Why (and How) to Start a Podcast That’ll Grow Your Brand and Business

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Starting a podcast can help you stand out from the noise in an otherwise crowded business or blog scene. And you don't need any fancy equipment to get your podcast up and running.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Breaking The One Percent by Mike Beatty from Make Time Online as part of our “Ask the Expert” interview series.

You probably know that more and more websites are created every day. With new content creators and bloggers jumping into the online world, it’s getting harder to stand out from the crowd.

Most people think that by being consistent and putting in more time and effort, they can eventually beat the competition.

But what if there was a genuine way that you could stand out? What if you could create 100% unique content that people could consume on their way to work, at the gym, or while making dinner?

Today, we’re going to hash out the 7 amazing benefits of having your own podcast and how you can start today.

Should you start a podcast if you have a blog?

Podcasts can be super valuable for any business, as you will soon learn.

However, they can also be a great way for content creators or bloggers to easily “repurpose” existing content to reach a new audience.

Podcasts are becoming more and more popular, and many people would prefer to listen to a podcast than read a long blog post. In fact, Google Trends suggests that interest in podcasts has exceeded that of blogs since the start of 2019.

Just think about it…

If people can hear your voice and listen to you whilst having a cup of coffee, do you think they are more likely to get to know you and trust you compared to reading words on a screen?

This means they are going to be more likely to buy whatever your company offers.

This leads nicely onto…

7 Benefits of Having a Podcast

There are tons of benefits to starting a podcast. This list is not extensive but it highlights the main areas that could help your business or your blog.

And this is even without talking about getting your podcast sponsored or directly monetized…

1. Connect with leaders in your industry

You may have heard this before:

Your network is your net worth.

Whilst you may just see it as a silly quote that people overuse, it has a lot of truth to it, especially in business. The most successful businesses tend to have good relationships with other leaders in the same industry.

A podcast provides an opportunity to speak to experts within your industry who would never take your call otherwise. This can also help you…

Related: These Millennials Started Blogging 12 Months Ago and Already Make $1,000+ Per Month. Here’s How.

2. Learn more about a topic

Many people believe they cannot start a podcast until they understand everything about a certain topic.

While it obviously helps if you have some knowledge in the area, there will likely be areas that you will still be learning about. By taking your listeners through your own journey, it can actually help to connect with more like-minded people. This is also a great way to…

3. Become an authority in your field

If you want to build a brand, then a podcast is a great way to do this. Your personality comes across much more compared to writing and your accent will become part of your brand.

But just producing a podcast can instantly provide authority within your industry. It’s a great way to stand out and connect with listeners regularly.

4. Create new opportunities you hadn’t thought of

Podcasting can help to put your brand and name on the map. This also means people can find you in new ways. I’ve had some impressive people I haven’t even heard of asking to come on my podcast.

It’s also possible that people may invite you to work with them or even do some guest speaking, guest posting, or other forms of collaboration. Often, these are areas you may not have even considered before and can open up new income streams.

Related: How Bloggers in 7 Popular Niches Are Making Their Money

5. Get free stuff

This is definitely not a reason to start a podcast. But if this happens, it can be one of the best benefits of having a podcast.

This was something completely unexpected and unplanned for me, but I’ve had numerous courses or tools shared with me, just as a “thanks for sharing our message.”

6. Increase traffic

You may find that your audience from your podcast may be totally separate from your existing audience.

If you provide some show notes with useful links or content connecting to your podcasts, then you can also get new people visiting your existing website. This is another way for people to find other services or products that you provide.

7. Easy to create

If you already create content on a website or YouTube channel, the great thing is you don’t even need to put in much more work to create a podcast.

You can simply talk about the content from your blogs or use the audio from a YouTube video to create podcast content. It’s even possible to completely outsource this job to someone else, without needing to spend any extra time on it.

Podcasts don’t require a lot of equipment or tools to get started either. If you have a phone or a laptop, you can start a podcast right now.

Before we look at how exactly you can do this, let’s figure out what style your podcast should be.

