There are a lot of ways to promote your business and your app, but not all of them are worth your time. Although it may not work for all businesses, podcasting is certainly one marketing avenue that you should explore.
The biggest advantages of starting a podcast are: a large captive audience and lower competition. Once someone subscribes to your podcast, your new episodes will automatically be updated in their podcast player. If your podcast continues to be interesting, they will check in periodically and stay connected to your brand.
In many industries, you will have to compete with anywhere from thousands to millions of websites. But there are a relatively tiny fraction of podcasts in any industry. This can help you stand out.
You might think that it is a complicated process. Starting a podcast is actually very easy.
So if you have wanted to start a podcast, but thought that it would be too complicated, this post is for you. We will show you how to develop the concept for your podcast, how often you should publish, the steps that you need to take to go live and much more.
iTunes surpassed one billion podcast subscriptions back in 2013 and the demand is still growing. In a study done in May 2014, podcasts were a close second to AM/FM radio in the amount of time that people spend listing to audio sources.
Image credit: Edison Research
In addition, the number of people who own smartphones worldwide continues to grow every year. Couple that with the fact that every iPhone comes with a default Podcast app (that you cannot delete) and it becomes clear that podcasting is going to continue to be a force in marketing for a long time to come. The best part is that it doesn't cost very much to start and run a podcast.
Before we get into any details, it is useful to step back and understand how the whole process works. So here is a list of steps that we will cover in this post.
Determine your goals, concept and schedule
Create your audio or video recording
Edit the recording and include additional assets such as music or voiceovers
Upload the final version of your recording to a hosting server
Create an RSS feed for your podcast and include the description and artwork
Submit your RSS feed to distribution channels
Keep producing and promoting new episodes
Now let's get into the exact steps that you need to follow to launch your first podcast.
The first step is to figure out the topic(s) that your podcast will focus on. This is a lot easier in some industries than others.
For example, if you have a fitness tracking app, you can interview top fitness and nutrition experts. If you have a website analytics app, you can do podcasts on the latest marketing strategies.
The bottom line is that you need to continually provide content that is useful to your target audience. It is important to make your theme fairly broad, in order to attract people who are interested in related topics. Too narrow of a focus will only attract people who already know about your company and you run the risk of not having enough material for future episodes.
You also need to determine the goals of your podcast. Do you want to raise brand awareness or increase website traffic? Do you want to increase sales and app downloads? Your end goal(s) will determine the content that you will provide in your podcast.
Audio podcasts are generally preferable because they are easier to edit and download. However, there may be instances where a video podcast would be better, especially if you have to demonstrate how to do a process.
Next, figure out how often you want to publish your podcast. One episode will take quite a bit of time to record and even longer to edit, so be realistic about the time that you have available.
If possible, it is better to publish more often than less. However, it all depends on your goals and how much material you have on your topic.
Before you launch your podcast, it is helpful to have a few episodes ready to go so you can release them while you are creating new ones. A consistent publishing schedule is the key to building traction with your audience and making it more likely that people will follow you.
Podcasting doesn't have to be expensive. You can buy the top of the line equipment if you want, but it really isn't necessary, especially in the beginning. Here are some tips on choosing the best tools for your podcast.
You don't need to have an expensive microphone to get good quality audio. There are two microphones that a lot of podcasters use and they can be purchased for $100 or less.
The first mic is the Audio-Technica ATR2100. It costs about $60 on sale on Amazon. I personally prefer this mic because it cuts out a lot of the background noise and provides a very professional sounding recording. I have been impressed with their products and I also have an Audio-Technica lapel mic that works really well.
Another mic that works well is the Blue Yeti. I used to use this mic, but it picks up a little more background noise than I like, but it is much more sensitive and adjustable than the Audio-Technica.
It comes down to preference and there are a lot of different options out there. But these two microphones are a great place to start and they won't break the bank.
Phone technology has advanced so much that the cameras on many phones are good enough to do video podcast recordings. The iPhone in particular, is a great camera for podcasts.
If you really want to step it up, then a DSLR will provide professional quality video for a reasonable price. Even if you don't want to spend that much money, anything in between should provide broadcast quality video.
To record online video interviews, Skype is usually the best option. CallRecorder is a reliable way to record side-by-side online video interviews. It plugs into Skype and provides a seamless recording experience.
I have used other recording solutions in the past and the sound quality was not nearly as good. In one case, the recording service we used actually cut off about 20 minutes of the interview. So be sure to test your software or recording solution before you record a real episode.
Before you edit your recording, be sure to have a few reusable assets ready. This can include an introduction sequence for your video, a beginning/end sequence voiceover for your audio and any static screens that you may need.
