Have You Ever Wanted to Start Your Own Podcast?
There’s no doubt about it: the popularity of podcasts are on the rise. Studies show that Millennials prefer to listen to podcasts than read long bodies of text. But let's face it, you probably never entertained the idea of how to start your own podcast before coming across this post.
Most fashion bloggers wouldn’t think to incorporate podcast media into their respective digital brands. After all, fashion blogging (and vlogging and being an Insta-famous influencer) is visual business. You can’t share an #ootd post or images of lipstick swatches in audio format.
But if you are smart – and serious about the longevity of your online brand – you would at least consider it. Incorporating some form of audio media into your content calendar could help to keep your blog relevant, as we move into the next era of digital media.
As mentioned in a recent article in Forbes.com “…evidence for the growing popularity of podcasts is the fact that major legacy media organizations such as New York Times and Wall Street Journal and newer digital media organizations such as Slate and Buzzfeed are all heavily investing in podcasting.”
Therefore, there is no better time than now to start podcasting – even if it's just addition to you primary content.
Where to Start…
Here at IFB, we understand the idea of starting a podcast can be overwhelming. It might require you to purchase new equipment to record audio. Maybe you have no idea how it will fit in with your digital brand. You probably don’t even know where to begin. Should you even podcast? (The Answer is Yes.)
Throughout the next few weeks, we will be running a series titled “Start Your Own Podcast: A How-To for Fashion Bloggers”. We’ll break down everything from what to consider before you begin, to what equipment you need to purchase before you start – and how to get your followers to tune into your podcast.
Our goal is to help fashion bloggers and influencers make the jump from blogging (and vlogging) to producing successful audio content. These posts can also be helpful to anyone interested in dabbling in the world of podcasting; they are not solely geared at individuals in the fashion industry. So, whether you’re a fashion blogger, or are just curious to learn more about producing podcasts check out “Start Your Own Podcast: A How-To for Fashion Bloggers, Part I” below.
Before You Start Your Own Podcast – Everything You Need To Know
What is A Podcast Anyways?
Let's assume you have never heard of the term “podcast” and have no idea what we're talking about.
A podcast is an audio program. And listening to one is very similar to listening to a radio show. It's as if someone recorded a radio talkshow and posted it to the Internet, for you to download and listen to via iTunes. Most podcasts are free to download (although many now have introduced paid premium tiers, to supplement their income), and come in Mp3 file format when downloaded. Therefore, you can listen to them on any device.
Podcasts are broken down into episodes. The length of a podcast episode can range from a few minutes to over an hour – it really just depends on the format of the podcast.
As Lifewire notes, “Podcasts vary in their level of professional production. Some podcasts are downloadable versions of national radio programs . . . others are companions to shows or personalities from other media such as The Jillian Michaels Show. Another type of podcast is produced by just a person or two, like Julie Klausner's How Was Your Week? In fact, anyone with some basic audio recording tools can make their own podcast and submit it for inclusion at iTunes and other podcast sites.”
Narrow Your Topic – And Then Narrow It Down Even More
So, you want to know how to start a podcast? Firstly, you need to narrow down your area of interest. If you're a blogger, vlogger or influencer that work is already done for you. You get to come into the game knowing your niche market and audience. You have already spent time cultivating a following; therefore, your soon-to-be listeners (formerly known as your readers or viewers) will know what to expect when they tune in to your podcast.
For your first podcast, try to focus on a specific topic within your area of expertise. Don't try to generally tackle every issue within your industry. Focus on a specific matter and then break it down in smaller, bite-sized pieces. Then, create each podcast episode surrounding these smaller (but super specific) talking points.
For example if your blog is about eco-friendly fashion, consider discussing the impacts of fast fashion. Create your podcast's episodes surrounding each specific topic (i.e. “The Environmental Impact of Fast Fashion”, “The Impact Fast Fashion Has Had on Small Business within the Fashion Industry”, “How Fast Fashion is Harmful to Our Health”, “Vintage/Second Hand vs Fast Fashion” etc.) This is a much better approach than trying to generally discuss problems within the fashion industry, as there would be far too many general issues to cover. Keep focused and be super specific.
If you can narrow your topic down and then narrow it down even more for each episode, you're golden.
Plan Your Podcast – And Be Ready to Commit (At Least a Certain Time Frame)
Just like blogging and vlogging, starting a podcast takes a lot of time and effort (especially so at the beginning).
Many people just assume that podcasts are easier to create than, say, video content. But a podcast is not just a recording of an individual/group of people talking. It's more than a bunch of recorded banter between friends or industry acquaintances. A lot of your time will initially go into aspect of podcasting that you'd never expect – like planning episode talking points, sound checks with equipment and editing recoded audio.
It is also important to note that podcasts do well when they're consistently released. You may have already built up a following as a fashion blogger, but if you're looking to extend your listener base you will need to release episodes on the regular. If you've been getting by sporadically posting content on your blog, now is the time to shape up your act. Even if you're looking to release your podcast episodes as complimentary (i.e. secondary) content for your subscribers, you need to be consistent. Otherwise, your followers will lose interest and your efforts will be wasted. Commit to a posting schedule and stick to it
And, as with blogging and vlogging, don't expect to make huge amount of income from the get-go. Yes, it might be possible to eventually generate some funds through your podcast, but you will need to land advertisers and sponsorships first. This requires building up a listener-base (or converting your readers/viewers into listeners) first, so you'll need to put in a lot of ground work before reaping the (financial) rewards.
Invest in Your Equipment And Download Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) Software
Yes, you will need to make a few purchases if you want to start a podcast. Aside from the basics like a computer, audio editing software and a microphone, you might want to invest in a portable recorder (if you plan on interviewing people outside of your home or work area), audio interface and pop filters.
Have no idea what audio interface or pop filters are? And want to know how much they cost? Don't worry, we get to that in Part II of this series HERE.
The point we're trying to make is that starting a podcast can get costly. You don't necessarily have to purchase the most expensive gear on the market (lavalier microphones, for example, can be quite affordable) but you will need to buy a few new items.
Be sure to get all your gear together and download all your software, well before you plan to start your podcast.
Don't be Intimidated
The bottom line is don't get intimidated with podcasting.
Blogging (or vlogging) probably felt really hard and time-consuming when you were a beginner. Starting a podcast might also appear to be complicated in that very same way. Once you've wrapped your head around the basics, you will only improve in your abilities to produce great audio content.