In 2023, podcast planning is more relevant than ever for business owners and entrepreneurs…
According to recent surveys, 62% of the online population listens to podcasts.
From that information alone, you can infer how a good podcast can be a free tool to promote yourself and your company.
However, you have to be able to master podcast planning and execution for this medium to work.
Over my career, I have launched several podcasts and appeared on hundreds of others. As a result, I learned a few tricks to leverage this exposure to find your target audience.
For this reason, I have compiled this guide tailored to give beginners tips on planning their first podcast.
Why Should You Focus on Planning a Successful Podcast in 2023?
If you’re not planning, hosting, or appearing on podcasts in 2023, you’re going to get left behind.
In short, NOT prioritizing podcasts as a promotional tool is leaving money on the table.
This is not just about becoming “famous” — it’s about connecting with your ideal customers to further your business.
So let’s set you up to not just keep up with the rest of the market, but be ahead of the game…
Introduction: Podcasting Platforms & Types of Podcasts
To begin with, you have to understand where your podcast episodes can live and the variety of shows you can host.
Note that the majority of people are listening on their mobile devices and this affects the platforms they use.
iPhone users will utilize the Apple Podcasts app…
Android phones have Google Podcasts…
Spotify can be downloaded to either…
You get the picture.
Which ones you use will be determined by what your research reveals is right for your core audience.
But first, let’s define the six general show styles….
As the name suggests, this format consists of a podcast host interviewing someone in each new episode. Usually, it is a celebrity or expert on a subject.
This style is extremely popular since it is so easy to produce. Also, you’ll be surprised how many people want podcast interviews when you reach out.
2. Single-host Podcasts
This next podcast genre features a single host discussing a topic on their own. It is very similar to a monologue in a play or movie.
As such, single-host podcasts are common among comedians. However, feel free to adapt it to your industry even if you’re not aiming for humor.
3. Co-host Shows
Add another personality to the mix and you have the co-host podcast show. Doing so offers a different point of view for the audience to relate to. Therefore, the listener feels a familiar atmosphere or “playful banter” between hosts.
A successful example of this format is “The Howard Stern Show,” where the radio personality features his production crew’s input.
4. Educational Podcasts
An educational podcast’s objective is to provide valuable information to the public regarding one or many themes.
For instance, a car-themed educational podcast might go in-depth into different parts of engines each week. Whatever the case may be, this category is a strong contender for a successful business podcast.
5. Scripted, Non-fictional
Non-fictional scripted podcasts take considerable research and planning, but they pay off. News, true crime, recaps, and mysteries all are under this umbrella.
If you think about some of the longest-running entertainment series, the viability of this template just makes sense. After all, everyone loves a good mystery…
6. Scripted, Fictional
The final type of podcast I’ll go over has its roots in radio broadcasts of yesteryear. Long-running storylines and characters run within this podcast category.
Imagine you were hearing an audiobook being acted out. Believe it or not, you can turn this into a way to promote your company as well…
You just need to be inventive.
These definitions and platforms are the bare bones of what you’ll need to get a podcast off the ground.
However, the following measures are going to be the difference between simply hosting a podcast and having a successful one…
Podcast Foundation: Research, Branding, Planning
Second only to getting your podcast out there, the actions in this segment are the most important.
Thorough research, branding, and planning form a strong podcast foundation so you can hit the ground running.
With this in mind, don’t rush through these preliminary steps.
Get the Lay of the Land
Before you hit record on your first episode, it is a smart move to see what other successful podcasts are doing.
However, you shouldn’t just jump into a streaming platform and start studying with no direction.
Go into your research with the intention to achieve the following objectives:
- A clear understanding of what your competitors are doing right and wrong
- Creative approaches from a variety of industries
- A game plan to make your own podcast unique
Alongside these targets, notice aspects such as how popular podcasts:
- Title their programs and episodes
- Articulate show descriptions
- Choose podcast cover art
Then, if you want to get some real-deal insight, read their comments sections. That is the place where you can get the opinions, likes, and dislikes of the only people that actually matter — the listeners.
The information you gather will guide you to start sketching out a marketable brand…
Discover Your “X Factor”
How you brand your podcast determines how easily your audience can find and remember you.
Unfair as it seems, the public will judge your content by the initial impression it makes on them. Therefore, the outward appearance — or branding — matters.