Related: 7 Ways to Repurpose Your Blog Content and Get the Most Out of Every Post

The Two Main Types of Podcasts

There are many different podcast styles or genres, but really they fall under 2 main categories:

  1. Solo
  2. Interview

There are other styles such as:

  • Multi-host shows (fits more under solo usually)
  • Roundtables (could be either format depending on if the guests a regular or not)

So, what’s better?

There is no right answer, but if you are wanting to connect with more people and network, it’s likely you will choose an interview style.

Many podcasts use a bit of both having a guest on sometimes, and at others, going at it solo. Some podcasts will even have seasons focusing on a certain theme and taking a break until the next season.

The key is to make sure every episode serves your audience, the same way that all your content should.

How to Get “Experts” on Your Podcast

Now I can almost hear your mind saying, “This is all great in theory, but how am I supposed to get any experts on my podcast?”

That’s a great question, so let’s break it down a bit, shall we?

Where to find people to interview on your podcast

Here are some places you can find these “experts”:

  • Your own network (people you may already be in contact with — the best approach)
  • Facebook Groups
  • Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
  • People releasing something i.e. new book or course (this is a great time to ask because they want the publicity)
  • Ask your guests if they recommend anyone else
  • Other podcasts you listen to

But the key is to use what you already know.

You may be super active on Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, or Instagram, so obviously that would be the best place to start. What I quickly realized is that I was already in contact with many people who would make great guests.

Remember, you don’t have to get the biggest “experts” straight away. They just need to know something that would help your listeners (and almost everyone’s story can help).

Related: How One Entrepreneur Build a Business Repurposing Podcasts into Blog Posts for Business Owners

How to ask for the interview

This is a really important step.

You’re probably already aware that sending an email to someone who has no idea who you are rarely gets answered.

I have found that getting to know the person, what they are currently working on, and if there’s any way you can genuinely help always works best.

I personally don’t believe that cold pitching someone is the best way to go about it.

So here are a couple of examples I have of asking people to come on my show in the past:

example podcast invite pitch

I had already emailed Pete McPherson a couple of times replying to his email sequences.

He always replied, so I knew I could reach him there.

I tried to keep it short and to the point and used Grant’s name, as I knew he had interviewed him before.

Funny story, I actually started the podcast because I reviewed Grant’s book Financial Freedom (read it if you haven’t already!). I asked for an interview and he asked me if I wanted it in written or audio format…go figure what I chose.

And this is how I got to have a chat with Jeff and Ben from DollarSprout:

example podcast guest pitch

I had kind of already touched base with Jeff and Ben, and I had judged that flat out asking them may be the best approach to not waste their time.

Plus, I knew they hung out on Facebook because I was part of their awesome group.

Check out the chat here where they explain the story of how they went from nothing to $240k/month. Speaking to people like this is without a doubt one of the best benefits of a podcast.

Tips for getting guests

There are 7 key tips that have helped me to get more guest opportunities:

  1. Try to make contact with them before asking i.e. thank them for some work you liked, share their stuff, ask them a question, join their email list, etc.
  2. Find out where the person you are asking hangs out (email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
  3. Be polite and get to the point (nobody has time to read an essay to figure out what you’re asking!)
  4. Replying to emails sent from them is a great way to get a higher response rate.
  5. Look out for emails from people that have been on other podcasts (it shows they are willing to go on podcasts)
  6. Follow up if you don’t get a response (max 3 attempts)
  7. Drop in the fact you have a podcast in your emails signature and any other outreach that you do

In fact, I have had a response from every person I asked if I had already been in contact with them (not the case for cold pitches).

Just remember to keep track of who you asked and when you asked them (I use a simple spreadsheet), and make sure to follow up with them if you don’t get a response.

Follow up about 2 weeks after you have sent the request and never send more than 3 requests in total. It just becomes needy and there are plenty more fish in the sea.

