Podcasting is one of the most compelling ways to stay in touch with your audience as well as to reach new people. It helps you promote your brand, gives your potential customers a deeper level of information, and lets you network with other entrepreneurs in the same niche. But if you think podcasting is only applicable to product owners, you're wrong. Many affiliates also podcast to recommend products or give the latest tips and advice.
If you are struggling to bring in traffic to your website, YouTube channels or e-commerce store, podcasting can help you with it. There's a lot less competition compared to blogging or YouTubing, so you can start your own podcast channel and turn it into a gateway to your business platforms.
What You Need #1 - Hosting Service
When you think about what you need to run your podcast, your immediate thoughts might be about the equipment. But the first thing you need to sort out is your domain and hosting.
You shouldn't be using your usual website because audio files are huge and take up a lot of bandwidth. Podcasts can easily exceed your data transfer limit and you'll be charged with a hefty extra fee. Also usual web hosting services are not equipped to deliver your podcast file fast enough. For these reasons you are highly recommended to sign up with another hosting service especially designed for podcasting.
You might also think that your podcast will be hosted on iTunes but it's not the case, either. When you sign up with a podcast hosting company, you'll be given an RSS feed address, which will look like; myrss.mypodcast.com/myurl. You will submit this URL to iTunes, and it will only be available for the listeners to download upon approval by iTunes.
Recommended Podcast Hosting Services
Buzzsprout is one of the most reputable podcast hosting services that offer great usability. You can use Buzzsprout for free up to 2 hours per month. The maximum bandwidth it offers is 250Gb per month, which can cover 20,000-40,000 episode plays therefore it's more than enough. (Pro version offers even bigger bandwidth option.) The options are;
- Free - up to 2 hours per month, episodes hosted for 90 days
- $12 per month - up to 3 hours per month, episodes hosted indefinitely
- $18 per month - up to 6 hours per month, episodes hosted indefinitely
- $24 per month - up to 24 hours per month, episodes hosted indefinitely
The services are month-to-month and you don't have to sign a long-term contract. Therefore I would recommend you to sign up for free and see what happens. If your monthly podcast length starts to exceed 2 hours, then get $12/month option, when it becomes longer than that, move to $18/month option and so on.
PodBean is perfect for beginner to try out because it offers service up to 5 hours / 100Gb per month for free. Fairly easy to use, it creates a simple and basic podcast webpage. Your podcast can be easily added to podcasting apps such as Google Play and iTunes, also can be shared easily on social media.
The unlimited audio version is $14 per month ($9 per month if you pay annually), allowing unlimited hours and bandwidth.
Transistor.fm is good because for a flat fee of $19 per month, you can create unlimited number of podcasts and episodes. It offers 14-day free trial. With clean looking layouts, fast and easy to work with. It also offers an easy and straightforward analytics.
If you pay 12 months in advance, you'll get 2 months free.
What You Need #2 - Equipment
If you believe that you need special equipment in order to create your first podcast, that's not the case. You might already have most of what you need on your computer. In fact you can create your podcast on your phone.
You can record your podcast simply on your computer with the built-in microphone, on your phone or tablet. Technically you don't need anything else, and that's just fine to get yourself started. But as you may already be aware, a built-in mic will pick up a lot of hissing noise or wind, and the quality is generally low. A simple but decent headset microphone can improve the sound quality, which will not cost you more than $50.
Another microphone option is one that has a stand, and also to get a pop-filter in order to block any air from your mouth and help reduce noise. Because it's attached the microphone, it will also block airflow from other directions.
Depending on the price and the level of noise reduction feature that your microphone has, a windscreen foam that fits over the mic will help reduce wind from all directions too. This is especially useful when you're recording outdoors, near a fan or air conditioning system.
 Editing Audio
Audacity is free, and it's often most recommended for podcast beginners. You can record directly into the software and edit it. It's available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
GarageBand is also free for Mac or iOS device. It will be handy for beginners, but Many Mac users who are podcasters prefer Audacity because it has some podcast-specific tools.
Adobe Audition is considered to be one of the best audio editing software packages around, often used by professional podcasters. Multitrack recording feature for example, allows you to edit people's voice separately. It also has noise reduction tools.
Conversations In Podcasts
Your podcasts don't have to be all conducted by yourself. Just like making a YouTube channel interesting, podcasters bring in other people to make their broadcast interesting. With that said, there's no reason why you shouldn't be podcasting all by yourself. Needless to mention, it's the easiest and most economical way to start because you'll only need one microphone.
Duo podcasts (where two people talking to each other) are popular both for the creators and the listeners. Because when two friends, spouses or business partners talk and joke, it can create a friendly atmosphere and show the difference between each other's personality, which makes it much more interesting.
Whereas a group format can be tricky for technical reasons. When more than two people talk and interrupt each other throughout, the whole podcast will sound very messy. Also the issue is either you set up one microphone for each person or collect everyone's voice using one microphone. The former will be costly, and the latter will suffer the sound quality.
An interview-based podcast is where the host asks questions and the guest provides information and shares their opinion, experiences, tips and advice within the podcast. Software such as Adobe Audition can record Skype calls, and this is useful because it allows someone to participate remotely.
Whatever format you're going to choose, it's always best to have a pre-written outline, especially when you have someone else to join, so that the conversation won't drift.
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Distributing Your Podcast
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t upload your podcast files to iTunes but you first upload it onto your hosting site, get your feed address, and submit it to iTunes, or other podcast directories.
Because these directories are like search engines, you need to add meta tag information to your podcasts so people will find them. Lifewire explains this: Learn About Podcast Metadata and ID3 Tags
Other than iTunes, other directories that you can submit your podcast feed to are, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and TuneIn Radio, subject to availability in your country.
As long as your podcast has an interesting concept and you've used proper keywords in your title and description, these directories will find a fair number of listeners, but here are some other ways to find new listeners.
- Promote it on social media - join Facebook groups in the relevant niche, follow key players in the same industry, and Tweet every time your podcast is out live.
- Create a YouTube channel dedicated to the podcast and upload some sample audio files.
- Conduct interviews with well-known leaders and experts. It may seem like a high hurdle to jump, but if you send some key questions you want to ask (make them very specific) and ask them to spare no more than a few minutes, some of them will be happy to answer for you. You need to prove that your podcast is worthwhile for them to join, i.e. already have a number of interesting podcasts.
How To Podcasting For Beginners: Conclusion
According to the podcast statistics by MusicOomph, there are more than 700,000 active podcasts and more than 29 million podcast episodes in 2019. The users spend an average of 6 hours and 37 minutes listening to podcasts every week.
Podcasting is a great way to stand out from the crowd. While many people have blogs, social network profiles and YouTube channels, not as many people have a podcast just yet, despite the fact that so many listeners exist.
Audio podcasting is also a great way if you're not as comfortable in front of a camera. You don't have to have an actor's voice to do well with a podcast. The main thing is to have something interesting to say, so that your audience will continue to tune in.
If you are struggling to sell products (including as an affiliate), drive visitors to your blog or build your brand, podcasting is a way to accomplish your goals with your business!