Do you want to start a Podcast business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a Podcast business with NO money and no experience. Podcasting is a form of Narrowcast content which simply means that it is not hooked on ad revenue like “Broadcast” content is, therefore it is specific and has a niche audience. Podcasts are targeted to those who are in one way or the other interested in that type of content.
Podcasts are on demand content that can be downloaded, are portable and can be listened to at your convenience. We’re in the golden age of podcasting, which means that almost everyone now has a podcast. This means that you have to be exceptional if you want to achieve success in this line of business. Don’t be afraid to reach for people who you might think of as unreachable or out of your league.
You have to get used to being rejected, but just because you get a no once doesn’t mean you should stop asking. A lot of people may not even respond to your request the first time around. Don’t be afraid to follow-up, or come up with new ways to reach out to them. Note that you might have sent an email, but they could have an assistant that filters out all unknown interview requests.
The key point is to find a channel the person you’re trying to reach out to actually uses. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out more than once, even after a no. It could be a scheduling conflict, or they could be taking a break from interviews for a few months.
Also no matter the niche or topics you plan to treat, you may need to bring together stories whenever possible. For instance, if you’re doing an interview based podcast, then get your guests to share stories about their lives. It’s believed that we humans bond over story, and by conveying information in a story-based format it will be much easier for your guests to digest.
Even though podcasting is all about talking, is also all about listening. You can’t be hosting a podcast if you’re not going to be listening to your guests. Many of your guests will have been on podcasts before.
One thing you want to avoid them doing is simply repeating the same story, or same answers they gave during their last interview. Always pay attention to what they’re saying and don’t be afraid to dig into anything that sparks your interest.
Also before you start reaching out, it’s smart to give your guests a reason to say yes. If you’re running just another podcast it’s going to be hard to convince your guests.
Read on for more insight into the processes of doing this business.
19 Steps to Starting a Podcast Business in the United States
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- 17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 18. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- 19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
Podcast trends have continued to rise in recent years, from the percentage of the 12+ population that has heard the term podcasting (60 percent, up from 55 percent last year) to the percentage that has listened to a podcast (40 percent, up from 36 percent last year) to the percentage that has listened in the last month (24 percent, up from 21 percent last year) or last week (15 percent, up from 13 percent).
Reports have it that an overwhelming majority of listeners get through either all podcast (42 percent) or most of it (44 percent). Even at 44 percent, 18-34 year-olds comprise of the largest share of podcast consumers, with 35-54 year-olds coming in second at 33 percent.
Reports have it that more listeners are male (56 percent) than female (44 percent). Podcast consumers also tend to be wealthier and more educated compared to the overall population.
Industry statistics has shown that podcast users make for an interesting advertising segment as they not only make up a higher percentage of social media users and on-demand video subscribers than the overall population over 12, but a higher percentage of people who follow companies or brands on social media.
In the United States, adults who listened to a podcast within the past month have more than doubled, from 9 percent to 21 percent. Experts believe that 21 percent of U.S. adults have listened to a podcast in the last month, indicating regular listenership.
The rate of people who listen to podcasts is about the same as the number of people on Twitter (21 percent). Its estimated by the year 2022, almost all new cars will have Internet connectivity.
Most people won’t connect to radios, when they can connect to the Internet in their cars. You can’t watch YouTube while you drive, and satellite radio still costs money; that leaves podcasts.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
Before you start staking your sweats on this business, you need to first ask yourself why you want to make a podcast. Are you a freelancer? A business? Or a marketing manager? Are you looking at podcasting from a hobbyist perspective?
This might mean you’ll be creating a show in your spare time. And the subject will be something that you’re passionate about. But if you are an entrepreneur and for instance a personal trainer who wants to make a health and fitness podcast, then your target audience might be people who are interested in healthy eating, weight loss, exercise, or bodybuilding.
But if you hope to create a hobby show, maybe based around your love of zombies and post-apocalyptic fiction, then your target audience would simply be folks with the same passion
We believe that podcasting business is perfect for those who enjoy public entertainment. Podcast creators can join a slew of commercial and public networks, connecting with listeners, celebrities, and industry specialists.
