Podcasts have been making audio content great (and super popular in Hong Kong) again which is good news for content makers – like you. Yes you.
If you run a business, it probably means you’re an expert in something. You might even give talks and presentations about your topic already – at the very least you pitch to clients I bet! So let’s take a look at why you might want to create a podcast and how to do it. If you’re already experienced and want some tips on remote recording read this!
listened to podcasts in last month
Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019 >
Jan / Feb 2019 online poll of ~2000 people in each country: UK, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, South Africa
Across all our countries, the main reasons for listening to podcasts are to keep updated about topics of personal interest (46%) and to learn something new (39%)
In the coming months, we’ll start including podcasts in Google Search results so you can listen to podcasts directly from the search results page or save an episode for later. ”
Google Announcement 09 May 2019
This is a big, BIG deal!
OK, I don’t need to tell you about your topic – you’ve probably got one because you are a professional at something – lawyer, economist, designer, etc. I also don’t need to tell you that creating content is good for a number of reasons, but I will!
- Demonstrate your expertise
- Help clients solve a problem or find an answer
- Let Google and other search engines know what it is you are an expert at (SEO)
- Create more ways for a potential client to find you (CHANNELS)
Here’s an example of a podcast my client Risky Women does – it’s niche and influential and with a cause!
Now if you are able to chat to a client about what you do, you can probably make a podcast. And like any content, it will be best if you try to publish frequently. So while you’re planning what your podcast will be…plan for the next episodes too. Is it a once a week chat covering legal issues around immigration? Is it a monthly interview with a client or giant in your industry?
What I’m going to outline here is some basics for making a podcast in-house. If you have the budget to do so, you can definitely spend a penny on equipment and professional recording and mixing. I am going to guess if you are reading this, it means you are new to podcasting and want to try it before investing too much!
While high quality recording equipment is certainly available and you might want to invest in that later, the recording device in your mobile phone is actually quite good. You could consider buying a mic to plug into it your your computer too or get some tips from NPR about recording on your phone. Hold the phone a few inches away from the speaker’s mouth or invest in a cheap lapel microphone.
You could also consider multitasking here and record a video of the interview with your phone and use it for both a video and a podcast – although I bet lots of us would rather take the visual pressure off by just using the audio!
You will need to edit your recording for quality, length, format, and add a standard intro (who/what/legal disclaimer) and outro (get in touch) to create each episode. Audacity is a free software you can use to do that and the have lots of tutorials for mixing. If you did get a microphone for your computer you can actually use Audacity to record and test too. There are some things you’ll need to learn like how to export to MP3 which is the standard for podcast hosts and channels but you can probably get the hang of it if you want to self-produce.
If you use a podcast host like Anchor.fm you can actually do the recording and mixing there though I think there is probably some argument for using a more widely used tool like Libsyn which doesn’t require you to watermark our cover art. We’ll discuss in a minute…
When you are ready to export your episode audio to MP3, one of the steps will by to input your metadata with ID3 tags which are what tell people who’ve downloaded your MP3 or platforms you care about like iTunes, what’s in your recording. Here are some tips from The Audacity to Podcast:
- Track: your episode number. This will help sort episodes chronologically if a player doesn’t read the published or modified dates
- Title: your episode number and title, just like your blog post. For example, “AYJW027: Courageous (2011)”
- Artist: the name(s) of the episode host(s) or name of your network
- Album: the title of your podcast (remember, this is your whole show, not just an individual episode)
- Year: the year of release.
- Genre: pick what is most appropriate or “Podcast”
- Comment: a short summary of your episode. This could be the same as your WordPress excerpt, or simply the web address to your show notes
- Copyright: your copyright information. I recommend writing it like, “© 2011 D.Joseph Design”—note that “by” is not necessary, and the symbol should always precede the year. Not all tagging programs have this.
- URL: your shownotes web address. Not all tagging programs have this.
- Cover / picture / album art: your podcast cover art
Metadata is important when you want to list your podcast in a directory later on, so take the time to make sure you have as much information as possible.
