A lot of people are taking up podcasting as a hobby where they share their lives and thoughts with the world. But what are podcasts?
The Dictionary definition of a podcast is – A digital audio file made available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.
In simpler words, podcasts are audio recordings, which can be about a host of topics, ranging from sports, history, story-telling, politics, current affairs, personal blogs, biographies and so much more. These audio recordings are uploaded on various platforms, such as special podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, etc. or on individual websites of the podcasters.
Leaders across the globe are taking to podcasting too. Michelle Obama has a podcast now, for example. Businesses aren’t far behind, either. Podcasts are a new way to reach out to people, and unlike other forms of media, podcasting isn’t saturated. It’s a relatively new medium that’s getting popular now, but still has a lot of room to accommodate more players. Businesses are using podcasts as a marketing tool and also as a way to expand their digital footprint.
In recent times, the number of common people taking up podcasting, especially during the pandemic, has gone up. Most podcasters start off slow – few listeners, basic audio quality and so on. As their audience grows, they’re also earning from their podcasts, converting them into proper businesses.
So, if you’re looking to start a podcasting setup, this article is for you. From equipment to niche, this is a detailed guide on how to set up your podcast.
How to set up your podcast
Leaders and popular personalities already have a wide reach and an established audience. But, if you are starting a new podcast, you need to target a niche – the topics as well as an audience.
If you’re a business owner, you might want to talk about the latest happenings in your industry and your take on it. Or you might want to talk about how you got started in the industry and create audio-guides for people. While the choice is yours, it is crucial to pick a niche and define your target audience. Your content should cater to that audience.
For example, you can choose to talk about ‘Cricket’ in India. While the major domain is Sports, you are further picking a niche sport. You can go more into the details and pick a more nuanced niche, such as ‘History of Cricket’, where you can talk about historical matches, popular rivalries, legendary players and famous series. This way, you target a particular group of people and can concentrate all your efforts towards your niche group of listeners.
2. Give your podcast a name
You can use your business name to expand the brand. Alternatively, you might want this to be a standalone venture so that the podcast creates its own identity, brand, and audience. Irrespective of what you choose, it’s important to pick a name well in advance. This will also help you when you have to create a domain name. We’ll get to that shortly.
3. Decide the duration and format
Are you going to conduct interviews on your podcasts? Are they going to be five minutes long or fifty? Do you have branding considerations? Are you going to be promoting something on your podcast? Do you plan on having guests on your show? If that’s the case, you’ll have to create a schedule and match times with your guests.
4. What do you want from your podcast?
For people who start podcasting as a hobby, life is a bit simpler. You can record audio on your smartphone and simply upload it to your website or page. However, if your setup is going to be professional and you plan to earn from your podcast, you’ll have to plan about equipment.
There is no set rule for equipment. At the bare minimum, you’re going to need a device to record your podcast, a computer, and editing software, such as Adobe Audition, Logic Pro X, Audacity.
Of course, if you want your podcasts to be a bit more than just random audio recordings, you’ll need some specific equipment. Here’s a general list of equipment required for a professional podcast:
- Webcams if you want to eventually do video interviews
- Good audio editing software
- Adjustable boom microphone clips
- Shock mounts
- Mic cables
- Hard drives to store backups
Now, as you might have guessed, setting up a good podcast isn’t as simple or cheap as you may think. However, it’s important to realise that you don’t need all of these initially. In fact, a lot of established podcasters may not even use all the equipment mentioned above. It all comes down to your choice and budgets.
For small businesses looking to market through a new channel, a simple microphone coupled with decent audio editing software and shock mounts is more than enough. As your podcast grows, you can invest in new equipment.
6. Choose the directories/channels where you need to post
To take your podcasts to your audience, you need to upload them in various directories. Some of the popular ones in India are:
- Google Podcasts
- Apple Podcasts
You can choose to upload on any of the directories/platforms by creating an account. While you can create free accounts as well, there is a limit on the audio files you can upload. When you create an account, remember to add a good description for your podcast – short yet catchy. Some platforms allow you to add tags and hashtags on your account descriptions as well as on individual podcasts, so that people interested in a certain niche can easily find your podcast. Also, add an easily identifiable podcast art. It can be the banner image for all your podcasts as well as the account image.
These platforms are good enough for people, businesses – both new as well as famous, to start off with their podcasting journey. Major podcasters choose to stream on all these platforms together and even monetise their podcasts through their platforms.
However, if you wish to have your own website for your podcasts, then you need two things – domain name and web hosting service.
7. Buy a domain name
If you’re planning to use your business name for your podcast too, then a domain name isn’t required as you can simply market them all under a single name. However, if your podcast isn’t named after your business, it’s prudent to choose a good domain name, and buy it even if you don’t want to use it immediately.
However, it is advisable to have a separate domain name as it gives you a lot of options. You may have sponsors for your show later or may want to expand your podcasts into different branches in the future. A domain name ensures that you have the freedom to do all that without having to compromise on your brand name.
8. Partner with a hosting company
A hosting company stores your audio files, media, etc., on the internet. It’s basically your podcast’s house. Once it’s hosted somewhere, you can then take those links and upload them to iTunes, Spotify, or anywhere else.
Choosing a good web hosting partner is crucial if you wish to create your own website. You want your hosting provider to offer secure and reliable hosting. While starting out, you’ll just need a simple Shared Hosting plan. It’s where multiple websites share the resources of a single server. It’s fast, secure, inexpensive, and easy-to-use. Just make sure that you get this plan from a good and reliable web hosting provider.
Once all this is done, you’re good to go. You can start podcasting. Ensure that you get the word out about your podcast. A bit of marketing is always good. Finally, successful podcasters will tell you that the first few episodes will be a bit low-quality, in terms of both audio and content quality. So, don’t worry about that too much. Keep working on it, and one day you can boast of a popular podcast channel.
Podcasting has really blown up over the last few years and offers people and businesses a new, fresh way to connect with people. For businesses, it’s a brilliant marketing tool which if successful, can start creating its own revenue stream through advertisements and brand sponsorships. If done well, podcasts can drive huge traffic to your brand.
It’s also important to get the technical stuff right. If you’re fully committed to podcasting, investing in decent equipment is beneficial in the long run. Also, choose the right platform/directory to make the podcast available to your niche audience.
And, if you wish to start your own website to upload the podcasts then investing in a reliable Shared Hosting plan from a reputed web hosting company will pay dividends in the long run too. If your technical foundation is strong, you can completely concentrate on making the best podcast that you can. All the best!
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