For those that listen to podcasts, you know how valuable and convenient they can be for consuming content. Whether it's staying up on the latest marketing trends, tips for managing your finances, or simply to provide entertainment value, podcasts deliver.
Turns out, podcasting can also be a valuable tool in building loyal fans and generating leads when used as part of a larger inbound marketing strategy for your business.
Maybe you recognize this and have wanted to start one for your company, but didn’t know where to begin. Well, like anything else, our recommendation is to start small and grow into the platform. Yu could spend weeks and thousands of dollars on equipment trying to get it perfect, but it's more important to just get started and improve as you go.
With that in mind, here's how you can set up your own podcast for your business using just an iPad, iTunes, and a web browser. (Seriously, that's it!)
Step 1: Record your audio on your iPad.
I recommend using the GarageBand app for your iPad. It's well worth the cost (currently $4.99). The recording quality is pretty good if you use the Apple EarPods with Mic as your microphone. Launch your GarageBand App and follow these steps:
- Choose "New Song" by clicking the "+" in the top left corner.
- Choose "Audio Recorder" by swiping through the options until you see the microphone icon.
- Click the "Noise Gate" icon at the top left (plug icon), turn it "On" and set the slider to about 40%. This will help eliminate background noise.
- Under "Settings" (wrench icon at the top right) turn off the "Metronome".
- Expand the timeline by clicking the "+" button at the top right (under the question mark icon) and make sure "Automatic" is turned on.
- Click "Record".
- When finished recording, press the stop button and then choose "Dry" from the audio settings.
- To see your audio timeline, press the timeline icon (to the right of the little microphone icon in the top menu bar). This is where you can add additional audio tracks before finalizing this editing session.
Bonus Tip: In our podcasting ebook, we’ll show you how to add a professional introduction to your podcast, including a voiceover and music track.
Step 2: Share your final audio file to iTunes.
Once you complete your audio recording, you can share it with your iTunes library so that you can eventually upload it to your podcast hosting service. You could also email the file to yourself, but depending on the file size and length of your podcast episode, you might run into some deliverability issues.
This might be the trickiest part of the entire process, but it's manageable if you follow these steps:
- Within your GarageBand app, click "My Songs" at the top left.
- Select "Edit" in the top right.
- Select your podcast episode by tapping on it (it will have a yellow border around it when selected).
- Press the "Share" icon in the top left.
- Choose "iTunes".
- Choose "iTunes" again (instead of "GarageBand").
- Enter your Artist, Composer, and Album info (optional) and choose "High Quality".
- Click "Share."
Important: Now connect your iPad to your computer so you can sync them up.
What we're doing here is converting the .m4a file to an .mp3 file, which is the preferred file format for podcasting. If you know of a quicker way to convert the file type, feel free to skip these next steps.
- Connect your iPad to your computer.
- Within iTunes on your computer, choose the "iPad" button at the top right (to see the contents of your iPad).
- Choose "Apps" from the top menu.
- Scroll down to find the "File Sharing" apps.
- Choose "GarageBand" and you'll see a list of files that you've shared.
- Select your podcast episode from the list and then click "Save to...".
- Save the file to your Desktop for easy access.
- Click "Done" at the top right to exit the iPad content.
- ---- take a deep breath, we're almost done -----
- Now that you're back in your general iTunes account, from the top menu items choose "File > Add to Library".
- Select your podcast episode from your desktop to import it into iTunes.
- Find and select your file within the iTunes Music Library.
- Right-click (Windows) or control-click (Mac) and select "Create MP3 Version" from the menu. This should make a duplicate within iTunes.
- Select the new MP3 version within iTunes and right-click (Windows) or control-click (Mac) and select "Show in Finder" (on a Mac, you can also just drag that file to your desktop from iTunes).
- Move the MP3 file to your desktop for easy access later.
Step 3: Tag your MP3 file.
This is the process of adding the necessary title and description to your audio file so that the information is available within the podcast directories within iTunes and Stitcher.
For this, we recommend a tool called ID3 Editor, made by Pa-Software. This tool costs $15. As an alternative, you can tag your files within iTunes, but ID3 Editor offers the ability to add more attributes, such as copyright information.
- Download and purchase ID3 Editor.
- Install and launch ID3 Editor.
- When prompted, find your MP3 file on your desktop.
- Within the ID3 Editor interface, enter an appropriate Title, Artist, and Album.
- For the "Genre,” enter "Podcast".
- Enter your podcast description in the "Comment" field.
- Put your name (or your company name) as the Composer, Artist, and Copyright.
- Tip: Click the little gray arrow to pre-populate the fields in the right column.
- Under the “Podcast” Tab -- check the box to "Enable podcast tag".
- Fill in the “Description” (nothing needed in the “Identifier” or “Feed” fields).
- Click the “Lyrics” button at the bottom right to get a slide-out area where you can copy/paste in your description.
- Click the “Pictures” button (next to “Lyrics” button) and upload your podcast cover artwork (the dimensions should be 1400 pixels x 1400 pixels).
- Click the “Update” button at the bottom left to finish.
Step 4: Upload your tagged MP3 audio file to your podcast hosting service.
Once you've finished producing and editing your podcast episode, the next step is to upload it to a podcast hosting service. We recommend Libsyn.com because it's an industry standard and very reasonably priced. Their plans currently start at $5 per month. We recommend spending the extra $2 per month to get statistics.
You can upload your file by following these steps:
- Sign up for an account at http://www.libsyn.com/.
- From your Libsyn Dashboard, click the “Settings” icon (little gears).
- Enter the appropriate show details (title, description, etc.).
- Click “Save”.
- Click the “Destinations” Tab (icon with the 3 arrows).
- From the left navigation, choose “Libsyn Classic Feed”.
- Fill in the appropriate information about your podcast.
- Click “Save”.
- Choose the “Publish” icon.
- Choose the “Advanced” publisher (via the slider -- “Basic” or “Advanced”).
- For Step 1: Media: Upload your podcast by choosing “Hardrive”.
- For Step 2: Description: Enter the “Title” and “Description” only (nothing else required).
- For Step 3: Destinations: Choose the release date and make sure the following boxes are checked -- “Wizard Player” (for embedding on other sites) and “Libsyn Classic Feed” (this one is a MUST).
- Nothing is required for the “Advertising” and “Review” steps.
- Click the green “Publish” button.
Step 5: Submit your podcast feed to iTunes and Stitcher.
Submitting to iTunes:
- Launch iTunes from your computer.
- Choose “Podcasts” from the top menu.
- Click the link “Submit a Podcast” from the right menu.
- Paste in your podcast feed URL from your “Libsyn Classic Feed” (it should look something like this http://yourshowname.libsyn.com/rss).
- Click “Continue” to submit your feed to the iTunes Store (Note: it may take up to 48 hours before your podcast is approved).
Submitting to Stitcher Radio:
- Go to: http://www.stitcher.com/content-providers.
- Fill out their application by providing some contact info and show details.
- Agree to their terms and click “Continue”.
Congratulations! You did it!
For those that stuck with me, pat yourself on the back. You are now part of an elite group of podcast producers. Now go out and leverage this communication channel to publish valuable content and to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
For a more detailed version of this process and to learn how to add a professional voiceover and music track, download our podcasting ebook. And perhaps share your favorite podcasts in the comments section below!
Jeff Coon is the creative director and a partner at Stream Creative, a gold-level HubSpot Certified Agency and inbound marketing firm located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jeff also trains marketers and business owners, speaks on inbound marketing best practices, and hosts the “Business Growth Playbook” podcast.
Image credit: Philcampbell