Hi, my name is Matt Siltala, and I HATE writing.
As I sit here and begin this guide I can’t help but feel a little weird as I am not a blogger or “guide writer”; I hate writing (we even talked about how much we hate it here). It was the fact that so many people have spoken to me about how to get started with podcasting over the last couple of years that led me to finally put down in writing what I and by proxy (Dave & I) have learned.
Some Truth Many Won't Tell You
Before we really jump into it, I feel I need to point out that the Business of Digital Podcast is not perfect. Our equipment and set up is not perfect. We know this, and it is okay. If you wait for everything to be “perfect,” you will never begin a podcast.
Point being — not everything has to be perfect or in place to get started. I remember the first few episodes we actually used Skype to record. We have moved on to better technology as we grew and got smarter, but the most important thing is WE STARTED.
Choosing a Co-Host: Skillsets and Personalities
Here is some raw truth you didn't know — both Dave and I hate writing, but once you get us talking, it is hard to shut us up. We have been great friends for a long time, and it just felt like a perfect fit to start a podcast together. The friendship fosters a comfortable feel for our guest and audience.
We both bring different strengths and skillsets to the table — this is critical if you want to meet the needs of an audience and have a broad range of topics to discuss.
- The creative and visual side come from me. I love photography, and I own an agency that focuses on creative visual content. I have a background in Radio. I was a DJ and was a morning show co-host.
- Dave is active in the Digital Marketing trenches with clients and is able to manage and update the site and other technical aspects. He is also a great yin to my yang when we have guests and will throw in other questions and angles that can help others with in-depth insights about the day to day of things.
So a successful formula includes:
- Actually liking each other, even if your opinions differ.
- Having similar and yet different skillsets and talents.
- Being able to divide and conquer the tasks and work as best as you can.
- Schedules that work at least often enough to make your show work.
Finding a Podcasting Angle
Dave and I have been podcasting for over two years now, so we jumped into it at just the right time. In fact, I think we are hitting the second wave of Podcasting popularity. It has been an amazing way to keep myself in the industry eye without having to do the things I hate the most (writing).
The most crucial step is figuring out what your angle is. For Dave and I, we wanted to keep it simple. We decided to keep our podcasts around 20 minutes, so if you are commuting or taking a jog, it is just about the perfect amount of time to listen to our entire podcast. We also wanted to make sure we didn’t bore you to death with lengthy obnoxious introductions and ramblings.
One of the things we hate the most is listening to a show from somewhere else, and it takes 45 min to even jump into the point or “meat” of the show.
Finding "Your" Audience
We really wanted to make sure we spoke to the mom and pops and small business owners that are new or somewhat new to the industry. In reality, we have been told by a lot of our veteran industry friends how insightful our podcast is, even to them. We just wanted to share the combined 20+ years of industry knowledge knocking around in our head.
We focus on providing solutions (for SEO, PPC, content marketing, local, outreach, social, etc.,) to those smaller mom and pop companies and smaller businesses that could never afford a marketing person, let alone a conference ticket.
Think of who your audience will be before you get started. Do they need you? What do they need to know? What can you offer them that hasn't been said before?
Podcasting is Content Marketing
The more I have jumped into the world of podcasting, I have found that there are so many “content marketing” opportunities it is insane. I absolutely consider Podcasting content marketing, but even beyond that, there are so many opportunities to take advantage of it, and hopefully, I will address all of that in this guide.
If anyone wants to learn more about my background and why I wanted to podcast, check it out here.
Let's Talk Podcast Promotion
If you are not sure how to promote your podcast once you get it going let me address that.
Radio Guest List and Podcast Guests are great places to look at being guests on. You can get a ton of exposure for your podcast by being a guest on other shows. Also, anyone you have on your show will more than likely do everything they can to help promote their episode, thus exposing you to their network.
It is ok to hit up a friend; they typically want to help. I try not to spam my network of friends and loved ones, but once I got yelled at by a friend that told me he didn’t know that I had a podcast and had been listening to it. He said there were so many episodes that answered precisely the things he had wanted to know. He said, “You can let me know what you are up to. In fact, I will even share it with everyone in my network”.
