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Podcasting for Business: Part 3

In Part 1 of Podcasting for Business, I introduced the medium and in Part 2, I focused on how it can help your small business. If you feel that podcasting is something you could do, then let’s look at how you can get started.
But before you go out and buy any equipment (if necessary) or start recording, you have to plan and do the research. I’m not saying that you should wait until everything is perfect before you launch, but have some sort of strategy in place (as you would when starting a new blog).
Listen & learn
This is my opinion and I’m sticking to it: there is no way you can go out there and successfully start your own podcast without listening to already-established ones. Find some podcasts about topics that you’re interested in/would like to podcast about, and study (listen) to these for a while before you settle on yours. Just by doing this you will learn a lot about the medium.
Topic & title
Podcasting is slightly odd: on one hand, people say that it’s a rare form of marketing and fairly niche. On the other hand, you’ll find that there are more than enough podcasts to cover almost every subject―there’s even one on metal detectors!
But even if the area you want to talk about is already being covered, go for it. Remember: this is a supplement to your business marketing strategy. What’s more important is that you talk about something that you are interested in, passionate about, and/or an expert on. Otherwise I promise you that this is not going to work out.
Think about the category: arts & crafts, business, publishing? Then the genre: comedy, informational, satire? Once you’re set on a topic, it’s time to think of a title for your show. This could be the name of your business, blog, or even your own name! If possible, try add some keywords that are relevant to what you are podcasting about, but make it as short as possible.
Show format
There are actually a number of ways that you can podcast. Is it going to be just you speaking―a monologue podcast? There’s nothing wrong with this format, but you do need to be confident and interesting to pull this off.
You can also have one or more co-hosts. I recommend this, especially if you have a business partner/co-founder. The podcasts I enjoy the most usually have 2‒3 hosts. Not only is the pressure off, but there’s some variety in voices, ideas, and opinions. You can also rotate hosts.
Then there’s the interview-style podcast, in which you usually have a new guest for each episode. This is especially great as you can bring in experts from your field. These are just a few formats, but there are many more that you can find details on here.
Podcast details
Now that you have a subject and format in mind, work out a short and long description of your show, which you’ll need when you submit it to sites like iTunes and online directories. Don’t forget the keywords (just like in a blog post). 
Pat Flynn, a podcasting pro, also recommends that you pay a lot of attention to your podcast’s artwork. The medium might be auditory, but you’ll need a ‘face’ for it, and that’s what the artwork is. His specification tips:

  • It should be a square, 1400×1400 pixel image.
  • Should be a .jpg or .png file.
  • If it has text, this should be large and readable because the image will be scaled down by directories and portable media players; it should be optimized for 150×150.

Finally, plan! As with a blog, consistency is essential, so create a schedule and stick to it. Try to figure out the exact topic for your first 5 episodes at least, so that you don’t find yourself running out of ideas when it comes down to it. Be committed.
Think about where you’ll record (and perhaps edit) the sessions. You’ll need a very quiet, preferably padded room (even carpets and furniture help). Think about where you’ll sit or stand. Is it comfortable? Will you be able to easily reach your equipment or notes? Does anything make disturbing noises?
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In Part 4, we’ll get down to podcasting software & equipment (including your voice)! Stay tuned.

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