While understanding the concept for your podcast is important, choosing the right format for your content could determine how successful your podcast will be…
By David Adewusi
By 2020, Joe Regan — unarguably the biggest podcaster in the world — had signed an exclusive $200 million deal with Spotify. This deal not only made Spotify the second biggest podcasting platform, but also raked in millions of dollars for other podcasters who jumped on the exclusive Spotify deal. This included Kim Kardashian, Addison Rae, and surprisingly, Barack Obama.
According to a recent report by Chartable, Apple Podcasts still remain the biggest and most popular platform for podcasts.
Podcasts have grown incredibly popular in the United States, with reports suggesting that over 90 million Americans listen to a podcast each month. This simply indicates that there is a growing audience for podcasts, a growth which is expected to skyrocket in a few years. Furthermore, when compared to blogging, podcasting is considered a less-crowded space, where lesser competitions exist. Currently, there are over 600 million active blogs in the world today, while there exist about 2 million podcasts. This huge disparity is a testament to the tremendous opportunities that lie for African individuals interested in monetising their ability to speak and share their stories.
Podcasts offer an audio alternative to vlogs and blogs; their primary advantage revolves around the fact that we can listen to podcasts while doing anything.
In fact, more than 90% of podcast listeners are usually doing something else while listening, a factor which allows podcasters to create long-form content.
If such an opportunity exists for African creatives, how, then, do they get started?
The first step to starting a podcast is understanding the concept behind it: “Why do I want to start a podcast?” “What do I have to say?” “What subjects do I want to explore?” The answers to these questions will help you understand your podcast goals, which in turn could be to establish yourself as a strong voice in a particular industry, to teach a younger generation, make money, or share your unique stories with the world. Naturally, having the right answers to the aforementioned questions will help you create a strong concept for your podcast.
Also, the name of your podcast plays an equally important role; a catchy name is bound to attract listeners. In fact, Apple advises podcasters to pay extra attention to the title, author, and description tags for your podcast. Vague titles will only confuse your potential listeners, and will probably prevent them from subscribing to your content.
While understanding the concept for your podcast is important, choosing the right format for your content could determine how successful your podcast will be. As an African creative, you can choose to host your podcast by yourself, acting as host and producer. Also — especially if it is a large project — you can employ the services of voice-over artists for scripted stories. Similarly, you can adopt an interview style, which principally involves you — the host/interviewer and the interviewee. It is important to reiterate that the format you adopt has a direct effect on the success of your podcast. However, this success heavily relies on the existence of the podcast at all, so this raises the question: “how do we make podcasts?”
To begin, all you need is a mobile phone and a pair of headphones. While this will not give you stellar sound quality, it is usually loud and clear enough for listeners. For recording, zero to little experience is required, and you only need a quiet and conducive space for recording. While listeners do not listen to podcasts because of their impeccable sound quality, it is however important to note that if your sound is less-than-optimal and barely audible, listeners will leave despite the promising brilliance of your podcast. For ample sound quality, potential podcasters can buy a condenser USB microphone, a pair of headsets, and a pop filter to block air and heavy plosives.
After recording, the next step is to edit the audio; at this point, you can add sound effects, music, or even edit the audio file for maximum quality. Audacity, for example, is a recording and editing software available to download for free. It is also easy to use and understand. Similarly, podcasters with an Apple computer can use GarageBand for the same purposes; this software comes pre-installed on Apple computers, and is also available to download online for free.
After the arduous task of recording and editing, you will need to create a podcast hosting account. The point of a hosting account is to properly store your podcast episodes, distribute to streaming platforms, and allow your listeners to share, listen, download or subscribe to your podcast. Popular options are Buzzsprout, Transistor, Spreaker, RSS.com, PodBean, all of which require a subscription fee every month.
However, platforms like Anchor.fm eliminate the need for a hosting account. This is owing to the fact that Anchor is a one-stop shop for podcasting. With Anchor, you can record, edit, and host your podcast with nothing but a mobile app. This further suggests that Anchor eliminates the need for an editing software, or a subscription fee. Interestingly, using Anchor also automatically submits your podcasts to Spotify. But if you want your podcast on other streaming platforms, you’d be required to submit to these platforms through a hosting account.
How long should my podcast be?
Most podcasts are usually 20-30 minutes long, but several others are longer, with a number even passing the 1 hour mark. The duration of a podcast is not as important as the content, which means you can make it as long or short as possible, as long as you pass your message completely.
How often should you post a podcast?
Schedules are important for podcasts, and Kevan Lee, a renowned Digital Marketer suggests that podcasts should be posted weekly.
African podcasters can get started with nothing but a mobile phone and a pair of headsets. As earlier mentioned, the podcasting industry is still years away from its peak, and now is the best time to connect with listeners from around the world.
David Adewusi has appeared on Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine, African Writer, and Naked Convos. Currently living in Ibadan and being forced to study in a Nigerian institution, his biggest dream is to be left alone.