So the point being — don’t hesitate to hit up your personal networks in getting the word out.
The only warning I would give you is don’t be these annoying like the people below when pitching to get on podcasts (and we get so many we, of course, did a podcast on — it #85 if interested).
Things to Include in a Podcast Pitch
Here are some great examples of things that we recommend you include in your pitch:
What can you add to the show? What can you help educate the audience on?
An audience-first approach — make it educational and interesting for their audience (it isn't about you).
Link to a page or a list of places that have had you as a guest; also include you are published.
Get to the point; life is short.
Have quality equipment and state that you have a decent setup that will sound well.
Link to an about page (on your site or even LinkedIn).
Again, focus on how you being a guest on the podcast can help their audience.
Podcast Factors to Consider Before You Start
Whatever your plan is, there are several key questions you need to consider first, such as:
How often will you publish?
How long will each episode be (minutes)?
At what point will you have 100 plays per episode? 1,000? 5,000? 10,000?
Where is your site or do you not want a website?
What can you afford each month?
What factors can impact your podcasting planning and schedule?
Dave and I wanted to be very general in the Digital Marketing space. We wanted to be able to have both HIGH and LOW-level conversations about topics, but we always want to keep in mind the “mom and pop” types out there listening. We never wanted to create a podcast for our peers; we wanted to create a podcast for the types of people that listen to our peers.
- What is going to make your podcast stand out?
- What is going to make your podcast different from literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of other ones similar?
- What does YOUR show have that will bring in the listeners?
You need to nail these things down before beginning along with the things I mentioned above. Think about the type of person that will be listening to your content. How will they be listening to it? At the office, running, driving to work? Tailor to those types of audiences and then answer all the questions I have broken down.
The Technical Side of Podcasting
Make sure you have your podcast hosted on your own website. I will not debate this; the old school SEO in me knows this is the right move. I repeat DO NOT use a 3rd party site. The more you get into podcasting, the more you will see how amazing the exposure can be and the rankings you can grab. Remember, podcasting is content, and the transcripts (when properly formatted) provide unique content that can result in a variety of ranking opportunities in the SERPs. And, wee all know the search engines love quality content.
There are a ton of tools that can be used with Podcasting.
Disclaimer — I am not paid to promote any of these tools. I am only sharing what is out there and what we use.
Podcast Hosting Options
PowerPress is a great Podcast software that many people use.
Seriously Simple is what The Business of Digital currently uses.
File Hosting options all have their own Pros & Cons. AWS, SoundCloud, and Web Host are the most common ways to go for those just looking to store their files somewhere.
Podcast hosting options are plentiful. There are so many options that we recorded a show on this topic because the best solution for people really “depends” on several different factors (more than I can break down in one post).
What works for Dave and me:
We use Google sheets to plan everything out. It is a free and simple system. Both Dave and I have access to this, and it is great for writing thoughts down that come about upcoming shows, or ideas for shows. It is also great to let you know what you have already podcasted about and helps you not to be too redundant.
Google Forms work really well for us in capturing guest information. It helps us be prepared, and it is also a nice little carrot to dangle for potential guests knowing they can drop a link and share whatever they want on their bio page with our listeners.
When it comes to ideation for podcasts, our strategy is all over the place. We have one centralized spreadsheet where we dump everything, but ideas can come from anywhere at any time. I will be in Amsterdam overlooking the most beautiful canal and see something that makes me text Dave and say, “This would make a good topic,” or I will see a meme that could work for us, etc. Basically, we are taking our real-world everyday lives and inserting them right into the show with ideas that come in real-time.
How to Record Podcasts
Still not sure you can Podcast, or worried that it is going to be too expensive? Let me show you a few of the costs involved, and you can answer that yourself.
ZOOM Series rock but are not cheap at $250-300. It does allow up to 4 people at a time, though.
