This Is How To Start A Podcast (Authentic Advice From Someone Who's Done It)

So you want to start a podcast to apply educational content marketing theory to audio.

That makes sense.

Some 57 million Americans alone listen to podcasts, a 23% increase from 2015 to 2016. That’s one in four Americans who listen to at least one podcast per month, while an average podcast listener hears five podcasts a week.

There is a ton of opportunity for you to connect with a growing and active audience through podcasts.

But you’re not here to see the stats. You already know the opportunity.

So the real questions are how to start a podcast that will:

  1. Launch successfully (and continue to be successful)?
  2. Help you maximize the time you invest into producing each episode by sharing it on many channels to reach an even larger audience?
  3. Be manageable as a long-term investment while you complete tons of other work like usual?

At least, those were some of my questions when I started researching how to start a podcast.

And I’ve figured out a lot of the answers on my journey to launching CoSchedule’s brand new podcast, The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast.

When you read this blog post, you’ll find the best advice that worked for CoSchedule to launch a podcast, including:

  1. How to select a topic that will attract your audience
  2. How to structure your podcast
  3. How to find the right guests who your audience will love
  4. How to approach recording and producing your episodes
  5. How to publish and promote your podcast to reach your audience

Let’s get to it.

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How To Choose Your Topic And Name Your Podcast

There’s a time-tested method that will help you find the perfect balance between what you want to say and what your audience wants to know.

It’s called the content core.

What You Should Cover

You can find the perfect topic for your podcast by following this framework.

Ask yourself:

  1. What is my business really good at?
  2. What does my audience really care about?

The content core is the point at which your strengths intersect with your audience’s interests.

That’s the best opportunity for you to choose an overarching topic for the entire podcast series, while also giving you a framework for choosing subtopics for individual episodes you’ll record later.

Action Items:

You can begin this exercise by brainstorming two lists:

  • One list to answer, “What is my business really good at?”
  • Another list to answer, “What does my audience really care about?”

Find the ideas that are on both lists and create a final third list. This list is the gold; the nuggets that will propel your podcast into thought leadership your audience will love.

In other words, this list is the overarching topic of your podcast as a whole.

Now that you have a topic with clear direction knowing you’ll publish successful episodes, it’s time to determine a name for the podcast.

There are a handful of ways to do this:

  1. Name it something clever related to the topic (Example: The Call To Action Podcast)
  2. Name it the topic to give the perspective that it is the go-to podcast to listen to on that topic (Example: The Startup Chat)
  3. Name it after a keyword (Example: The Tim Ferriss Show)
  4. Name it some combination of all of these things (Example: Actionable Content Marketing)

How To Name Your Podcast

If you’ve already checked out The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, you’ll note that we targeted a keyword (content marketing) combined with a standard of performance we demand in all CoSchedule content (actionable).

You could try that approach, too, brainstorming lots of different ideas until you find the one that works best for your business.

Action Items:

  • Brainstorm common keywords, words, and phrases your audience uses when describing your topic. You can use your customer survey data to understand common words and phrases they use.
  • Translate the results from your brainstorm into potential names of your podcast. Simply create a list to get started, holding nothing back—rapid fire brainstorming can help you get tons of ideas out quickly.
  • Narrow the list to five of your top picks, then ask your team for their advice.
  • Select one name, preferably shorter and easy to remember.

How To Structure Your Podcast For Ultimate Impact

By structure, I mean asking yourself:

  1. Will the podcast feature only me talking? (Example: Grammar Girl)
  2. Could it have another team member and me? (Example: This Is Your Life)
  3. Will we feature different guests as talent on each episode? (Example: Entrepreneur On Fire)

There are success stories from all three types of podcast structures.

However, in the world of business, I’m biased toward featuring guests. And in the rest of this blog post, you’re going to learn how to start a podcast that features new guest talent on each episode.