A good podcast business owner will have a niche subject to discuss, be tech-savvy, and understand modern entertainment. Also have it in mind that a good podcast host should focus on being clear, not clever.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
A niche is a segment of the market where you’ll focus your initial business attention. You usually want your niche to be more specific than broad when starting out, because this will help you attract more dedicated fans and customers. Below are some questions to ask yourself to find your podcasting niche:
- What do I love? This question will help give you some broad topics and ideas.
- What do I like to talk about? If you don’t enjoy talking about your topic, you won’t be able to stick with it for long.
- What problems can I help solve? Do you have a specific expertise you can teach, or a problem you can help solve for your listener?
- Is this something I will like to talk about for the long-term? Will you have enough fuel to talk about this topic over the long haul, or just for a few episodes? If you want your podcast to be successful, it doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll need a lot more than just a few episodes to make it happen, so be sure you have the content to back it up.
- What influencers do I want to connect with? The influencers you connect with will usually depend on your podcasting topic. So, if you want to connect with tech entrepreneurs, your niche should be based on either tech or entrepreneurship, or both.
- What does my audience want to hear? If you already have a website, you can use your most popular blog posts as fuel. If you don’t, you can look at similar blogs and podcasts and get a sense for what the audience might be looking for.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Reports have it that podcasting is one of the fastest-growing mediums in digital media right now, nearly doubling its listeners in the last three years, but it is just touching the tip of the iceberg with advertisers in the U.S.
Even though the format has been embraced by major media brands and independent hobbyists, U.S. advertisers will spend just $200 million on podcasts this year — a paltry sum when compared to the $33 billion U.S. streaming audio market.
Apart from the handful of direct-response advertisers that dominate the medium, a lot of brands have disagreed to invest significant budget in it.
Also a rising number of podcasting networks are making actionable information available, giving brands unprecedented insight into who listening and how long they’re listening for. By taking advantage of demographic information and advanced metrics like impression per hour, marketers can now target podcast listeners with the same precision they do on Spotify, Pandora and other streaming music services.
Experts believe that over the next several years, the targeting and metrics available in podcasting will only get better. As publishers and networks learn more about their listeners, they’ll be able to offer brands access to granular audience segments across a variety of podcasts.
But just as the modern marketer uses ad networks and programmatic tools to buy users rather than sites, media buyers will soon be in the business of purchasing podcast listeners rather than shows. It’s believed that podcasts will claim a larger and larger share of the $33 billion streaming audio pie when this happens.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- The Daily
- There goes the neighbourhood
- Where should we begin?
- Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty
- This American life
- Fresh Air
- Radiolab Presents: More Perfect
It’s important to state that a podcaster can make money in several ways. Podcasts indeed can have sponsors. Every time a sponsor is used, a podcaster is paid. A podcaster can also ask for donations.
A lot of podcasters give away free episodes, charging listeners for other episodes. Others, meanwhile, might offer free partial shows while offering entire shows for a fee. Social media advertisement can also generate money, as can a podcast’s website.
We believe that successful podcasters most times build an entire brand around their services, becoming product providers and even consultants. If a podcaster is well-connected in the mobile app world, they might sell an iPhone app alongside their podcast. Have it in mind that podcast can become very popular.
If the podcaster extends their episodes across Stitcher, iTunes and BlueBerry, they can catch a large audience. A successful podcaster should, however, have a plan to scale effectively in the online world. Especially because a podcasting business solely rests on e-Commerce, you will need to make sure your buying portals are organized.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Indeed starting from the scratch gives you the opportunity to build your own idea and develop your company from the ground up. But then a lot still don’t know that starting from scratch presents some very critical disadvantages, including the difficulty of building a customer base, marketing the new business, hiring employees and establishing cash flow … all without a track record or reputation to go on.
But if you think you can’t handle the difficulties associated with starting a business from the scratch, you might decide that buying into a franchise is better with you and your business dreams.
Note that when you buy a business, you take over an operation that’s already generating cash flow and profits. Buying a franchise also offers you an established customer base and reputation as well as employees who are familiar with all aspects of the business. Also you won’t have to reinvent the wheel, setting up new procedures, systems, and policies.
