- Starting a podcast can be a valuable tool for entrepreneurs to build their brand, network, and generate sales leads.
- There are many different podcast formats, styles, and flavors to choose from, pick the one that works for you and your audience.
- Use a podcast to learn and connect with people, rather than make money or get famous.
- Concentrate on producing evergreen content and choose a format that aligns with your topic, style, and goals.
- Consistency is key.
- Magma has an in-house podcast service for portfolio companies…all you have to do is record your episode and we’ll take care of the rest.
We believe every startup should have a podcast, as podcasts help you build brands and networks and generate leads efficiently. Founders often resist, fearing a massive time commitment like the Joe Rogan or Tim Ferriss podcast.
The truth is that there are so many different formats, styles, and flavors of podcasts that you can choose from so there’s no excuse not to have a podcast for your company, even if you as the founder decide you don’t want to do it.
There are many pros and cons to having a founder-led vs a non-founder-led podcast, and you should make the decision based on your own goals, the company’s goals, availability, and interests.
Why founders should start a podcast
“Think about what you can learn even if you fail at podcasting.”
You shouldn’t start a podcast to make money or get famous. Podcasts are the perfect excuse to reach out to the people you look up to in a way that makes them look good and makes them willing to talk to you. It's a great way to expand relationships and connect with passionate people with similar interests not to mention potential clients or investors.
It also can help improve your communication skills and boost your confidence, both important skills for a founder.
Launching a podcast requires dedication and hard work to bring it all together. Tim Ferriss advises recording five episodes and publishing them before listening to them back, as a way to get feedback quickly. Don't be afraid if your first few recordings seem rough everyone gets better with practice, just like with all skills.
If you're ready to dive in and start your own podcast, here are the steps to get you on the right track.
Why do you want to start a podcast?
What is your goal? Is it to get clients for your business? Meet interesting people? Learn? Once you know why you are starting your podcast, you can figure out the concept.
Figuring out a concept
Once you know your goals, take a deep dive into your areas of interest, passions, and expertise. Ask yourself, what topics do I know a lot about? What are some subjects I enjoy learning about? Who do I want to get to know better? Who do I want to connect with? Make sure it’s something that you won’t get bored with over time.
Tip: Concentrate on producing evergreen content that remains valuable over time by offering information, knowledge, or resources to your audience that will be relevant in months or years after publishing. Each episode is like you having a conversation with a listener, but asynchronously.
Define the structure of the episodes
It's important to choose a format that aligns with your topic, style, and goals. Try different options and find the one that works best for you and your audience. Here are the main styles we see and some of the defining features of each:
- Long-form interviews: If you want in-depth conversations this format allows you to explore topics in detail and provide a deep dive into your guest's expertise. A few great examples include The Tim Ferriss Show, The Frye Show, and The Knowledge Project.
- Medium interviews: If you're looking for quick hits of information that last 45 minutes or less and want to connect with different guests, short interviews may be the way to go. Crossing Borders and Startupeable, are two examples of medium interview podcasts.
- Story-based: This format is narrative-driven and takes the audience on a journey. How I Built This with Guy Raz and El Universo de Truora: Historia de un Startup are good references.
- Short updates: The LatamList Espresso, The Daily, and Up First use this format for breaking news or quick updates.
- Topics-based: This is a good option if you need to explore specific themes or topics in-depth. It allows you to delve into ideas and perspectives, providing a deeper understanding of the topic. "Securities" is a great example.
- Super short: 5-10 minute episodes to highlight a specific person or short story. These are great to meet potential clients and build a network.
These are just a few of the many styles you can try. Go to your favorite podcast platform and listen to different podcasts to get ideas that match your interests.
Length: Pick a time that fits with your format and goals.
When creating your podcast, choose the episode length that fits your format and your goals. Unless you love doing long interviews, we suggest keeping episodes between 20-40 minutes to capture people's attention during commutes, riding the subway, or traffic jams.
Frequency: Whatever you choose, consistency is key
Consistency is essential for building a successful podcast. Set realistic goals, and decide if you want to release episodes weekly, biweekly, or monthly. By establishing a consistent publishing schedule, you can build a loyal audience, credibility, and improve your podcast's discoverability.
“Once you’ve mastered the art of showing up, scaling it up, and increasing the scope is much easier once you’re already the kind of person who’s doing it every day”.
Music and sound effects
Music can effectively set a tone and establish a mood that creates a more engaging and immersive listener experience.