Action Items:

Brainstorm the talent you will use to cover your topic on the podcast. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Do you know all of the wealth of information on your topic so much that you don’t need anyone else’s advice? If so, you could probably go solo.
  • Could you and a teammate choose a subtopic within your content core and banter in an entertaining or educational way? If so, maybe having two people on the show is right for you. Three people can work well for discussion. Four or more people on an episode often becomes too messy, judging from convos I’ve had with Craig Hewitt from Podcast Motor.
  • Could your friends or people you know in the industry—or influencers—help you share more robust stories and reach a larger audience? If so, you’ll want to consider inviting guests for different episodes.

The other element of podcast structure ties in to how you plan conversations interesting enough that your audience will love to listen in.

There are a few methods for you to consider:

  1. Banter: You have a subtopic within your content core, but that’s about it. This structure is very loose and requires you to know a lot about the subtopic in advance to be able to direct the conversation to cover the most important parts of the subtopic. (Example: Stuff You Should Know)
  2. Segments: You have certain things you talk about in each episode, regardless of the subtopic. It’s kind of like traditional news with local news, local weather, national news, national sports, etc. The information itself changes, but the segments of the newscast remain the same. (Example: This Old Marketing)
  3. Interview: You ask questions around a specific subtopic. For some guest-driven podcasts like Entrepreneur On Fire, the questions remain the same, only the guests share different expertise and hence different advice. For others like The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, this means knowing the talent’s expertise on a specific subtopic and tailoring questions specifically for each guest. (Example: Smart Passive Income)

3 Methods of Podcasting

As you can guess, the talent you have on the show should influence the structure behind the conversation. Internal talent may be more apt for banter and segments whereas segments and interviews may work better for guests.

For the Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, we opted for featuring guests in an interview style. This gives us a huge opportunity to connect with amazing marketers with diverse backgrounds who can share tons of different ways to solve big marketing challenges with our audience.

This way, we know The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast won’t grow stale because every episode features unique opinions and advice.

Plus, we get the added bonus that our talent will help us share the podcast with their own audiences, which furthers the reach of every episode we ship.

Action Items:

  • Ask your team for a shortlist of the podcasts they love to listen to. What kind of structure seems to attract and retain their attention?
  • Based on the talent you’d like on your podcast, brainstorm the best way to have a conversation interesting enough to share with your audience. Will banter, segments, or interviews work best for your podcast?
  • Share your conclusion with your team and ask your team for their advice. You’re not in this alone.

How To Find Amazing Guests For Your Podcast (And Make Their Experience Awesome, Too)

At this point, you haven’t shipped anything, so you might feel like it’d be hard to get guests for your podcast.

In my experience, that’s not true. You just need to look for the folks who already know, like, and trust you.

At your disposal, you have:

  1. Existing customers who have solved big challenges others like them would love to learn from.
  2. Email subscribers who—like existing customers—have solved problems and could share how they did it.
  3. Industry friends from similar companies to yours who also have interesting stories to share.
  4. Companies you love or buy stuff from—do they have stories your audience would be interested in, too?

4 Types of Guests Immediately Available To New Podcasts

Unlike asking for a guest blog post, being talent on a podcast is extremely easy for a guest. It requires just a little bit of time to understand the subtopic to cover, how to answer the questions, and the actual recording time.

To top it off, your guests get access to your website traffic, email subscribers, social media followers, and the subscribers on all of your podcast outlets like iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Google Play.

That’s a ton of exposure for a guest.

^ And that’s the way to market this opportunity to them.

Action Items:

  • Ask your team for the names of customers, email subscribers, industry influencers, and your suppliers who would be an excellent fit for a podcast episode according to your content core.
  • Find a list of your existing customers. Sift through the ones who sound like they’d have interesting stories to share.
  • Sift through your email list for prospects who would be a good fit for your podcast. If necessary, review their website for information from blog posts or news releases on problems they’ve recently solved to understand how you may be able to share that story in a podcast episode.
  • Peruse the list of companies you buy stuff from.
  • Think of industry influencers and friends who could help you out.
  • Pull together a shortlist of all of those email addresses. If for some reason you don’t have the email address and just the name, go to that person’s website, highlight their name, and use Datanyze Insider to find their email address in a matter of seconds.

