A podcast is a form of multimedia marketing that consists only of audio. Podcasts are created by internet personalities often as a way to share content, similar to vlogging, and can then be shared and downloaded from a number of different online stores or directly from a website. Podcasts offer a way for creators to offer value to their followers and thereby build trust and authority – just the same as in any form of content marketing. From there, they can then profit from this effort, either by selling a product or affiliate product directly, or by playing adverts and sponsored messages.
The types of content provided by podcasts can be varied, but popular examples include:
To get started creating a podcast, you will really just need one thing: a good method of recording your own voice. That means firstly that you will likely need a microphone. You can pay for an expensive product in this case, or make do with something simple. Note that just using your laptop’s mic is not sufficient though if you hope to build an audience!
The cheapest option is to use a lapel mic and to plug this into a high quality phone. Lapel mics are mics that – as the name suggests – attach to a lapel on a shirt. This keeps them close to the mouth, allowing them to isolate your voice from background noise.
Another option is to use something like a H4 recorder. These are more expensive hand-held units that can also be used with a lapel mic and which provide a better overall audio quality. Then there are shotgun mics, which require more setting up (and yet more money) but which provide the best quality sound overall. Finally, you can go with the popular option among Twitch gamers – the Snowball from Blue Yeti.
I recommend recording using the software called Audacity and then editing that with Adobe Creative Cloud. Remember, you can always add sound effects, music and more afterward in post-production, as well as cutting out any mistakes you might have made. That’s the beauty of not needing to go live!
Of course, the last question is what you’re going to podcast about? If you don’t already have a brand and a niche, then the best option is to choose whatever it is that you’re most passionate about. If you’re going to keep creating new content, then you need to ensure the subject is something you’re happy with and have lots to say about!
The first thing to understand is that you’re not as bad as you think you are. Your voice sounds bad to yourself because it’s not what you’re used to when you hear it recorded back. When we hear our own voices, they’re actually much deeper because we’re hearing the vibrations through our skull as well as through the air.
But there is some benefit to listening to your own voice back and then cringing. You see, when you listen to yourself speaking you’ll be able to notice things that you might be doing wrong – words you pronounce incorrectly, or points where you speed up too much. If you listen to your voice and are critical, then you can use this to help improve the way you speak next time.
One very simple and easy thing you can do to improve your speaking voice is to speak more slowly. As soon as you do this, you’ll sound lower, more intelligent and more calm. What’s more, seeing as most people speed up when they’re nervous, you’ll need to slow down a lot just to get back to normal. A great point to pause meanwhile is in between sentences. Each time you finish a sentence, take a moment to just pause and let it sink in. This makes your speech much easier to follow for the audience and it lends it more gravitas among other things.
Even if you’re not on camera, you should gesticulate, smile and laugh as you normally would. Telesales professionals are actually taught to smile when they’re on the phone. The reason? It comes across in your voice unconsciously, even if they can’t see you.
Finally, add energy. I always think of this as ‘performing’ what I’m saying, rather than just saying it. Cameras and mics sap our natural enthusiasm and so normal speech tends to come across quiet and disinterested. Listen to some of the best podcasts and you’ll notice that the presenters are actually dialling up their performance in a number of ways.
Once you have some content you’re happy with, you can then post it to your own platforms: if you have a blog or a YouTube channel for instance, then this is a great way to add more content, to engage with your audience in more ways and to create more potential marketing opportunities down the road.
Otherwise, you can try submitting your podcasts as MP3 files to some of the top podcast sites around the net. These include:
All these will have processes for submitting new content and will then allow your audience to find your podcasts by doing simple searches. You’ll find this is a great way to reach more people and that the best results come from submitting to as many of these distribution platforms as possible. That’s because they all have their pros and cons: while the larger sites like iTunes will allow you to reach the widest audience possible, they also offer the most competition. On the other hand, use something like PodDirectory and you’ll face a lot less competition.