You can’t ignore the power of podcasting. These audio shows have taken over the online space, gyms, cars, iPhones, tablets, everything! If you think it’s the right time for you to get into podcasting and become a podcaster, you’re absolutely right! So let’s go through everything necessary to launch a podcast and make this process easier for you.
Why Do Folks Love Podcasts So Much?
Podcasting is HOT right now. Don’t believe me? Consider these interesting facts:
- 75% of Americans have heard of podcasts (honestly, I bet it’s even higher than that!).
- 55% of Americans have listened to a podcast at some point.
- 37% of Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly and consistent basis.
- Weekly podcast listeners tune in an average of 6 podcasts per week!
- As of 2020, 49% of all Americans aged 12-34 listen to at least one podcast per month, compared to 42% in 2019.
So why is podcasting popular? Well, first of all, podcasts are portable, and you can listen on the go – in the gym, for a walk, in the car, while baking. You can listen to a podcast while doing other activities. The same can’t be said for watching videos or reading blogs.
Second, listeners feel a closer connection to the host and guest. They feel like they are part of the conversation or are being spoken to directly. It feels more intimate and personal.
Also, you get a huge amount of value in a short amount of time. Yes, some podcasts are an hour long, but many are in the 30-minute range, and my previous podcast was even shorter at 15 minutes (Smooth Business Growth Podcast – 15 Minutes To Move The Needle In Your Business).
Many podcasts share stories, people’s journeys, and overcoming hardships. This is very powerful. Listeners can relate, and they can feel connected and not so alone in what they are going through with their given situation. You can search for episodes on specific topics that interest you and get some amazing strategies, tips, and find experts in areas that pertain to you.
And finally, the business growth benefits of attracting new leads or potential customers are very powerful. With podcasting, you can:
- Increase website traffic
- Boost SEO when promoted on social media and other avenues
- Build credibility and expert status
- Increase exposure for your business
- Widen your network, connect with guests, and boost referrals
- Increase leads
- Increase conversions
- Connect with your audience better.
- Generate attention and interest in a topic related to your business.
- Build your platform and get your message out.
- Create content in a way that’s fun and easy to digest.
Defining Your Podcast Launch Strategy
Show Concept –
You need to know your audience and what you want to cover. In other words – who’s it for and what’s in it for them! You’ll need a title and a description.
Audio Hosting Platform –
Just like how videos are hosted on Vimeo or YouTube, the audio needs to be hosted somewhere, too. We use Libsyn, which also pushes out to all the necessary directories. It’s where the artwork, episode title, description, and audio file is uploaded.
iTunes Account –
First you submit to iTunes. You’ll need an Apple ID that is activated on the iTunes Store in order to submit your podcast in Podcast Connect.
Podcast Directories –
Distributing your podcast to many channels is key to expanding your audience. Some of our favorites are Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, TuneIn, Google Podcast, and iHeartRadio.
You’ll need podcast cover art. Keep it clean and simple so it grabs attention and is easy to read. You’ll want to make sure that there are no podcasts already out there with the title you are looking to use. It’s amazing how many are similar. Plus it’s beneficial to have graphics for each episode to share on your website and social media.
Most podcasts will have an introduction, whether it’s music or a voice-over introducing the show and/or a blend of both. And then the same happens at the end. This also gives you an opportunity to share a call to action and how your business can help your listeners further.
Audio Player On Your Site –
It is crucial to have your podcast episodes published on your site with images, show notes of some kind, and of course a way for people to listen. There are different types of players; some of them, you can brand and have an opt-in, a way to grow your list.
Creating a Launch Strategy
To launch a podcast, first you need to make it, right? Try not to overthink this process and just press that record button. Even if you make a mistake, you can fix it in post-production. Before recording, of course, you need to create the concept of the show, from content to design.
After you finish recording and editing the episode, find a media host to store it. If you don’t have a podcast host, you can’t get your podcast in major directories such as iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Spotify, and others. As I said, we use Libsyn for hosting because it’s reliable and a well-known company in the podcasting industry.
When you choose a host, you can get your podcast to the directories. Just submit your RSS feed that’s provided by the media host to the directories you want. I suggest you get your podcast to every major directory to expand your reach.
Note that each podcast directory needs to approve your podcast. This process might take a few days, and there are some criteria you will need to meet before submitting your podcast. For example, to submit to Apple Podcasts, you need to create an Apple ID, convert your episodes and artwork into the right format, create a unique title, and find a fitting category for your podcast.
You need to submit your RSS feed to the directories only once (when submitting for approval). The directories will continue to pull the episodes from your feed directly, so you don’t have to submit each episode separately.
And that’s basically it. Your podcast is live and ready for the audience! Add your podcast to your website by creating a podcast page. You can also create a new website just for your podcast. In that case, you’ll need:
- The home page, where the listeners can subscribe for new episodes and see what kind of topics you’re covering. Building an email list can help you spread the word about new content more easily.
- The episodes page with the podcast player (so the listeners can catch the episodes directly on your website) and the show notes. You can have a complete transcript or just a brief summary of each episode.
- The contact page, so people can find and reach you more easily.
This is just the bare minimum to get started. As your podcast grows, you can add additional content to your website. One great addition can be a resources page where you can share relevant content that might be interesting for your listeners.
Once you cover the steps mentioned above, start working on your promotional campaign and get your podcast heard. Use social media for marketing and join various online communities to spread the word.
