Podcast 101: The Basics of Starting Your Own Podcast

Posted by Patricia Deschineau

March 20, 2018 at 10:00 AM

starting your own podcastIt’s no secret that we are living in a digital age. The number of people who receive their news and information from blog posts, social media, and podcasts continues to increase, and podcasts in particular have seen significant growth in recent years. According to the State of the News Media, 2 out of every 5 Americans have listened to podcasts, and Edison research shows that people ages 18–34 tune in the most.

This younger audience especially enjoys listening to educational podcasts, which allow them to learn on their own time and listen at the pace they prefer. Podcasts are even beginning to gain on AM/FM radio; owned music; audio streaming, such as Pandora and Spotify; and TV music channels. And for those Americans who listen to podcasts regularly, Edison research also shows that of the time they spend listening to audio, the largest percentage (30 percent) of that time is devoted to podcasts.

To top all of this off, CNBC recently reported that 93 percent of millennials and 71 percent of Gen Xers are more likely to work with a financial advisor who is tech savvy. So, how can you take advantage of this growing media platform to help advance your firm? Below, I’ll share some tricks of the trade for starting your own podcast to help you connect with younger clients on a new level.

Plan Your Content

So, what’s the first step in starting your own podcast? Like with any digital media platform, you should begin by developing a content strategy to determine who your target audience is, which topics you want to cover, and how frequently you’ll release new episodes. I would also recommend listening to a few of the popular industry podcasts to get a feel for the format. One great example is Planet Money, which is a weekly podcast that helps listeners make sense of the rapidly changing global economy.

Once you’ve identified your target audience and the content you want to produce, it’s time to think about episode format, frequency, and length.

Format. There are several format options from which to choose, including:

  • A talk show-style roundtable with a small group of people
  • An interview or conversation with a featured guest
  • A narrative story told by one person

The format you choose should be based on the kind of content you want to share and how you’d prefer to present it, taking into consideration the time you’ll need to spend putting together each episode and the resources you have available.

Frequency. Determine how often you will be recording and producing your podcast. Remember, this is a time commitment. Regardless of whether you choose a weekly, semimonthly, or monthly schedule, you need to stick to it and stay consistent in order to build a following.

Length. How long should each episode be? I recommend keeping each one to somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes. This length of time will help keep your audience engaged for the duration of the episode.

Match Your Audience and Your Brand

Your podcast will need an interesting name and look that appeal to your prospective listeners. Spend some time brainstorming a name for your podcast that will align with your firm’s existing brand and messaging and feel relatable for your target audience. Once you have the name, you can design eye-catching artwork that displays the title of your podcast—this is what listeners will see when they go to download your show.

Mic Check

To put all of your planning into action, you need to have the right equipment. Start with a high-quality microphone that will enhance the sound of your podcast. A few good options to look into are the Blue Snowball USB Microphone or the Samson Q2U Recording and Podcasting Pack.

In addition to a microphone, you’ll need a few other key pieces of equipment, including:

  • A computer to record and upload your .mp3 files
  • Headphones to listen back to your recording
  • An audio interface to improve the sound quality between your microphone, computer, and headphones

There are a number of other devices that you can purchase as well as you become more sophisticated with your podcast, such as microphone stands, pop filters, and shock mounts.

Recording and Hosting Options

Once you have your format, name, and equipment, it’s time to starting recording. I recommend doing a dry run of your first episode from start to finish. This will give you an opportunity to work out the kinks during your second take. Once you’ve recorded the episode, you’ll want to edit it and add in the fun stuff, like music and sound effects. If you have a Mac, you can do this using GarageBand, which is a recording and editing program that comes preinstalled on your computer. If you’re a PC user, try downloading Audacity as a no-cost option. There are a number of recording and editing programs available for purchase for both Macs and PCs as well.

Next up, hosting. At this point, you’ve recorded your first show, but how do you make your podcast accessible? The most common podcast-hosting platforms are Libsyn and Blubrry. These sites will provide you with an RSS feed that you can use to place the podcast on your website and upload to iTunes, the largest podcast directory; Stitcher, the second largest; SoundCloud; and YouTube. Once you submit your podcast to these digital channels, you’ll be able to capture the number of people who’ve subscribed to your podcast, as well as build a strong following.

Make Your Voice Heard

The final step is to promote your podcast. Be sure to include a link to your podcast on your website, Facebook business page, and Twitter page. If you send out a weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletter to your clients, add a line to it that lets readers know how to listen to your podcast. The goal is to make sure all clients who are part of your target audience know about and listen to your show.

By starting your own podcast, you can begin to connect with younger clients in a way that fits in easily with their lifestyle. If you consistently produce interesting, relevant, and relatable content, you’ll likely form a group of regular listeners. And chances are, those listeners will recommend your podcast to friends or family, too. If you’re up for the commitment, take this opportunity to add value to the service you provide to your clients—and show off your tech-savvy side!

Have you considered starting your own podcast to extend your firm’s reach? Which format and topics might you choose to help you connect with younger clients? Please share your thoughts with us below!

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