Noodling on the idea of making a podcast? We’ve sure been there before! Deciding what type of podcast to make or even figuring out how you make one can seem daunting. It’s almost as tough as choosing the perfect noodle for your Italian dinner. Penne? Linguine? Rigatoni? So many delicious options. Before you take the plunge (into boiling hot pasta water), there are some important factors you should consider.
In this post, we’ll run through six considerations that helped us determine if creating a podcast was the right move and within the realm of possibility for our business. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Here at Wistia, we’re all in on building brand affinity with binge-worthy content (i.e. video series, podcasts, or both!). And, if you’re about to embark on your journey to launch a show for your brand, you should determine what medium is best for delivering your message.
When you’re in the process of brainstorming show ideas, you might come to find that some ideas would be more visually engaging versus told through audio alone. In this case, you should opt for producing a video series. Some stories are simply better told via video. To give you some examples, certain details in storytelling could be better enhanced using video such as describing locations and scenery, explaining a product review, or showcasing your company culture.
On the other hand, there are instances where you can do both and turn your video series into a podcast. This is exactly what we did with our original series Brandwagon, the show where our CEO, Chris Savage, chats marketing with the brains behind successful brands. Brandwagon was a video series first, but then we adapted content from our full shoots into a podcast called The Brandwagon Interviews. Each episode shares the long, uncut interviews between Chris and our guests and can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
You’ll also want to consider resources like staffing, budget, timelines, and branding.
Who on your team can set aside time to work on the podcast? You might have the perfect show host right under your nose who’s already passionate about a specific topic! Also, consider the time it will take to produce, edit, and promote your podcast — this all takes dedicated resources.
Are you thinking about having guests on your show, too? Start assessing your guest outreach efforts by combing through your team’s networks for interesting folks to interview. That being said, external guests aren’t your only option — don’t forget about your coworkers who may be exceptional storytellers! Sending out a Google form to employees calling for interested participants could be worth your while.
If you’re working with a shoestring budget, we’ll have you know that making a great podcast is still completely feasible. Dave Gerhardt, VP of Marketing at Privy, learned a crucial lesson after launching two podcasts of his own — a podcast’s message is much more important than the quality of its audio. Some of his best content was recorded only using his phone; all you need is a quiet room for a recording studio. Alternatively, cars are made to be really sound-isolating, which makes for a great audio recording booth! But, if you’re looking to make a solid investment for any future podcasting or streaming you may do, the Blue Yeti USB microphone is one of our favorites and only costs about $130.
“Dave Gerhardt, VP of Marketing at Privy, learned a crucial lesson after launching two podcasts of his own — a podcast’s message is much more important than the quality of its audio.”
As far as timing goes, it’s a good idea to create a timeline of when you’d like to get this project off the ground. Creating a production calendar can help you organize any guest outreach you need to do, and marking milestones will help you set clear goals. Milestones will also keep you honest about readjusting your schedule as you go along.
Branding is another important factor in creating a podcast. Do you have design resources that can help you spin up a landing page for your show to live on your site? More importantly, you’ll want to have consistent branding across podcasting platforms for people to find you where they enjoy listening the most.
If you’re prepared to invest in producing a podcast, but don’t have resources inside your company to take on the project, you can hire a podcast production company to take care of everything. Full-service podcast production companies will take your goals and run with researching, strategizing, and producing a podcast for your brand.
As we mentioned, you don’t need studio-quality gear to get off the ground running, but there are some podcast gear and technology basics that are useful to have under your belt.
Like Dave at Privy, using your phone’s microphone isn’t a bad starting point. To reiterate, technology is so advanced today that talking into your iPhone while you’re in a quiet room will almost always produce decent audio. But, if you want to add a microphone to your toolkit, we have a gear review post that covers three affordable microphone setups. If you’re looking to explore more recording options, this article contains a slew of free tools and software for you to get familiar with as well.
