Podcasting isn’t a new thing, but it’s a potentially great area for a business to invest in to really set them apart from competitors.
A well-thought-out schedule can be an exciting and engaging way of telling a story differently. So, here are some simple ways to set it up in an organisation.
Firstly, ask who – and what – is the podcast for? Finding the right audience is the key to success here. Whether looking at it from a hobby or company perspective, the target market still requires valuable and entertaining content.
So, why does the firm want to make an audio-based show? It’s important to bear this question in mind, so that the business maintains the motivation to keep creating interactive episodes – and work on ways to grow the listener count.
And, that leads nicely on to giving followers a reason to tune in. Whether providing information or entertainment, make sure there’s enough compelling insight to keep them coming back for more.
2. Scheduling episodes
Having this part of the plan in place should answer how long each piece of audio should be. A long episode can run for over an hour, whereas a short version is usually around the 20-minute mark. It’s important to tailor the length to the value of the content.
The next question to ask is, ‘How often should a new episode be released?’ There’s a good case for putting out a weekly, fortnightly or monthly post, if possible, because consistency is key for longevity and listener retention.
However, again the important aspect to remember is that it shouldn’t be aired for the sake of it. For example, one excellent piece a month – instead of four very average ones – has more chance of growing an audience.
Speaking of listeners, use their feedback to determine preferred frequency and length – and don’t be afraid to make changes in line with productive suggestions.
3. Choosing a format
This means a business can select whichever platform suits them – and there’s no rule of thumb to just stick with one channel either.
So, what are the common types of podcast formats? A solo show – also known as a monologue – means there’s no over-reliance on others to add another voice, as the content is exclusive to the individual.
However, a one-person piece is often the most intimidating style for a beginner, so make sure there’s always a thought for what the listeners want to hear.
There’s also the option of a co-hosted show alongside a friend or colleague, but this requires great chemistry on air. A brilliant pairing allows for conversation to flow, and ideas to bounce off one another. If this is the selected method, introduce a schedule so both parties know when to record, and create a clear plan from the get-go.
Another way to engage is through an interview-style podcast. This is where a fresh voice can be added to every episode to keep things interactive. A benefit here too is that guests will often have their own audiences listening – who may also subscribe – which can increase the listener count tremendously.
It goes without saying that a strong interview technique is a skill, so beginners might want to approach people with whom there’s an existing rapport in the first instance – to build trust and confidence.
Some less common, but interesting, formats to try out include documentaries – allowing the narrator to walk an audience through a story – and roundtables, where a number of delegates are invited to share their views on a specific topic.
With our digital world evolving at rapid pace, the minimum a podcaster really needs nowadays is a computer or laptop, with a built-in microphone and access to the internet.
However, the lower the cost for setup and equipment, the more limited the sound quality of the show. A tip here would be to research microphones, and choose the right products to suit the budget and audience.
That then leads on to the type of recording or editing software needed – and there’s great news here because it doesn’t necessarily have to cost anything at all. For example, there’s a free programme called ‘Audacity’ which is available on Windows and Mac. And users of the latter mentioned device might also be aware of the audio software tool ‘Garageband’, which is installed by default, and often a popular choice.
Moving away from the equipment side of things, the next step is to iron out any mistakes, stitch together audio clips, and add in music or sound effects – so that the final product is something an audience wants to hear.
There are lots of tools online to enhance editing skills and self-teach, however, if there’s a budget then companies might be keen to outsource this part of the project – which can often be time-consuming – to create its professional podcast.
There’s not always a necessary need for music, but many choose to add it at the beginning and end for an extra layer of professionalism.
If a company wants to look into this a little deeper, there are many websites to legally download tunes for commercial purposes – usually referred to as ‘royalty-free’, ‘stock’ or ‘library’ music. Either way, always check the source site and make sure that permissions are in place too.
So, now the groundwork has been done, it’s time to start recording the first episode. The most common way to air is via a media host that stores audio, and allows audiences to listen, download, and subscribe. There’s also the chance to set up a website – or use an existing page – to encourage engagement.
Once a media host has been selected, the episode can be submitted to be listed in various directories – here, people can discover and interact with them.
Meanwhile, a self-hosted podcast requires a personal server to generate the RSS feed and syndicate. This option offers complete control over the show, but can be complicated and labour intensive for beginners. And, once the podcast is live, there needs to be a promotion strategy in place to build the audience – through various methods, in particular plugging on social media or inclusion in a company newsletter.
Overall, a brilliant podcast with valuable and engaging content will keep a target market coming back for more. If a business gets it right, there might also even be an option to monetise the product, if the demand is there – so keep trying ways to grow listeners and create shows that stick.