Your marketing campaign can even start before the podcast is online! Get that hype going and get as many people interested as you can. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, and other platforms to establish your brand.
Make a big deal out of your podcast launch. Invite everyone on your email list to tune in and also ask your friends and family for support. Maybe they could leave you a well-written review of the show so new listeners will have a point of reference.
After the launch, you can use the standard promotional methods such as targeted ads, podcast guesting, networking with other podcasters, etc. Social media marketing is by far the most useful tool for spreading the word about a new podcast and receiving publicity.
Try to create engaging posts, open discussions, and overall work on raising your brand awareness. You can also do a Facebook or Instagram live and encourage people to ask questions about the show or organize a giveaway to attract new listeners.
Getting the First Podcast Episode Online
As I previously mentioned, the podcast directories will pull your recent episodes from your media host, but you need to have at least one episode online to start submitting to directories. In fact, for your podcast launch, you should have a couple of episodes ready.
If you have more than one episode ready on day one, listeners can decide whether they should continue following you or not. If you have only one episode, most people will just move on and forget about the show.
Feel free to also create an introductory episode so the audience can get to know you. The “pre-launch” episode (usually called episode 00) should set the mood of the show and motivate new listeners to check out your other content.
After you publish three (or more) episodes, make sure to keep the momentum going by sticking to a consistent publishing schedule. If you want to publish one episode per week or once per month, you need to create a system so you’ll be able to prepare those episodes on time.
When you’re just starting a podcast, it’s good to have a reserve of at least 5 episodes. This will give you enough time to establish a rhythm for recording, editing, and uploading podcast episodes on a regular basis.
What Is the Best Time to Release a Podcast?
As you can see, uploading one (or a couple) episodes is somewhat simple, but planning on when to publish might be a bit harder. Your publishing schedule needs to include not only the frequency (how often will you post) but also the exact time of the posting. Your audience needs to know when a new episode is expected so they can tune in or download it as soon as possible.
Consider the most optimal time to publish the episodes to maximize the number of downloads. You can start by checking out when your listeners are most active. Weekdays are usually the best time to publish a new episode since people are listening to podcasts more during a week than on weekends.
Releasing the episodes early in the morning is also recommended since it increases your chances to appear at the top of your subscribers’ lists on podcast directories. Then, you can promote the episodes during the day.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Podcast?
One can argue that it’s not very expensive to start a podcast. You can create a good quality podcast with less than $500 and might even spend less than $200 if you already have the equipment and software you need.
You can create a podcast with any budget limit. However, to increase the quality of your show, you need to invest a few more bucks. Start “small” and cover the basics (equipment, hosting service, marketing efforts, design, and music), then slowly improve your show with additional features.
You could get better equipment to improve the sound quality, get talented artists to design the show’s cover, hire marketing experts to increase the number of downloads, etc. Everything you decide to do will add to the total cost, so make sure to properly plan your budget.
How Do You Start a Podcast With No Money?
Unfortunately, you need to invest some amount in getting the most basic equipment. You probably have a computer, and you can find the editing software for free online, but, still, you have to pay for a microphone. Luckily, you can buy a decent mic for around $50.
Hosting services are also not free, but they are affordable, starting at $5 a month. As you grow your podcast, your needs might become greater, so you would need a more expensive hosting plan.
The same is true for equipment. You could use so many things such as sound filters, mixers, amplifiers, mic stands, and a shock mount, but you don’t need them to start podcasting. Those are only extras that can help you create better episodes.
So the truth is: you can launch your podcast with almost no money, but to grow it, you need to make some investments.
Full Podcast Launch Services
Now you see how launching a podcast should go. Are you anxious to get rolling? Or maybe you don’t want to do this alone and figure it all out yourself? That’s okay! You don’t have to do any part of it alone.
Maybe implementing a launch strategy isn’t your strength. Or perhaps these steps and moving pieces may seem overwhelming – hey, I get that! It can be a lot for one person to take on, especially while trying to grow their business in other avenues as well!
There are so many reasons why you may want to outsource your launching efforts.
- You’d rather focus on revenue-generating tasks.
- You’d rather focus on your passion (your coaching/practice/clients etc.).
- It makes more financial sense to hire someone to set up and coordinate this for you, while you make more profits doing what you do best.
- You don’t want to take the time to figure out some of these elements.
- You don’t like the technical elements.
- You don’t have any support staff or someone on your team that you feel can take this on.
- You don’t want to waste precious time – and just want to get started NOW.
- You want less stress and peace of mind; it would be better if it was just “taken care of.”
We can be the people to take this load off your shoulders and take care of everything for you. Yep, that’s right: we will project-manage and handle all elements of a podcast launch, including:
- Coaching your approach, strategy, title, description, format, and promotion strategy
- Setting up your host account
- Setting up your distribution channels
- Setting up your website podcast post pages
- Configuring your website’s audio player
- Submitting your podcast to iTunes using Podcast Connect
- Editing and helping to create your intro and outro
- Creating podcast and episode art
- Editing and producing 4 episodes to launch
- Publishing 4 launch episodes to channels and on a website
- Promoting your launch and episodes
Our promotion plan can also include social media, quotes, audiograms, emails, and LinkedIn Articles. Feel free to contact me, and I’ll explain how we can leverage your podcast further!