You’re reading this because you want to create the best possible podcast AND you want to produce a podcast that influences people instead of further adding to the noise. So how do you do it?
Create a Podcast Plan. A business plan for your podcast.
There’s no way around it. Running a professional podcast is just like running a business. And if you’re not prepared for the amount of work involved, then you won’t make it to episode 10 before your podcast crashes and burns along with all of your hopes and dreams.
It’s said that most podcasts don’t live past episode 7. At Pod on the Go, we believe that’s because they didn’t plan and therefore didn’t realize how much work would be involved, how much financial investment is necessary, and how often life will get in the way.
So we’re going to walk you through what a podcast plan looks like and how it improves your ability to create a podcast that makes a difference!
PRO TIP: This shouldn’t take a week to create. Or even a full day. It should take a couple of hours. Every plan you ever put together is a living document. It will change in a month, again in 6 months, and on a regular basis. But you need this foundation in order to move forward. You have to plan, adjust, and plan again.
Just like with the executive summary of a business plan, you can write this section last. After you’ve organized your thoughts throughout the rest of the document, then you can tackle this portion.
Long Description – Your hosting provider will ask for a long description so that new listeners can learn more about what your podcast is about.
Short Description – Similar to the long description. A lot of times, after your logo, this is the first thing people will see when searching for your podcast. Pro Tip – Add names of potential guests to your podcast description to help with SEO.
Mission and Vision Statements –
- What do you want to accomplish with your podcast?
- Who do you want to influence?
- How do you want the world to change? Even if it’s just for one person?
Goals And Milestones
SMART Goals are critical here. Goals that you can track. Maybe you’ll blow them out of the water, maybe your target audience is smaller than expected. Either way, they should be specific and trackable.
When do you want to launch? Where do you want to be in 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? 2 years? 5 years?
I will say that the most popular podcasts that you listen to, I guarantee, have been in existence for 3 plus years. Greatness is consistent.
This is a very important section of your podcast plan. You have to know who you’re talking to. This will dictate how you market and advertise your podcast.
The second point. Be ready to alter your marketing. Maybe you speak to a certain audience segment that’s a surprise to you. Maybe when you look at your podcast statistics after 6 months of podcasting and your podcast on golfing basics, for example, speaks to young women, even though you’re an old man. You need to change how you’re marketing. Maybe more posts on women’s golfing groups or websites and platforms with a focus on women being active. Or maybe you can partner with a local women’s meetup.
This section will also help you brainstorm appropriate sponsor’s/advertisers/affiliates for your podcast.
The first form of compensation you should consider is sponsorship. Is there a local (or regional/national) business that would want to get in front of your target audience? Do you have a vendor, client, or competitor in a different region who would want to be associated with your podcast? Take a minute and brainstorm potential sponsors. Later we’ll list all of the benefits each sponsor will receive.
Amazon has been the go-to for decades, but they’ve been cutting percentages for referral partners and honestly, they aren’t the best choice anymore. Amazon is easy to set up. But if you do a little more research, I bet you could find an affiliate that would work great for you specifically. ClickBank is a good place to start. But depending on your industry, I would look for products and services your listeners would actually need and buy. If you’re in the home repair or service industry, see if Home Depot, Lowes, or Menards has an affiliate program. If you’re in the photography or film industry, research Lensrentals.com or bnhphoto.com.
Tee-shirts, e-books, mugs, hats, magnets, and stickers. Anything that you can sell digitally. This income source will grow as your podcast and listenership grow. Teespring and Printful are both great places to begin if you don’t want to have a basement full of unsold products.
Selling Your Own Books
Are you a writer? Great! Sell your books on your podcast. Not a writer? Have your podcast episodes transcribed, combine them into a book, and sell them on your website. It seems counterintuitive right? People can listen to it for free, why would they buy it? Well some people are visual learners and would rather pay a small fee to read it and make notes, rather than listen to it.
Consulting and Coaching Services
If you’re an expert in a field, you can sell your coaching and consulting services on your podcast. Be sure to include examples of how you’ve helped people recently. Or include testimonials from clients as ads for your services.
You can use your podcast as a way to promote your in person events. If you host an annual convention, speaker series, or networking event, this is a great way to build excitement for the event and ultimately sell more tickets. Alternatively, you could sell tickets to a live recording of the show.
Are you a public speaker? Include an ad on your show the tells people how they can contact you for speaking engagements.
Kickstarter, Patreon, GoFundMe, CashApp, Venmo. Sometimes, listeners just love what you do and want to support you. Sometimes that’s on a recurring basis, others want to send you a lump sum because you improved their life. You should give them that option. I’ve listened to plenty of podcasts that have made my life better and I might not send them a dollar/month on Patreon, but I’d be happy to send them $25-$50 bucks as a one-time contribution. But only if that’s an option.
Your podcast costs money. And it requires time. Lots of time. So you have to calculate all of that. Below are some common expenses to keep in mind
This can range from a few hundred bucks to multiple thousands of dollars easily. And there are SO many variables here that it’s almost impossible to give an exact estimate. So below is what I would buy if I was launching a podcast for mostly one person, but with the ability to have a guest in person. (Keep in mind, you can different options for each item and the price will be different. It’s your personal preference.)