Now you have a shortlist of people who would be awesome talent for your podcast. It’s time to make the process as painless as possible for them to go from introducing yourself to a recorded episode.

I’ve found a simple process with 10 steps works best (and by the way, you can get the checklist I use for this process—along with all of my email templates—for free in the checklist/template resource that complements this blog post):

Step #1: Reach Out To Talent

This is not a blasted message to your entire shortlist that blind copies each person. Tell your talent how you selected them, why you’d value their contribution, and how they’ll benefit from increased exposure from your audience.

Provide a link to book an angle conversation with you before you record their episode using a tool like Calendly. With Calendly, the talent can see your schedule and book a time that works best for them and you.

use Calendly to set up podcast meetings

Calendly helps your guests easily book podcast meetings with you.

You can also ask them for their Skype ID (and phone number in Calendly for backup purposes) to help you know how to get in contact with them easily.

Step #2: Follow Up On Outreach Pitch

Email inboxes get busy. Give them some time to respond, but also let them know you’re serious about featuring them as the top talent on your podcast.

I’ve found about a week or so is a good amount of time to wait before following up.

Step #3: Confirm Angle Appointment

If you opt to use Calendly, you will get an automatic email (and an automatic appointment on your Google Calendar) when your talent books an appointment with you.

I’ve found it’s best to add them immediately on Skype right when you get that confirmation rather than trying to find them via their Skype ID moments before the angle call. You’ll find that some of your talent may give you the wrong Skype ID at first, so the sooner you discover that, the sooner you can ask for it to avoid unprofessional technical difficulties.

At this point, I also send an email to the talent to let them know I received their invitation to chat and let them know to expect to be on an angle call so I can get the information I need to draft questions, and not actually recording their episode.

Step #4: Host Angle Call

Some podcasts avoid doing this step.

I find it’s important because you get the opportunity to ask, “What is a major {insert topic} challenge you’ve solved recently? How did you solve that challenge? What mindset made you successful at solving that challenge?” This gives you all of the information you’d need to know to draft questions for an interview style podcast episode.

You also get the chance to hear your talent speak—are they short with their answers, are they long-winded, is their audio bad, etc.? All of that information helps you understand what to expect as the host to direct your talent to show their strengths.

I’ve found one size does not fit all, and these calls are immensely helpful for breaking the ice before recording the actual episode.

Step #5: Draft Questions

Depending on the person (short or long-winded?), I’ll draft 10 to 20 questions to help me reach an intended record-time podcast episode length of about 20 minutes. The average commute to work is 25.4 minutes, so once you add in an introduction, middle call to action, and conclusion, you’ll ensure your audience can listen to an entire episode on their way to work.

The Timeline Of A Podcast

Generally speaking, it’s best to error on the side of writing too many questions rather than not having enough to hit your ideal podcast episode length.

These questions are based entirely on the conversation from the angle call, and I even leave guests cues as a reminder of our prior conversation to direct them on how to answer specific questions. This isn’t meant to alleviate their creativity, but rather, help prevent them from giving the same answers to multiple questions, especially with the subtopic of the episode is very narrowly focused.

Step #6: Send Questions To Talent

Send the questions to your talent, and ask them to book another appointment to record the actual episode. Again, Calendly works wonders for this.

It’s during this step that you can send a few tips to help your talent record the best episode possible. For example:

  1. Find a quiet place to record without distractions.
  2. Use headphones and a microphone.
  3. Put phones on silent.
  4. Turn off notifications on your computer.
  5. Plan on about 45 minutes for recording.

Step #7: Send A Reminder The Morning Of Your Recording

Your talent is busy. People forget.

A short email saying you’re excited to chat later today at a specific time serves as a nice reminder so you don’t have to rebook your appointment and risk delaying your publishing schedule.