You can find freelancer to do this for a reasonable price on Fiverr, oDesk or Elance. Once that is ready, you it is time to put it all together.
There is a lot of software out there that will allow you to edit your audio/video. You can use free solutions like Audacity and iMovie. In my experience, Audacity is hard to use and produces average results. iMovie produces great results, but the interface is really cumbersome and it takes a long time to create even a simple movie.
I would recommend using ScreenFlow for both audio and video editing. It is not as fancy as Final Cut Pro, but it strikes a great balance between price, quality and ease-of-use.
The editing process can take awhile, but you don't have to do it yourself. Many people outsource the job.
For example, finance podcaster Michael Covel has an editor put together his recordings and edit out all the "ums" and "ahs." This is what one of his sound files looks like after editing.
Once you have an audio or video file, it is time to upload it to a host. There are several different ways that you can host your podcast files, but the two most popular services are Libsyn and Amazon S3. There isn't much to it, just upload the file and make it public.
You will also need a website host for your show notes and RSS feed. An inexpensive shared website host will do the job when you are getting started. It is possible to use Amazon to host your website but it a little more difficult to setup. You can also use your website host to host your podcast icon.
One of the easiest ways to create a feed for your podcast is to use WordPress and the Blubrry Powerpress plugin. The plugin will create a separate feed for your podcast category, which you can use to submit to the various distribution channels out there.
You can use Blubrry to serve your feed or you can use Feedburner. Either way, you need to add the metadata for your podcast like the title, description and icon URL to this feed. I have personally found Feedburner a little easier to use. Feedburner has been rumored to be on the way out for awhile however, so you might want to find another solution.
When you want to publish a podcast episode, simply copy/paste the URL of your uploaded file into the podcast section of your new WordPress post. The plugin also provides a simple player that you can use to play your audio file. Simply use the shortcode in your blog post.
Once you have all the pieces in place, it is time to let the world know about your awesome podcast. The first place to submit your podcast is iTunes. It is free and is the most respected podcast aggregator.
Next, you should put your podcast on Stitcher. It is free and they provide a good looking player that you can embed into your blog posts. The only downside is that they are fairly aggressive when it comes to getting listeners to download their app. It might be a nuisance to some listeners, but it can be a good thing for publishers like you.
SoundCloud can also be a great place to distribute your podcast. However, keep in mind that there will be an additional cost for this service. The free plan only allows you a limited number of videos and plays, so don't rely on it to effectively distribute you podcast. If you do get the paid plan, they provide great metrics on how many people listen to your podcasts.
Then there are other smaller podcast directories that you should submit your podcast to. They come and go, so be sure to do a periodic check and submit to any site that is a good fit for your podcast. Google used to have a podcast directory like iTunes, but they discontinued it awhile back.
Understanding how many people are downloading and listening to your podcast is a vital to understanding if your efforts are worthwhile and to get sponsorship deals. There are a few different ways to measure subscribers and downloads, but here are the easiest ones to implement.
If you use Stitcher, they provide detailed analytics on how many times your podcast episodes get downloaded and how much of each episode people listen to. They also show you how many people are subscribed to your channel and a bunch of other useful stats.
You can also use Amazon S3 to track your downloads. You cannot see the number of downloads by default however. Turn on journaling to find out how many downloads you are getting.
Finally, you can use Feedburner to burn your feed. They provide you stats on how many subscribers you have. Again, Feedburner may not be around forever, so if you can start with an alternative, it is probably a good idea.
Our friend Steve Young is an example of a podcaster who is doing a great job in the app development/marketing space. Check out his podcast to get some ideas on how you can start yours.
Be sure to browse the iTunes podcast directory for your category and see what others are doing. Then listen to a few of the most popular podcasts to find out why they are so popular. You can generally get at least one or two ideas for your podcast.
Finally, be sure to actively promote your podcast on social media and to anyone who can help spread the word about it. Just launching your podcast will not make it an instant success.
In addition to being a marketing channel for your brand, it can also be a revenue source. You can get sponsorships from other unrelated brands and increase sales of your products. Pat Flynn, of the Smart Passive Income podcast, reveals in his income reports that he makes over $6,000 per month, just from sponsorships alone.
Just like with many things in life, the key to success in podcasting is not only putting out a quality product, but doing it on a consistent basis. Even if you choose to stop publishing new episodes at some point, you will still have an asset that can attract potential customers for months or even years to come.
So if you have been thinking about getting into podcasting, we hope that this post has encouraged you to get started right now. You might be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to launch a podcast and the additional exposure you can get for your brand and your app.
Do you have any other questions about starting a podcast? Let us know in the comments below...