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Five Things to Know Before Starting a Podcast

Nearly half of all Americans are tuning in to online radio. Compare that to 2010, when only 5% of Americans were tuning into podcasts. The growing popularity has led many organizations and individuals to start a podcast. Whether it’s assisting organizations with creating a podcast or leveraging local, regional and national podcasts as platforms to reach online radio audiences, Lukas Partners can help all levels.

A podcast is a series of audio/video episodes. After downloading an app such as Spotify or iHeartRadio, you can listen to podcast episodes whenever, wherever.

Most podcasts are built around a centralized topic or theme. The first thing to know before starting a podcast is the topic or theme. As you brainstorm your theme or topic, we recommend coming up with a list of at least 10 podcast episodes that fit the idea. If you are unable to do build a healthy list, consider other theme options. Episode ideas also could inform an editorial calendar to plan future episodes and guests.

Buzzsprout's information on the top podcasting topics and genres of 2019 shows music as the number one topic.

Second, consider how your podcast will be structured. At Lukas Partners, we recommend reviewing top podcasts and visiting with podcasters to help guide this decision. There are a variety of podcasts and choosing a format that best fits your brand, ideas and goals can lead to better success. This also could be a good opportunity to determine the host of your podcast, whether you will do strictly audio or video and audio and if it will be recorded or live.

After you have outlined a theme and structure, set the length and frequency at which you will produce an episode. Think of podcasting as a weekly TV show; expectations are set ahead of time for the length of the show and when it will air. For example, Grey’s Anatomy is one hour every Thursday at 7 p.m. CST on ABC. It has been airing every Thursday for years and built a following of regular viewers each week. Podcasts are seen the same way as regularly occurring television and radio programs. Anything outside of the normal time length and regular release day can hinder building a following.

At Lukas Partners, we recommend building three to four episodes before your podcast becomes public to have enough content for people to get to know you. Then, set a regular cadence that you can commit to without stretching resources too thin. This could be weekly, bi-monthly, monthly or every three months.

Next, determine what software and equipment is necessary to get the podcast up-and-running. Depending on your format, equipment could include microphones, headsets, speakers, a video camera and a sound mixer. Many podcasters utilize editing software, such as Audacity, Adobe or Hit Film to add introductions, music and sponsor information.

Multiple podcast providers offer software that will distribute your episodes on podcast streaming sites such as iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher and iTunes. Some also have video and live capability. We recommend researching to determine the best fit for your plan and format.

Buzzsprout's data shows NPR as the publisher with the most unique monthly listeners.

Lastly, looking at success stories and reasoning behind starting podcasts can help inform your planning. For example, American Airlines adopted podcasting to communicate with its 122,000 employees, as well as the public. Leaders shared that the reasoning was the line between internal and external communication is dotted at best, and podcasting helps them control the narrative. American’s “Tell Me Why” podcast content centers on explaining changes and strategic direction. According to a spokesperson, the episodes are played, on average, 12,000 times.

Omaha’s Local Business Talk with Joe Sova is another success story. Sova, who operates a payroll business in Omaha created the podcast to help small and medium-sized business leaders with information that can help them grow. Lukas Partners recently took part in an episode to share social media strategy best practices. Click to listen in!

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