Though so many sources of entertainment like movies, music, YouTube, etc. are available today, still Podcasts are taking over quite rapidly. Podcasts are so popular and effective these days that even big companies are sponsoring various podcast hosts and using their listeners as a target audience to market their products or services. However, some brands take a step further they hire captivating podcast voice-over artists to tell their brand stories along with other related news and information and create their own podcasts. But why podcasts? And how did they become so popular? Well, to know that you need to understand the PODCAST itself.
Podcasts are recorded audio, usually a conversation, available on various podcast hosting platforms to be streamed or listened to at the will of the listeners. You can access a podcast anytime anywhere making it a popular choice especially among the youngsters. Surveys suggest that the podcast market is growing so fast that it would very become an individual industry. Although, podcasts originated in 2004 with tech-giant Apple’s introduction of new iTunes services, but lacked to gain worldwide attention. It was the last decade that made the podcast market go boom and mark its global presence. The reasons for the popularity of podcasts are many but some are more significant than others. The podcasts became more and more sort after thing majorly due to changes in people’s needs and choices, but what exactly is making the podcasts popular? you ask, well –
- The Ease of Access – The word Podcast in itself is the explanation. It is a clever amalgamation of words Pod meaning portable and cast is abbreviated from broadcast, hence, a portable broadcast that can be tuned in any time and place termed as a podcast. One can have access to a podcast from their smartphones, laptops, desktops, tablets, basically with almost any device that can stream and have internet access.
- The Multitasking Factor – As people are getting busier with the modern digital lifestyle podcasts are becoming really popular. Podcast as audio content allows listeners to multitask. A recent survey estimated that 49% of podcast listening happens at home, 22% while driving, 11% at work, and 8% while in the gym or exercising. In short, people just play those exclusive voice-over recordings (podcasts) while doing something else, it allows people to do other things while still enjoying engaging audio content.
- The Choice of Content – There are innumerable podcasts available globally that give the listeners the choice of what they want to listen to, language preference, and the choice of style – discussions, interviews, solo pieces, etc. The availability of choice is a big thing when it comes to the media that one wants to consume. In our modern content-driven world, podcasts provide listeners with options, thus, adding to its popularity.
Although there is more to why the podcasts are so popular, they create an online community of like-minded people or people with similar interests, also, they have raw and unfiltered content so, anyone can talk about anything. All these and much more are the reasons why podcasts are getting a lot of attention. It would interest you to know that there are over 7,00,000 podcasts available worldwide with more than 45 million episodes. A podcast can be about anything you want to talk about and therefore it can be about – Arts, Science, Culture, Religion, Comedy, TV & Film, Health & Fitness, Kids & Family, History, Fiction, World Affairs, even about True Crimes and many more.
And these are just the names of the genres in the particular genre you have numerous sub-sects and then topics that you want to talk about. So, the podcasts have a huge & in some cases never-ending content supply for the listeners. However, podcasts in their style are of three major types –
- The Solo Style – That’s where there is just you and your mic. You can be telling a story about something, reading a book, or reciting & explaining a piece from a fiction or a non-fiction book. Of course, if you are not backed by some company there is a lot of work on your shoulders, from ideating the content to recording and editing it and then marketing it in every way possible. The content of a solo podcast can range from Q&A-based to opinions, news-related, or almost anything that can be delivered by one person alone. It is the easiest style of podcasting as it can be managed by a single person even with little technical knowledge. Before you take full dive into the podcasting world it is better to dip your legs first and check the temperature. Solo-style podcasts are a great way to start your podcast journey, build a small listener base and then think about expanding your reach. Just a tip: If you are really into storytelling you might want to include different voices for narrating them. Contacting an experienced audiobook voice-over artist would be the wise move.
