Since 2014, podcasts have seen a consistent year-over-year increase both in consumption and general familiarity with the public. This increase in popularity is especially good news because the format now makes it easier to release original content, to a wide audience, for relatively low overhead. It's also an excellent way for businesses to showcase their expertise and build relationships with potential customers.
The Rise of Spoken Word
According to The Infinite Dial Report conducted by Edison Research and Triton Digital, 2019 marks the first time where more than 50% of all American’s over 12 years-old have listened to at least one podcast. “The medium has firmly crossed into the mainstream,” noted Tom Webster, Senior Vice President at Edison Research.
Of those responding to the survey, 32% said they listened to a podcast within the last month. This response has been trending upward across all age brackets and genders. 22% said they listened to podcasts on a "weekly basis." Edison estimates this could be as much as 62 million users nationally. What's more, these "avid users" listen to an average of seven podcasts in that week-long period!
Here's an outstanding infographic from MusicOomph that further expands on podcast users and their preferences.
The saturation of smartphones, the growth of smart speakers, and the increased number of channels that publish podcasts (and to a lesser extent audiobooks) indicates a “trend toward increased spoken word audio consumption.”
Recording a Podcast is too Easy
Do you believe me when I say that podcasting is a growing ecosystem that you need to be a part of? Great! Here’s a list of things you’ll need:
- An idea
- An SD Card
That’s it. Seriously. As Pat and David show you in the following video our Studio takes care of the rest by providing you with a soundproof room, Zoom Audio Recorder, and two* SHURE microphones with shock mounts and adjustable arms to record with.
Typically podcasts feature more than one person, either as a guest or a co-host, but that format is by no means necessary. Hardcore History is one of my favorite podcasts but it’s just Dan Carlin lecturing; sometimes for hours at time! Don’t think you need to speak for that long. As Pat said in the video, “you come in, talk for 20 minutes, a half-hour, [or] if you’re Joe Rogan 90 minutes” is more than enough to get started.
(* - we can provide more mic setups if you need it)
The Simple World of Podcast Post-Production
One of the great things about podcasts is their off-the-cuff nature, so depending on your preferences you might not need to do any post-production work on your audio file. If that’s the case you can skip straight to publishing.
However, being able to edit the podcast can increase the overall production value of the finished piece. Not only can you use it to cut around glaring errors, but this is when you can add a musical track to the intro, clips recorded elsewhere, or if your recording session occurred some time ago you can provide your listeners with updates specific to the time of the episode's release. Radiolab, another of my personal favorites, uses post-production really well and uses creative sound editing to blend in-studio conversations, field reporting and interviews, and ambient sound effects, to create really entertaining reports.
There are a lot of different products out there you can use but since it’s free, Audacity or GarageBand (if you own a Mac) is the best place to start. Adobe Premiere or Audition also work if you have them, but I wouldn’t recommend spending at the beginning. And, if all of this is already sounding like a bit much align.Space is more than happy to take care of your post-production needs.
Publishing your Podcast to the World
You've recorded your episode, added music or recorded an intro - now it's time to send it out into the world, here's how.
First thing you're going to want to do is either to get your final project into an MP3. If you're just using the interview from your SD card, you'll have to convert the file types from WAV to an MP3, or make sure the export setting's of your post-production audio session is set to MP3.
The next step, setting up the ID3 metadata, is the most important step. This data is the MP3's underlying information that allows it to display the song's title, artist, and a lot of additional information. Entering this information is important since it's what the podcast marketplaces uses to sort and display your podcast to their visitors. According to Prestopod, which did a quick analysis of the Podcast marketplace's top 10 podcasts, there are eight pieces of ID3 metadata you should have:
- Cover Art
There are a lot of programs out there that can help you edit this metadata, however the easiest (and cheapest) way to do this is through iTunes. Once in the app:
- Import the MP3 into iTunes - File >> Add to Library
- Locate the file in your Library, right-click on the file, and choose ‘Get Info’
- Fill in the eight pieces of information needed for the RSS Feed
- In the 'File' tab, use the 'location' information to find the file on your computer
- Click OK to close the track's info box
Now, using the modified MP3 file you can upload this to an online hosting platform of your choice. I chose to use SoundCloud because it's free, but there are a bunch of options out there such as Podbean, Podomatic, and Fireside.
After successfully uploading your podcast to your hosting provider of choice, you're ready to get your podcast listed on Apple's Podcast marketplace. (Statistically this is where you want to be since 54% of all podcast listeners use that platform to find podcasts.)
This process is relatively straight forward but it requires linking your hosting account's "RSS Feed" with your Apple ID. You can do that here - https://podcastsconnect.apple.com.
Log in using your Apple ID and password, and then paste in your hosting accounts RSS URL (look at your provider's documentation to find this info) and press validate. Initially my validation failed because I didn't include a podcast cover image with the correct dimensions (1400 x 1400) as my Soundcloud profile picture, but after updating that the validation went through. If the validation passes, your podcast is ready for review. Once approved, you'll be able to share this link to your network and can start delighting them with original content. Be aware that this approval process can take anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks.
Below is an example of a finished podcast. Using the above video, I imported the file's audio track into Abode Audition, added some intro narration, a royalty free music bed, and exported the track as an MP3. After adding the necessary ID3 metadata to the file I created a SoundCloud account and uploaded the track. I created an Apple ID and linked that account to the RSS Feed on SoundCloud. Once the podcast is approved by Apple I'll include a link to their market place.
UPDATE: The approval process took three business days for this test case. You can find our example on the Podcast Marketplace by clicking this link or searching for align.Space in the Podcast app or on iTunes. (Stay tuned for a future blog post detailing the process of adding your podcast to Spotify.)
I hope you found this information helpful and can see that incorporating podcasts into your company's content campaigns is relatively easy.
align.Space offers podcasting sessions (unstaffed) for $50/hr.
If you’re interested in learning more about podcasting production abilities or want to schedule a time to record one send us a message.