Step #8: Record The Episode

Explain to your talent what to expect before you record.

Will you stick to the questions? Will you pry deeper if you think an answer was too vague? Will you go completely off track and ask new questions entirely (ones your talent may not have prepped for)? Are you recording a separate introduction and conclusion after you have the conversation?

If they have a difficult name to pronounce, ask them before you record.

And once you hit that record button, let them do the talking. They are the talent, not you.

I’ve found it helpful to write transition sentences to help me move from one question to the next in a way that feels less jarring than asking straight questions—which also prevents me from bumbling from question to question.

As you record more episodes, this process will feel more natural. Skill comes with practice.

Tips For Recording

Step #9: Thank Your Talent

After you record the episode, let your talent know you appreciate them! They just did you a solid, so I like to send them something special in the mail and let them know when to expect the episode to launch.

At this point, I also ask for anything else I might need to make the episode completely awesome, like their bio, headshot, company logos, and mailing address (that last one is for a care package). That content goes into blog posts to complement each episode release, along with social media graphics to promote the episode.

Step #10: Let Them Know When The Episode Is Live

Your talent will listen to their episode, and since they took the time to record it with you, they have incentive to share it with their audience, too.

Give them the link to the blog post and the social media graphics you’ve designed to make it easy for them to share.

Action Items:

Whether or not you want to follow this exact 10-step process for managing your podcast guests’ experiences, take the time now to draft the process that will work best for you and your team.

How To Record And Produce Your Podcast Episodes

The first thing to do is to make sure you’re using the right tools to record professional quality podcast episodes:

  1. Skype is an amazing tool lots of podcasters use for hosting conversations. This is the actual calling software.
  2. Ecamm Movie Tools Call Recorder connects into Skype and gives you the tool to record the conversation. It’s good because it records your audio separate from the talent’s, so you can easily mix out the person who is not talking and sweeten the audio for each person separately as needed. This technology works with Skype whether you’re recording video podcasts or audio podcasts (which is yet another decision you need to make).
  3. Your computer mic isn’t good enough, especially if you’re the host. Invest in a professional microphone.
  4. Over-the-ear or studio headphones help you hear your talent while ensuring your mic doesn’t pick up their voice, thus producing an echo.
  5. Find quiet room to record, even if that means ditching your noisy office to record at your home during the middle of the day.

As you start to hear the conversations you’re having, you can also think through the next steps for production, including music and sound effects, voiceovers, introductions, middle calls to action, and conclusions.

Let’s explore those areas of each episode a bit more.

Choose Music And Sound Effects That Sound Like Your Culture

Would you like to brand each podcast episode with specific introductory and conclusion music or sound effects?

AudioBlocks is a great source to find music for your podcast.

Some things to consider may be:

  • The music you’ve used in the past for videos
  • The culture of your company (i.e. fun and quirky or serious and strong?)

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Consider A Professional Voiceover For Your Introduction And Conclusion

Would you like a professional voiceover to introduce your podcast name and company? Should it be a male or female voice?

For example, a majority of CoSchedule’s audience is female, so for the Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, we decided a professional female voiceover would be best.

The voiceover talent offers an introduction to each episode, saying, “You’re listening to The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, powered by CoSchedule: The #1 marketing calendar for everything you need organized.” The same voice also concludes each episode, saying, “You’ve been listening to The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, from your friends at CoSchedule. For more actionable content, visit coschedule.com.”

Freelancer.com is a freelancing source that helps connect voiceover talent with folks like you.

Record Episode-Specific Introductions To Share Your Talent’s Credibility On The Subtopic Of Each Episode

Record an introduction to the episode immediately after you record the conversation. This helps you connect the dots between your talent’s advice and the classic WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) for your audience.