How to Start a Podcast

One of the biggest benefits of starting a podcast is how cheap and easy it is. Creating a blog can be super cheap, but there is always a bit of a learning curve setting that up.

And if you’re like me, you will be interested in finding free or cheap tools to help you do this for podcasting.

Now I’m about to show you how $108 and less than 2 hours can have your podcast set up and sounding as professional as NPR.

There are really only 3 steps to get your podcast out there:

  1. Choose your podcast hosting
  2. Record and edit your podcast
  3. Publish and connect your hosting to different podcast directories

Now, there are some different recommendations from different “gurus” on this. But all you really need is “hosting” to get your podcast out there into the real world.

Tools to Set Up a Podcast

So here are the main tools that are available. They are pretty much the cheapest options around and provide you with more than enough to produce a great-sounding podcast.

Hosting

  • Podbean. $108 for the year and unlimited upload plan. I personally use it as it’s the most cost-effective with unlimited storage space. Use this tutorial on how to submit your podcast to different directories…this covers steps 1 and 3…two birds, one stone.
  • Lisbyn. $5/ month for 50Mb [one of my podcasts averages around 45Mb for 45 minutes though]…or $15/ month for 250Mb.
  • There are free hosting plans on platforms such as Anchor, but they are limited to what you can do and therefore not recommended (similar to website hosting).

Microphone

To be honest, any microphone will be better than your built-in one on your laptop, but it’s not a necessity.

Wearing headphones is important while recording (so you don’t get the echo from the laptop speakers). Any headphones will do.

The ATR-2100 is what gets recommended all the time:

How to Record the Podcast

  • Ecamm recorder for Mac users on Skype for a one-time fee of $39.95 for lifetime access. You need something like this if you are interviewing someone.
  • Try these out for Windows (if you are interviewing someone).
  • Use any recorder like GarageBand, Voice Memos, or even Audacity (see next point) if it’s a solo podcast.

Software to edit and arrange the podcast

  • Use Meetingbird to arrange times you’re available (it’s free and saves a lot of back-and-forth messaging)
  • Audacity (Editing. It’s free, easy to use, and awesome)
  • Levelator (Another handy free tool. It makes sure the “loudness” is equal from your end and the other person’s if it’s an interview-style)

In total, you’re looking at around $150 to get everything you need, plus whatever microphone you want. And it doesn’t need to look like a recording studio, this is what I look like on a podcast chat.

podcast equipment setup
A quality podcast setup can affordably come in at less than $150. Photo courtesy of Mike Beatty.

I thought this was going to be super complicated, but it actually took under 2 hours to get all of that set up.

Networking and Branding Made Easy

Here’s the truth: a podcast can do things for your business that you didn’t know were possible.

You can use it as a tool in any way you wish. Plus, it’s a great way to get up-to-date and important information about your business out there.

Yes, it can take time and effort, but you wouldn’t even be reading this article if you weren’t prepared for that. On the same note, it is possible to completely outsource a podcast if you already produce YouTube videos or are happy for someone else to read your blog posts.

By now you should know:

  • The benefits of starting a podcast
  • Different types of podcasts
  • How to find the right guests for your podcast
  • The software and tools you need to start

The reassuring part? It isn’t scary or intense to start a podcast. The fancy intros, sponsors, and sound effects are great if you want to spend time on them, but they aren’t needed to start a podcast that grows your business.

Author
Ben Huber

Hi! I'm Ben. A personal finance nerd on a mission to help DollarSprout readers make and manage financial decisions. A quoted contributor for Business News Daily, Business.com, Discover Bank, Moneyish, Student Loan Hero, Policygenius, TechRepublic, and more, I work to help others live their financial best life.

16 comments
Hemant
Hemant

Podcasting is best for building an audience, but it is difficult for beginners.

Mike Beatty
Mike Beatty

Hey Hemant, I totally agree it’s great for building an audience.

Although I was a complete “beginner” when I started mine. It’s actually much easier than a lot of people think to get it out there. Obviously if you want to really promote it hard at the start there are some things you want to put in place, but mine has just organically grown over time without any real promotion.

