Talk shows, interviews, and opinion polls have been available for as long as we can remember. This tells us that people like to listen to other people talk for some reason. Because many people enjoy talking as much as they are listened to, podcasting has become an option you can use to put your views out there. Since the first podcast in 2004, podcasts and podcasting have become increasingly popular.
As with every other thing, there is the right way to podcasting and getting reasonably successful results. Streaming sites and podcasting platforms have made it incredibly easy to start a podcast. Some of these platforms also provide tools to guide and track your progress. However, this is not enough to guarantee success in this industry.
What is a Podcast?
Before we delve into the tips and what makes what work, let’s explain what podcasts are. Simply put, they are audio conversations or series that users can listen to and download on their personal devices at any time.
For radio shows, you have to tune to the station when a program is airing to listen. The same applies to TV shows. But for podcasts, users have access to the audio file at all times and can listen at their convenience.
Podcast episodes can normally run from 20 to 60 minutes. In some cases, episodes may run as long as over an hour – it depends on you and your audience.
What Do You Need to Start a Podcast?
A number of resources must be made readily available before a podcast can be up and running. An audio podcast of about 50 minutes requires efforts of recording, production, and so many other ‘unseen’ touches.
The things you need to start a podcast are divided grossly into two parts: A podcast hosting platform and podcasting equipment.
What Are Podcast Hosting Platforms?
Podcast hosting platforms help store your podcast hosting files and redistribute them to streaming sites. Think of them as the middle man between you and the streaming sites where listeners can easily access your content.
Podcast hosting platforms are salient to any podcaster’s success, so you should take them seriously.
There are quite a number of podcast hosting platforms out there. However, to pick the right one for you, you should consider the following factors:
- They should offer integration of their transcription facilities.
- They should provide reasonably high or unlimited bandwidth.
- The podcast hosting site should provide a custom website.
- They must have an analytics feature to track key metrics for podcast growth.
- There should be a text editor to add, edit and customize show notes.
If you can get a podcast host that guarantees all of these, you’re pretty much on the way to success.
What Equipment Do You Need to Make a Podcast?
It may be almost impossible to kick off your podcast without the right equipment. You can decide to start small with your smartphone and computer.
However, if you’re looking to do this for the long run, you must be willing to invest in the right equipment.
These are the basic types of equipment you need to get your podcast started easily.
- A Recording Space: This can be a standard studio, a soundproof room, or a dedicated area for recording. The most important feature of this space is that it must be able to filter out background noise. You don’t want your listeners hearing other sounds in the way of your podcast content. As a beginner, you can work on getting a secluded area within your personal space (home or office) for recording. As time goes on, you can evolve to getting a full-blown studio facility.
- A Microphone: Beyond preventing noise, you need a microphone to properly capture your voice and ease listening. Your podcast is voice only, so you must never compromise on the audio quality. There are studio mics to help get the most of this, but you can start from simple external mics. Like everything on this list, you can grow at your own pace.
- Sound Editing Software: As a podcaster, you wear many hats. One of those hats is that of a sound engineer. You must get and be able to use proper sound editing software to adjust your audio file. You can also use this to add other audio files, music, and ads for brands you’re working with. In the end, you cannot get a proper podcast up and running without good sound editing software.
- High-Quality Headphones: You need to arm yourself with high-quality headphones for high-quality sounds. This is to help you identify errors in your production and pre-listen properly before any of your listeners. You are better off with noise-canceling headphones that provide an immersive listening experience for you.
With the right equipment and a hosting platform, you’re taking the right steps towards making a successful podcast. However, past experiences have shown that this is not enough. Podcasting experts have found some important tips that can help you start and sustain yourself on your podcasting journey.
Best 10 Podcasting Tips to Start a Successful Podcast in 2023
Let’s dive into the ten best tips for starting a successful podcast in 2023. These tips will help you start your podcast and set you up for success. You can implement them across various niches.
#1. Start with an Idea in Mind
As a podcaster, you are going to be talking a lot – a whole lot. So you must pick an area, a podcast idea that you are very comfortable talking about. It could be a passion, a hobby, or anything else.
You could start a podcast about mountain biking if it’s your hobby. And from a passion or your career, you could start a podcast about something in your industry. What’s important is that you are actually interested in the area or industry.