For these introductions, I like this framework:

  1. Begin with something catchy to help your listener feel like the episode will help them solve a problem. “What if you could…”, “Image how you’d feel when…”, and similar discovery verbiage helps set the tone for what listeners will learn throughout the entire episode.
  2. Introduce the talent as the ultimate authority on the subtopic within the episode and why listeners should trust the guest’s advice.
  3. Cover the WIIFM in detail, focusing on the benefits your listeners will receive if they simply continue listening to the episode.
  4. Introduce yourself so new listeners have a frame of reference for who you are as the host. If, for example, your professional voiceover introduces the podcast name by your company, you can introduce yourself as “Nathan from CoSchedule” to let your listeners know you represent that business.
  5. Restate the name of the podcast to help listeners remember where they’re learning this valuable information.

Record Episode-Specific Middle Calls To Action To Give Away Exclusive Content

Like traditional TV shows usually have commercial breaks every eight minutes, so should your podcast episodes. The human brain can only pay attention for so long before it needs a distraction.

Middle calls to action may act as ads for your product or service, a related piece of content you’ve just published, or even sponsorships (if that’s how you’re funding your podcast).

Create An Ad In The Middle Of Your Podcast

For The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, I try to connect the dots between the conversation at hand and how CoSchedule can help listeners put that advice into practice. There are a few elements of these calls to action that help it feel appropriate in context:

  1. Begin with a sentence that clearly indicates the podcast episode is not ending. “There’s a lot more advice from {talent name} to come.”
  2. Keep the call to action short. “If you’d like to do {episode subtopic advice} like {talent name}, {our product} is a great fit.”
  3. Give them a specific link to visit. “Just sign up at {companyname.com/simple} to {experience desired benefit in context to subtopic} now.”
  4. Transition back to the episode. “Now let’s learn more about {episode subtopic} with a little extra help from {talent name}.”

Record Episode-Specific Conclusions To Button Up The Episode And Remind Listeners Of The Exclusive Offer

Conclusions give you the opportunity to thank your talent for sharing their wisdom and reiterate to your audience why that advice is gold.

You can also use them to direct your audience to learn more from episode-specific blog posts on your website, and reiterate the special offer you provided in your middle call to action.

You could share the following information in your episode conclusions:

  • Thank your talent
  • Share the URL where listeners can find more information on the episode like show notes, talent bios, and episode transcripts
  • Share the URL you mentioned in your middle call to action with an exclusive offer
  • Ask for ideas for future episodes or talent you should feature on the podcast

A Note On Production:

Learning audio editing tools can be time intensive. For the actual editing and production of The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, we work with a partner, Podcast Motor.

I’d recommend researching third parties like Podcast Motor for your own podcast because it’s like adding a podcast professional as a marketing team member. You get the added benefits that this team member will publish episodes on time no matter what, and will never become distracted by “shiny object” projects that take them off podcast tasks.

How To Publish And Promote Your Podcast Episodes (A Grab Bag Of Advice)

Libsyn is well-known as one of the best podcast hosting services. From here, you can upload your episodes and enter destinations for where to share your podcast episodes.

For example, all Actionable Content Marketing Podcast episodes are hosted on Libsyn and are shared to iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Google Play on a schedule for every week on Tuesday mornings.

4 Great Places To Share Your Podcast

This step of the process is handled entirely by our partner, Podcast Motor, with the help of Libsyn, and is yet another reason why I’d recommend working with a podcast professional.

Once you have your episodes queued in Libsyn, I have some advice for spreading the word as you plan your launch.

Definitely Publish A Pre-Launch Podcast Announcement To Get Early Feedback

You planned your podcast according to your content core, so your audience really should love it.

But.

What if you could know they’ll love it instead of just guessing?

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After you’ve recorded three episodes, I’d recommend publishing a blog post and sharing those episodes with your existing audience. Share the three episodes—rough cuts with ums, ahs, and absolutely no audio sweetening or voiceovers.

The point is to ask for their feedback before you invest any more time into your podcast. They may have feedback for your structure, talent, guests, etc. that will help you produce even better episodes in the future—even before you launch.

Here’s an example of how we did exactly that with The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast.

