Hosting a podcast is a great way to build your authority and showcase your expertise online. It helps you get your name out there and become a go-to expert in your niche.
But how do you actually start a podcast to grow your business? And why is this such an effective way to market yourself?
Table of Contents
- How Podcasts Grow Your Business
- Simple Tech Setup (with Product Recommendations)
- Growing Your Podcast Audience
- Become a Podcast Guest
How Podcasts Grow Your Business
If you’ve ever sat down and listened to a recording of someone talking about a topic in-depth, you’ve probably walked away thinking, “That person is an expert on that topic.”
And you’d be right!
When someone presents information you need to you with confidence (especially when they have things like data or studies or years of experience to back them up), we almost instinctively want to learn more or work with them in some way.
When you start a podcast and release episodes regularly, you’re effectively claiming your space as an expert in that field.
Your podcast builds your authority and creates a conversation around you where you are the go-to in your field. People trust those who they see as experts, and frankly, hosting a podcast is a great way to show that you know what you’re talking about.
Podcasts are also a great way to connect with potential clients—and they’re a great vehicle for sharing stories about previous clients you’ve worked with!
When you host a podcast, you have the opportunity to share your story and connect with your audience on a personal level. This builds the foundation of relationships that lead to sales down the road.
Simple Tech Setup (with Product Recommendations)
I’m in the camp of people who believe in keeping things stupid simple. I’m also a big supporter of minimally viable everything.
With that in mind, let me share with you my quick ‘n dirty list of podcast essentials. I’ve included product recommendations, and these links are affiliate links so I may get a commission at no cost to you if you click and make a purchase.
I should also add a disclaimer that there are some MAC specific things on this list, like my recording software. So keep that in mind as you think about what this list would look like for you.
Stupid Simple Tech Setup for Podcast Beginners
I’ve got a Macbook Air because I worked at Mailchimp where we used Apple everything. Garageband comes pre-installed, and I’ve always used just that. I find it simple and easy with a lot of free information available online if I run into any issues.
That said, I do make sure to choose the Narration style specifically for my audio input when I’m recording podcast episodes. I find it helps me sound clear without so much background noise.
I honestly didn’t put as much thought into the microphone as I did the soundproofing (which I’ll talk about later). For me, it was slightly less important than the sound/noise control.
Make sure you grab a mic with a pop filter to cut out some of the weird letter sounds we make when talking. I opted for a mic from Amazon that was simple and budget friendly under $25.
Because I have a Macbook, I also needed a little USB to Lightning Port/USB-C converter to allow my microphone to plug right into my laptop.
This one can either be a room like your closet (those clothes legitimately help reduce noise) or a simple soundbox. I’ll bet you can imagine what I chose! This one begs for a bit more information, so I’ve got more info and pictures below.
Intro and outro—
Once you’ve got your tech set up, it’s time to record an intro and outro. This is essentially your podcast’s theme song.
Listen to other podcasts in your niche to get a feel for what you like and how you’ll stand out. At its simplest, your music should represent how you want your listeners to feel. Make sure to find or purchase royalty-free or commercial use music. I got mine at Pixabay.
Your intro should say who you are, what you do, and what your listeners can expect in each episode. Then your outro should wrap up the show and tell listeners where to go or what to do next.
To make creating even easier, I created a project template in Garageband where my Intro and outro audio snippets are already imported, so I can just open it up, record, save as a new project, and export the latest episode!
That’s it! As you get more experienced and your show grows, you can absolutely upgrade any part of your setup.
Since starting, my tech has all stayed the same, but I have upgraded my workflow. Now, I have a full Clickup board to plan podcast episodes right alongside my editorial content.
But before I talk about growing your podcast, let me share a little more about my recording box. For two reasons.
- I actually took photos of it.
- I’m ridiculously proud of it, but no one ever sees it. So now you can!
Building a Podcast Recording Box
To build my podcast recording studio, I actually lined a storage container with soundproofing foam and hot glued it in place with my mini hot glue gun. I left a space in the foam for my microphone to fit into, and I record all of my episodes using this little portable studio.