Starting with an idea is very important because it sets the tone for your podcasting experience. It also determines if you’ll be accommodating other topics or need to create a podcast along the line. Your idea must be solid, unique, and be as unreplicable as possible.
It would help if you confidently answered a few questions before you get started:
- Is this a new area/topic? If not, is there a different way to present it to my audience?
- Is this relevant to my target audience? Will they benefit from my talking about it?
- Do I know enough about this topic to speak at length (at least 20 minutes) about it?
Once you have answers for these, you can rest assured and go ahead to start your podcast.
#2. Making a Podcast Structure
Every successful podcast has a structure. You can run from it and dread it, but you are less likely to succeed as a podcaster if you lack structure.
It would help if you determined what style your episodes are going to follow. You can decide to have an interview format like a question and answer. Or just a conversational show, where your guests come, and you talk about a topic (or random stuff).
You can also have a narrative show focusing on storytelling from a specific point of view. Another format to try is to make educational content, creating a teacher-student relationship between you and your students. This format is great if you are an experienced professional in your field or industry.
Whatever format you pick, you have to remain consistent over a period of time. This is to give your listeners confirmation of what to expect from your show–and keep them coming back. Podcasts can be flexible actually. So, for variety, you can tweak the formats once in a while.
#3. Brand Your Podcast
It is understandable if your podcast is just a hobby or something on the side. However, if you want to do podcasting right, you should take it quite seriously. Hence, the need for branding.
You need to get a logo and a cover page for your podcast, for starters. This does not have to be perfect at first. At the same time, it does not have to be all so elaborate. A simple image with the podcast’s name, your name, and picture (if you want) will suffice. This is just so anyone that sees it knows that you do stuff like that and may be interested in listening.
Apart from the logo, it would help if you recorded an intro and outro for your podcast. Not many people know this, but it’s a great branding tool for podcasters. You can add soothing music and effects to describe what you’ll be talking about.
You can include a call to action for the outro, encouraging listeners to subscribe, share, and listen again.
All these branding efforts accumulate to create an impression on your listeners and increase your reputation in your industry. As a podcaster, a community and reputation are everything, and branding will help you achieve that.
#4. Get a Website
Getting a website may sound cliché, but it may have the largest effect on your podcasting journey. Prioritizing setting up a good website is a huge step toward creating a successful podcast.
The website should be easily accessible, navigable, and easy to use. A website is beneficial for your podcast for various reasons. We’ll take a look at a few of these reasons below:
- A good website for your podcast allows you to be reached via search engines. If your website is adept with Search Engine Optimization, you are making it easy for your listeners to reach you.
- A website makes the first impression on your listener. A good web outlook convinces your potential audience that you are professional about your business. As a professional/expert looking to create educational content on your podcast, you must take this seriously.
- Your podcast can be distributed to as many streaming platforms as you want at a time. A website allows you to link all streaming platforms in one place. However, listeners can access all the links to various platforms on your website.
- A website allows you to build a community around your podcast. You can collect feedback, interact with your listeners and gain insights as to what they want to know.
#5. Maximize Social Media
Social media can make or mar any brand. Treating your podcast as one, you must be able to make the best of social media platforms. The first step is to know which platforms your audience is.
After discovering that, you must know the style of content to create to reach your target audience. Each medium is unique, and understanding this is very important for your success. Your social media efforts should not be scattered. They must follow tested, trusted, and proven strategies that work. You might even consider hiring a social media marketing agency at some point.
You can look up similar podcasts in your niche and see how they use social media. This step is not for mimicking or outright copying. Remember that you must be unique. Taking this step is to help in your decision-making, see what your target enjoys, and tap into the market.
Social media is a leveraging tool. Podcasters use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram the most. These platforms allow you to drop audio snippets and teasers and create a community. Whatever you thought wrong about social media must be cleared as a podcaster.
#6. Create a Solid Promotion Strategy
As mentioned earlier, you must be willing to wear multiple hats as a podcaster. One of these hats is that of a strategist. Developing a good strategy must rest at the core of all your efforts.
As specialists at SEO Brothers suggest, you must make a promotion strategy to get the most out of your podcast business. After putting in the best efforts to make your podcast high-quality, it is only right to put effort into getting it in front of your audience.
As noted before, branding is a major part of this. After branding, your promotion strategy becomes very easy to implement. Promoting your brand can come in various ways—organic and inorganic. Organic promotional methods may not cost you extra bucks, but you must be willing to open your purse for the inorganic ones.
