There are a gazillion podcasts out there. Maybe even eleventy gazillion.
But if you've got something you want to say, podcasting is one of the most accessible ways to have your voice heard. If you're keen to get started, we've got the tips from the pros to make sure you stand out from the crowd.
We had a quick chat with Guy Scott-Wilson, the Content Director for Australia at Acast - and he had some great advice.
Giz: So I want to make a podcast - what's the first step?
GSW: The time has never been better to create a podcast. Podcast listenership is growing rapidly across the globe and particularly in Australia, with an estimated 17 per cent of Australians listening to a podcast in the last month. There are many reasons for this growth, but ultimately it comes down to the tradition of great storytelling, in which Australia is steeped so heavily. A good story, told well, is always going to resonate.
The best place to start if you want to create a podcast is to find your passion. What are you evangelical about? What excites you? Whether sport, comedy, true crime or health, if it excites you, there is a very good chance it will find an audience amongst likeminded people. One of the things I love about podcasts is their ability to bring cultural niches together. So really it’s about having a passion, or an idea, and understanding what you can bring to that story that's unique.
What's the perfect length for a podcast?
GSW: Because podcasts are so powerful at speaking to niche audiences, there is no blanket rule to the ideal length they should be. What works for one audience type, might not work for another, and what works for one genre of content might be ill-suited to another.
If you are trying to determine the right length for your content you should start by thinking about your audience; who are they, and where and when do they listen? You should also think about the subject; is it an engaging story, or a dense topic? Or is it snackable?
One of the benefits of using a platform like Acast to host and distribute your podcast is that it can provide rich data on who is listening to content, what the completion rates are and where people are dropping-off. This is invaluable in allowing Content Creators to finesse their style, potentially amend their episode length, and consistently deliver content that their audience will love.
Do I need professional recording equipment?
GSW: Sound is incredibly important when it comes to podcasting as it’s such an intimate experience for a listener. With the overwhelming majority of podcasts being consumed on a smartphone, people tend to listen on headphones or on an in-car stereo which is unforgiving of poor sound quality. Even the least discerning listener will be distracted by bad sound or microphone pops, and so there are quite a few gadgets you’ll need to get your hands on to deliver that all-important warm, clean sound.
In terms of a standard set-up, you will need a microphone (or more than one if you will have guests) a microphone arm, a shock mount, pop filter, headphones, editing software, and audio interface and mixer and, of course, a digital recorder.
It sounds like a lot, but quality doesn't have to cost the earth, and there are some great pieces of equipment available at reasonable prices these days. Ultimately, it's a personal decision based on what you can afford and how far you want to take the podcasting. If it's going to be a casual hobby then you’ll be fine with some entry-level equipment, but if you are looking to commercialise your work then it's worth investing in decent gear as potential advertisers will expect quality.
Where does my podcast need to live?
GSW:A podcast host provides the RSS feed that your listener will use to access your catalogue of content. While there are myriad options available here, we recommend you speak to a platform like Acast who can help you grow your audience, provide you with rich data to help you finesse your style and, ultimately, help you turn your passion into a commercial success.
How do I get people to notice my podcast? How do I promote it?
GSW:When it comes to gaining listeners for your podcast, social media is key. It's worth focusing not only your own social media profile, but also on that of your guests or those who feature on the podcast. Featuring guests with large followings of their own, and asking them to promote your show, is a great way of finding new listeners.
In addition, if you know other active podcasters, it's worth pursuing a cross-promotion agreement with them, especially if they have a similar audience or topic. There are some great examples from the UK and US where cross-promotion has helped establish some big names in the podcasting world. It feels authentic too, and people love to feel like they are tapping into a community of creators.
Finally, ask people to subscribe so it's easier for them to find your podcast. Ask them to review it as well, as there’s a strong correlation between the number of reviews a show has and the size of the audience.
And some final tips from GSW:
"Don't forget why you got into podcasting – to have fun," GSW explains. "If you sound like you're having a good time, or that you're passionate about the story you're telling, people will love it."
"When audiences discover a podcast they love they tend to come back."
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