Consider Publishing An Episode Zero To Set Your Listeners’ Expectations

Some podcasts publish an episode zero to explain the benefits their listeners will receive if they consistently listen to the podcast. It’s a handy way to act as a kind of what’s-in-it-for-me? FAQ. Here are some items you could cover in your episode zero:

  • Why the name?
  • What’s the goal?
  • How will your audience learn? Who will be on the podcast?
  • What is the structure? What is the content?
  • Where will your audience find the podcast episodes?
  • When will you consistently publish?

Episode zero is definitely a thing you could do, but not necessary for success.

Plan Your Frequency And Consistency To Build A Loyal Listener Base

Upon launch, our partner, Podcast Motor, recommends publishing at least two episodes (three in total, if you decide to go with episode zero). Still others recommend publishing three episodes (four if you opt for episode zero) to begin with.

The main point is this: Publish more than one episode on your initial launch day so your early adopters have more content to consume if they want it.

For example, The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast published two episodes on launch day, and will ship a third episode a few days after that initial launch.

A key insight here is to record several episodes before you launch to make sure you have enough content to launch and keep you going. Before we launched The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, we had 13 episodes recorded so we wouldn’t have to rush our guests to publish a new podcast episode every week. This means after our initial launch week, we had content prepared for 10 additional weeks.

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As you thought through your episode zero, you already asked yourself how often and when to publish. Knowing this information—will it be every Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. or once a month on the first Monday of the month?— will help you understand how big of a content bank to build before you launch.

Plan Consistent Podcast Episode Names To Emphasize Your Talent’s Credibility

An awesome thing about podcasts—at least something we’re trying for The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast—is to not focus so much on keywords. That frees us up to focus on stories that no one else in our industry is talking about with the folks who’ve solved major marketing challenges.

That reflects deeply in the headlines we create for podcast names, and I’d suggest you follow a similar approach.

Here are several examples from our initial podcast episodes—and also a sneak peek at what you’re going to learn from The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast ;)

  1. How To Create A Bank Of Content (And Plan Ahead) With Janna Maron From Smart Passive Income
  2. How To Hack Your Marketing Like A Startup With Garrett Moon From CoSchedule
  3. How To Boost Facebook Engagement With Kelly Fitzgerald From Anytime Fitness
  4. How To Build Influence In Any Industry With Chris Dessi From Silverback Social
  5. How To Market A Brand New Feature Or Product With Kathryn Nyhus From CoSchedule
  6. How To Improve Your Editorial Strategy With Tara Clapper From SEMrush
  7. How To Optimize Your Social Media Messages With Dustin Stout From Warfare Plugins
  8. How To Solve Marketing Fire Drills With Kyle DeWeerdt From Apprenda
  9. How To Double Your Facebook Reach With Rebekah Radice From Post Planner
  10. How To Prioritize Your Marketing Projects With Josh Pigford From Baremetrics
  11. How To Organize Content Creation Like A Publisher With Matt Ankeny From Gear Patrol
  12. How To Generate And Nurture Leads With Brittany Berger From Mention
  13. How To Implement A Guest Blogging Process With Jess Ostroff From Don’t Panic Management

The main lesson here is to share what your listeners will learn, backed by your guest’s name and company to emphasize their credibility on the subtopic.

That whole credibility thing should also tie nicely into your episode-specific introduction to share with your audience why you chose to chat with a specific guest about that subtopic, connecting the dots from headline to the context of the conversation.

Distinguish Your Podcast With Graphic Design

Your podcast needs a specific branding style to distinguish itself among all the other podcasts in iTunes and beyond.

If you don’t have a designer in-house, it will make sense to either work with a third-party like Podcast Motor to help you with per-episode feature graphics, or create a long-term contract with a designer through a credible source like Dribbble.

Our graphic designer, Ashton Hauff, created a podcast branding PDF to help us brand The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast. In addition, she is designing every blog post feature graphic to show off the talent, and brand the blog posts specifically for the podcast.

