There are more than 1,000,000 podcasts out there with more than 30,000,000 episodes. To say that podcasts are popular would be like saying oxygen is important—an understatement. Why are there so many? Well, as long as you have a microphone and something to say, you can be a broadcaster overnight. It’s easier to start a podcast than to, say, start a radio station or a video channel.
But just because it’s easier doesn’t mean it’s easy. There can be a lot of barriers in the beginning. Anyone can start a podcast, sure, but few podcasts find the success they want and may flounder and flop out of frustration before they even launch.
At Elevate My Brand (EMB), we released our first-ever podcast in January 2020: Elevate Your Brand. We had our fair share of hurdles, but now we have hundreds of downloads per month and we’re more than 20 episodes deep. If you want a podcast to call your own, we can help!
Once you have an idea, it’s natural to want to start right away. Resist the impulse. Unless your podcast is simply going to be for fun, you need to strategize. These are our top tips to get you started in the right direction.
With so many podcasts out there, you can’t be generic. It’s all about the angle. Know your strengths and experience, and rely on personality if you can. A podcast about beauty products has been done a hundred times before, but a podcast about a chemist reviewing beauty products has more potential to grow an engaged, niche audience. Just make sure that you aren’t too niche because you need to plan out a couple months of content in advance.
You want the podcast to be polished, so make sure your equipment is up to the task. Choose a microphone that meets your budget and your sound needs. You may also want to purchase acoustic panels to reduce noise and echo, which will make editing easier. And speaking of editing, select a software and learn how to use it in advance. Knowing its capabilities and limitations will inform how you record. You also need to know which web host you’ll use to share the podcast with platforms such as iTunes, as well as how you’re going to design the podcast graphics.
I strongly suggest making and maintaining a master document with all of the logistics. Not only will it allow you to remain consistent, but as your podcast grows, it will let you onboard new people with ease. At EMB, our master document includes a timeline that outlines the process from inviting guests to preparing the podcast room to publishing the episodes. Our doc also includes email templates and editing tips and tricks. We have a separate spreadsheet to track each episode, including which guests have submitted their bios and headshots, and when the episode releases.
People can’t listen to the podcast if you don’t share the episodes. Have an internal plan for when and where you’ll share each episode. Your social channels are a good start, but include email and your website as well. When you contact the guests to let them know their episode is live, you’ll want to give them sharing guidelines, too. Tell the guests where to share the episode and how (i.e. which hashtags to use and how soon to post), and always encourage them to subscribe and leave a review on the platform of their choice.
No matter how detailed your plan, you can’t expect the unexpected. What you can do, though, is think about the types of issues you may encounter and develop a plan for how to manage them. Did four guests show up instead of one? Does your guest want to change the publication schedule? Did your guest show up 20 minutes late and now you have no time to record? Thinking and planning for these issues up front will reduce the overall stress and keep you more organized.
If it’s your first podcast, you’ll probably never be 100% ready. You can’t know what you don’t know, and at some point, you have to channel Nike and just do it. But don’t rush it either. You want to make sure your podcast and process seem professional, and you don’t want to over-promise or under-deliver. I recommend your first guest be a close friend or colleague in case there are hiccups.
Even if you follow these tips, there will be bumps in the road, and that’s okay. What’s important is that you prepared and that each hurdle can be transformed into opportunity. As podcast pros, we’re well equipped to help you embrace that opportunity. If you need a consultation, or if you need social media management or public relations assistance to put your podcast out there, give us a call!
Cody H. Owens, Account Executive
Elevate My Brand