- The Interviews – Here you interview the people related to your niche. You have to make a list of people you can approach and invite them to your podcast for an interview, it may be all-encompassing or topic-specific. You should go big with your wish list of interviews as you never know who might say yes, and the bigger or the more renowned guest you have for the interview the more popular & reach your podcast will have. You can also invite other podcasters from different platforms such as YouTube or HARO. We all know about YouTube, but HARO might be new for you. It stands for Help A Journalist Out, where a podcaster can register as a journalist and seek for guests to invite for the podcast interview. HARO is still one of the biggest un-saturated platforms as not many people know about it, but those who know reap huge benefits. However, there is more to getting a successful interview podcast recorded. You have to know and study your guests inside-out, professionally, like research about them, get to know about lives, go through their previous interviews, note down what they said earlier about something that relates to your topic, etc. You also have to structure your podcast’s flow like what you want to start with, how it will unfold further, and how you are going to close it with a bang. Most interview podcasters already have built a listener base but if you wish you can just launch your podcast in this style also if you can procure the requirements.
- Multi-host Podcasts – Well, in this you got a group of people or your friends to pour efforts into making the podcast successful. This form of the podcast is a bit more interesting than the solo style as it offers conversational style content to the listeners. You might want to get your business partner to sit with you and discuss the topic. It gives a different experience as different people have different thoughts and perspectives about the same things. The difference of opinion is what makes it more interesting and brings in more entertainment for the audience by making it a debate-like situation. For content creators, it also presents a less pressure situation as there are more people involved and keeps the audience engaged as it offers more people with more opinions and unique points of view.
Although these are major styles of podcasting you are free to produce a mixed style, there is no hard and fast rule that you have to stick to one style. Many popular podcasts are out there that uses a mix of solo and interview style and many use a mix of all three. So, it all depends upon your choice, the resources available, & what you can procure. Although most podcasts are audio-only, there are certain that are video podcasts, you might have got few names in your minds if know the industry. However, these video podcasts often use professional video subtitling services for their podcasts to avoid any miscommunication due to accent or dialect and also to make it all-inclusive.
So, now you know all the basics about the podcasts and you find an itch to start one of your own, you have the idea that you want to talk about, or you have a way with words and you are a great storyteller. There are a few more crucial things you must know you delve your efforts and money into launching a podcast of your own. With so many podcasts entering the market almost every day you might think of being late to the party but better late than never right! For sure there is going to be competition but with solid planning and careful steps, you can carve your way in. If you can create a podcast that connects with the audience or your content resonates with them, you are a winner. Below are some fundamental and most important points to consider to make your podcast a success –
- Pick Your Topic – The first and foremost thing you want to do is to lay down the foundation and that is the topic you want to talk about. Then research how many sub-topics or categories this topic has, as it is important for you to ensure that you have enough content for the podcast to run for more than just a few episodes. The topic can be anything of your choice with enough content, if you have an existing blog or website about something you can choose the topic for your podcast also. Just explore the podcast market a little bit and get to know how many podcasts are there on the same topic to make sure if your podcast is going into a normal crowded or extremely crowded space. If there are too many podcasts about the same topic you might want to rethink that.
- Who’s Your Audience – Identify the people you think will be interested in your topic. A podcast is all about getting to the right people with the right form of content so you have to define your audience. You might be interested in talking about the Big Guy sitting in the heavens, well, you have to know your approach and the people who are going to be interested in it. Knowing your audience’s age group, social or ethnic group, gender, etc. can make it easier for you to market your podcast. With a targeted approach, you can easily devise the best to intrigue your audience about your podcast and give them the reason for why they should listen to you. For example, if your target audience is young adults, fresh out of universities, and struggling to make a life, you can get professional voice-over actors who can record your intros and outros in tones and voices that resonates with the target audience, giving you an extra edge to gain their attention.
- Pick Your Format & Style – From the above-mentioned styles, you can choose the one you would like to indulge in as your podcast style. Other than that, you have to ensure consistency because it is the key to gaining relevancy. You have to mark the days and times at which you are going to drop each episode of the podcast. It can be weekly, fortnightly, or monthly some even post twice a week, whatever it is you have to be consistent. Fix your days and time stick to it every week and month. It's evident that with so much content available online if you don’t have a calendar to follow you are soon going to lose the listenership and relevancy along with it.
