With the evolution of technology, we have seen the rise of multiple platforms and channels that serve as a medium to share information and knowledge. Among these platforms, podcasting is one of the most popular and effective ways that has seen a massive increase in its popularity in the last few years.
In this article, we will look into various aspects that will help you decide whether you should also get into podcasting or not. With the success of the podcasting industry, many new creators have started venturing into long forms of podcasting with a focus on generating increased revenue. This has resulted in a huge increase in the number of podcasters as well as the number of listeners. As per a recent study, more than 100 million people in the United States listen to a podcast regularly.
Before you jump into the podcasting bandwagon and become a creator yourself, I would suggest you test the waters by looking essentially at your own reasons for doing so. Make sure you are not doing it only for monetary reasons as a lot of people do it for the same reason and discontinue their podcasting journey halfway due to a lack of passion.
Key aspects to keep in mind before podcasting
Know your motivation: Why do you want to get into podcasting? You have to identify your core reasons for doing this as this will determine your course of future action. If you are the one who is passionate about a subject and want to share and learn new information about it, then it’s a pretty good motivation to do so. Alternatively, you might want to reach out to more clients or customers for your business or even provide solutions for your already existing customers. If your motivations are among the ones mentioned above, I think it’s a strong enough reason for you to consider podcasting.
Find your audience: Before you start recording your first episode, you need to be very clear on the topic that you want to speak on. Make sure you stick to a topic that you are keen on or something that you have a good amount of knowledge to work on. This ensures that you can regularly create content over a long period of time.
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Another key point to consider while starting a podcast is to narrow your topic down to the core essentials. For example, you might be a sports enthusiast and you are pondering on the type of content you plan on preparing. Here, it is helpful to narrow your interests down into a few specific sports. If you have experience playing tennis, it is probably better for you to create content related to tennis instead of talking about a variety of sports. This helps you in creating content for a specific set of audiences and boosts the chances of building a loyal fan base.
Similarly to choosing a specific topic, you also need to understand the type of audience you are targeting. Gender, age groups, economical status are important parameters you have to consider before everything else.
Provide value to your audience: An important aspect of building a fan base is consistency over a period of time. If cannot produce regular content relevant to your subtopic, you should probably try to find a broader topic that you can work on.
Consider reading articles, books and listening to other podcasters to get a much-refined idea of the things you want to cover on your episodes. This will help you learn things that you were previously uninformed about and help you come up with content for your episodes. As a result, you will be able to stretch the number of your episodes as well as the duration. Eventually, you will be able to build a loyal audience as they will have a reason to come back for more. For example, if you are considering the topic of tennis, you can break it down to further sub-topics.
Your experience playing tennis
Advice for beginners
Interviews with tennis players.
Recovering from injuries
Diet etc, for a tennis player
Subtopics will help you create content over a period of time and help you gain a loyal set of audience.
Ingredients for a great Podcasting career
Let’s have a glance at some of the crucial components that will enable you to succeed as a podcaster.
Choosing a topic:
As discussed earlier, narrowing down your topic to a specific subject has a lot of benefits. It allows you to target a specific set of audiences and helps you maintain listener interest over a period of time. Find your topic and break it down further to come up with the perfect topic for you to talk about.
Find a partner or a co-host:
Having another person to share the workload can be very useful since podcasting also comes with the added work of editing, promoting, etc. Apart from the obvious decreased work, having a co-host also allows a wide range of interesting conversations that cannot take place if you are the lone host. Although make sure that both of you share the same passion for the subject and that both are committed for a long period of time.
Naming your podcast:
There are multiple ideas that you can apply while selecting a name for your podcast. If you look up successful podcasts, you will find that there is no specific answer to the question of ‘what you should name your podcast?’ Some prefer to keep it relevant to the topic, on the other hand, there are others who do not do so. Personally, I would suggest you get creative and come up with a name that could attract viewers.
Choose the format of your episodes:
There are a few options when it comes to choosing a format. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
If you plan on running your show alone on your rules, then you should opt for this approach. Apart from not having to split any revenue with partners, this allows you to create any content you want on any subject. But this could also be quite scary if you are a beginner and do not have the experience of talking to an audience.
Having another person to have a conversation is a great way to generate interesting content and keep viewers coming back for more. This opens up various topics to talk about and even decreases the workload that comes with podcasting. But before you choose to do a co-hosted show make sure that both of you are committed to for a long time and have time set out for your podcast.
This approach is bound to create a lot of interest in your shows if you do get to invite someone influential. I personally love interviews as it helps me gain quite a bit of knowledge as well as learn to look at a subject from a different perspective. Before you invite a guest make sure you have adequate interview skills and it is always safer to stick to guests who have relevant knowledge and experience on the topics you usually talk about.
The Right Software For Your Podcast
Just like the previous points, selecting the right software is something you must spend some time on as well. There are quite a few options available on the market and let’s look take a look at a few of them.
Garageband for Mac.