If you are consistent and keep putting out useful content people will let you know if it’s useful or not 😉

Mike Beatty
Mike Beatty

I’d actually say it’s easier than starting a blog, to be honest!

Mike Beatty
Mike Beatty

Thanks again for the opportunity to share this Ben and Jeff. I’ll drop in here a few times this week if anyone has any questions or wants to know anything else.

Pete McPherson
Pete McPherson

Nice work Mike! 🙂

Mike Beatty
Mike Beatty

Thanks, Pete.

I would like to point everyone in the direction of Pete’s amazing video that he released yesterday (how weird!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jtoq9MC7ENo

It breaks down all the podcast hosting servers in way more detail and even shows you that RedCircle is actually now free (with no uploading limits!)

I had no idea about this when I wrote this post and only saw Pete’s video yesterday so it’s a bit of a no brainer…and I will be switching as soon as my annual membership runs out.

Defo watch Pete’s video for more info… Ben, can we add this into the post/can I edit it?

Yeah for sure — if you’d like to add copy just shoot it over and where you’d like to insert (perhaps highlight in red?) and I’ll get it in there.

Okay, I do have an audio question.

I have an ATR2100-USB mic (super basic, I know). I never ever get feedback on calls (be it Skype, Zoom, Loom, Slack, Facebook, whatever). But in some instances, I get horrific echoing/sound quality if I record something (and I don’t have headphones in).

Is there a reason it only does this when I record vs. not on a live call? (Obviously will go the headphone route going forward, but unsure as to why I see people record videos in studios with USB mics (but don’t have headphones in), just fine.

(HELP MY SIMPLE BRAIN UNDERSTAND).

Mike Beatty
Mike Beatty

Hmmm very odd. What tool do you use to record?

For example, Audacity does this to me unless I have headphones in but other things like Screencast-O-Matic doesn’t need it.

It’s probably that whatever you are recording on has the “sound output” set to your laptop speakers and just causes a horrible feedback loop (it may even just be the sound settings on your laptop)

Yeah, I dunno to be completely honest. I should back up and say I almost never have this problem but I did a recorded screen call the other day with someone on Skype and the sound quality was horrific (even though the other person could hear me just fine/sound quality was good). His sound was fine so it must have been 1) something on my end or 2) Skype.

Either way, bummer we spent an hour and it turned out that way.

Randall Magwood
Randall Magwood

Podcasting is great! I just recently created a podcast using Zencast, and now my content is on Spotify, Apple, and Google Podcasts. And I’ve used their materials to create my own podcast blog. Great post!

Mike Beatty
Mike Beatty

That’s great Randall!

Caitlin McCarty
Caitlin McCarty

Hey Mike,
I’ve been thinking of starting a podcast and I’m noticing that several entrepreneurs in my city are doing this. I’m curious, what are your thoughts about going off-brand for a podcast? For example, I know a photographer in my town who has started a podcast about leveling up in your business and personal life. It’s much more lifestyle based and doesn’t really center around her photography business at all. I’m having a hard time deciding how I want my podcast to look – more lifestyle based or all business consulting. Thanks for all these tips! I’ll definitely use these moving forward!

Mike Beatty
Mike Beatty

Hey Caitlin,

That’s awesome you’re thinking of starting.

I think it will really depend on your goals and what you want to do with your business. If your friend is more interested in business talk and potentially wants to help coach people then that’s perfect for her. Equally a lifestyle based podcast may be great to connect with her audience to then naturally offer her services (if she takes pics of families/ lifestyle stuff)

But unfortunately, the answer is it really depends. What is your current blog/ business based on?

Deepranjan Ghosh
Deepranjan Ghosh

Wow, what an absolutely amazing resource this has been! Been contemplating starting a local podcast covering industry leaders back here in India and this has been really helpful! Thank you for the tips!

Mike Beatty
Mike Beatty

Glad it could help Deepranjan. Let me know if you have any questions as you go!

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