Start with a catchy, memorable title for your podcast. Consider using industry keywords so people can get an idea of what your content is about right away. But remember, podcast platforms limit titles to a certain number of characters — keep it short and sweet.
Next, create an ideal listener avatar so you can create content relevant to those you’re trying to reach. Write down every detail that applies to this person…
- What problem they could be looking to solve from your content
- Any other concerns that influence their lives
From this, inspiration for ideas about relevant episodes and even the style of your podcast will start popping up.
That means it’s time for the finishing touch, an eye-catching cover image. Incorporate bright colors and make sure any text is easy to read.
Whether you make your own cover image or have someone else help, make sure it follows the current design specs imposed by your platforms of choice.
Now you have all this in place, it’s time to put together some strong content…
Execution: Setup, Recording, Editing
This wouldn’t be a complete guide with the best podcast tips for beginners if I didn’t include some advice on the more technical aspects.
As someone who is not super tech-savvy, I can assure you this does not need to be complicated.
Nonetheless, I’m going to walk you through the checklist to execute a quality recording…
Great Gear for Great Podcasting
Before I share my list of recommendations, I want to make one thing clear…
THE VALUE OF YOUR CONTENT WILL ALWAYS BE INFINITELY MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE VALUE OF YOUR EQUIPMENT.
So, don’t be tempted to buy the most expensive toy from the get-go.
That being said, there is an important decision you do need to make before you head to the electronics store….
Are you doing video AND audio — or an audio-only podcast?
Personally, I record myself on video for my podcasts. That way I can repurpose the episodes to create content for YouTube.
Regardless of which route you choose to take, you are going to start with the same priority — a reliable microphone and computer.
Camera, Computer, and Mic Check
Frankly, the main difference between an amateur and a professional podcast is the audio quality. So if you’re going to sink some dough into one piece of equipment, do it here.
Additionally, you’re going to want a dependable computer that has plenty of storage. This piece of equipment is where you are going to record, edit, store, and upload your shows…
By that same token, always make copies and backups of your files.
As for cameras, most modern computers have webcams built in. If that is not enough, you can upgrade to a higher-resolution webcam or stand-alone video camera. Just make sure that you can separate audio from video footage.
After this, it’s time to set up your space for interruption-free recording.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to build a state-of-the-art studio to start recording successful episodes.
All you need is a closed-off, quiet room and your gear to get going.
However, here are some tips to improve some of the finer points…
Picture Perfect in Audio-Video Podcasts
If you’ve chosen to double your podcast recordings as videos, you have the extra step of ensuring you are camera-ready.
With this in mind, you should have a simple background that won’t distract the viewer. Avoid having reflective surfaces or complex patterns.
Also, your lighting will play an important role in a video podcast format. Use lamps or ring lights to put you in the spotlight. Adjust them as necessary to get rid of glares or shadows.
But whether you’re going to be on camera or not, acoustics are what really matters when it comes to a successful podcast…
Tips for Clear Acoustics
When selecting the room to set up your studio, try and find a space with minimal echoing.
However, that is not always possible…
Sound bounces off hard surfaces like wood. Therefore, adding curtains or carpeting can minimize the echoing. In the same way, the high-quality microphone you bought earlier will also aid this cause, but it can’t do all the work.
ACOUSTICS LITERALLY AFFECT THE WAY YOUR MESSAGE IS HEARD.
From here, let’s go through the workflow of crafting impactful podcasts…
How to Compose a 5-Star Podcast
Don’t you hate hearing “umm” and awkward pauses?
Most people do.
For that reason, you need to prepare for each episode of your podcast — even if you have a guest or co-host. No matter how it seems, every broadcast has some kind of guideline they follow so the show flows.
Freestyling will result in sloppy content. Use the following tips to help get you organized.
Great Podcasters Do Their Homework
There is always some level of research required to have a well-rounded podcast.
Don’t neglect to look up interesting, lesser-known information to share.
Fun facts always impress an audience.
Additionally, if you interview others, do personal and professional research on your guests. Doing so adds some variety to your discussions.
Then, compile your notes and do this…
Outline as Much as Possible
Even if you don’t want to sound robotic, you need an episode outline with podcast topics. It will make sure you hit all the talking points you want to make and don’t go blank.
Your outline can be as complicated as a full script for a fiction podcast or a couple of bullet points you want to discuss.