It’s simple and admittedly a little ugly, but I love it, and it gets the job done pretty well if I do say so myself.
Here’s a recent episode I created using this simple setup so you can hear the sound quality.
Not too bad, right?!! Listen to more episodes here.
The best part is that it’s a storage tote! When I’m done, I snap the lid on, and it goes back into my closet. I don’t have to worry about having something big or permanent, and I can record in virtually any room in the house.
If I need some privacy or am recording a guest episode, I can take my “studio” to my upstairs office. But if all the kids are asleep, and I’m recording in the evening, I can head downstairs to my actual office-office.
Wherever I record, I still sound the same!
Growing Your Podcast Audience
A little birdy told me that a podcast is most effective when it actually has listeners.
It’s me. I’m the birdy.
And I’m definitely telling you that your podcast is more effective when you’ve got listeners actually doing the listening. It’s just the facts, y’all.
That’s not to say that you should stop creating episodes if no one is listening. No! Instead, work to grow your audience and market your podcast more effectively. It takes time to build something amazing, so be patient.
You can even make your podcast part of your content repurposing strategy (that’s a conversation for another day).
Here are a few tips for growing your podcast audience:
- Start with a great cover art design; this will make your podcast stand out in directories like iTunes. Opt for simple over ornate. Remember, most people will be viewing the podcast cover image on a smaller mobile screen.
- Use keyword-rich descriptions to help people find your show when they’re searching for topics related to what you’re talking about, but don’t forget to write for humans, too. Hook their interest and give them a reason to listen.
- Promote each episode across your social channels and on your website or blog—be sure to include links back to your podcast so people can easily subscribe. I have an entire page dedicated to my podcast where I have a podcast player showing latest episodes, episodes shownotes, and each episode embedded into the shownotes post.
- Collaborate with other podcasters in your niche—this helps you tap into their audience and grow yours at the same time! Look for hosts who regularly talk about topics related to your expertise and who have an audience of people similar to your ideal client.
- Reach out to guests who would be a great fit for your show. This not only helps you get high-quality content, but it amplifies the reach of your podcast. Not only are you able to provide content for your audience, but you’re able to leverage the audience of others.
Become a Podcast Guest
I mentioned this tip above, but it deserves a bit more digging into because it is such an effective way to grow your podcast.
And your business for that matter.
The first step to becoming a desirable podcast guest, start by being a desirable podcast listener. It’s important to show that you’re interested and invested in what the host is doing. This means you should:
- Listen to multiple episodes of the show. Make sure it’s a good fit for the type of show you want to not only appear in but promote to your audience.
- Take note of the topics covered, areas of focus, and tone of each episode.
- Determine if your story or message would be a good fit for their audience. (If you don’t have it defined yet, define what story and message you want to share on podcasts in general.)
- If you have questions about the guest application process, reach out to the show’s producer or host—they’ll be more than happy to chat with you about whether or not you’d be a good fit. Often, shows that accept guests have a page with information for interested people, so make sure to check for that first.
- Follow up after your appearance and thank the host for having you on. Then be sure to share any assets provided to you and give them a shoutout on social media or emails.
- Create a one sheet that lists your bio, a little about you, and topics you’d like to talk about. This helps hosts know quickly if you’d be a good fit. Bonus—it also can help you nail your own pitch process!
Quick tip! Most podcast hosts will want to have video on during your interview. This makes it easier to have a conversation and repurpose the video on social media or YouTube. Don’t make the same mistake I did when I first started! Show up to your guest recording sessions camera ready to increase your exposure.
All in all, starting a podcast is as simple or as complex as you want it to be. You can start with a fancy setup and a sound proofed room and all the fixin’s. Or you can be in the stupid simple camp like me and keep it easy breezy.
The most important thing is that you’re getting out there and creating a space to lead your community. That’s what sets you up as an expert and helps you build valuable authority as the no-brainer go-to.