Tascam DR-05 has 2 channels and is ~$100
Tascam DR-40 is 4 channels and is in the ~$175 range.
Zoom ZH1 H1 is in the ~$75 range if you can find it.
Add a microphone to your digital camera.
Or just use your phone(s) to record.
Offline Recording (desktop recording, etc.)
Skype (windows and apple)
When it comes to offline recording Phone/Apps, you have a ton of options. Check out this screenshot below for just a taste of what is out there. Depending on if you are Droid/Apple/Other, the options will change, but there will most certainly be many for you to pick from. For offline recording, you can also use Garageband (iTunes) or Audacity to edit and process your recordings.
Online recording options that range from free to $30 a month:
This is Cast
Conference Software such as Zoom.US
These are all-in-one options that will even host, record, process, analytics, automatic transcription, and give you the ability to include an intro and outro as you record (and more in some cases). Most include only some of those features, so figure out what matters to you and go from there.
We use Tryca.st but we are always continuing to evaluate our needs, thinking about what works best, and what is most cost-efficient.
I use the Blue Yeti mic and just a simple pair of earbuds that are plugged into the Yeti mic. You don’t have to go out and purchase expensive headphones if you don’t have the budget for it. I have a nice set of Bose noise-canceling headphones, but I still use my Apple Earbuds; they work well and are easy.
How to Promote Podcasts
So let's continue the discussion of how to get your podcast out there and attract guests.
- Start a Twitter Account.
- Be active.
- Share every new podcast.
- Share it again that day.
- Share it again that week.
- Schedule old episodes to share when timely, and when relevant to a trend or news.
- Start a page.
- Start a group.
- Share on your page & your timeline (if you didn’t delete it!)
- Share to your businesses page.
- Share to groups without spamming; Relevancy is critical.
- Use as answers to questions in groups and in your timeline.
LinkedIn/Beyond - If you are B2B, why wouldn’t you?
- Whatever groups you are active on, share there when you can.
- Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
- Forums, newsletters, emails.
Some Other Options
Be social (AND REAL) everywhere you can. Every time I take a trip, I try to have a branded podcast sticker and take a picture with it to share on our social channels. This strategy lets you share your branding in different locations without spamming, and it shows that you care about your listeners while keeping you relevant.
Side note: We created some stickers to help promote the show; it is funny how nobody these days will take a business card (it seems), but everyone is fighting over a sticker. I love that.
We try our best to take advantage of all the available channels, like adding our episodes to YouTube.
Dave and I include links to the podcasts and little blurbs anywhere we can. Here is an example of that podcast showing up on a personal page of Dave's on a business site:
The guests you have will often help you promote without prompting, but make sure to mention the benefit of them sharing their podcast episodes. And let your guests know when you will initially share their podcast so they can answer any questions that might pop up on social media.
Podcast Syndication Options and Tools
Alright, onto the most important thing I know you have been wondering. How do I get my episodes on iTunes, Spotify, or Google Play? Visit these sites below and sign up!
Itunesconnect.apple.com - and a guide.
Podcasters.Spotify.com (At least my kids think I am cool by being on Spotify)
Partners.stitcher.com - A great step-by-step instructions for Stitcher can be found here.
Three Helpful Apps and Directories
Some Final Thoughts
Remember to market your content; it is a simple reminder, but most forget to do the basics. If you have an opportunity, guest post somewhere and can mention your podcast. Take advantage of any opportunities that come your way.
You can make money podcasting. We didn’t get into Podcasting to make money. We wanted to remain relevant in our industry without having to blog or write (did I mention enough how much I hate writing and OMG can’t believe I got this far on this guide - my hand hurts). It has been great for guest opportunities, speaking engagements, or even posts like this one. As a bonus, we started making money by getting leads, making sales, and selling sponsorships for shows on the podcast.
My biggest advice would be to just jump in and get started. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. What I have learned is if your content is good enough, listeners are willing to look past little technical difficulties and enjoy consuming the content. We see so many positives from having a podcast that we could never mention all of them, but we hope we have shown you some of the opportunities that could benefit you.