Developing your podcast plan is the next step in the series.
In Part 1 Should You Start Your Own Podcast, we covered the reasons to give podcasts some consideration and how to determine if they make sense for you – and your audience.
So, you have decided to take the next step and that means figuring out what your podcast will be.
What is your podcast going to address? What is it about?
You’ve spoken with your clients, and they’ve given you some input. You’ve done some research on existing podcasts, so you know who is doing what, for how long, how often and with what size of a following.
Now is the time for you to decide.
Will you be the sole on-air personality bringing the podcast to life?
Will you co-host? And if so, who is the lucky person? Or will it be a couple of people rotating in and out based on the topic?
Will you be interviewing guests?
Will there be panel discussions?
Or will you be offering your expertise, insights, opinions, and recommendations in response to current events?
Or maybe a little bit of some or all the above?
Personally, out of the gate for the first time, my suggestion is to keep it simple.
How Long? How Often?
Daily? Weekly? Other?
A short-format podcast that’s maybe 5 to 10 minutes, where you address a single topic and most likely aren’t having a guest or co-host because that will add time…or a daily 60-minutes multi-segment format that includes a 1:1 interview and a panel discussion as well as some editorial?
Well, before the eyes prove larger than the stomach, keep these in mind.
You want the podcast to sound as professional as possible, and for most of us, that means spending time beforehand to write down what you’re going to say. This organizes your thoughts and helps ensure you cover all the important points.
Winging it on air is not going to lead to professional outcomes.
When I produced webinars, and we had panel discussions or guest interviews, we spent at least one-hour walking through the actual webinar.
First, to make sure everyone had their section finished and were comfortable presenting their content. The one thing I learned was even the most successful subject matter expert can and will procrastinate and having a rehearsal forces them to be ready before the actual event rather than showing up for the actual event “…just making a few last changes…”
Second, because we always found spots that needed tweaking. For example, transitions between speakers and topics.
You will need to invest some time into editing the raw first take. You may need re-takes – maybe because of someone lost their place and you ended up with a long period of silence or because someone decided to walk into your ‘recording studio’ unannounced or because one of the guests is actually calling in and their local fire department just went past their home in full siren mode.
What did your audience tell you they wanted? Well, give them a little less length and frequency so they are begging for more rather than leaving early and forgetting to show up.
Schedule: WHo, WHat, WHen, Where, Why and How
Once you’ve answered the above questions and come down with [ex] a weekly, 30-minute talk show format, hosted by me, talking about the current events of X that will be broken down into the following sections:
- Introduction Music: 30-60 seconds
- Introduction/Monologue: 1-2 minutes
- Interlude/Break/Music: 10-20 seconds
- 1st Topic: 3-4 minutes
- Interlude/Break/Music: 10-20 seconds
- 2nd Topic: 3-4 minutes
- Interlude/Break/Music: 30 seconds
- 3rd Topic: 3-4 minutes
- 4th Topic: 3-4 minutes
- Closing Remarks (thank audience, mention business, and services, the teaser for next show) 2-3 minutes
- Closing Music: 30-60 seconds
[su_button url=”https://pat-mcgraw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Podcast-Show-Agenda-Template-PMCM.pdf” target=”blank” background=”#5270ff” size=”2″ center=”yes” desc=”Open in new tab” title=”Download Now!”]DOWNLOAD PODCAST EPISODE TEMPLATE[/su_button]
When you use our template, type everything out as you want to say it and use it to practice so you are comfortable with what will be said. You want to get to the point where you sound like this is coming from you – not a memorized recital or a formal reading.
You want your personality to come through, as well as your expertise. A blend, if you will, between a polished, professional sounding newscast and an ad-lib, freestyle radio talk show. And to accomplish this, you get comfortable with the copy you wrote so you can then deliver the copy in a comfortable, conversational tone.
You need to grab the attention of the audience – turn them from ‘audience’ to ‘listener’, if you will. So, get some music – write your own, acquire the rights to a piece or find royalty free music (and be sure it is royalty free music) online.