If you are a fairly new user, Alitu is a pretty good option for you as it has features that are designed for beginners. But if you have some experience working on audio tools, I believe you will find Audacity or Adobe Audition to be quite useful. They come with various features and help you create high-quality content. If in case you do not have prior experience and want to use one of these tools, I would suggest you pick up one of the various online courses available that will help you get familiar with this software.
For Mac users, Garageband is a popular tool that comes pre-installed with any Mac device and it is a decent option if you don’t want to spend money on any other software.
Keep in mind that only selecting the right software is not going to solve all your problems. Although a good tool will eventually help you in producing high-quality content, it is also important to work on the fundamentals that make a good podcast.
Similar to anything else in general, practicing the way you want to speak or present yourself is a great way to start. You could also start using one of the tools to perfect your editing skills so that you can do it more efficiently when the time comes to edit the real thing.
Find a suitable environment to work on as this will eventually play a part in the quality of sound and the type of editing you will need to do. Although you can cancel out unwanted sounds during editing, you can make life simpler by recording in a quiet place.
Be patient with yourself once you start your podcasting journey. Having a focus on the quality of your episodes instead of focussing on the number of episodes will help you build a strong base that will benefit you over a period of time.
Everything we have discussed so far will help you if you are passionate about podcasting and have serious ambitions of pursuing a career in it.
But there are multiple instances where individuals get into podcasting for all the wrong reasons. Eventually, they become inconsistent and the quality drops as a result and this is something that you would like to avoid at all costs.
So in order to not be part of this group let’s talk about all the reasons that you should not start a podcast:
Do not start podcasting if your sole goal is to make money off it. Although a career in the podcasting industry is lucrative it takes a lot of initial investment in terms of hardware and software to start in an effective way. Although you can record with a laptop or even your mobile phone, the quality cannot be compared to the one you get with a mic and a recorder.
Make sure that you are in for the long run before you make any substantial investment, as making money from podcasting takes time and you cannot expect to start earning overnight.
As discussed earlier, it is very important to understand your topic as well as the type of audience you are targeting. If you do not want to spend time researching and understanding the behavior of your audience, I believe podcasting might not be the right profession for you. Try to narrow your answers down to the fine specifics as this will help you create specific content and it will go a long way to help you build your audience.
Consider podcasting only if you are willing to bring your true authentic self in front of your audience. Although it is completely fine to take motivation from other successful podcasters, do not coy their exact style of delivering content. It is quite common to be influenced by others and of course, it has its benefits but when it comes to podcasting there is no reason as to why people would listen to someone who is a complete rip-off of someone else. Be authentic and do not be afraid to talk about things that are close to you and you will bring uniqueness to your content which is what people love. As they say, there is only one you, so try to use this adage to your advantage since podcasting is one platform where you can do so.
Do not start a podcast if you are not consistent. Being consistent is an important trait of any successful individual and the same can be said for podcasting. Once you start podcasting and achieve a certain amount of success, your viewers will expect content from you on a regular basis. And although it might sound challenging, it will get easier once you start getting fairly consistent with your schedule. In order to achieve a certain amount of consistency, I would suggest you create a schedule – one that helps you work on editing, recording, inviting guests, etc, and still leave you with a fair amount of time for other things.
If you are unwilling to invest money into equipment and software then it’s probably a bad idea to take podcasting as a serious career. Quality is of utmost importance when it comes to podcasting and to create content that is of a high caliber you need to be equipped with the best tools in the market. It is possible to still produce good content with tools that are affordable but the quality might not be comparable to someone who invests quite heavily into his equipment.
No matter what type of tool you choose to invest in, one cannot expect to make a career if they are hesitant to invest a decent sum of money into it.
If the reason you want to start podcasting is that everyone around you is doing so then it’s probably a bad idea. If you don’t have the slightest motivation to podcast or have never listened to a single episode of a podcast but want to take it up because it’s a popular trend then you are bound to fail horribly. Just because people are trying it and are even finding some success doesn’t guarantee you the same, especially when you have no prior experience listening to one or have no passion for it.
Do not consider podcasting if you have a busy schedule. Podcasting takes a lot of work and time from your daily routine and if you cannot make time for it you will eventually lose interest and fail to gather any traction for your content. You have to understand that it is not only talking and recording that takes time. Editing is probably going to consume a majority of the time you spend upon if you plan on taking it more seriously. Before you venture into this line of work, you need to be aware that you cannot be consistent if you cannot follow a schedule and make time for it. This plays into the consistency part as well, since the more regularly you produce content, the more viewers you will be attracting.
In conclusion, I would reiterate the fact that you need to consider a number of aspects before you choose to make the dive into podcasting. It is basically pointless to start a podcast and fail to be consistent as you could have spent the same time and energy doing something more productive.
Take your time and consider every point that we discussed earlier before making your first step into the amazing world of podcasting and I would even suggest you visit this article time and again in the future to keep yourself inline with the idea of podcasting more consistently and effectively.