Find what works for you and keep it in front of you as you record.
Take the Reins
Ever hear the saying about the best-laid plans not always working out?
Well, the same is true in podcasting.
You can have a clear outline and still go off on a tangent. Therefore, it is your responsibility to get everything back on track.
Figure out ways to come back to the main discussion. At the end of the day, listeners are there for your valuable insights.
Capturing Your Content
Just as important is capturing all the hard work you’ve done for editing and uploading. There is a variety of both recording software and editing software that you can use within your own studio.
However, if you are interviewing people in other locations, you can use Zoom to record your call and turn it into a podcast.
Editing a Lean, Mean Podcast Machine
Whether you are going to edit the files yourself or outsource to pros, you should be familiar with the process.
The podcast audio editing process goes like this:
- Editing Pass 1 (Overview) — remove background noises, mark timestamps you want to edit, and adjust voiceover audio levels.
- Editing Pass 2 (Hard Cuts) — delete large sections of unwanted audio, add intro, outro, show notes, sound effects, or ads, and listen to the entirety to ensure it’s smooth.
- Editing Pass 3 (Refinement) — adjust individual segments, smooth out any transitions, and remove filler words.
This process is standard and straightforward, so don’t get into your head about it. That being said, back up your files as you edit and keep the originals.
As a whole, this portion of the podcast planning guide will amount to the production of a valuable podcast. Nevertheless, is it actually worth it if no one hears it?
That is the problem we’re going to solve next…
Promotion: Hosting, Publishing, Marketing
The good news is that once you have produced your podcast’s content, getting it hosted and published is easy.
For a majority of the hosting services, you will simply have to create an account to get started. I recommend Libsyn. It is inexpensive, distributes your content amongst the platforms, and measures statistics.
Regardless of which hosting platform you use, it will create an “RSS feed.” That feed is what you submit to podcast services so you are listed as an option.
Once you are hosted, it’s time to publish your episodes. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, etc. are each a little different. However, uploading is step by step and they walk you through it.
When publishing your podcast, make sure you fill out your:
- Episode description
- Time of upload
- Thumbnail as a PNG file
After taking care of that, add the updated RSS feed URL to the podcast platform’s directory and you’re live.
However, you need to direct new listeners to your podcast if you want to be successful…
Profitable Promotional Planning
Your podcast marketing strategy is going to be the key to drawing a large audience to your podcast.
Answer the following questions and you’ll know where to channel your promotional efforts.
When do you want to launch?
Think about your industry and if there are any significant times or days that are relevant. Aligning your podcast launch date with those can lengthen your initial reach.
How many episodes do you want to start with?
People love binging their favorite media, so give them more than one episode to start with. On the other hand, don’t take on so many that your launch is postponed. I suggest a range of three to five to start.
In which podcast directories do you want to appear?
You don’t have to start everywhere at once. Make your choice based on your previous research. Remember, you can always add more as you grow.
Which social platforms do you want to use for promotion?
Look, I’ll promote my podcasts everywhere. That being said, your content may not be right for certain platforms (i.e. political podcasts should not be promoted on LinkedIn). Use your common sense and discretion.
Who can help you get the word out?
For this step, start making lists of people you know, then people they know, and so on. Then, ask them to share it on their social media accounts, tell their friends about it, and listen to it themselves. You know more people than you realize.
Are you willing to spend money to advertise?
Take an honest look at your financial wherewithal and decide if you want to spend some cash on ads. You should also take into account that you will need to pay for the assets to be designed as well.
That is how you compile a comprehensive action plan that will get results.
Even after all this information, you’re probably wondering what’s next…
Time for Massive Podcast Action
At the conclusion of all the steps I laid out for you in this podcast planning guide, it’s time to hit the pavement and take massive action…
I know from experience that it takes a huge push for a new podcast to get traction. At the same time, I also know how rewarding podcasts have been for my business and brand.
Still, I knew there had to be an easier way for business owners to utilize this tool…
For that reason, I developed the 10X Marketing System. In this program, I share hacks to fast-track your success with podcasts and all other social media platforms.
To get more information on the 10X Marketing System, click the image below:
Ultimately, podcasts are what network television and radio were in the past. This technology is not going anywhere.
I want you to use podcasts to their fullest potential to provide for you and your family.
And I hope this guide helps you in that regard.
Be heard and be great,
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