This is because a successful formula for running the business has already been put in place. But you should also note that buying a business is sometimes costly than starting from scratch.
Note that this industry has no known franchise that you can buy into to help eradicate the pitfalls of starting from the scratch. This leaves everyone with the option of starting from the scratch and starting up strong. The best way to start a business is to make yourself ready for threats and challenges.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
You need to understand that starting a Podcast business is just like any other known business, and also has its own challenges and problems. A lot of people listen and make podcasts everyday, so when starting your Podcast business you must first take care of major decisions which may include:
- Distinguishing yourself from competing Podcast services
- Naming your Podcast service
- Developing incentives for people to listen to your Podcast
- Developing incentives to keep them coming back
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
A podcast business is a business you can start and run from home. You can run a Podcast Business right from your bedroom, as a stay at home mom, as a teen, or even as a student. Modernization and the rising of technology has established avenues of income for people of all age bracket.
You can choose to start this business comfortably without forming a legal structure, but when the need arises, note you can form this business as a sole proprietorship. As most of us already know, sole proprietorship is one of the most popular legal structures in the business world. It simply means that the benefits and loss of the business falls on just the owner. This business structure sure has its benefits and disadvantages.
Benefits of Sole proprietorships
- You have maximum privacy
- Establishing and operating your business is simple
- It’s easy to change your legal structure later if circumstances change
- You can easily wind up your business.
- You’re the boss
- You keep all the profits
- Start-up costs are low
Disadvantages of forming a Sole Proprietorships
- It can be hard to take holidays
- You’re taxed as a single person
- Your capacity to raise capital is limited
- All the responsibility for making day-to-day business decisions is yours
- Retaining high-calibre employees can be difficult
- The life of the business is limited.
- You have unlimited liability for debts as there’s no legal distinction between private and business assets
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
Choosing the right podcast name is unarguably important, but a lot of beginning podcasters sometimes overlook its value. Your podcast’s name is going to be with you for the long-term and plays an essential role in your brand.
Indeed you could name your podcast something completely random, but when you’re new this will make it more difficult to start gaining traction. We believe that a better approach is to name your podcast something that actually gives your listeners a hint of the service you provide.
Experts believe that a great way to come up with a great name is to study your space and see what the most popular and commonly named podcasts are. There are chances you might pick out a few themes that all of the names share. You also need to understand that most podcasts will have a similar episode format.
The biggest distinction is if you’re going to be doing an interview-based show, or not. You don’t have to copy the same format as other podcasts out there, but it can be helpful to create a specific episode format. This will help keep all of your episodes the same, even though the content in each episode will differ.
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Most people who want to start this business don’t think it needs insurance protection. Indeed they might be right but once you plan to reach a wider audience, then you have to understand that your health insurance won’t save you when you’re sued for instigating violence and other things.
You need to seek for protection outside the walls of your house and insurance in many ways have proven to be good at that. Insurance you may need include:
- Internet liability insurance
- Advertising agency insurance
- Creative insurance
- Copywriters insurance
- Business equipment insurance
- Business contents insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
First and foremost you need to understand that intellectual property rights are business asset, and are often the most valuable business assets. Most ventures in this age trading or considering to trade on the internet need to check what intellectual property rights it owns and make sure that it is fully protected.
Have it in mind that different types of ideas can be protected in different ways, depending on how they are expressed. This intellectual output and the protection of it is known as intellectual property, a collective term for different types of asset including copyright, trademarks, patents, design rights and others. These assets are intangible, but can be very valuable since they enjoy legal protection.
In the podcast business, there will surely be a number of intellectual property rights which exist in your podcasts. Any logos or branding are likely to be protected by registered trade mark rights or the law of passing off.
However, audios, including the text, design, graphics, data, layout and any music, broadcasts, software and images on your website, will be protected by copyright. In other to protect your intellectual property in the Podcast business, you need to do the following
- Use Duplicate Content Detection and Monitoring Tools
- Devise preventive methods
- Take Action after Finding a Plagiarist
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Professional certifications solidify the competence of professionals through a measurement of skills and knowledge. It goes beyond training by providing a measurement of knowledge and skills.
