Updated: Mar 26
Podcasting is great because you get to talk about your interests, build a community of like-minded people, and maybe even make some extra money once you’ve monetized your project.
In 2021, it may seem like everyone has their own podcast; and yet the medium continues to increase in popularity due to its effective format. Compared to its older cousin, the FM radio show, podcasts are on-demand, available for replay anytime, and give their audiences the liberty to choose which episodes they wish to listen to.
No wonder podcasters make money!
Podcasts also tend to be more straightforward to record and edit - making podcasting a great choice for digital content creators.
Today you can find podcasts geared towards every imaginable niche. There are podcasts for gamers, film and TV geeks, health enthusiasts, and many more. Brands and businesses are now utilizing the format because it allows for in-depth discussions, expert interviews, and increasing brand awareness.
According to a study conducted by Edison Research and Triton Digital, the audience for podcasts is also growing steadily, with nearly 104 million Americans consuming podcasts regularly. That’s more than one-third of the American population! Monthly podcast consumption has also risen to 37% across various age groups in the past year - further testament to their universal appeal.
Over the past four years, researchers have seen a 120% growth in the number of Americans who listen to podcasts on a weekly basis. These statistics indicate that the podcasting format continues to have significant mass appeal and may continue to rise in popularity in the coming years.
If you’re looking to begin one of your own and hopefully monetize it, here’s how to get started!
Things to Have Ready Before Starting a Podcast
If you haven’t started your podcast yet but are interested in the idea, here are a few things to consider and prepare for:
What do you want to discuss on your podcast?
You might already have an idea concerning the types of things you’d like to talk about. However, for you to be able to promote your podcast effectively, you’ll have to organize your content and focus on a certain topic, audience, or lifestyle.
If you choose to go by topic, choose something that you’re familiar with and deeply interested in. After all, the goal is to be able to produce many episodes of your show - if you pick something that you’re not passionate about, you’ll inevitably run out of things to say and feel unmotivated.
Topics can be as vague or as specific as you want. A great example of a topic-based podcast is the ‘Stuff You Should Know’ podcast by iHeartRadio. The topic itself is broad (random useful trivia) but it allows for a certain kind of focus in the sense that listeners know what to expect each time they release a new episode.
Going by target audience can also be good if you already have a specific niche market or community in mind. Examples of this type of podcast are YouTuber-led podcasts, such as the H3 Podcast and VIEWS with David Dobrik and Jason Nash. In many cases, these YouTubers’ followers carry over to the podcasting medium to hear them talk about various topics.
Lifestyle-based podcasts, on the other hand, are usually led by industry experts or community leaders for that particular lifestyle. For example, ‘A Cyster & Her Mister: A PCOS Lifestyle Podcast’ is hosted by registered dietitian Tallene Hacatoryan and her husband, PCOS physical trainer Sirak Hacatoryan. Their podcast is all about ‘the PCOS lifestyle’ wherein women diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) focus on eliminating gluten, dairy, and finding the right supplements and exercise.
Having the right equipment for podcasting can save you a lot of time and energy from having to deal with technical issues such as poor audio and corrupted files.
You don’t need to go all-out on buying the most expensive equipment especially if you are just starting out, but it would be helpful to have some basic gear that you can rely on:
Computer: This is the most important piece of equipment you need to own for podcasting. If you’re on a really tight budget, you can even start with just your computer, a basic microphone, and audio recording software which usually comes built-in with most units.
Microphone: A high-quality microphone can spell the difference between an unprofessional-sounding podcast and a professional-sounding one. Microphones work well at focusing on your voice while eliminating background noise, so a good microphone is a worthwhile investment. Go for either a separate analog mic or a USB one which you can just plug into your computer.
Pop filter: Pop filters are the unsung heroes of audio recording. These are the square or round screen attachments on the microphones of recording artists. They work to eliminate the annoying sound created by plosives (P and T sounds) by capturing any extra bursts of air.
A Small Audience That’s Continuously Growing
It’s important to establish an audience for your podcast. Like most successful podcasters, it’s okay to start small. Instead of fixating on numbers, focus on consistently putting out quality content, establishing your credibility and likability among your listeners, and building a strong online presence.
Here are a few tips to help you build an audience for your podcast:
Publish content regularly. Build a listening habit among your listeners by consistently publishing content on the same day of the week or month. You can also include this in your script to create recall for your podcast schedule, at the beginning and end of each episode.
Encourage listener feedback. Establish rapport with your audience by asking for their honest opinions on a certain topic or by letting them pitch podcast topic ideas to you. Ask them to subscribe to your podcast so that they can rate it and leave comments on your episodes as well.
Address your audience’s requests and concerns. People appreciate it when they feel that their voices are being heard and that their opinions matter. Depending on the format of your show, you can engage with your listeners by answering questions they sent in, or by having a dedicated segment for reading subscribers’ comments.
Maximize social media. A lot of content creators are discovered by users on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Use social media to your advantage by curating your content into shorter formats (30 seconds to 1 min. videos) which you can upload on socials. Remember that people’s attention spans are shorter now, so make sure to put subtitles on your videos and make sure you only place the highlights of each episode. Lead them to the full episode on your preferred platform.