When it comes to post-production editing, don’t feel like you have to learn the ins and outs of a software program, either! There are plenty of talented freelance audio editors out there on sites like Fiverr and Upwork that you can work with. This is a great, low-risk way to test the waters when it comes to podcasting.
If you do want to tackle some basic editing, try GarageBand. We’d say it’s the most beginner friendly audio-editing program, and there are tons of tutorials on YouTube that can help you out along the way. Plus, it comes preloaded on all Mac computers!
After your podcast episode is ready to go, uploading your podcast for everyone to listen to is pretty simple. You’ll need to sign up for a podcast host where you can upload your .mp3 files and publish show notes with episode summaries, transcripts, and any other additional information. From there, you can submit your RSS Feed to podcast directories like iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and more.
Just like video series, your podcast could take many different shapes in terms of creative direction. Two of the most popular podcast formats that come to mind are interview-style and narrative-driven.
With an interview-style show, a host or two interviews a different guest in each episode asking them questions, listening to their story, or having an interesting conversation. Interview-style is very dependent on booking great guests, so you should plan on dedicating a considerable amount of time for outreach and communication. For example, Death Wish Coffee is a coffee company with an interview-style podcast called Fueled by Death Cast. Death Wish interviews a diverse mix of professionals — everyone from musicians, filmmakers, and comedians to professional athletes, CEOs, and even astronauts — to dig into more about what they do and why they do it.
Narrative-driven podcasts typically feature a host who, well, narrates a story. This format relies heavily on editing to shape the tone and structure with sounds, music, and pieces from interviews or other recordings. Want to learn how Red Hat, an open-source solutions provider, produced an award-winning narrative-style podcast called Command Line Heroes? Head on over to this post to hear how they tell captivating stories and make the topic of open-source technology entertaining.
When you’re deciding on a format, you should also consider your desired release schedule. Your release cadence will impact your podcast production, especially if you’re booking guests. Sometimes it’s better to record several episodes in advance and then trickle them out over time. But depending on the style of show you choose, you may change your release schedule to fit a culturally relevant topic.
“Your release cadence will impact your podcast production, especially if you’re booking guests.”
Determining your audience is a key part of the creative process. When creating any type of show for your business, your potential audience actually expands beyond those who are just interested in learning about your product or service.
In the concepting stages for your podcast, you’ll want to do your homework. Figure out where your current audience goes to find information and what questions they’re trying to answer. When thinking about your potential audience, identify active and passionate interest groups that are tangentially related to your customer base. There, you can begin to understand subcultures, passions, vocations, and causes that significantly contribute to an individual’s identity.
With knowledge about what makes your niche audience tick, you can better research the content they’re already consuming. What podcasts currently exist that pique their interest? Try to find the empty space where you could bring something to the table that hasn’t been told already. Establish your area of expertise and find the right story to tell.
Lastly, ask yourself — what are the goals of creating a podcast? How does a podcast fit into your overall marketing picture, and will it help you grow your brand?
Having a podcast won’t do all the heavy lifting for you, which is why it’s important to make sure you have a distribution plan in place as you would for any content you create. How are you going to promote your podcast on social media, your website, or elsewhere?
Measuring the impact of your podcast isn’t going to be crystal clear at first, either. You won’t be able to see quantitative results such as “X number of people who listen to your podcast also become customers," but you should still be able to see the total number of downloads on major distribution platforms. We recommend leaning on qualitative data like reviews, email responses, and employee and audience feedback at first to get a pulse on success. Tools like Mention also allow you to track key terms across social media platforms (like the name of your podcast) so you can get a gauge for how much people are talking about it. This, paired with tracking engagement metrics on your other promotional efforts, is another great way to assess how your podcast is resonating with your audience!
We hope you now have a better understanding of what it takes to make a podcast and that you can walk away feeling more confident about making the right choice for your business. If anyone else out there has experience creating a podcast, we’d love to hear your advice in the comments below!