Posted: Mon 11th Sep 2023
Colin Gray, founder of The Podcast Host, helps people launch, grow and profit from podcasts. In this interview with Enterprise Nation, he shares some valuable insights on how to be successful with podcast content.
How did you get into podcasting?
I actually started in higher education. I was working at a university, teaching lecturers how to use technology to help their students, and podcasting came along as a new tech to learn.
I figured it out, and ended up falling in love with the medium. Just how much you could get to know a host, and how you could learn, launch and be inspired by content in otherwise wasted time. I listened avidly for a year or so and then jumped into creating my own podcast episodes. Best choice I've ever made!
What podcast equipment do you use?
In its simplest form, all you need is a USB podcast microphone and a computer to plug it in to. Or, alternatively, you can record an audio file on your smartphone.
Nearly any smartphone has a decent voice recorder on-board. It's surprising how high the audio quality is these days on a smartphone or a standard USB mic, and so it's a great idea to start that way before moving up to the more expert kit in future.
Nowadays, I use a pro-condenser microphone on a boom arm stand, linked up to a Yamaha mixer and a Zoom H5 recorder. But that's only because I kept it up. I got good at presenting, good at content creation, and so justified the investment in the long term.
Is it possible to produce a podcast on a budget?
Absolutely! My advice for all beginner podcasters is to start simple. And only upgrade your kit with higher-quality microphones, mixers and editing software once you're sure you're getting something out of it and you enjoy the process. That's how most successful podcasters have done it.
How do you source guests?
If you're podcasting on a subject you're passionate about, I'm sure you'll have at least a few initial guests on your interview wish list. No matter how famous you think they are, drop them a line. Podcasting is still fashionable and innovative enough that many people are delighted to be asked.
The next step is asking those people who they'd recommend you interview next, and, even better, whether they'd mind making an introduction. You can end up with an ever-expanding list of great people to talk to that way.
If you run out, start to scour the new book releases on Amazon related to your podcast topics. Authors with a book to promote always love to talk about it. Same with upcoming conferences and events – find the organiser and get in touch.
How do you promote the finished product?
It's a hugely social medium and podcast listeners tend to get really invested in a show. They feel like they 'know' the host, thanks to the power of voice and the intimate nature of listening through headphones.
That means that your initial audience is the biggest marketing weapon you have. Ask them, honestly and openly, to share your show with one friend. You'll find that they'll share it with a lot more than that! Soon enough, you'll have a much wider audience.
Also ask them to give you a review on iTunes, as that helps you to climb the rankings and to appear when people search for terms related to your topic.
Finally, the classic interview marketing approach works a treat. It's an oldie but a goodie. Make it really easy for your interviewees to share their own episode.
They're in it, of course, so they'll love to share it around, but they might not bother unless you give them a prompt. Send them the link and some example text. The easier you make it, the more likely they'll do it!