By Scott Sargent
Do you listen to a podcast regularly?
As of 2019, Apple hosts over 750,000 shows and 24 million episodes worldwide.
But why has this format of media communication become so popular?
For one, they are easily available when you may not have time to read or watch a video. If you’re like me, your week can get jammed up pretty quickly and I’ll often listen to podcasts in my car since most of my commutes are around 30-40 minutes. This is perfect time to listen to a shorter podcast or bite off a chunk of a longer one. They’re also highly portable if you have a mobile device. Furthermore, the production time is quite a bit faster than say, a video.
The more I thought about it, I decided to do more research and speak with an actual podcaster local to Alberta.
Victoria Smith of Stress Less Ladies started her podcast named Girl Tries Life in March of 2017. Now 139 episodes in, she uploads a new interview to her website about every other week. Victoria gave us some of her personal insights and wisdom surrounding some of the main aspects and questions about podcasting.
Victoria’s first disclaimer is, “Do not do a podcast just because you think you and your friend are funny. You see a lot of people start those and then they fizzle out very quickly.” She says laughing, “There’s no real why or purpose behind it.”
Victoria suggests that the best time to start a new podcast is if you believe you’ve got a concrete idea and you’re willing to put in time to learn the software, audio and interviewing skills. “It’s not a huge learning curve I don’t think. If I can do the tech side, anyone can,” she says.
A theme may still shift over time, but a clear idea and purpose will give you an initial direction. If you have a specific niche to focus on, even better.
Length of a Podcast
Podcasts still vary widely in length, but they can run between 30 to 90 minutes. This allows someone to easily digest the information and it’s on whenever your audience decides to tap ‘play’ on their device. The length of the podcast may often be dictated by your audience’s preference, content flow and how much time needed to plan, record and edit.
There are now even micro-podcasts that may be only 10-15 minutes. Just enough time to enjoy on a coffee break!
The Technical Side
This one can be intimidating to some who don’t feel they are tech-savvy, however the barrier to entry is quite low. You will want to ensure the room you’re recording in is insulated for optimal sound quality. That said, I’ve heard a few podcasters say that even if your sound isn’t perfect, if you have great content people will forgive you.
There are great online resources that can walk you through how to set up the recording software of your choice; a decent microphone is quite affordable. Victoria also edits podcasts for others, allowing her to ‘earn and learn’ quickly. It takes time, yet she doesn’t feel it’s overly difficult because, “There’s a YouTube video for anything.”
Podcasts can be good for business. According to Forbes.com, some podcasters use a subscription model vs using advertisers as a source of revenue. Other sources are also emerging such as teasing premium content. In general terms, listeners don’t seem to mind advertisements in podcasts if they are infrequent and are read by the host podcaster (versus a traditional canned ad).
Victoria includes premade ads during her show, but as a stress reduction coach, she also uses the platform to promote her business, including a plug for any upcoming workshops.
All things considered a podcast should complement your existing business.
“It’s like anything in communication and marketing,” states Victoria, “If you know who your audience is and you’re clear on it and how you’ll get this information to them, you’re going to have success with it.”