In this new age, the degree you earned 20 years ago doesn’t always hold the same validity as it did when you first received it. By gaining a certificate, it shows clients that your capable and serious. Certificates to get may include;
- VMware vExpert
- VMware Certified Professional
- Microsoft Certified Professional
- Microsoft Certified IT Professional
- RawVoice Certified
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Obtaining the licenses to run this business is not a feat you should take lightly. It’s a crime to start and run a business without the legal documents needed by the country state or county.
State and Local Business Licensing Requirements
We believe that some state permits may be required to run a podcast business as businesses are needed to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide.
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
If you fancy a product or idea owned by another company or individual, you can contact the rights owner or manufacturer and negotiate a sublicense to use the product or idea under a royalty or fixed fee arrangement. It is never smart to use content without authorization from the rights holder as this could have serious legal ramifications for your business.
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
This business can be started easily from home as long as you have the necessary incentives which hugely include funds. This business might not be capital intensive, but once you decide to do it in a big way then you have to consider adequate funding for your podcasts.
However, before you launch your podcast, you must understand that there is more to a Podcast than posting audios and hoping others listen to them. Ways to raise funds in this business may include…
- Personal savings
- Social investment
- Credit cards
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
We all must have understood what a podcast business feels like, but if yours ever needs a storefront, we suggest you choose an attractive location in your city’s business district.
Choose tasteful, conservative furnishings; hire friendly and engaging staff members who can set your customers at ease. You will have to write a very detailed business plan which will help you shape your business.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
You can start and operate a podcast alone, but having a team of two to three others can assure consistency and adaptability. To save money, you can operate your podcast alone for the first year. Consider adding a partner as you become established. You also need to know that you can’t start a podcast without equipment, and good equipment will go a long way. Things you will need may include…
Any microphone will work for recording your podcast, but listeners can usually note the difference between low and high quality microphones. You will also need to decide whether you want to use a USB or analog (XLR) microphone.
USB mics convert analog sound into digital so you can plug a USB mic directly into any computer and start recording without much hassle, but you can get lower audio quality compared to analog.
Note that analog microphones use XLR connectors, which means you need another device to get your audio onto your computer, but you can get higher audio quality and can use them with other sound equipment.
Any Windows computer or Mac should work fine to record, edit, and upload your podcast since editing audio doesn’t take a ton of computing power. It depends on how you choose to record, directly to the computer or onto a dedicated recording device; your computer will also need the right ports.
USB microphones, for example, will obviously need an open USB port. If you’re using analog microphones with a portable XLR recorder or audio interface device, you’ll need either a 3.5 mm audio-in jack, a USB port, or in some cases, a Firewire port.
Audio Editing Software
In terms of the actual recording and editing, you’ll need a Digital Audio Workstation (or DAW), there are a lot of good options out there, but the licenses for some of them can be costly. Licenses for professional level DAWs like Reason or Pro Tools can cost anywhere between $300 and $900.
Apps like Hindenburg offer simpler audio editing software for under $100, Reaper is a fully loaded audio production app for $60, and Adobe’s audio editing software Audition CC is available with a $19.99 monthly subscription, but you probably shouldn’t start dumping money into podcasting software if you’re just starting out.
Because of that, most people will recommend free open source programs like Audacity when you’re just getting started.
Portable XLR Recorder (optional)
If you plan on using analog microphones for your podcast, you’ll need something that captures your analog audio and converts it to digital. Portable XLR recorders can capture multiple microphone channels and allow you to do basic sound level adjusting and muting on the fly.
We believe that audio files automatically get organized and stored on a memory card that you can insert into a card reader or slot in your computer.
Audio Interface (optional)
If you plan to record directly to your computer with your analog microphones, you’ll need an audio interface. These devices give you the opportunity to plug in one or more analog microphones and will convert the analog audio to digital. A lot of audio interfaces will connect to your computer via USB or Firewire.
Pop Filters (optional)
The clearer your audio can sound, the better. Pop filters, while not needed, are fairly cheap and can keep your plosives from making a nasty sound on your recording. If you don’t want to buy any, though, you can make some of your own.
