Since its beginning in the early 2000s, podcasting has developed rapidly and steadily. So, by now, you are probably aware of podcasts. You may even listen to at least one of them on a regular basis. Check out these statistics from 2021 to get a better idea of the popularity of podcasting:
- Nearly 12 million Canadian adults (38% of the 18+ population) have listened to podcasts in the past year.
- Nearly 9 million Canadian adults (29% of the 18+ population) listen to podcasts at least once a month.
Source: The Podcast Exchange (https://www.thepodcastexchange.ca/research)
Have you been thinking about starting your own podcast? Although it may seem complicated, podcasting is simpler than it appears!
What is a podcast, exactly?
A podcast is essentially a collection of spoken articles or audio episodes that are all centered on a single topic or theme. People can subscribe to the podcast using a podcast listening app on their phone and listen to episodes on their headphones, in their car, or on smart speakers anytime they choose. Podcasting allows you to take your favourite show with you and listen to it whenever you want. It personalizes shows and makes them available on demand.
This is what distinguishes podcasting from broadcasting and is one of its benefits. Unlike broadcast media, a podcast listener will not hear messages from your competitors. When they tune in to your podcast, they are solely listening to you. And, unlike other kinds of media, listeners typically devote their full attention and time to podcasts since they deliver your content in a way that is easy to consume. This can certainly help strengthen brand loyalty for businesses in highly competitive industries.
Podcasting provides a unique way to expand and engage an audience along with numerous other benefits. Podcasts are helping businesses from around the globe with boosting revenue, increasing brand awareness, and providing an updated content marketing channel. Now is an ideal time to start a podcast, whether you’re a brand, a hobbyist, a non-profit, or someone with a message to share.
How does one get started with podcasting?
Before you begin your podcast, take a step back and consider “why”. Ask yourself questions such as what do you want the world to know about you? What are you hoping to motivate your audience to do?
Here are a few reasons why people start podcasts:
- Thought leadership
- Create fresh content
- Brand awareness
- Grow a new or existing audience
Once you have determined your “why”, it’s time to find out if there is an audience that is interested in your podcast idea. What type of podcast listener are you looking for? What demographics, hobbies, social media platforms and behaviors do they have? This will help you decide what type of content you wish to share and whether you are sharing it with the right audience.
When it comes to the length of a podcast episode, there is only one correct answer: it depends! There is no “one-size-fits-all” duration, and the length will be determined by a variety of factors. Podcasts can range in length from a few minutes to a few hours. Most podcasts, though, are between 20 and 40 minutes long. But remember, you can do whatever seems appropriate for you and your listeners.
Other steps to launching your podcast include choosing a cool name for it, deciding on the format (episodic or serial), and obtaining your recording equipment. Although podcasting equipment can seem intimidating, a professional-sounding recording does not require a sophisticated setup. You may be surprised to learn that all you’ll probably need is a laptop, an internet connection, a USB microphone, headphones, and free recording software.
How do I determine and target my demographic of listeners?
Your first step is to consider your podcast’s niche when identifying your target audience. For example, podcasters within a specific industry will find that their target audience is easy to determine. What types of people work in your field? Is there a certain set of people who would listen to your podcast in that industry? That’s your target market.
If you already have a few listeners, try to learn more about them. If you can figure out what they have in common, you will have a better idea of how to define and expand your audience. If you have social media followers, you can quickly define your target demographic.
Podcast surveys are another excellent method to gather detailed information about your listeners. Nearly every well-known podcast conducts annual listener surveys, and you should as well. Using Google Forms, Survey Monkey, or other similar tools to collect surveys is a quick and easy method to see who is listening to your podcast. Knowing the key demographics of your podcast listener is usually one of the easiest and most accurate methods to define your audience.
Where do I post my podcast?
When it comes to podcasting, it’s not as simple as recording your audio and uploading it to iTunes or Spotify. You will first need to choose a podcast hosting service, which is similar to the process of choosing the best hosting platform for your website. Platforms that host podcasts, however, store and broadcast your audio content while helping you grow your audience.
TechRadar shares a useful list of the top podcasting hosting providers of 2022. Among these are BuzzSprout, which is a top platform for new podcasters and is one of the easiest to use. Podbean is an excellent choice for price conscious users. Libsyn offers unlimited bandwidth and is one of the oldest podcast hosting services. Learn more about these and other top podcast hosting services on TechRadar’s website: https://www.techradar.com/best/podcast-hosting.
What topics are most popular?
As of 2021, over 850,000 podcasts, totaling over forty-eight million episodes, were available online. With that in mind, it is reasonable to assume that there is a podcast for almost any topic you can think of.
Disctopia, a podcast hosting platform and streaming service, lists their top 100 podcast topics and ideas of 2022 on their site (https://disctopia.com/top-100-podcast-topics-and-ideas-of-2022/). The top five are as follows:
- Celebrity Interviews
- Q&A (Ask me Anything)
- Celebrity News
- True Crime
As a small business owner, you may be interested in subjects such as brand building and company management. Of course, there are dozens (if not hundreds!) of business-related podcasts as well! Feedspot provides an up-to-date list of the top business-related podcasts from thousands of podcasts rated by traffic, social media followers, domain authority, and freshness. Here are their top five recommendations:
- HBR IdeaCast
- The $100 MBA Show
- TED Talks Business
- TED Business
- After Hours | Harvard Business Review
You can find the rest of the best on their site: https://blog.feedspot.com/business_podcasts/
Over to you
Anyone, regardless of experience level, can start a podcast. All you need is real enthusiasm for your subject and something useful to offer your audience!
Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger