First, you need to make sure you have something to say! It helps if you’re enthusiastic or passionate about things you’re going to talk about. Hopefully, you are excited to help by generously sharing content and ideas as part of your podcasting mission.
Podcasting is like having “conversations in public” says Joel Comm, as a guest on Conex, the Convince and Convert Podcast.~Joel Comm
Just remember, audio is a highly relevant way to deliver consumable content to people. But, not any old content, if you want to have an impact. You’re going to have to work harder than merely deciding to talk—if you genuinely want to make your podcast successful. There are, as inc. points out here, other business and personal benefits to deciding to do a podcast.
And while you are finalizing decisions on a name, key topics, podcast artwork, show format, and other pre-prep list items, you can now start working on action items to begin to put things into motion.
Podcast Pre-Launch Decisions
If you know you are going to do this and can’t wait to launch your show, things are definitely looking up. Still, there’re some peripheral decisions to consider, some I’m delinquently only catching up with now. Maybe listing them for you here can help you avoid playing catch-up later on. This is stuff you need:
- Hosting for your podcast is essential for audio to load quickly, safely, and efficiently without sucking resources directly from your site or computer. LIBSYN, for Liberated Syndication, is one of the first audio-specializing hosts and is a leader in the field. Check out this updated guide to podcast hosting choices for all the best picks to find the host for you.
A Podcast Brand?
- A podcast website to showcase and grow your podcast and audience lets you offer value-added assets to your show while giving your podcast a home, and an engaging content hub/blog. I’m hoping this MSSYBiz site becomes a place for interaction and the exchange of ideas around the MIX/SIZZLE AND SHAKE YOUR BUSINESS Podcast. But, you don’t have to have a dedicated website for the show as a standalone if you don’t want to. You can always use a page on your site for the show’s episodes or embed an audio player directly on a typical blog post to share and archive if you prefer. The important thing is to have a direct access route to listeners and a way to add to the audio content to make meaningful connections with them. Offering links to stuff from your podcast is only the first valuable tidbit you can do for people when you invite them to your podcast website. If you do go with a branded website for your podcast, don’t make these podcast website mistakes!
- Nailing down the name so you can incorporate it into podcast artwork, site design, and domain registration, to name a few, is of utmost importance in building your whole podcasting marketing plan along with site structure and design. Make sure the URL for your favorite name idea is available and secure it for your domain before you move forward on the previous steps. HINT: Don’t get too fancy with naming but do get clear and concise. Instead of fancy, try to go for names easy to remember and easy to type:) Research for your name here: https://instantdomainsearch.com/.
Tuning In on Details to Start Podcasting
- Brand strategy alignment means attention to details. Determine the broad identity specs to adopt for an overarching formula for your podcast’s style. Some of the most important components include defining a brand color scheme, name, and logo design perimeters, cover artwork (or final selections) for podcast branding, etc. Remember, you want to create a consistent and recognizable look, sound, and feel associated with your podcast. Use these top-level branding items to guide and influence more specific business marketing and content marketing strategies down the line.
- Consistency is the key. But, it’s best if you can set yourself up to create uniformity by aligning the above pieces from the start. Consistency matters for your podcast in other ways as well, but we’ll get to that in the next section. For now, work on developing that branding kit, maybe even put together editorial guidelines, and keep brainstorming on topics for podcasts. You can never have too many ideas! What about getting a unique podcast email address?
- Social media and your podcast may have to befriend each other to help you build an audience and increase podcast interest and traffic. I’m not quite feeling it myself because so far any podcasting promo on social has been haphazard on my part. But, we both know (you reading this, me writing it) that taking a purposeful approach and creating a social media marketing plan needs to be part of your podcasting jobs. Maybe you want to create a Facebook Page for your podcast, as an idea, or a Twitter profile.
- Create a promotions plan for your podcast. Because, as was just mentioned in the last paragraph, growing an audience is all about getting social. (At the very least!) When should you promote? Now, sooner, and later. Pre-Launch, Post-Launch, while Launching! All-the-time and on every channel you can, too. But, honestly, I need to get off my duff and make this a real campaign, a thought out full-out podcast promotional campaign. Do you promote enough? Doing this properly entails producing a series of social visuals with a show “message” or teasers of some type, for example. It can be a series, and you can link the visuals to popular or related shows. Think about a cross-channel assault. Don’t be afraid to get creative with promotions. Make a video about your audio show!! I’m working on a 9-day audio pre-launch campaign.
- Determine your initial (or new) podcast show formula. What I mean is you need to get your action stacks or a process for repetitive procedures in place. To do this better, make final decisions on your show formula. That is the framework from which you want to operate, steadily producing your podcasts. Here are some of the things you need to decide and schedule:
- Publish Schedule…what day and when will you publish new episodes for your show?
- Launch Date…an exact start date no matter what on your calendar.
- Length of Episodes…how long is each podcast recording going to be?
- Episode Format…interviews, stories, team approach, topic-based, or a series, to name a few.
