Podcasting has gone mainstream in recent times. But the question is… What exactly is a podcast? I am thoroughly convinced that although a podcast might not be the answer for everyone… it definitely CAN be the answer for ANYONE!
Anyone with a will to succeed, a little passion for something, and an ounce of ambition can make podcasting work. Yes, it can be just the tool you need.
But how do you get started?
How do you get it to grow?
What should it be about?
How long should it be?
How do you make money doing it?
I want to begin by directly answering some of the most asked questions about podcasting. The most important of those questions is probably “Why should YOU start a podcast?”, and I’ll save that one for later…”
What exactly is a Podcast?
This is not necessarily the most popular question and I know that you may be reading this and feel like you already have an answer. However, good communication requires that everyone involved is on the same page. So in the spirit of good communication let’s define this term podcast:
Podcast – a digital audio file made available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.
It feels very important when I read that definition out loud. This “audio” medium is one that builds and cultivates super loyal fans and customers over time. Let’s answer another question.
Do People Actually Listen to Podcasts?
The short answer is absolutely. I’ve been actively podcasting since 2009, and I also listen to at least a dozen other podcasts regularly. This means I use the app on my phone to listen to other people’s podcasts while I am walking or driving or taking a break at home.
As of 2020, per the Infinite Dial, it is estimated that 55% of the U.S. population had listened to a podcast, 37% had listened within the last month, and 24% had listened within the last week.
In fact, if you take a look globally, the U.S. isn’t even home to the highest number of listeners, in fact: 58% of the population of South Korea listen to podcasts every month, followed by Spain, Ireland, Sweden, and then the U.S.
Who’s actually listening?
Great question. It is estimated that 9% of monthly U.S. podcast listeners are aged between 12-34, 40% between 35 and 54 years old, and 22% are aged over 55.
Monthly podcast listeners also tend to work a full-time job (51%), 17% of whom have a household income between $100K-$150K, and 28% are estimated to have a university degree. In short, people with disposable incomes are listening to podcasts.
Can Anybody Start Podcasting?
Yes! That’s the good news. The barrier to starting a podcast is incredibly low. You really need only 3 things to get started.
- A way to record – You’re 90% of the way there just by having a way to record your episodes and that can be done with a simple smartphone.
There are many ways to handle this aspect of podcasting. I know a guy who recorded his podcast for an entire year using a simple recording device called an H1 ZOOM. His reasoning was that it was simple and could be used anywhere.
When I asked why he didn’t use a smartphone, he laughed and said they are bad for your eyes.
To make a long story short though, podcast setups range from “use what you got” to extremely elaborate and everything in between. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision based on your budget, goals for the show, and vision.
You have to go with what works for you.
- Topic – Before you get started with your podcast you need to know what the topic or concept of it will be. Take a little time to figure out who your potential audience is, what kinds of things you are going to be helping them with, and just what your overall goal for the podcast will be.
This goal can be anything from creating another form of content for a topic that already has a big following but maybe just not a lot of audio content surrounding it. It could be a way to network with others in your industry using interviews, or even as a marketing strategy for your projects.
Another good thing to think about here is possible monetization strategies. It doesn’t need to be set in stone yet and it doesn’t need to be something that overwhelms you, but it’s a great idea to brainstorm a few ideas that could make you money at this early stage.
- A homebase – The final thing you need is to host your podcast on a podcast directory or hosting site. This will establish an RSS feed for your podcast and that is going to help people find your show as well as notify subscribers when new episodes are released.
If all this stuff I am talking about sounds a bit technical and/or difficult to you, do not worry. YouTube and Google can be your best friend in a situation like this. A simple search on “how to set up a podcast” will yield multiple results. I also have a personal recommendation for you from the expert who helped me get started and continues to be an invaluable resource for starting and growing a podcast.
There are many options, ranging from free to paid. I recommend going with a low cost option to try things out. If you really enjoy what you are doing, you can consider upgrading later.
So that’s essentially the 3 things you need to start a podcast. Anybody can do it. All you need is a will to make it happen. Think of yourself as a leader. Building leadership skills is a valuable goal for everyone, and crucial for entrepreneurs.
Does Podcasting Take a Lot of Time?
It doesn’t have to. It all depends on the kind of podcaster you are. If you are the kind of person who just likes to “grip it and rip it, hit record, do it in one shot, and no edits, then it’ll take very little time.
On the other hand, if you like to trim the content, cut out all the filler words, and add sound effects or music overlays, then it can take more time.
I podcast twice each month. My topics are all around marketing, entrepreneurship, and authorship, so I simply make a few bullet points and address them in about twenty minutes. This works for me and my listeners love what I’m sharing with them.
It’s something where you should decide before you get started how much time you want to spend on it. A dedicated time block if you will. My recommendation is to start slowly and build up to what feels right for you. And be sure to check out my long-time friend and colleague Mike Stewart’s podcast training when you’re ready to move forward. And please listen and subscribe to my podcast, Praestabilis: Excellence in Marketing.
I’m Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my training on how to sell yourself at Sell Yourself and Your Stuff and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.