two people recording a podcast
With proper planning and equipment, creating a podcast can open you and your business up to a wider community and boost engagement. — Getty Images/mixetto

Podcasts are now gaining traction among small businesses, with many creative entrepreneurs channeling their talents through talk-show-like series on niche topics that help position them as experts and build community around their businesses.

In fact, according to Statista, as of 2019, there were around 86 million podcast listeners in the U.S., with forecasted growth to reach around 132 million by 2022.

Podcasts date back to the early 2000s. However, Statista found that far more consumers (64%) are aware of podcasting today than in 2006 (22%). If you have a knack for speaking and a theme or issue you’re passionate about, consider creating your own podcast. Here are five steps to get started.

[Read: Is a Podcast Right for Every Business?]

Map out all the details

Before you dive in, consider how you might go about your podcast. What is your main topic? Who is your target audience? Will it be a one-(wo)man show, or will it be a collaborative project? Will you have guests physically in your studio, or will they call in? How long will each episode be?

The answers to these questions will help you decide which tech you might need and how to map out your content.

Invest in the right equipment

The most important device to invest in is, of course, a microphone. According to Buffer, you should buy one that is front-firing with good rejection, meaning it blocks out the noise around you and ensures your voice is clearly projected. However, you might also consider buying a headphone/microphone headset — especially if you’re recording with other people, like co-hosts or guests.

Additionally, don’t forget to purchase podcasting software, so you’re able to properly edit the content you record. The type you decide to buy will depend on your devices. For instance, a Mac might require different software than a PC.

You’ll also want to invest in a podcasting host where you’ll store and distribute your content. Do your due diligence by browsing your options before deciding which to choose, and be sure to consider your needs as a podcaster. Since you’re likely new to the scene, you might select a quick and simple host over a more advanced, growth-enhancing platform. However, the decision is entirely up to you and your goals/intentions of your podcast.

[Read: 5 Ways to Increase Your Business Revenue]

If you have a knack for speaking and a theme or issue you’re passionate about, consider creating your own podcast.

Plan — and practice — your episodes in advance

To maintain consistency in branding and posting, you’ll want to plan your content in advance, so you have a schedule to follow. Create a content calendar that, ideally, maps out episode topics weeks in advance, so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. Then, continuously revisit your calendar to rearrange or add any content you might think of along the way.

For each episode, you’ll also want to jot down a basic script so you have some type of format to follow, delegating certain periods of time to certain discussions. For instance, for the first minute or two, you might introduce your podcast and the issue you’re covering that day. Then, you might dive into the discussion subtopic by subtopic. Perhaps, at some point, you’ll break for a sponsorship announcement. You don’t have to follow the script verbatim, but it’ll help keep you on track.

Record and edit

Once you record a podcast episode, upload it to your device (preferably a computer over a smartphone for quality purposes) and edit it in your software. Make sure the audio sounds clear and all other aspects — the intro, outro, music, etc. — fit together seamlessly. According to LIVE365, this can be achieved through editing techniques like cutting, arranging and fading audio files, as well as adjusting volume levels.

If you feel too inexperienced to edit your own podcast, you can also outsource the work to an expert.

Upload to podcasting host and submit to directories

Once you’re finished editing, export your audio file and upload it to your podcasting host. Make sure you come up with catchy titles and detailed descriptions so listeners will feel more obliged to hitting “play.”

Also, be sure to submit your podcast to directories, or platforms like Spotify and iTunes that list your series of episodes so they’re accessible to listeners.

[Read: 6 Examples of Successful Inbound Marketing Campaigns]

Starting a podcast is no simple feat; but once you get the hang of it, it can be a rewarding project for your brand, both emotionally and financially. By following these steps, you’ll gain a following in no time.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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