- Production Decisions…will you add intro or exit or branding details, music or sounds, etc?
- Show Artwork…final selection for podcast channels; use of individual show art; website art.
- WorkFlows…setup systems, processes/action stacks for repeatable schedules; set editorial and production schedules, finalize, craft, and implement social and promotional strategies.
My initial equipment, all of it, was my cell phone and the anchor app. But, there’s more to it I found out.
Still, you can keep it pretty simple especially if you aren’t a major techie like me. The high-quality Blue Yeti mic I use now makes me feel like I’m in a broadcast studio and it works like a champ. You can hear your keystrokes.
I admit, I still record on anchor via the cell, too. A perfect way to record conversations with guests, or for interview episodes, is to use Zoom. Zoom is fantastic. And free. Some people record, also at no charge I think, on Skype.
Besides a recording method like phone, mic, or Zoom and a device to save the recording, the next equipment you need is audio editing software. Audacity is most mentioned and widely used, and I got the free version to try on my computer. But, it has a learning curve, so I cheated I guess because I’ve been distilling the audio and creating my podcast files to upload in Camtasia.
Camtasia is a popular video software, and it seems like everyone uses it to edit videos. But, again, since I know how to use it a little, it’s more natural for me to use Camtasia for my sound editing, at least so far.
With a device, microphone, and recording and editing software, your show production equipment checklist is covered.
WordPress Audio Players
What you need to create are MP3 files, unless the podcasting platform you select says otherwise. And if you want to embed your audio files, usually with a player, on your website, you may want to take a look at this top audio plugins post from WP Superstars.
The LIBSYN plugin is exclusively for LIBSYN users but is free if you are hosting with them. I think this is the path I’m going to follow. I’m not exactly sure how the RSS and website and audio hosting all tie together quite yet. But, when this post is published, or soon after, I’ll let you know how it all works.
This is a more complete podcasting equipment guide from podcastinsights.com, for beginners to advanced, if you want to take a look. I didn’t look at anything and totally winged it at first! lol
But, the purpose of this post and site is to help you go about podcasting better than me. So, give some thought for how to create the best show possible from the beginning, even if it continually evolves and improves, and you’ll be off to a better start.
By taking some extra time to do proper pre-launch preparation, scheduling, and decision-making, your show should run smoother and find an audience sooner.
This site’s exploring podcasting post along with the information above gives you a guide to strategize your podcast framework and plan a professional show to launch. Starting simply doesn’t mean you have to compromise quality or temper your marketing. Remember, your podcast is an extension of your business and your brand.
I’m going for nothing less than awesome with every podcast episode I produce, how about you? Why not go the extra mile and take a few additional steps instead of skipping over the show-stopping details, so you shine brightly?
Action Items for Show Applause
These are pro tips I collected far and wide, but are topics for you to work through if you want to make a splash with your podcast and invite enthusiastic curtain calls for more.
We’ll explore these topics, taking a more in-depth look for know-how, in upcoming posts. But, start thinking about these action items now for your successful podcast:
- Prepare a Podcast Pre-Launch Promotions Plan, Materials, and Schedule
- Create a Podcast Marketing Strategy: Pre-Launch Promotions | Show Schedule Campaigns | Sponsorship Page Details | Editorial Strategy | Tracking Management for Marketing Analysis
- Design Your Podcasting Website for Multi-Media Impact to Delight Visitors
- Develop Workflows and Action Stacks to Simplify and Unify Your Podcasting Processes
- Establish Branding and Editorial Guidelines for Clarity and Consistency
- Configure a Subscription Model to Leverage Audience Interactivity
- Manage RSS Feed Accessibility including Podcast Directory Distribution
- Craft a Professional Sponsorship and Packages Offer Highlighting Sponsor Benefits
Plotting Your Podcast Plan
Are you ready to connect-the-dots and put all the parts of your podcast pieces together? Are you starting to feel comfortable with what you need to know to start a podcast?
I’m so happy podcasting and don’t regret taking a “by the seat-of-your-pants” approach to start the MIX/SIZZLE & SHAKE YOUR BUSINESS show. It gave me a chance to practice for myself in obscurity. But, since I love doing the audio podcast and think it’s a beautiful way for people to get to know me and hopefully to grab good business and content scoops, and more, I’m excited to bring the MSSYBiz Podcast alive in a new and improved way! Now I’m ready to revamp and level up to a more highly polished professional podcast, and this new site is a giant step to getting it right.
Are you feeling confident in what you need to know to start podcasting for your business; are you ready to get serious, like I am, striving to level up your business podcast production? Either way, it promises to be a fun ride, and I thank you for being here and being part of it. I can’t wait to share the steps as I go and hope to hear from you, too. Are you a MSSYBiz Subscriber?
What’s hanging you up to start podcasting? Leave a comment below:)
- About the Author
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Sue-Ann Bubacz is a digital content strategist and writer/editor who works with best-selling authors, media personalities, and prominent artists to enhance their communication, elevate their influence, and transform their creative vision into tangible business results.