Platforms like Artlist, Premium Beat, and Epidemic Sound offer a wide variety of music tracks and you can easily search for music by genre, mood, and other criteria. There are plenty of royalty-free music platforms available where you can find the perfect sound for your show.
Don’t overthink your music, just pick something and get going. You can always change it later.
Select your podcast equipment
To record your podcast, you'll need some basic equipment. It's not necessary to spend a lot of money, but choosing the right one will make a significant difference.
A microphone is crucial in podcasting. The quality of the microphone can significantly impact the overall listener experience. A high-quality microphone will pick up a clearer sound and a poor-quality one can distort sound and create an unprofessional impression. Blue Yeti USB and Blue Yeti Nano Premium are a few options to buy at a good price.
If you want to get started, use a nice pair of Airpods in a very quiet place with good internet. Nathan records most of his podcasts now using Airpods rather than the nice microphone. A better mic is worth it, but it won’t save you if you’re in a noisy place or have bad internet.
In addition to a microphone, you may also want to invest in a windscreen and microphone foam to reduce background noise.
There are several great options to choose from. Zoom is a popular choice for recording remote interviews and panels because everyone has it and you can record into the cloud from both sides of the audio. If you're looking for a tool that combines recording and editing, Riverside and Descript are great all-in-one solutions. The downside of podcast-specific platforms is that they are more likely to fail compared to Zoom or force your guests to create accounts or download software.
Choose a podcast hosting platform
Podcasts are one of the holdovers from the open internet. Most work on RSS feeds, so that when you publish on one platform, you can easily push them to all of the major platforms. Choosing one platform to push out episodes makes it easier to manage and track your podcast's performance across multiple channels. There are many hosting platforms available, including Buzzsprout, Libsyn, and Spreaker.
To make your podcast available to listeners, there are several platforms you should connect to:
- Apple Podcasts: This is the largest podcast directory and a must-have for any podcast. You can submit your podcast by using Apple's Podcasts Connect.
- Spotify: Spotify is the second-largest podcast platform and is known for its personalized recommendations. You can submit your podcast to Spotify through Spotify for Podcasters.
- Google Podcasts: Google Podcasts is Google's official podcast platform and can be accessed through the Google Podcasts app or through Google search results. You can submit your podcast using Google Podcasts Manager.
- Youtube: YouTube is the most popular platform for video content and the second-largest search engine after Google, a valuable tool to increase your podcast discoverability and attract new listeners.
When choosing a hosting platform, consider elements such as:
- Pricing: Look for a hosting platform that fits your budget. Some platforms offer free plans, while others require a monthly fee.
- Storage: If you’re planning to produce long episodes or publish frequently, you may need a hosting platform with more storage.
- Distribution: Make sure your hosting platform offers distribution to major podcast directories, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. This can save you time and effort in submitting your podcast to each platform individually.
- Analytics: Look for detailed analytics, such as download numbers and listener demographics.
- User experience: Try to find a platform with an intuitive interface and user-friendly features, such as automatic episode scheduling and RSS feed generation.
Record the episodes
Recording an episode requires careful planning and execution to ensure content quality. Make sure to follow some essential steps to record an episode.
- Plan your episode: Before recording, decide on the topic you want to discuss and who your guest(s) will be.
- Research your guest and prepare questions: Use online resources such as LinkedIn and Twitter to identify potential guests. Look for people who have expertise in your podcast’s topic, and create a list of their names, contact information, and a brief description of their expertise or accomplishments. Reach out to them through email, LinkedIn, or their website. In your message, introduce yourself and your podcast and explain why you think the guest would be a good fit for your podcast.
- Make sure your guest is comfortable: Create a list of questions or topics you want to cover to guide the conversation and send the questions to your guest ahead of time so they can prepare their answers. Let them know what to expect during the episode, including the length of the interview and any other relevant details. Be respectful of your guest's time and avoid pressuring them to share anything they're not comfortable with.
- Prepare your recording environment: Choose a quiet room or location with no echo to record. Close windows and doors to minimize outside noise.
- Test your recording setup: Test your equipment and software to make sure everything is working correctly.
- Final cut: allow guests to delete things they don’t like: For startup podcasts, you probably want to give the final cut. Your goal is to make your guest look good. It’s not hard-hitting journalism. It is generally a good idea to share your podcast with your guest before publishing. It is important to communicate with your guest beforehand and establish expectations around the review process, like clarifying whether you are open to making changes based on their feedback, and how much time they have to review the content.
