How to make a podcast for your business in 11 simple steps

With many companies turning to digital tools to stay connected with customers and to stay visible within communities during the coronavirus, podcasts are a fantastic way of opening a natural dialogue between business and customers. But where do you start?

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6 min read

Recently Business Gateway made a podcast series, DigitalBites by DigitalBoost, where we shared top tips from leading digital experts on how to get ahead online. Now we want to share some of our insights and recommendations to help you get on the podcast bandwagon too.

1) Get planning

First off you need a plan. What is it you want to achieve by making the podcast? That’s easy. Start with your audience.

Like any good content, you need to consider what you want to say to your audience and what your audience is interested in. Find something that crosses over both of those and you are onto a winner.

Podcast Article

Don’t try to please everyone. You need to concentrate on your niche. What is it that your customers like about your product or service? And what topics are of interest? If you are a personal trainer then you could talk about nutrition, or muscle groups, warm-up exercises, you could interview athletes to get top tips or even share stories from your existing clients.

Just remember, this is not a ‘sales tool’. Don’t expect people to instantly buy products or use your service. A podcast is much more about building brand loyalty that will boost your business in the long term.

2) Pick a good name

This is super important. Whilst you can call your podcast whatever you want, here are a couple of suggestions:

Something clever

Clever, memorable names can help you stand out. But don’t make it too obscure as you run the risk of nobody knowing what your podcast is all about. If you do go for something abstract, it’s a good idea to have a descriptor line.

Something descriptive

To make your podcast discoverable then simply call your show what your target audience is searching for. For example, if you are a local DIY shop then you could call it Top DIY Tips. And to add more of a personal feel you could add your name into the title too.

Link to your brand

This depends on your brand. In some cases, your brand name or a strapline will be a perfect choice but if you can somehow link it to your brand this will be a bonus.

3) Find a format that works for you

There is no correct solution for this. It will depend on what content you want to get across. See point 1 for tips on that. But here’s a run-down of some of the options:

The solo show
This can be you or someone from your business just talking straight into the microphone. The big benefit is that it’s easy for you to make. (e.g. 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy)

One-to-one interview
This is probably the most popular format. Involves talking to a guest. This is the format we used for DigitalBoost Digital Bites It works well as it is very relatable. Interesting conversations with interesting people. (e.g. How I Built This, Duct Tape Marketing)

Documentary
This is a very ambitious place to start and will usually require a lot of production. The effect can be amazing. Probably the most downloaded podcast ever Serial used this format. (e.g. 100,000 Welcomes by VisitScotland or UK Business Startup)

Repurposed content
Worth considering if you have video content that you could repurpose into a podcast (e.g. TED Radio Hour)

4) Think carefully about the length

Some podcasts can last 3 hours... I’m going to give you a top tip here. Do NOT make it that long.

There is no right answer here, but you need to consider your audience. How long do you think they will want to listen? Are they busy people? Or are they very engaged with what you say on other social channels?

15-20min is a good place to start – long enough for a short commute or while doing the dishes.

But if you feel you have valuable content such as a conversation then let us hear it all.

Experiment with different lengths and see which works best for your audience.

5) Get some kit for recording

You can create a great podcast with minimal kit. Or you can go the full hog and buy the best equipment out there. If you’re just starting, it’s probably not wise to invest heavily until you find your podcast feet.

Some suggestions:

Record using your phone. Apps like Anchor allow you to record conversations with just your phone. The sound recording quality of modern Smartphones is pretty good and as an entry-level, this is a great solution. Apps like Anchor also allow you to record remotely, so you don’t even need to be in the same place as your interviewee.

Simple USB mic set up. You will need a computer with access to the internet and a simple USB microphone. Works great for solo shows.

Via Skype or Zoom. It is possible to record a podcast by using Skype or Zoom. This does come with drawbacks. I recommend having a read of this article.

A mixer set up. If you want to record more than one person, you’ll need a mixer. This is a small box that allows you to hook up multiple microphones and record each conversation on a different channel. Which is useful when it comes to editing. It’s a little fiddlier but worth it for better quality podcasting.

For a deeper dive into kit head over to this excellent guide.

6) ‘Script’ your podcast

You’ll notice the inverted commas there. You don’t need to write out your podcast word for word but it’s a very good idea to write down what you want to say in a series of bullet points to give yourself a core structure. This will prevent you from going off-topic or, if interviewing someone, forgetting to ask a really important question.

7) Edit your podcast

Editing is very important. The overall quality of your podcast is largely down to the quality of the editing. You can learn how to do this yourself or you could look for a freelance sound editor via Google or use a service such as Upwork.

If you fancy a pop at it yourself here are a few go-to tools:

Audacity– free of charge audio editing software. Does need a little bit of learning but there are great tutorials online.

Online/app editor: You can edit your podcast entirely online using online tools such as Alitu or an app-based tool such as Anchor. These web apps allow you to do some audio clean up and the addition of music.

Professional: We used Adobe Audition for our DigtialBoost Digital Bites podcast. Quite a big learning curve and you need a paid subscription. But it gives you the best possible quality.

8) Get some ‘thumb-stopping’ cover art

In the podcast world, first impressions count. So, you are going to need to get yourself some eye-catching cover art. If you are not artistically minded, then here are a few suggestions:

Ask an agency – if you work with a marketing agency then use their services

Use Creative Commons – You can pull something together using Creative Commons images and an online tool such as Canva. Make sure you have the correct permissions.

Approach an artist – if you see something you like on Instagram then why not approach the artist to see if you can pay them to use it.

Got any creative friends? - Do you know anyone at art school or maybe you have a photography-mad friend who would be happy to help?

Repurpose branding materials – use any existing brand assets you may have.

Cover art should be either JPG or PNG files under 500kb in size to make it past the guidelines. The size should be 1400px x 1400px but consider how it will look like as a small square on a phone.

9) Finding a platform host

There is a variety of hosting platforms available. They are all really good and make it super easy to publish your podcast on all the major platforms that your audience will listen to podcasts. We used Anchor for publishing the DigitalBoost podcast (the only drawback was we had to publish to Apple ourselves) but it’s worth having a look around and see what you feel most comfortable with.

10) Get your podcast out into the world

Your podcast should be treated like any other marketing material. Don’t fall into the Field of Dreams trap of ‘build it and they will come’. You should shout about it from the rooftops and promote it via existing channels such as social media and email newsletters. The best advice is to work it into your Digital Marketing Strategy and Social Media Calendars.

You should also consider putting some paid promotion behind it. Check out our Paid Advertising Guide for more info on this.

11) Listen and learn

Part of the beauty of the podcast format is it will evolve. You will keep improving and learning. It’s important to ask your audience for feedback and reviews. Don’t be afraid to change the format, or the style, or the artwork. It can be a great tool for you to learn more about your audience and feed this back into your business.

Useful links

Anchor has a podcast about making a podcast... https://anchor.fm/startapodcast

We have a huge range of online resource through our DigitalBoost programme https://www.bgateway.com/resources/digitalboost/

Have a listen to our own DigitalBoost podcast Digital Bites https://anchor.fm/digitalboost-bites

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