280 podcasts later, I’ve learnt some lessons on how to make a podcast as a key part the marketing strategy for a solopreneur

By Jim James

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Show podcast

There is a lot of power and potential in creating podcasts, and with hard work, you can produce your own. Do keep in mind though that a common problem encountered when it comes to content creation would be the lack of return on investment.
Tips when creating a podcast
A good routine to start with would be producing a podcast six days a week. With this, you could produce as much as 4,100 minutes worth of content with this setup. A reasonable maximum time per episode would be 20 minutes. With the six-day-a-week production, you could have 2.84 days of final content. This may be a very long way to go from the experts’ 10,000 hours, but this is a good starting point. Here are some of the tips that you need if you are looking at creating podcasts:
Know the different podcast hosting platforms and technologies

Photo from Buzzsprout


You need to know helpful information and some technologies for creating podcasts. Always choose a hosting service that is easy to use. Libsyn is one of the many hosting platforms available. However, it’s interface and metrics are clunky and old-fashioned, and this platform does not give you audio distribution. It’s more of being a hosting web service.


A dedicated podcast platform would be Buzzsprout. They have a fantastic podcast that goes out once a week. Plus, they have a hub for learning and development. And so, Buzzsprout is an excellent platform to use. An advantage of Buzzsprout is that it links to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and several other smaller niche hosting platforms.


The cost of Buzzsprout per month varies depending on use. It’s $9 per month if you utilise the magic mastering tool which has smart adaptive leveling. You would need this tool because one of the commonly encountered problems at the beginning of interviewing for a podcast would be getting the mic levels right.  The Buzzsprout magic mastering tool helps sweeten the audio since it filters and gets rid of noise, hisses, and hums. This tool also has perfect loudness and true-peak targeting capacity. So, for $9 per month, Buzzsprout helps you overcome your lack of capability on the audio side.


Invest in a microphone and headset


Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash


Your microphone would be the workhorse of your podcasts. Having a really good microphone makes all the difference between picking up the deep, resonant quality of your voice or just carrying on with the narrow bandwidth of the cheaper microphones. One of the choices that you have for a good mic would be the Rode NT microphone. There is now a smaller version for as low as £80.


You need to invest in a microphone and a swing arm. With simple onboard microphones, you will not get the quality of audio that you want. Rode NT has a nice feature where users can plug the headset jack into the microphone to hear what you are speaking into the microphone through the headset in real-time. This helps avoid distortion. Moreover, this means that you get a better sense of what the sound is. This is why studio people have microphones on because you also avoid the feedback loop where you are speaking to a microphone. As it goes in the system, the microphone will play what you are speaking and what the system is playing back to you. It will be of big help on a fundamental level to get the technology parts correctly. For the headphones, a fantastic choice would be the Beats Headphones. Still, there are some less expensive options.


Determine your interview format


Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash


At some point, you would want to reach out to people to have some interviews with them as your new and fresh content. A common way to go about with interviews is you go through a list of questions and then edit the podcast afterward. However, this takes so long to edit, especially as people ask and then go back to the original question.


A good strategy for this is to have a new format that would only be 20 minutes. This makes it accessible to the podcast. By making it 20 minutes, editing will be much easier. It means that the interviews are with people on a who, what, why, where, and when setup. You can address those within 20 minutes quite quickly.


One of the best lessons to know on making your podcasts would be to make the output fixed. Set yourself a target time. Because if you do that, it makes a lot of the production questions easy to answer. When inviting guests on shows, limit how long their interview is going to be. With this, work can be done a lot more.


It is also good to follow the 80-20 rule. When podcasts go for a longer time, you will not have time to listen to it. With the 80-20 rule, you get to the point quickly. Have the guests explain who they are, what problems they solve for other business owners using communications, especially technology. Then, introduce that person to your audience and connect them.


In business public relations, it is essential to make an effective introduction. Then, get your guests and audience to understand what you want to carry forward, especially if the conversation is relevant for them. This is basically the same model for podcasts.


Have a good podcast editor


Be aware of podcast or audio editing software which are very difficult to use. GarageBand is not ideal for this task. This eats up over 1GB on your hard drive and makes massive audio files. Also, editing was complicated here. An editing software called Hindenburg has the dream audio editing. It publishes directly to Buzzsprout and other platforms.


Apart from those two, Descript creates a transcript in real time. This means that editing afterward is very quick, especially if you have two guests. You can record in Zoom and import the two tracks as separate tracks in Descript, and it will automatically transcribe those. Another option would be that you record directly into the software itself. Descript can enable you to create a podcast with the text being written in front of you while you speak. This could be distracting, and you can get lost reading what you are saying simultaneously.

Hindenburg is an exquisite software with $50 for the software, and Buzzsprout has a $50 discount off that. But the Descrip platform enables you to get the transcript straightaway and also do the editing, which saves you a massive amount of time. So, determine what the trade-off will be for you in the workflow: the elegance of Hindenburg vs. the timing of Descript.


Consider creating audiograms


You can create an audiogram using Repurpose. When you upload content from Hindenburg or from Descript into Buzzsprout, you can create an audiogram directly using Repurpose for over $20 a month, and then that feed will go automatically to your YouTube account.


Buzzsprout also enables users to create a one-second audiogram. Basically, that’s a video of the audio. This means it can go on to specific platforms like YouTube that do not handle audio files. And also, it means it can be used on Pinterest as a video. The benefit of these audiograms is promotion. It is a relatively cost-effective way of using the content.
Make your content easily shareable

Photo by Maxim Ilyahov on Unsplash


This brings us to the next real lesson when it comes to creating a podcast. It would be best to get content onto the page quickly and easily in a way that can be shared very easily. If you want to write an article that’s 1,000 words, it will take you maybe an hour to do so. Speaking to the mic and having the article written as you go along gives you the content straightaway, which is the audio content. So, this is an efficient use of time.


For a 15- to 20-minute podcast, that will be around 1,500 to 2,000 words. With some editing, that will produce around 1,000 words. With the 20 minutes of recording, you also have half an hour or so of preparation and half an hour of editing afterward. So, you can get both a 20-minute podcast that goes out as a video, along with a 1,000 word article.

Those transcribed articles then can go to your weekly newsletter, and you can build up your articles online. You can also post these articles on LinkedIn, which will help you with your social selling index. With this, you can be more discoverable and place yourself in positions of authority.


Podcast creation: Amplification in SPEAK|pr

In summary, when it comes to podcast creation and the SPEAK|pr methodology, it’s all about amplification or sending content to people when and where they want to receive it and the platform they want to receive on. You can even reach the world with your podcasts. That is remarkable as technology shows us what it can do. It is also heartening to know how technology can liberate businesses to get noticed by people worldwide.

What about monetisation? The cost of $300 to share all this knowledge and introduce these other platforms is excellent value. In time, when you get your downloads up, then you will be able to start to monetize and make some money back. You can even add a PayPal link to your podcasts and get funding for what you’re doing.

Don’t forget: it’s essential to include transcripts in your podcasts, because the native discovery of podcasts doesn’t work. People don’t just find them. They have to read about them, and then they go to them. Luckily, there is an audience for all kinds of content. If you’ve got a lot of time during the lockdown, then tune into a podcast, and if you think about how you might benefit from listening to a podcast, maybe jump on the mic yourself.


This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast The UnNoticed Show. You can listen here.



Cover Photo by Axel Mencia on Unsplash