After discussing the various process or facts you need to know when starting this business, it’s time to start producing your podcast. The steps below will walk you through reaching, editing, and uploading your podcast.
Indeed you will like your podcast to feel conversational, not like you’re reading word-for-word from a script. See this scripting like a movie script, think of it like an outline. You won’t write out every single thing you’re going to say, but instead, create a rough outline of your talking points.
Also note that if you’re nervous in front of the microphone having a script in front of you can help you feel less nervous and keep you from going off tangent.
This process of your podcast production is relatively simple especially if you’re using a USB microphone and recording software like Audacity. All you have to do is plug in your microphone into your computer, open up your software, and press record.
If you’re importing something you’ve previously recorded, like a Skype interview, then just import the audio file into your editing software of choice.
After recording your podcasts, it’s time to start putting things in place and start editing. The quality of your editing will either help or hinder the success of your podcast. High quality editing will make your podcast sound professional, while low-quality editing will make your podcast sound amateur.
With today’s competitive podcasting landscape, it’s much more difficult to succeed with a low-quality podcast. The steps you take will differ depending on the editing software you’re using. But, typically you’ll want to do the following edits to improve the quality of your audio file.
- Normalize the audio to take out high-volume spikes.
- Turn down or edit out any existing background noise.
- Delete any stuttering, big gaps in conversation, or other things that detract from the quality of the audio.
First and foremost, your podcast doesn’t have to make use of music, but if you listen to a lot of podcasts you’ll notice that a ton of them make use of theme music throughout their intros. It does help to make your podcast sound a little more professional.
When sourcing for music, go for stock music or royalty free music. This will allow you to edit and place your own audio on top of the music, without running into any legal hassles.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
If you plan to run this business successfully, you’re going to need a marketing plan. You can’t expect your podcast to grow on its own without any help on your end unless you’ve already built up a large and engaged audience via other means.
We believe that one sure way of marketing your podcast is to establish multiple forms of media from each episode you produce. For example, you could turn an episode into a blog post, a guest blog to publish on another website, a series of social media updates, or even cool shareable images.
Apart from converting your content into multiple media formats, you have other options as well:
- Reaching out to guests and asking them to share the podcast episode with their audience.
- Asking your audience if they’d be willing to leave an iTunes review of your podcast.
- Doing a series of guest blogs about your podcast topic, with a link back to your podcast website.
- Reach out to other podcasts about becoming a guest on their podcasts.
- Growing your audience via content marketing, advertising, and social media, and pushing that audience to your podcast.
17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
Indeed you may have dreams of starting a podcast business that achieves millions of downloads and is one of the most popular podcasts in your space. These are solid things to shoot for, but just know that numbers like these won’t happen overnight.
Building a vast podcast audience is a long-term game. It’s a step by step movement and you shouldn’t be discouraged. With podcasting, the results will come as long as you stick to a regular publishing schedule, promote each episode, and keep improving the quality of your podcast with better guests, improved material, and higher-quality production.
Note that your target audience takes a while to build, but it will grow, you just have to keep with it. Like anything, you’ll get better in time, your show will improve, and you’ll start to attract new listeners.
- Define your brand and make your channel inspiring
- Choose a competitive advantage
- Excite your customers
- Offer something off the board
18. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
Note that to make a listener interested and always come back, you need to provide an experience that blows the listener away, keeps you top of their mind, and gets you into discussions with their friends. Far too often, marketers spend all of their attention on the chase and the sale and not enough on how to retain and create remarkable experience.
- Blow away your customers
- Follow them up
- Provide some personalization
- Make use of the right tools
- Make it simple
- Protect their ideas and interest
19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Podcasting is one of the most powerful mediums to connect with your audience. It gives you a deeper connection with current visitors, gives broader exposure, and gets you more connections and opportunities.
A lot of people consider starting a podcast, but never follow through. A big reason for the lack of a follow through is a lack of know-how. But now you must have acquired the knowledge to start this business or must have started, you need to think out ways to keep your business growing… These strategies may include…
- Social media marketing
- Efficient Web hosting
- Astonishing website
- Improved Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Affiliate marketing