Mic’s – Two of these bundles – at approx. $120.00 each – https://amzn.to/3bWpFCN
Mixer – Approx. $400 – $600 – I would get this one because I’m not a beginner and understand the controls of a mixer – https://amzn.to/3cZ4PEb If you are a complete beginner, I would get this – https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1445257-REG/rode_rcp_rodecaster_pro_integrated_podcast.html
Computer – Most computers will be fine for just recording from your mixer. But if you plan to do the editing and don’t want to spend hours upon hours editing and processing, then I would suggest a Mac or an MSI gaming laptop like this one – Approx $1300 – https://amzn.to/3c1BGql
Editor – I use Audition with adobe creative cloud – $60/month or $720/year
Hosting – Podbean – $108/year
Podcast Logo – Canva.com (free)
Total startup costs for year 1 are Approx – $2,968
Now include your time spent recording, editing, re-editing, publishing, sharing, and reaching out to new guests. Costs can sore! Every hour-long podcast takes at least 3 hours to complete from start to finish. SO how much do you make an hour currently? Could your time be better spent doing something else?
Again. These costs could be completely different depending on your equipment needs and editing capabilities. This is the equipment I would choose if I was starting over with the knowledge I have now.
You could also save a ton of time and money by finding a local podcast pro near you to help with launching, editing, and managing your production!
Find a Podcast Studio Near You!
How often are you going to record? How often are you going to release each episode? These questions are important because your entire project will revolve around them.
Recording can be done in a few different ways:
- Record and edit the same day. This is a route many people take when they are recording multiple times per week and covering current events. This process takes a real team effort to pull off successfully.
- Batch your recordings ahead of time. This takes less of a team effort. Our friend, Henrik De Gyor, records all of his shows over the course of 1 or 2 months, sends them to his editor, and then releases them over the course of a year. Rinse and repeat.
- Record and produce your show live. This means no editing. You can do this with a webcam on your computer or with a multicamera setup in a professional studio. It can be the easiest way to record or the most complicated. By yourself or with a team of 3+ people.
What’s your release schedule? Every day? Every week? Once per month?
I usually recommend every week, but the most important thing is to remain consistent. There’s no way around it.
With consistency, comes trust. With trust comes support.Razz
How are you going to get your show in front of people? One of the most common questions I get asked: “How do people find my podcast?”
This is the million dollar question. Meaning, if there was an easy answer, I would literally be a millionaire right now and not writing this blog post.
Running a professional podcast is just like running a business. you have to find a great location to set up shop (i.e. an online group or in-person group). And you have to advertise and market your show.
Below is a list of ideas to get you started, but ultimately you’re going to have to test different avenues and social media platforms to see what works best for your podcast topic.
- Be a guest on other shows (#1 way to grow your podcast in my opinion.)
- Advertise your podcast on other shows
- Join/create a podcast network
- Create ads on social platforms that your target audience frequents
- Create video ads for YouTube
- Create print materials to hand out at networking events
- Add a link to your email signature
In addition to iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify; I highly recommend incorporating YouTube and Pinterest in your social media marketing strategy because they show past posts to users, not just what’s at the top of the feed.
Anything else depends on where your audience spends their time.
- Who’s on your team?
- How long have they been podcasting?
- Why are they an expert in the subject matter?
- How will they add to the success of the show?
It’s important to answer these questions for two reasons.
One, it helps to have clearly defined roles.
Two, it shows potential sponsors that you know what you’re talking about and that they can trust you to create a great podcast.
Incentives for Sponsors
What will your sponsors get in return for their support? How can I pitch a sponsor if I haven’t launched my podcast yet and have little to no listeners?
Below is a short list of incentives that you can use to pitch potential sponsors. But more importantly, your bio and reputation are what’s going to do the selling for you. So even without a large following or a huge email list, you can reach out to vendors, clients, and people you work with to see if they’re interested in sponsoring your podcast. I think you’ll be surprised how many people are.
- Exposure to a new audience
- Warm leads because the listeners trust the host
- Evergreen content aka, the ad will be there forever
- Download statistics and custom links to track ROI
- Ability to create custom ads
A list of every sponsor you can think of.
- Family and Friends
- Competitors in other areas
- Other podcasters
- Local restaurants and tourist locations
You already have a list started in the back of your head. Get it on paper. Then send them an email or a message on social. The worst thing they can say is “no”.
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.
Tell them why you want to interview them, why you like their work, how long the interview will be, and how you’ll distribute the episode. Then share examples of your work. Also, share the names of people that have agreed to come on or that you’ll be reaching out to. This lets the guest know that they will be in good company.
Then make a couple of more notes:
- Who said yes
- Who said no
- Who said maybe
A simple spreadsheet will help you keep track of following up in a timely manner.
Who can vouch for your interview skills, your industry knowledge, your character?
This also helps with building report with your potential guests and sponsors. And it’s also something that other podcasts don’t do. So you stand out.
Previous Work Examples
- Have you done a podcast before?
- Have you run a business before?
- Have you had any success with them?
- What were the numbers?
Again, it’s all about getting sponsors and big name guests to trust you. And to trust that you can deliver on your promises.
Again. This is a living document. You’re going to make changes, guests will back out at the last minute. Your internet will go down. You’ll find a new niche that loves what you’re doing. You’ll make friends and fans who believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.
You can do this. We believe in you!Podcast On The Go Team
But before you go out and buy a ton of equipment. Or spend hours learning how to record and edit. Sit down for a few hours and put a plan together.
Purge all of the ideas that are jumbled together in a cloud in your head and get them organized on paper so that when you find a sponsor or a new team member it’s easier for them to buy-in to your dream.
We hope this resource helps. Please share it with your friends and your team and don’t be afraid to reach out to us if you have questions or need help recording or launching your podcast.
We’re here for you and want to hear from you 🙂