The organic method focuses on quality and allows the brand to gain leverage naturally. With good use of social media, streaming platforms, podcasting hosts, and the web, your podcast can get all the clout it needs to thrive.
The inorganic method requires you to focus on quality, but with an extra push.
This push involves the use of ad campaigns and other inorganic marketing methods. You can get your podcast directly delivered to your audience’s timelines by using targeted ads. Targeted ads have shown tremendous results in connecting people to their interests, whether on social media platforms or the web.
Influencer marketing and collaborations are other inorganic methods of promoting your podcast. You could speak to influencers and thought leaders in the field that your podcast is in to help drive traffic to you. This move may cost more than targeted ads but usually yields faster results than the former.
Influencer marketing as a promotional tool can be tricky sometimes. Make sure you don’t get lost in the sauce of new listeners that you relent in the quality of your content. Retaining your new listeners is very important.
#7. Monitor Your Metrics
Your metrics are your numbers. Do you know what they say about numbers? They never lie. Your podcast will not grow if you do not monitor its numbers.
The podcast hosting platforms offer you many metrics to check your progress and growth. Honestly, not all these metrics are salient. There are key metrics that you must value, monitor, and assess during your podcast journey.
As soon as your podcast launches, it would help if you began to track key metrics such as:
- Average listening time
- Number of subscribers
- New visits and page views
- The number of downloads (weekly or monthly).
These metrics help you confirm if you are making real progress with your podcast. Your average listening time should be closer to the average number of minutes per episode to determine if you are successful. This stat shows that your listeners get the most information from your episodes and stay until the end.
The number of subscribers and downloads should increase per period checked (monthly or weekly) to ascertain real growth. The stream and downloads numbers must also remain constant (within a range) over a period of time. This shows that your podcast can make listeners want to return, which means an increased retention rate.
The difference (or ratio) between the new visits and page views helps to confirm how much you’re converting. Conversion is a key metric in podcasting, and a good podcast should be able to convert visitors into subscribers in no time.
These metrics are meant to give your insight and offer feedback for adjusting your episodes. Depending on the metric, you can adjust various elements of the podcast and make valuable changes to them. All these seem like a lot of serious stuff, but you’ll get used to them with time.
#8. Monetize Your Podcast
Your podcast may have started as a hobby, but you should consider monetizing it if it’s doing well. Simply put, you should make your podcast earn you some money.
The most feasible method of achieving this is getting sponsorships from serious brands in your niche. This will involve some lobbying (especially if you’re new), but the benefits are far greater. You will have a less mountainous climb to get sponsors if you’re an established podcast.
To give back, you can dedicate your episodes to the brands, give away merchandise, or create awareness about a product or service. Whatever you do, you need to be creative about it and engage your listening community to patronize your sponsors. As you get along on the journey of making a successful podcast, you’ll discover more ways to make that little hobby a cash cow!
#9. Get Your Podcast on as Many Listening Platforms as Possible
The goal for your podcast should be that anybody interested should be able to easily access it. For this reason, you must not leave any streaming platform untapped.
Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts are the most commonly used listening platforms. However, we have over 20 listening platforms on app stores and the web. If your podcast hosting platform allows you to, add as many as possible.
However, you should not be in a rush to do this. You must carefully create a profile for each platform and ensure that any user can easily plug and play.
#10. Be Flexible
As a podcaster, you should be adaptable. Be willing to adapt to changes that may come up in the near future. Even with the tips stated here, nothing is foolproof.
Like the common saying, “Be like water.” New trends will come up with development in the podcasting area, and according to your podcast, you must evolve.
- Podcasts are not difficult to start if you have the right tools.
- You need a podcast hosting platform and adequate podcasting equipment to get a podcast started.
- To start a successful podcast, you must have a solid idea of what you’ll be speaking about.
- You must brand your podcast and consider that in all of your promotional efforts for it.
- Your podcast should have a website and social media pages.
- As a podcaster, you must be able to track your growth using specific metrics.
We are in the digital age, and starting a podcast is one of the things you could jump on today. Yes, there are thousands of podcasts out there, but this wouldn’t stop you from being a success if you know your onions.
You can be a podcaster and be successful at it. If you follow these tips, you are on track to success on your podcasting journey. We are rooting for you!