How to Launch a Podcast Program in 6 Easy Steps

By Hafiz Muhammad Ali | allBusiness

Podcasting has taken off and if you are interested in learning how to start your own podcast, you’ve come to the right place.

As the blogosphere becomes oversaturated, and the average attention span gets shorter, audio and video are taking over and becoming strong mediums for marketing and building an audience. The benefits of podcasts are endless but some of the most prominent are:

  • Diversified content type. Blogging is great, but podcasts are better.
  • Connecting with influencers. Podcasting is a great way to get influencers and big name guests to spend time with you for up to an hour; this would cost you a fortune otherwise.
  • More exposure. Tap into new audiences through an iTunes platform where people can listen to you on the go.
  • Longer connectivity. An average article can be read in five minutes; a podcast show, on the other hand, keeps your audience engaged for 30 minutes or more.
  • Repurposed content. Share your best content with your audience through audio podcasts.

Here are six steps to easily start your own podcast:

1. Identify Your Niche

Before you do anything else, identifying your niche should be on top of your priority list. You should determine what your podcast is going to be about, what audience you wish to serve, and what types of guests you’d like to invite to your show.

Everything you do later on will be based on what your podcast is going to be about, and it should be niche down and be very precise and targeted. Pat Flynn, for example, who has the “Smart Passive Income Podcast,” has built a large following with a podcast that focuses on entrepreneurs and business owners.

But what if you have a specific skill or idea that you can build a tribe around? “The Amazing Seller" came on my radar as a new podcast that is specifically focused on building an online business by selling private label products on Amazon. Podcaster Scott Voelker had already been selling successfully, so he decided to start talking about it and managed to build a highly engaged and focused tribe of people who are selling on Amazon.

It doesn’t matter if you are a writer or a freelancer if you’ve got a story to tell. Just figure out your podcast topic and decide what the format will be, including the length of each show and how often you are going to publish it. Also, will your show be biweekly like "Smart Passive Income," or five days a week like ”Entrepreneurs on Fire“? And lastly, will you be doing the show solo, have co-hosts, and/or invite people for interviews?

Whatever you decide to do, make sure to stick with it so that your audience knows what to expect and when to expect it.

2. Establish Your Brand and Website

After identifying your niche, the next step is to figure out what your podcast is going to be called. Naming your podcast can be difficult, but coming up with the right name is very important if you want it to be remembered. Some people know what their name is right away, while others have to brainstorm; either way is okay as it is part of the process.

Your podcast will become your brand, so choose the name wisely. Think about what will appeal to your audience when you are deciding on a name; also get any artwork ready that will go on the iTunes page.

For example, Pat Flynn already owned the website SmartPassiveIncome.com, so he named his podcast "Smart Passive Income Podcast.” In another example, entrepreneur Amy Porterfield owned AmyPorterfield.com, but she named her podcast “Online Marketing Made Easy,” which is geared towards the audience she wants to attract.

It is always good to have the matching domain of your podcast name for building a website. Listeners may want to connect with you, so having a website provides a platform for people to visit and leave comments, or subscribe to your email list, which will allow you to have a more personal relationship with your community.

3. Purchase Your Equipment

Most laptops have built-in microphones, but unless you want your readers to hear you breathing or listen to fluctuating pitch, you’ll want to invest in a decent podcast setup.

A professional podcast setup will obviously help you start strong right off the bat, but you can start small, too. The bare minimum includes a podcast microphone, a shock mount, a mic arm/boom arm, and a pop filter. Condenser microphones are usually the best for beginners who don’t want to invest a lot; Blue Microphones’ Yeti and Audio-Technica’s AT2020 are both USB plug and play mics, and offer excellent audio quality.

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4. Set Up a Host and Software

You will need recording software on your computer to record your shows, and fortunately software programs that are being used by leading podcasters are often free.

I suggest using Audacity as it works with both PC and Mac; it is an open source audio editor and recording software that allows you to control and edit the highs and lows, and also add intros to your shows. Another option is GarageBand, which comes pre-installed on Macs. Both of these programs are free.

For hosting your podcast, if you are on a shared hosting plan from a company like Bluehost, at first you may want to put all of your shows there, but eventually it will make your site slow as more and more people download episodes. Another popular hosting provider is SiteGround, which offers cloud hosting. Click here to read an in-depth comparison between Bluehost and SiteGround.

Podcast hosts are not that costly. You can go with either Amazon’s S3 service or Libsyn, the best podcast hosting and publishing service available. With Libsyn, you can start at under $5/month and expand as you grow.

In addition, setup your podcast feed with FeedBurner, which you’ll use to submit your show to iTunes and Stitcher.

5. Submit to iTunes and Other Directories

iTunes is the leading podcasting platform, so when submitting your podcast also take the time to carefully consider the SEO of iTunes itself.

Starting with the title, include keywords for which you want to be found. Looking at the example of “The Smart Passive Income Podcast,” keywords would be online business, blogging, passive income, and lifestyle. Host name, subtitle, and summary are equally important and should be optimized as they will allow your podcast to be searched for the keywords you’ve entered.

In addition to iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud are two platforms which shouldn’t be ignored. SoundCloud’s podcasting program is currently in beta, but overall, the platform is preferred by musicians—and podcasters are now using it too, including top-tier ones. You will need to apply to the program and be accepted in order to enable your RSS feed on your SoundCloud account.

Here are steps to apply to be on each of these platforms: iTunesStitcher, and SoundCloud.

6. Promote the Hell Out of It

Once your podcast goes live, the best way to promote is to publish it on your home base—that is, your website. I recommend the Blubrry PowerPress plugin, which allows you to embed your episodes on WordPress, and gives listeners the option to listen to your podcast from the website; this is ideal for web and Android users.

This is also a great way to enhance your show notes pages, giving your listeners the opportunity to press play while reading your notes. Take note that when someone listens to your show through your website, it will still show as a download that you can track to monitor the performance and growth of your show.

In addition to embedding shows on your website, promote episodes through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also encourage listeners to share episodes with their followers to increase your reach and to gain new subscribers.

Creating a successful podcast requires effort and commitment. This list is in no way meant to be the definitive guide for creating a podcast, but it includes all the necessary steps you need to get started.

About Hafiz Muhammad Ali

Hafiz Muhammad Ali is a serial entrepreneur. He is Founder and Advisor at Omnicore, a location independent healthcare digital marketing agency that helps businesses through Internet Marketing Services. Muhammad is a mobile marketing expert who consults companies in getting up to speed with what’s working in the mobile and digital world, and he has written for publications like KillerStartups, CrazyEgg, Positionly, and more. Interested in talking about tech or marketing? Contact Hafiz @AskHafizAli

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