Podcasts can help you boost book sales and your credibility as an author. In a crowded publishing environment, author-hosted podcasts are a unique and potentially useful marketing tool.
Think about it; you already have a built-in audience to market to.
On top of it being a unique marketing avenue, it also is backed up by some impressive numbers. For example, Forbes says that 50 percent of Americans listen to audiobooks, and Podcast Insights’ data tells us that 50 percent of American households listen to podcasts.
More importantly, the number of people listening to podcasts and audiobooks is rising across the globe:
And we see the same story with audiobooks.
So what is it about listening in on our favorite books and shows, so appealing? Let’s find out below.
What are Podcasts?
As we all know, I am definition crazy, so we’re going to start with defining what a podcast is:
Podcast: a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.
They are all of your favorite blogs, shows, and topics in audio form. You can explore different topics, download the audio files, and listen to them whenever and wherever you want.
Podcasts can be broken up into seasons like a TV show. A famous example of this would be the true-crime podcast, Serial – if you haven’t checked it out, I suggest that you do. It’s amazing.
They can also be episodic and ongoing. How frequently episodes are posted can vary, but most shows are updated weekly or daily.
The best thing about podcasts is that people can subscribe to them, giving them an ever-growing fan base.
Why are People Listening to Podcasts?
So why are people tuning into podcasts?
There’s speculation as to why this is, but it all comes down to how podcasts fit seamlessly into our busy lives. You can listen to them while cooking dinner, commuting to and from work, and even at work.
They also cover a whole host of topics: true crime, consumer product reviews, stories, book reviews. The list is truly endless.
It’s information and entertainment, in bit-size chunks, right at our fingertips. Plus, the format of podcasts allows a deeper dive into many subjects — it creates the possibility of long-form investigations in a very accessible medium.Forbes
Most importantly, it adds a personal element that people can relate to, which creates communities – and more content for the producer.
The Benefits of a Starting Podcast
There are a host of benefits to starting your own podcast or becoming entrenched in the podcasting community.
- Podcasts are good for search engine optimization (SEO).
Google announced in August 2019 that they would be indexing podcast episodes and showing them on the first page of results. Google reads the audio file, transcribes it in the background, and then indexes that text, so that it can display audio in the search results. (Alternatively, you could upload your own transcription to help the Google bots do their thing – and control the quality of the transcription.)
Be forewarned: all standard SEO rules still apply to podcasts, according to The Creative Penn. This includes headlines (episode titles), keywords, and creating specific content that suits your market.
- It gives you the chance to network with others.
As we covered last week, networking is a great way to get your name out there and to find new opportunities. By becoming a part of the podcasting community, you can learn a lot about starting a podcast, work on your writing, and find people who are looking to interview someone like you.
The podcast community is tightly-knit, so a lot of the show hosts know each other. With that in mind, ensure that you’re making a good impression.
- It provides an excellent opportunity to market your book.
Like the media appearances of the day’s gone by, you can appear on many podcasts to promote your book. There are tons of shows out there that talk about books, and this The Bookseller list is a good place to start.
Getting on podcasts for book promotion will also bring new social media connections. As your story gets passed around by you, the host, and the greater audience, the more likely your book will be seen by more people.
Don’t go in unprepared, though. Here’s an article on 10 Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to Get Featured on Podcasts.
Now that we know the benefits let’s look into how to get a podcast going.
How to Start A Podcast
Like writing or blogging, you have to commit to making a podcast work. You also need to look into getting the appropriate gear.
Thankfully, there are a lot of great blogs and courses out there that can help you get going and point you towards the gear that you need. My personal favorite was Podcast Insights’ guide to starting a podcast (you can click the link to sign up directly).
In the guide, the Podcast Insights founder shows you where to start and what to buy (depending on your budget).
But here are the essentials you need to start your own show:
- Choosing a topic and name
- Show and episode format
- Cover art creation
- Intro and outro music
- Equipment selection
- Audio recording and editing
- Submission to Apple Podcasts (iTunes)
- Promotion tips
For a more in-depth look at how to start a podcast, click here.
The Podcasting Tools You Need
As for the tools that you need, it’ll depend on your needs and budget. Despite how complicated things can get, you need two basic pieces of equipment: a computer and a microphone.
That’s it. That’s all you need to host a podcast in 2020.
This is going to get more complicated with the more people you have on your show. You’ll need things like an audio interface or mixer to hook up multiple XLR microphones.
And that’s where you lose many people. It gets complicated, really quickly. As I said, Podcast Insights has some great resources out there that help break down all the technical jargon and equipment, so it’s easy to understand. I’d suggest starting with this article.
The podcasting community has a lot going for it. It’s got entertainment, marketing opportunities, great content, and it’s not as saturated as the blogging world.
On top of this, podcasts are relatively inexpensive to produce. All you need is a laptop and a microphone. There are cheap equipment options out there for those of you who want to expand later on.
Regardless of whether you start a podcast or not, they provide you with a new avenue to get your name and books out there to potential readers.
What are your favorite podcasts? For those of you who have started one, do you have any tips for new podcasters?
That’s it for me today! I hope everyone is staying safe and sane.
Until next time!