Name and Cover Art
Choose a name for your podcast that tells people what they are going to get – if it’s about law in Hong Kong, work that into the name!
You’ll also need to create a great podcast cover and preferably even episode covers. First and foremost though the eye catching podcast artwork is a requirement and so are the specs to create them otherwise some directories won’t even accept your feed. As you are designing, make sure it will look good in a very small size as when you see a thumbnail on a list in Spotify on your phone…that’s pretty small. Here’s some guidance but be sure to check at the time you publish if these are still correct and iTunes hasn’t changed something!
- Image must be 1400 x 1400 pixels at minimum
- Image must be in .jpg or .png format
- Image should look good—and readable—at 300 x 300 pixels
Once you’ve got your MP3 editing and tagged, you need a place to host it. This is the place where your files will live and where your key RSS feed will be created. From this location you can distribute it to your website, directories like iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, YouTube etc. There are many in the market and the one I have experience with is Libsyn. Here are some that are probably most popular, lowest price, and most user friendly:
- Libsyn: One of the oldest dedicated podcast hosting sites and considered to be one of the best
- Podbean: Quite established and good but I wasn’t really impressed with their customer service
- Anchor.fm: Newer player and has lots of in app recording, collaborating, editing options but make sure they represent your brand well as they will run advertising in your podcast
- Soundcloud: This is well known and used but I don’t actually recommend it for business purposes as it’s very geared toward music content
Distribute Distribute Distribute
Now that you have a home for your podcasts you have an RSS feed. And that’s what you need to get on iTunes which is the most important platform for podcasts at the time of this writing. All of the hosts above will walk you through what you need and even automate your feed out to the various channels you choose. I’d recommend at least these:
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- Facebook (Libsyn can automatically convert your podcasts in video)
That Google announcement saying they will allow podcasts to be shown/played directly in search results (similar to how video is now) is a really big deal that will help with content distribution. But there are things you need to do to get your SEO ready for that:
- Your podcast must have a website with an RSS feed embedded.
- If you can afford it, get every episode transcribed
- Make sure your podcast is on Google Podcasts (different from Google Play)
Ready to Invest a Little?
Sara Tang, Hong Kong Sex educator, coach and content creator, runs a successful podcast Better In Bed and has some tips for enhancing what you’ve got!
- For more professional sound quality, record your podcast on separate audio tracks (i.e. one audio file for each voice). My current set up is a multi-track audio recorder like the Zoom H5 and 3 or 4 Samson QU microphones.
- If you have no desire to learn or outsource the technical side of editing a podcast or are finding editing to time consuming, then try an automated podcast editor like Alitu.
- For remote recordings of your podcast when your guest is not in the same place geographically and you still want professional audio quality, platforms like Zencastr and Squadcast can help. But make sure you have a rock solid Internet connection.
- Show notes can help to market your podcast on your website and on other platforms. Good show notes usually include the following:
- main themes and highlights of the episode, usually timestamped
- any additional information about the guest
- links to any books, movies, resources that you mention in the podcast so listeners can access later
- Memorable quotes from the episode. They can also be easily shared on social media.
- You can see an example of my show notes here.
- Making an audio transcript of your podcast can help reach new audiences and help with SEO. Scribie gives you the option of using automated transcription (US$0.10 per minute) and manual transcription (US$0.80 per minute). Or Otter.ai uses AI for live transcriptions. (Basic plan offers 600 free mins per month)
More Reading /
- Lifehacker: How to Start Your Own Podcast (more detailed)
- Toby Hazlewood: How to create and launch your own podcast in 5 easy steps
- NPR: Starting Your Podcast: A Guide For Students
- Seach Engine Land: Google now rolling out podcast results in search
- SEO Hacker: Google Will Show Podcasts in SERPS – I/O 2019
- Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019
- Music Oomph: Podcast Statistics (2019)
- SCMP: The podcast renaissance has reached Hong Kong: eight to entertain and educate you this summer