Tackle these five tasks on the onset for a smooth podcast production
By Katharine Davis
So, you’ve decided to start a podcast…but you’re not actually sure where to start. Or maybe you’re still exploring the possibilities and weighing your options. Either way, you’ve come to the right place!
Mark Labriola II, Founder and Executive Creative Director of Brand Viva Media in Denver, produces RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos’ “Start With a Win” podcast. “Producer Mark,” as you know him from the show, shares what it takes to get a podcast off the ground.
“You have to do a few things to succeed in podcasting,” Labriola says. “It comes down to having an idea, executing on that idea and being consistent. That’s the secret.”
First things first: You need the tools of the trade. There’s the microphone, the software, the “studio” space (think a quiet corner of your home or office). You’ll of course need to devote time to podcasting, but also a portion of your budget.
“Make an investment that’s right for you,” Labriola says. “There are surprisingly good options at any price point.”
Here are his carefully curated selections:
Entry Level All-In-One Setup ($99+)
Mid-Level Setup ($500+)
- Rode Podcaster Studio Custom Kit
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface
- Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
- Audacity audio editing (PC/Mac)
High-End Professional Audio/Live Video Setup ($3,000+)
- Rode PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm
- Senal SMH-1000 Closed-Back Professional Monitor Headphones
- Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
- IK Multimedia iRig 2 Guitar Interface Adaptor
- RØDECaster Pro
- ePhotoInc Photography Video Studio 240 LED Continuous Macro Ring Light
- CowboyStudio Aluminum Adjustable Light Stand
- Mevo Plus – The Live Event Camera
- Audio Recording/Editing Software:
– Logic Pro X (Mac only)
– Audacity (PC/Mac)
It’s time for a plan. “Put in the work before the show so you can articulate your thoughts concisely,” Labriola says. “Think about what you want your show to do and what you want it to be. Knowing that before you start is essential.”
He advises mapping out episodes, inviting guests if needed and setting a recording schedule well in advance.
“It’s time-consuming, but consistency is key,” he says. “If you’re trying to grow your audience, the more you put out on a consistent basis, the faster you grow.”
Other things he says you’ll need to consider:
- Licensing music and sounds (Labriola recommends Soundstripe and Artlist for subscription service or AudioJungle for individual downloads)
- Hosting (Labriola loves the user interface and the user-friendly platforms at Transistor)
- Editing (he suggests using software listed in the packages in Step 1)
- Syndication (share the RSS feed provided by your podcast platform with iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and more)
Now the fun can begin. “Don’t worry about how your voice sounds,” Labriola says with a laugh. “You’ll get used to it.”
Instead, focus your attention on determining who your listeners are and how you can deliver value to them. Consider how and where they’ll be listening, what show length works best, and how you can strike a balance between what you’re interested in and what your listeners like.
“If you’re an agent in a small town, maybe you want potential clients to hear content specific to them,” Labriola says. “Or maybe you want to have a larger sphere of influence, so you talk about things on a bigger scale. Whatever it is, at the end of the day it’s all about value.”
He offers one last piece of recording advice: Turn listeners into leads. “Always push people to your website and social media channels. One of the smartest strategies is putting a call to action at the beginning or end of each show.”
Although Labriola says there’s no magic number for how many episodes you’ll need to record in any given timeframe, he does suggest posting episodes on a regular basis, rather than publishing all episodes at one time.
“With video, it makes sense to release a whole season of content so people can binge watch a show. That’s the Netflix approach,” he says. “But with audio content, you want to be more paced. Keep people coming back on a regular basis – they’ll be thinking of you every week rather than listening to your episodes and forgetting you for the rest of the month.”
To help listeners find your podcast (and continue finding your podcast), remember to include keywords and tags when pushing content to a hosting site. But not just any words – strategic ones.
“Every text piece of your episode – like the title, show notes, description – feeds back to the search engine,” Labriola says. “So when someone does a search, your content is being delivered because it’s most relevant to the search.”
Put your marketing expertise to good use! Apply the same techniques used to publicize a new listing to advertise your new podcast. Alert your social media followers when a fresh episode is live, include a link in your email signature or simply talk about it. Whatever you do, remember to get your name (and your podcast) out there.