Here are some royalty-free options:
Now, for the content. You should include the following information:
- The name of the podcast
- Episode number and name
- Intro of the Host
- Purpose or tagline of the podcast
- Summary of the episode
- Any important information like the recording date, sponsors, disclaimers, etc.
You can record that yourself or you can hire voice talent. If you want to go the voice talent path, check out:
There are about a million or two sources of information – and opinions – on the equipment you need to host your podcast.
I use a Yeti by Blue which cost about $99 through Amazon. The downside of the Yeti is that it doesn’t pack up and travel all that easily. The upside is that it plugs into my USB port and
So, if you want a more mobile microphone, check out Audio-Technica ATR-2100 USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone for about $60 through Amazon and when you add the adjustable suspension boom scissor arm stand and a windscreen, you’re at about $80.
Another option is the Shure SM58-LC Vocal Microphone, Cardioid for about $90 at Amazon but with the USB Signal Adaptor, you’re looking at about $200.
For recording and, even more importantly for editing, headphones are your next piece of equipment. Some things to consider when searching for your headphones include:
- Frequency Response. Most consumer headphones are designed to enhance certain frequencies for your enjoyment – which is nice except when you are editing, and you really need to accurately hear what was recorded. Look for professional headphones labeled ‘studio’ or ‘monitor’ because they come closer to delivering flat frequency response.
- You will be wearing these for long periods of time when you record and edit – make sure they are comfortable.
- Under $100 is a good ceiling – there are some good products out there from $50 up.
- Remember, if you plan to go on the road…
One option to check out is Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Professional Monitor Headphones for about $40 at Amazon. You might also want to check out the Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones for about $75 at Amazon.
Audacity is what I use which means it’s easy, gets the job done and the price is, as they say, very nice – FREE. This open source podcasting software helps you record and edit the podcast before exporting to your hosting service.
For you folks using Apple/MAC products, Garageband is a low-cost ($0 to $15) for you.
Podcast Hosting Platforms
Audio files can take up a lot of storage and if you store them on your website, there is the possibility that all that storage will impact site performance – so most will use a media host.
The additional benefit – and it’s another biggie – is that you need an RSS Feed for distributing your podcasts via iTunes and other podcast apps. The podcast hosting platform provides you with that RSS feed which makes your life a lot easier.
Here is a list of things you are going to want to address when trying to find the right platform for you.
- Explain your pricing/hosting tiers/options.
- What stats/reporting do you offer? Specifically, ask about audience and download stats.
- Do you alter episode files and if so how and why?
- Do you offer dynamic advertising insertion?
- Can you offer a mobile app for podcasts?
- Do you offer a website or space for each show you host?
- Are there any restrictions, especially on the number of episodes of bandwidth? What are they?
- Can you work with video/video podcasts?
Here is a list of podcast hosting platforms. There are many others out there but based on what I have seen and read and used…
This is who we use. Known mostly for music, they also support a lot of podcasts with a nice service.
They offer 3 different plans – free, pro and pro unlimited with upload quotas ranging from 3 hours to unlimited. Pricing for the pro and pro unlimited plans weren’t available on the site at the time this was written.
Analytics vary by the plan with basic stats covering a count of plays, likes, reposts, comments, and downloads. Extensive stats address plays by country, city, app, website and more.
There had been financial concerns but evidently, that has turned around.
Offering a variety of plans starting at $12 per month and topping out at $80 per month, Blubrry has received a great deal of positive press for its services. If you are operating a WordPress website, they offer plug-in you might want to check out.
Starting with a free plan that limits you to 2 hours of uploads each month, hosted for 90-days, to a $24 per month plan that limits you to 12 hours of uploads each month but offers indefinite hosting, Buzzsprout might be worth checking out.
Podbean offers a complete podcasting platform with plans starting from $3 per month to $99 per month (billed annually). Included are a mobile app and podcast player, your own podcast site, RSS Feed and iTunes support along with some basic statistics under the entry-level plan.
Your Podcast Plan
Well, did I answer your questions – and maybe raise a few more? If so, feel free to post in the comments section below so everyone can benefit – or contact me directly if you prefer privacy.
Next, we’ll address the distribution of your podcast so you can get maximum exposure with your audience.