The Digital Age has yet to run out of ways to entertain and create content. While paying homage to the traditional radio format it has taken inspiration from, podcast websites hosting these recorded interactions are now a rising trend to establishing thought leaders and experts as they charm your brain through engaging conversations and the Next Big Idea. But what are podcasts exactly?
Podcasts were a novel business idea back in the early to mid-2000s back when the internet was well-established as a source of information, and not quite the engagement machine it is today. Podcasts were essentially formatted after a traditional radio DJ that would invite guests or speakers, and talk in length about specific niche topics guests are usually experts on, with the host as a placeholder for listeners to ask and engage a specific topic. These conversations can be broadcasted or pre-recorded and then shared on various platforms that could host them, and were relatively easy to find - except the market wasn’t looking for that yet.
So despite its early creation, podcasts only had a very real resurgence in popularity after the 2010s when audio hosting sites were not only limited to hosting music by verified artists anymore, but were opening their platforms for community podcast hosting. Today, podcasts have become a popular alternative to a traditional blog, for topics that are best discussed and expanded on through oral communication than long-form reading.
If podcasting sounds like the venture for you, you need to be able to identify a few key steps before pressing that record button:
- Define your goals
With any big project, you always have to identify your intentions and measure your commitment - are you doing this for yourself, for fun, or professionally? Do you want to entertain or inform? What subject niche are you going to talk about and what aren’t you going to talk about? If you’re pushing to go through with this with a partner or a team, define your roles and responsibilities and cover your bases - who’s in front of the mic, behind the mic, and who handles the admin support? This is the time to create a management structure that’s sturdy and built on goal alignment and constant communication.
- Evaluate your resources
Other than a sturdy workforce, you’ll need equipment. Those who are just starting out can do just fine with a decent phone recording, but if you want to do this right, then you’ll need to invest in recording equipment that fits your budget. A lesser known aspect of this advice is to look at your assets - is your topic something you’re an expert on, or will you need to invite professionals? Do you have the network to invite these people and do you have the business smarts to compensate for their time - and potentially help each other grow each other networks?
- Accept difficult truths
Whatever your intentions, creating a podcast can be a lot of fun but not without challenges. Many great podcasts have come and gone but those with true staying power have muscled through the following bitter pills - and have even excelled against these odds. These aren’t to discourage you, but you would be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t confront these earlier:
There are thousands of podcasts in the world and probably hundreds that are talking about the same thing you want to talk about. Your first challenge in any business venture is to always figure out what sets you apart - your unique personality and opinion can be a primary selling point to get you attention and popularity even if you’re talking about something everyone’s talked about.
It’ll take a lot of time before you see any tangible results. If you’re doing this to get famous rather than add value to a network of conversations, then expect a lot of disappointment. Beyond it being difficult to make yourself stand out from the rest, standing out doesn’t mean you’ll get noticed immediately. Even the greatest starts and personalities we know and love today started out getting ignored and rejected a lot, and their success now is largely due to the amount of consistent work that they’ve done over the course of a few years - your podcast will have some growing years too.
And finally, you won’t always want to do it, but you have to. Like any passion project-turned regular job, you will have days that the work just doesn’t appeal to you. Which is why it’s important to surround yourself with good people that believe in you and work through improving your podcast constantly - change directions when needed, and network as much as you can to get noticed.
Of course traditional word-of-mouth and people referrals are great for smaller community podcasts, but if you want to widen your reach, this is where podcast websites can help you out tremendously. And if you’re down to expand, you can read about the importance of building a personal website and other public platforms you might want to try to expand your reach too.
At this point, you have finally launched your podcast and it’s already on the Apple store and other similar platforms. You’re probably gaining some traction and attracting viewer engagement through your social media networks. But from here, you’ll want to take it one step further and build a podcast website to give your podcast and your other content an official online home.
With Apple Store, Facebook, Google Podcasts or any of the best podcast hosting sites, your content is competing with thousands of other podcasts and you’re at the mercy of their ever-changing news feed algorithms so you’re not always guaranteed of optimum exposure. Podcast websites enable content creators to have their own personal space for building their brand as well as a corner on the web where they can store everything that has to do with their show - notes, behind the scenes videos, photos, etc.
But you don’t need fancy podcast websites to be effective. You just need to be clear about the message you want to convey and create a positive user experience on your site. Here are a few guidelines for effective podcast websites to get you started.
- Plan your elevator pitch
When it comes to the best podcast websites, the introduction matters a lot. Don’t assume that people will just hit the ‘play’ button as soon as they land on your site. Provide a clear description of what’s going on in your site and introduce yourself and your work. Make sure to mention the content and the format of the material with good website copy that delivers your message clearly and concisely.
- People should find it easy to listen to your podcast
Podcast websites should serve as one of the many options where people can listen to your material. Your podcast website should be created with a clear understanding that everyone who visits is looking to listen to your podcast - if not learn more about your specific topic. If you just leave an iTunes link and call it a day, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of your audience who might be using an Android device. Give clear instructions on how to listen to your podcast through alternative sources, and likewise make it easy to find you from those platforms with your own domain.
- Recommend a starting point
People might be coming into your podcast website several episodes or even seasons into your podcast. You might want to give them a roadmap or a good place where they can start listening in. You can make recommendations on what they would want to listen to depending on the subtopic they might be interested in, or outline some episode highlights, like quotes or a blog summary, to help guide them into the episode that helps them the most.
- Choose your website template and font wisely
Part of creating a great user experience is choosing the right design elements that make up the best podcast websites. Strikingly has a diverse collection of templates for podcast websites and other audio hosting sites for you to choose from. Play around with the website editor and experiment with different color schemes and font combinations. Select fonts that are easy to read and represent your brand’s personality.
- Add social sharing options
One good way to direct traffic to podcast websites - or any website for that matter, is to connect your podcast site to your social media pages - or an embedded media and Twitter feed. Every time you make updates on the site, you must let your followers know on social media. Encourage them to share your content by adding social share buttons to your content as well. Engage with visitors by answering their questions and comments.
Podcast websites should never scrimp on information about their creators, their hosts, their topics, and their goals as they continue to create content. As a platform and as an asset, a good podcast website opens you to potential business opportunities - provided you make it easy to find you on the internet. Create your own podcast website with intuitive podcast hosting capabilities like Strikingly today.