire your listeners, too.
How to structure episodes & episode lengths.
On average, most podcast episodes tend to be around 40 minutes long. However, it’s entirely up to you. Think less about how long each episode will be, and more about what you want to get out of them. Let your podcast structure and the questions you ask dictate the length of each episode.
What recording equipment to use.
When it comes to buying recording equipment, you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds. You can keep it lo-fi with relatively cheap mics that plug into your phone and record good audio. We use the Movo Executive Lavier. At £40, it’s affordable and provides fairly decent audio. It’s compatible with all smart phones and tablets and you can plug 2 more mic heads into it which works well for podcasting with 2-4 people.
If you’re looking for something with better audio quality, The Blue Yeti Microphone is another good option. Plug it into any PC and choose from a selection of settings for professional-style recording. But before you go splashing the cash on a higher-end mic, we’d recommend trying something like the Movo Executive Lavier first to get a feel for it.
Another thing we’d recommend is recording your podcasts face-to-face. We avoid interviewing our guests online over Skype– the audio isn’t great, and the connection can drop mid-recording, which is far from ideal! So, if possible, try and find somewhere fairly quiet to record your podcast face-to-face. The chemistry tends to be better when you can play off your guests’ expressions and body language, plus there’s the added bonus of getting photos together to promote your podcast!
How to edit episodes & what software to use.
We use Audition, which is part of the Adobe Creative Suite. But if you don’t want to pay for software, GarageBand on Mac works just as well. You can also record your episodes on GarageBand with your mic plugged into your PC, then the file is there, ready for editing.
How to write show notes.
When you’re listening back to your podcast whilst editing it, try taking notes about the key things you discuss and the key questions you ask. This will outline the structure of the episode and form the basis of your show notes. Also, ask yourself what your audience will get out of that particular episode and include this in the show notes.
However, the trick is to not give too much away in the show notes, otherwise people will just read them and not listen to your episode! So, make sure to get the balance right to spark people’s interest and entice them to press play.
Which hosting platform to use.
There’s about as many hosting platforms out there as you can imagine. But one we use and highly recommend is Buzzsprout. It provides everything you need for getting listed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and other popular podcast directories. It essentially acts as an RSS feed, so when you publish or schedule a new episode on Buzzsprout, it will automatically push out to those other platforms, too. You’ll also get your own podcast website on Buzzsprout with a customisable URL which you can link to or embed on your own website.
How to measure podcast statistics.
If you use Buzzsprout, their behind-the-scenes analytics pulls data from all of your listed podcast directories (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc). So, no need to go and track analytics from all your podcast apps individually. It will also make predictions of your listener count over the next 90 days based on historical data. Pretty cool!
A stat you might be interested in is how many subscribers your podcast has. However, according to Buzzsprout, your subscriber count isn’t actually a valuable statistic, since it’s something that’s been designed solely for blogging, not podcasting. What they do recommend you track, however, is your ‘Listeners’, which is how many unique plays your next episode is expected to have.
With this data in place, along with a podcasting action plan, you’re armed with the tools you need to appeal to your target audience and truly benefit your business!
Ultimately, podcasting is all about storytelling. It’s about drawing people in with compelling narratives that resonate with them long after they’ve listened to your podcast. And listeners love authenticity– genuine stories are more likely to connect with your listeners, truly inspire them, and attract those potential customers.
Get inspired by our podcast guests!
When we’re not busy crunching numbers, we’re also the hosts of Never Settle, a podcast featuring creatives, entrepreneurs, ambitious individuals and leaders who do things differently. In each episode, we speak to a different guest and challenge them on why they do what they do, what makes them think the way that they do, and dig into the journey that’s brought them to where they are today.
Enjoyed this blog post? Check out the lessons we’ve learnt from our podcast and 5 reasons why you should start a podcast for your business.