- Get a Hosting – Just like websites, podcasts also need a place in the online space where they will be made available. Though you can host it on your website also, however, it's not recommended as it will load up the website and slow it down. There are numerous podcast hosting platforms available that offer services for bare minimum prices like Apple’s iTunes, Google podcast, Spotify, Buzzsprout, Podbean, etc., You can browse through their plans choose one that fits your budget and other requirements like storage space.
- Title and Design – Well, here you to put in some creativity to work. Just like a perfect explainer video voice, your title and design should also be perfect and catchy. While for the title you can go with your own name or put in some clever jargon related to your topic or may you could get some keywords in the title so that it keeps showing up in the searches. However, in the case of designing the cover, you might need to get some professionals. Judging a book by the cover is quite true for the podcasts. So, you have to create an attractive cover or thumbnail that could really grab audiences’ eye and gets them to listen to you.
- Launching, Marketing, and Reviews – Plan out your launch, upload your file on the host servers with RSS feeds to get it into their listings, get the word out, spread the news about the launch. You can also create new social media account for your podcast where you post about your podcast. If you are worried about how it is going to sound to the listeners, the best way to know that is to get feedback. Though the process of reviewing a podcast is quite cumbersome on many platforms, the best way is to start getting them from your families and friends. A tip: if you cannot handle negative reviews and comments, you better not get into podcasting at all.
Well, before all the launch, review, and marketing happen you need to record and edit your podcast and for that, you will need the right equipment and software. For starting up you might not need much of these gears but some are needed, production quality in Podcasting is something that you don’t want to compromise with. If it's not clearly audible or the listeners have to work hard for it, you are losing their interest and eventually their listenership also. Being the largest voice-over marketplace, Voyzapp can provide you with numerous items and the respective details but here we are going to stick to essentials only –
- Good Microphone – You can start with basics such as a decent USB microphone. But be warned not to cut corners when getting the microphones. The audience can deal with other issues of your podcast but audio quality is something not to be messed with. There are several good options are available for a normal price in USB microphones, so choose the one that is of good quality and doesn’t cost you a fortune.
- Decent Headphones – This does not have to be of top-notch quality just decent enough to cut through the clatter and up to its job. You will be hearing what you say and what your guests are saying while conducting interviews so you can go some decent on-ear headphones. But stay away from those mic & headphone combos they don’t live up to the expectations.
- Pop Fitters – To avoid those amplified B’s & P’s while talking directly into microphones you should have a pop filter. Although, you can just speak on either side of the mic to avoid this, however, getting a pop filter is a better choice, also these are not pricy but priceless for sure.
- Booms – Not strictly falling under the essentials category but are handy if you want to avoid arm cramps and ensure good quality audio. Sometimes mics drift while you speak into it so a boom could ensure that it always remains in its proper place. Later, it will be more useful once get pro in podcasting.
- Recording & Editing Software – If you have a Mac, you can use the in-built recording & editing software GarageBand. However, there is also an option available for those who don’t. Adobe Audition is another prominent recording and editing software available you can use for recording and editing your podcast.
Choose a quiet place to record your podcast and give it some tries, of course, there will be some hiccups but don’t worry or panic. You can also hire some expert and enticing podcast voice-over artists to begin with and record your intros-outros, episode teasers, and other details. It will sure take some time in getting used to recording and editing your podcast. Podcasters have all kinds of bad stuff happening like guests bailing out mid-conversation, recording an episode with mic off, or mic acting funny in the middle of a recording. These things will happen but do not lose and give up on your dreams. Creating a great podcast requires commitment. A commitment towards the audience to provide them with great quality and engaging content to enjoy and a commitment to oneself for not missing the schedule and losing hope even if things don’t look going nice. If you are consistent and authentic soon you will be able to monetize your podcast. All it takes is to resonate with the audience and soon advertisement voice-overs will start pouring in and you will start making money.
You must go through all the available options before picking up things for the podcast be it – the topic or niche, or the gears. You can spend as much you want or almost nothing on podcasting it's up to you. Now you know – what is a podcast & how to record one, and even have the itch to create it, so go ahead and record an episode and see what you come up with.