For example, here are a couple examples of blog post feature graphics Ashton has worked through for episodes #1 and #2:

Header graphic for podcast episode 1

Podcast episode 2 header

Introduce Your Blog Audience To Your Podcast With Episode-Specific Blog Posts

I’ve alluded to this a few times—but it just makes sense to share each podcast episode in a specially-published post on your blog.

This helps your existing blog audience and email subscribers see that you’re offering them an entirely new way to experience your already-amazing content.

There are a few elements of these blog posts that will ensure an excellent experience for your blog audience while keeping your workload simple:

  1. Create a feature blog graphic. This helps distinguish each episode and can really show off the talent you’re bringing to your audience.
  2. Embed the podcast episode inline in the blog post. The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast uses a player custom-built by Podcast Motor, and there are many others including the Smart Podcast Player from Smart Passive Income. These players give your blog post readers the opportunity to listen to your episode while they peruse the blog post.
  3. Include show notes. These are simply the big takeaways listeners will hear in detail as they listen to the episode.
  4. Include quotes from your guests. These are instantly shareable and immediately reiterate your guest’s credibility on the subtopic of the episode.
  5. Create quote graphics. Once you know the quotes, it’s easy to grab that text and turn them into sharable graphics. Now that you have a feature graphic and several quote graphics, you can easily provide those to your guest for when their episode launches so they can help you spread the word with beautifully branded and eye-catching social messages. These work really well for you to share your own blog posts on social media.
  6. Include a bio for your guest. Again, bios are great for showing your audience why your guest has the authority to provide actionable advice on the subtopic.
  7. Include a full-episode transcript. Have you ever listened to podcasts on the go, then wanted to find a specific piece of advice later? I know I have. And full episode transcripts make it easy for your audience to find the information they need quickly.
  8. Include a call to action to subscribe on iTunes. If your visitors are liking what they’re hearing, it’s nice for them to have the opportunity to subscribe on iTunes (preferably) or to a specific email list you’ve created just for your podcast listeners.

Easily Direct Traffic To A Custom Podcast Landing Page

In your episodes themselves, it’s nice to have an easy way to direct your listeners to where they can find more information. I’ve found a specially-designed landing page with a simple-to-say URL is handy.

Your landing page can serve the purpose of:

  • Showing your latest episodes with links to the specific blog posts.
  • Optimizing the experience to convert visitors into iTunes subscribers (or a specific podcast subscriber email list).

Here’s how we did it for The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast with help from our front-end designer and developer, Megan Beck, and Ashton’s branding guidelines.

Give Away Exclusive Content With A Custom Podcast Signup Page

For The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, we also wanted to give our podcast listeners a special, exclusive offer of CoSchedule. Like the custom podcast landing page, I needed a URL that was easy to say in each episode, and a custom signup page especially built for podcast listeners.

The main point here is this: If you have one call to action per episode, what would it be for your podcast? And how will you optimize that experience for your listeners?

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Oh… if you want to know what that exclusive offer is, the only way to find out is by listening to The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast. We are planning to not hand that URL out anywhere else to really know that the podcast is driving those conversions.

^ I’d suggest you experiment with something similar.

Build Excitement

Like any piece of content you publish, promotion is critical to success. Here are a few bonus ideas/tactics that may work for promoting your episodes:

  • Tag companies mentioned in each episode in social media messages (or find their email addresses with a tool like Datanyze Insider or ContentMarketer.io and email them)
  • Ask your guests to share their episodes and provide them the custom graphics you’ve created
  • Email your general subscriber list
  • Email your podcast-specific subscriber list
  • Ask your company, friends, and family to share
  • Include calls to action to your podcast landing page from your new and most popular blog posts
  • Install Hello Bar or the equivalent to share your podcast with all website visitors
  • Tease episode releases a day before you publish them

… And That’s How To Start A Podcast

Good luck as you start your own podcast! I’d love to hear your additional advice and lessons learned along the way.

And if you have subtopics or people you’d love to hear us feature on The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, let me know!

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