Edit your podcast
Editing helps to improve the overall quality of your podcast, and there are many reasons why editing is essential.
- Improve sound quality: No matter how good your microphone is, there will always be background noise, unwanted pauses, or echo in your recordings. Editing allows you to remove these unwanted sounds, adjust the audio levels, and create a more professional sound.
- Enhance pacing and flow: Listeners are more likely to stay engaged and interested if the episode flows smoothly. You can also remove awkward pauses or long silences and add transitions to improve the pacing of your episode.
- Remove mistakes and tangents: Podcasts are often spontaneous conversations, which can lead to mistakes or derail the topic at hand. Editing allows you to remove these sections and keep your episode focused on the main topic.
There are several free tools available that can help you with basic editing tasks such as cutting, noise reduction, and audio effects. Audacity and GarageBand (for Mac users) are great options. However, if you have a larger budget, you may want to consider advanced tools that offer additional features and more user-friendly interfaces like Descript and Alitu.
If you're new to podcasting or don't have the time or team to produce your podcast yourself, working with a studio can be a great option. However, it's important to choose the right studio that fits your needs. If you need help producing your podcast:
- Look for studios with experience in podcast production. Look at the studio's portfolio to see their previous work. This will give you an idea of their work and whether they can meet your specific needs.
- Check the studio's availability to ensure they can meet your production schedule. It's also a good idea to discuss the timeline for the project.
- Discuss pricing and payment terms. Before committing to a studio make sure you understand what is included in the price and if there are any additional costs.
Make show notes
Show notes improve the listening experience for your audience. When your listeners can follow along with your podcast episode and have a clear understanding of what was discussed, they're more likely to stay engaged and even return for future episodes.
Show notes also play a crucial role in discoverability. By using relevant keywords in your show notes, you can increase the chance of your podcast appearing in search results.
So, how can you write great show notes for your podcast?:
- Provide a brief summary of the episode's main topics and ideas to help listeners quickly understand what the episode is about.
- Highlight key takeaways that listeners can learn from and remember.
- Include links to any resources or people mentioned in the episode, this will help listeners who want to learn more about a particular topic or follow up on something you mentioned.
- Use timestamps to break down the episode into sections. Timestamps can be incredibly helpful for listeners who want to skip ahead to a specific section of your podcast.
- Add a call-to-action to encourage engagement from your listeners. This could be anything from leaving a review to subscribing to your newsletter or following you on social media.
- Ask questions to build a community around your podcast. Encourage listeners to share their thoughts or feedback by asking them questions related to the episode.
Promote your podcast
Just because you have a great podcast, it doesn't mean people will automatically find it. You need to actively promote it to make sure it reaches your audience. By promoting your podcast across different channels, you can reach new listeners.
Social media is a great place to start. You can share your podcast on your personal or business accounts, as well as in relevant groups or communities. Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all great platforms for sharing podcast content. If you have guests tag them on your social media posts so they can share it on their accounts, this will help you to reach a new audience.
Email marketing is another powerful tool for promoting your podcast. By building an email list of interested subscribers, you can send out regular newsletters featuring your latest episodes.
Engage with your listeners and ask for feedback to help improve your podcast. Having reviews and subscribers on your podcast is important. When someone sees that your show has a lot of positive reviews, they're more likely to give it a chance. Reviews can also help you improve your podcast and give you a hint of what's working and what's not.
Repurpose your podcast content
Repurposing is a smart way to maximize the time and effort you put into the podcast. One way to do this is by transcribing it. This will give you a written record of your audio content. You can either do this yourself or use a transcription tool such as Descript since it doesn’t have to be perfect. Tim Ferris has a whole section dedicated to his podcast and one of them is all about transcriptions. In the comment section, you can see how people find this resource really helpful.
Once you have your transcript, you can create blog posts that summarize or dive deeper into the topics discussed in each episode. Take key quotes or sections from the transcript and turn them into bite-sized social media posts, such as quote cards or highlight clips.
Repurposing your content into different formats, such as videos or infographics, is also a great way to reach a broader audience.
With the right tools and strategies, creating and producing a podcast can be an endeavor that can yield significant benefits for your business. By following the tips and advice outlined in this article, entrepreneurs can confidently launch their own podcasts and leverage this powerful medium to achieve their business goals. So, if you're an entrepreneur looking to expand your reach and enhance your personal brand, there's no better time than now to start a podcast.
Magma has a full-service podcast production unit that has produced 100s of episodes for many podcasts. Reach out to our team and we’ll help you build the podcast that will meet your needs.