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Podcast 101 – your guide to get on the air

According to Websitesetup.org, there are about 600 million blogs on the internet at the moment. In comparison, there are only 850 000 active podcasts with 30 million episodes. With these stats in mind and with the further idea that a high majority of people prefer to listen to information rather than read it, and a podcast becomes a viable marketing strategy for many people.

What is a podcast?

This is an audio broadcast found on platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts etc. The difference between a podcast and a radio show is that anyone can make a podcast and host it on their website. They can also submit them to various podcast directories to be listed on there too. Another advantage is that there are limited ads when listening to a podcast.

By creating a podcast, you may be able to bring more awareness about your products or service and you can leverage yourself as an industry leader with your podcast. But how do you create one?

STEP 1: What are you going to talk about?

When you create a podcast, consider the goal of the podcast. Is it to promote your products or services? Is it to be recognised as an industry leader? Is it to share an important message or is it for fun? Whichever goal you chose make sure you write it down and put it somewhere you can read every day while you make your podcast so you don’t stray from your goal. When choosing a topic, it can be as broad or as narrow as you like just remember that you should be passionate about the topic. When you have chosen your topic, look for it on podcast directories to see how others have potentially interpreted the topic you want to create a podcast around.

STEP 2: What will you name your podcast?

Choosing a name can be daunting. If you are developing a personal brand, you can use your name for the title for your podcast, i.e. The Gareth Cliff Show. If you are a creative you can use a creative heading. If you are trying to target a specific niche in the market you can use the keywords for the niche i.e. The Money Show.

When you have chosen the name, test it out on friends, families and colleagues to see if they can identify your core idea with the name. You could say something like “I have heard about this podcast called “your podcast name”. What do you think it is about?” This will help to make sure your name is not too obscure for your audience.

If your heading is one or two words, you can add a phrase to help give more clarity on what you will talk about. For example in the title “By The Horns | A Bitcoin podcast about South Africa”, we have a clear understanding of what the podcast is about by the words which follow “By the horns”. If we only saw the title “by the horns” we would have a hard time to clearly identify what the podcast is about.

STEP 3: What podcast format will you use?

Now you need to decide how you will create your podcast. There are multiple formats available and the best format for you will be one which fits the topic you choose and that you are comfortable doing. Here are five common podcast formats as advised by Buzzsprout:

1. Interview podcasts: In these, the host interviews different people from a certain industry.
2. Scripted non-fiction: This is a podcast that has a theme for a full season. They focus on certain aspects from different viewpoints.
3. News recap: These shows summarise news from an industry.
4. Educational podcasts: These podcasts are focusing on teaching the audience.
5. Scripted fiction: These are similar to radio dramas and are highly produced.

When you have chosen the type of format you will use,  you need to consider how long it should be. There are no strict time frames for podcasts. The only consideration is that your podcasts are not too long or too short because you have left out critical information or you have gone off topic in the middle of your podcast. You should consider your audience and what podcasts they listen to and aim to have your podcast in a similar ballpark.

Furthermore consider when will you publish your podcast, will it be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly? By scheduling your podcast you will build a habit of creating a podcast and you will build trust with your audience.

STEP 4: How will you record your podcast?

When you start, you can record your podcast in a car on an audio recorder on your phone. You don’t need to spend a lot on fancy equipment. The one element to look at when you are recording audio for your podcast, is to make sure the place where you want to record is quiet. Spend time in the space you want to record and close your eyes so that you can listen to the sounds which happen. This will help you to identify the ideal time to record your podcast. To test for the echo in a room, clap your hands. You will hear how bad the echo is. You can dampen the echo by putting pillows around where you are recording. You can cover yourself in a blanket or you can record in your cupboard with your clothes. This will help to dampen the echo.

If you are doing remote interviews, you can use Zoom to record your interviews. If you want to invest in your interviews then you could use Squadcast.

To record the beginning information of your podcast (the intro), the end of your podcast (outros), sounds, any narratives for your podcast and to edit everything together, you can use Audacity or Garageband. If you need additional sounds, you can look for royalty-free sounds and music that you can use in your podcast.

STEP 5: Where do I host my podcast?

You can host your podcast on a WordPress website with the PowerPress plugin. Other hosting platforms are IONI.fm which is a South African podcast hosting platform or you could use Buzzsprout. When you have a place to host your podcast then you can send them to the different podcast directories to get them in front of your audience.

Another thing to remember when you start to host your podcast is to create marketing collateral for it. You will need to create a picture for your podcast and each episode. The technical requirements for the artwork are a square image that is 3000 X 3000 pixels. The resolution should be 72 dpi. You can save it in JPG or PNG file formats. The artwork should be created in a RGB colour space. Remember this image should be a pictorial representation of what your podcast is about. You can use colours in the picture which can be replicated throughout the imagery for your podcast.

By following the five steps, you will be well on your way to creating an excellent podcast to position yourself as an industry leader.

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