Whether you’re promoting a business, discussing a hobby, or even attempting to attract an audience for your music, podcasts are an engaging way to cover all of those bases. Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular and accessible to listen to, and for anyone in the music industry they can be it’s a great way to build your community!
Because there are so many podcasts out there, it’s important to consider the goals of your podcast and to have those goals guide the topics you talk about as well as well as your podcast’s name. Some important questions to ask yourself during this process are:
- Who is my audience?
- How can I find a topic/ theme that’s different from what’s already out there?
- What aspect of the music industry am I focusing on?
- Who do I plan to feature?
After you’ve got a solid idea of what you’re creating, mapping out your ideas for each episode is your next priority. You should be determine how long you want each episode to be and consider what you want your posting schedule to look like. Many content creators tend to stick to posting on at least a weekly basis, which is preferable. This helps your audience can stay engaged and know when they can expect your content. It’s a great idea to have these details planned out in advance long before the launch of your podcast, so I’d recommend brainstorming at least 10 topics and 10 guests (if you plan to regularly feature guests) and creating a batch of pre-recorded episodes so you’re ready to go.
There are many different types of podcasts to consider when you’re in the midst of this planning stage. Here are a few examples:
- Co-Hosted Podcast: If you know a friend highly interested in the same topic as you, it may be worth it to think about co-hosting a podcast! This comes with many benefits. Not only does it allow for some valuable content, but it also offers your listeners the banter of your relationship, which could be a selling point for your content depending on how you choose to execute it. Additionally, with a co-host, there’s another person involved to take on tasks and responsibilities associated with the podcast.
- Scripted vs. Non-scripted: While most podcasts these days are scripted at least to some degree, it’s not a set-in-stone rule and definitely depends on the content of your podcast. For example, educational and news podcasts should typically have a fully developed script since it’s imperative that you research your topics and get them across in the best way. If your conversational skills are exceptional and your commentary seems to be better on the spot, you may not need to plan out a script as thoroughly as most creators. However, airing on the side of caution is always a good mindset, and whether you plan on creating a full script for each episode or winging it, it’s recommended to always have an outline of the primary points you need to cover in each show.
- Industry News/Recap: These podcasts always seem to be a little controversial, yet they consistently remain popular and in steady demand. People love being in the know of industry gossip or news, and if you’re a dramatic storyteller this may be the choice for you. It’s important when choosing this option to stay consistent with your niche or the general realm of industry news that you’re interested in sharing, as many of these podcasts can fail otherwise. This may be perfect for anyone who has a strong passion for pop culture in the music industry, or has a strong background in pop culture journalism.
- Interview: Including a guest on your podcast for an interview is never a bad idea, as this can improve your content by adding new ideas and a new perspective for your audience. It can also attract new listeners by tapping into your guests’ network or fanbase. It can be difficult to continually find guests for your episodes, but if you already have the connections to draw in exciting guests for your topic, interviews have proved to be an engaging kind of podcast.
- Educational: Educational podcasts are always in-demand as long as you’re bringing something new to the table or teaching the topic in a way that others don’t. For example, if you’re a great producer with well-known clients it may be a great idea to consider making a how-to podcast and bringing in clients/other producers as guests to add new insight to what you’re teaching. When starting this type of podcast it’s crucial that you’ve done extensive research on your topic to establish credibility, and to be aware of the time commitment you’re signing up for.
Once you have the content all figured out, some technical things to consider would be getting everything finalized and set for launch. This includes:
If you have experience in graphic design and you already have a vision for this, give it a shot yourself! Being your own graphic designer can make things easier but not everyone has the creative vision for it. There are plenty of resources online you can utilize to find help with this or hire someone to design. A lot of businesses recommend using Fiverr, which is an online marketplace for freelance services that a business would need such as website design, logo design, cover art, wordpress, etc. In terms of file size, this is traditionally a .jpg or .png with dimensions of 3000x3000px.
It’s important to have a professional-sounding intro and outro for a podcast, something simple yet memorable that reels your listeners in and opens up the discussion. It’s common to keep the intro and outro either the same or very similar in this case, so by the time the listener hears the outro they have some sense of familiar closure that the episode is over. If you need help creating something unique, Fiverr also has plenty of resources for professionals who can get an idea of what you are looking for and make something simple. Other great resources include Epidemic Sound, Soundstripe, or Premium Beat.
Equipment & Editing
Although it’s easy to record audio using your phone, a professional podcast requires quality-sounding audio. Some basic things you will need include:
- A microphone (possibly two if you plan on having a co-host or featuring guests often!) Popular choices: Shure SM7B, Shure MV7, Samson Q2U
- Pop Filter
- Mic Stand
- Recording device (preferably a laptop)
- Audio Interface. Popular choices: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, Zoom H6, Universal Audio Apollo Twin X DUO
In terms of recording and editing software, you’ll likely need to familiarize yourself with a DAW. Depending on the type of laptop you have (Mac or PC), popular options include:
- Garageband (free)
- Logic Pro X (Mac)
Submission & Promotion
Finally once you have all your equipment and have started recording your first batch of episodes, you’ll need to think about submitting the podcast to a host where all your audio can be stored in the same place. Recommended options for this include Buzzsprout, Transistor, and Podbean. These sites have analytics included where you can track your subscribers and how many listeners are streaming or downloading your content, marking the success of your podcast as it continues to grow an audience. Once you’re ready to submit to a podcast directory (Spotify, iTunes, iHeartRadio, Google Play), you’ll need to submit to them individually to get approval. After receiving approval, your episodes will automatically be uploaded here once they’re uploaded to your host.
Links to submit to directories can be found here:
Writing Podcast Captions
After you’re an established podcaster on both a host and directory, it’s time to promote your podcast to reach a broader audience. It’s vital to give yourself enough time before your launch to make sure the world knows what your podcast is about and why they should listen. This can be advertised through social media, mailing lists, group chats, and any other communication outlet that you use. Another significant tactic is creating a website for your podcast. It is often helpful to have posts/pages for each podcast that outlines what each episode is about. This makes it easier for anyone searching your individual episodes in a browser to login and follow along.
Launching Your Podcast!
Some ideas to create excitement around your launch date could be doing a giveaway, launching a pre-save campaign (there are a variety of websites that can help with this), or having a launch party and asking people to share when it goes live. Ultimately, this process is about making sure you are using all resources available to make people aware of what makes your podcast special.
There’s a great deal of thought and planning that goes into creating any podcast. If you’re hoping to create a music podcast, definitely spend ample time doing research on the topics you want to explore and the best way to format them. Also, be aware of the time commitment this will take. It’s a great idea to have a goal for your podcast and how it fits into your general career goals to keep you motivated and on track with your content. There’s sure to be a learning curve as you continue on this journey and learn the ins and outs of being a podcaster, but it can certainly be worth it if you’re willing to put all the work in.