“Will Podcasting Hit It Big? (And What Is It?)” – This was the news headline back in 2005, at the peak of “podcasting”.
Since, awareness for this “new” medium has been on the rise. In 2013 Apple announced that the iTunes Store had exceeded market expectations topping one billion podcast subscriptions.
OK, so 1 billion is definitely a convincing number, but what about perception? Do people still ask that obnoxious question that causes high blood pressure symptoms amongst podcast freaks?
Obviously, I’m referring to the question — “What is a podcast?”
I guess the only people who know exactly what podcasting is, are those who produce podcast shows and the ones who consume them.
Hm, maybe I wrong…
Let’s have a look into the numbers first.
The most recent data from Edison Research on the Podcast Consumer reveals some interesting insights. In 2015, 49% of the US population is “aware” of the term “podcasting”, but this percentage has been unchanged for the past six years. Only 33% say they have “ever” listened to a podcast, while 17% say they have listened to a podcast in the past month. No major changes over the last couple of years here either.
Check out this Slideshare presentation on The Podcast Consumer 2015.
Why Does This Matter?
OK, so now you’ve gone through the slide deck with all these amazing charts and graphs, and you’re wondering, “How is this relevant to me? What are the benefits of podcasting after all?”
Let me point out three main benefits of podcasting — from a producer point of view.
1. Podcast consumers are Affluent. Three in ten podcast consumers have a household income of $75,000 and more.
2. Podcast consumers are Highly Educated. Great audience to be exposed to.
3. Podcast consumers are Loyal Listeners. They exhibit strong social and brand-following behavior.
By now, some of you might be thinking:
WOW, nice audience to reach out and market to… Podcasting seems to be a great vehicle to boost brand awareness and attract customers who actually have a high ability to buy.
Podcasting is a fantastic marketing weapon. If used properly it can help you not only build your brand and a community of loyal fans and followers, but also position yourself as an expert authority while maximizing your influence in the industry.
So, for all of you who after reading the above are eager to start their own podcast, I’ve put together a short list of podcasting tools that will help you make the most out of your Podcast strategy while reducing stress and maximizing your outcomes.
Obviously, there are a ton of awesome podcasting tools out there and if you like to test several things out for yourself, go for it. However, if you decide to shortcut the learning curve and actually avoid some common podcasting mistakes (yeah, I’m guilty of doing some of these mistakes too…) — these tips will come in handy.
Essential Podcasting Tools
1. Spice Up Your Audio Podcast With Professional Quality Sound: Blue Yeti USB Microphone
When I first started podcasting, I used the built-in microphone on my Mac. And the quality of my audios was… well, not fantastic but OK. A good option to start with especially if you’re not sure whether you’ll stick to podcasting for a longer period of time.
Purchasing a “real” microphone was probably one of my best decisions in the podcasting game. I went for a Blue Yeti USB condenser microphone (around $150) and I haven’t regretted a day since.
The microphone is rugged, provides great sound, and easily plugs into any USB port. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac. Furthermore, the Blue Yeti allows you to record in stereo or choose between three patterns: cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional.
In addition to the Blue Yeti USB microphone, I suggest you invest into a pop filter or pop shield. This is basically an anti-pop noise protection filter for microphones that serves to reduce or eliminate “popping” sounds. Furthermore, it helps you prolong the life of your microphone by protecting it against the accumulation of saliva.
I use a pop filter by König & Meyer that costs approx. $50. If you don’t want to stretch your budget that far, no problem. You can get a pretty good pop filter for 10-20 USD.
2. Edit Your Show Without The Need Of A PHD Degree In Audio Programming: Audacity
Yes, you can mess around with audio and video editing, “waste” numerous hours trying to figure out how to best tweak your show and hopefully get the quality you want. But, you don’t have to go that path — unless of course you want to.
If you’re looking for a less sophisticated way to edit your audio files, clean up noise, add transitions, mix sounds together and do a bit of cut & paste where it’s necessary, check out Audacity.
It’s an open-source editor. This means you can download and use it for free. It works on both Windows and Mac; it’s also compatible with other operating systems.
I’ve used Audacity for years to record and do all my audio editing and it served me very well. I love the software because it allows me to convert WAVs into high-bit rate MP3s and play around with different sound files. It’s a good and stable audio editor. And on top of that, it’s free.
3. Control Your RSS Feed And Avoid Future Problems By Picking A Solid Podcast Hosting Solution: Libsyn or Blubrry
Libsyn and Blubrry are premium podcasting hosts. Not only are they worth every penny, but they also give you full control over your RSS feed.
Your feed is your connection to your audience. When you control your feed, you control your podcast.
This being said, I want to point out that a few weeks ago I moved my show from Podomatic, which unfortunately didn’t give me full control over my RSS feed (big lesson for me!).
I’d like to acknowledge Podomatic for their great services. I was a PRO Plus member and I never had any issues whatsoever with my shows.
The main reason why I decided to switch is to have full control over my RSS feed. Another reason was to have access to more in-depth statistics and reports.
My new podcast hosting provider is Blubrry.
Yes, the best configuration for your podcast show is to use your self-hosted WordPress site and embed the episodes with a plugin while using Libsyn and Blubrry as your media source.
What this means is that:
- You control the look and feel of your website.
- You control the advertising that is shown on your website.
- You control your RSS feed, which in my opinion is the biggest benefit.
If you want to checkout Blubrry use the promo code strengthinbusiness to get 1 FREE Month of Blubrry Podcast Hosting. Same promo code applies if you want to get access for 1 FREE Month to Blubrry Professional Statistics.
Wrapping It Up
Free podcasting tools, paid podcasting tools… the options are endless. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of possibilities you can choose from, come back to this list of proven tools and incorporate them into your business.
Remember the following:
Great equipment will only take you so far. You still need an interesting and educational podcast show that provides loads of value to your ideal audience.
Over to you…
A solid microphone, an easy to use audio software and a proven podcast host will definitely help you achieve your goals faster with less hustle.
What are your favorite podcasting tools? What other tools would you add to the list?