A podcast is a form of digital media that consists of an episodic series of audio files or videos subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer, tablet or mobile device.
Now, in layman's terms;
You can think of a podcast as on-demand talk radio that you can listen to anywhere anytime. All you need is a mobile device, your smartphone and a podcast app, such as Apple’s Podcasts or Spotify, to listen to a podcast. You can also listen to podcasts from tablets, computers and smart speakers such as Alexa and Google Home.
Why Are Podcasts Called Podcasts?
First, you need to know what a portmanteau is. A portmanteau is a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others.
Podcast is a portmanteau of “pod’ and “broadcast”.
The word was coined by The Guardian columnist and BBC journalist Ben Hammersley. He is credited with creating the word in early February 2004 while padding out an article for The Guardian newspaper. He formed the word by combining the words “iPod” and “broadcast” to create what’s known today as “podcast”. One could argue that Apple owes Ben a lifetime supply of ipods.
For someone who grew up in the 80s hoping to own a walkman one day, when the Pod came along in the early noughties, I got my hands on one as soon as I could.
I got an Apple 2nd generation iPod, which looks a bit chunky now, but I loved it . It was my little companion on my daily 45-minute train commute to and from Nagoya when I was living in Japan.
Back then I had to connect my iPod to itunes to download podcast episodes. Now, you don’t have to do that. With your smartphone, you can download podcast episodes on the go.
What Are Podcasts Used For?
Podcasts can serve many purposes. For business owners, podcasts can be used as part of a marketing strategy to build a brand, connect with an audience and build trust.
For people who have a passion, hobby or interest, a podcast gives them the opportunity to have their own online radio show.
You can self host a podcast and talk about a topic you have knowledge of, or you can host a podcast and interview authors, influences or experts.
Podcasts are an affordable medium to build a following and connect with likeminded people who'll be interested in the topics you present or discuss on your podcast episodes.
Currently I have two podcast shows.
The Ikigai Podcast
On The Ikigai Podcast I interview Japanese professors, authors and business owners on the subject of ikigai and business success. Episode length ranges from about 20 to 50 mins. I host the show and interview my guests.
It’s early days for me with this podcast, but I have really enjoyed the conversations I’ve had with my guests so far. My intention is to record an episode every week and reach a milestone of 1000+ episodes.
The Sandwich Eikaiwa Podcast
My Sandwich Eikaiwa Podcast is an English language learning podcast for a Japanese audience. I recorded over 100 episodes, basically teaching an English lesson per episode.
I was a solo host and focused on conversational English. My point of deterrence was speaking English for a majority of each episode and keeping it short, an average of 10 minutes per episode.
Despite having stopped recording episodes for more than a year, the podcast still gets a lot of daily downloads, building brand awareness and driving traffic to my website.
I still average around two thousand downloads a week.
Making a Podcast
Making a podcast is not difficult. It is just time consuming and initially challenging. There is a learning curve you need to go through, but there are plenty of Youtube videos that can walk you through the process of planning, recording, editing, submitting and optimising a podcast. You don’t need to spend money on a podcasting course.
If you want to start your own podcast my advice is to find your own voice, so to speak. Don’t copy someone else's idea or concept. Be yourself and find a subject that you are passionate about that has listenership. Carve out your niche and be in it for the long game.
Think of a podcast as a way for you to find, connect and build an audience, some listeners of which will eventually become members of your tribe.
The only financial investment you really need to make is a high quality “made for podcasting microphone” and a subscription to a podcast hosting platform.
What is a Podcast Hosting Platform?
If you are wanting to create a podcast, then you need to know what a podcast hosting platform is.
Once your podcast is recorded and edited it has to be hosted somewhere in order for people to be able to access it from directories such as Apple Podcast and Spotify. It is from these directories where people listen to your podcast episodes.
A hosting platform is really just server space that holds your podcast audio files. So, audio for your podcast goes and lives within the hosting platform. From there the hosting platform creates what's called an RSS feed, which is a signal that tells the directories when new episodes have been published, with all of the meta information of each episode.
Simply put, the hosting platform stores your podcast audio file and the directory provides the listeners a link and the means to listen to it.
My recommend hosting platform
I use both Buzzsprout and Libsyn. While Libsyn has been around for years and is slightly more affordable, they have not upgraded their dashboard in what feels like eons. It’s clunky and frustrating to use.
Buzzsprout has a beautiful interface and makes syndicating your podcast to the major directories a breeze, so I definitely recommend Buzzsprout over Libsyn.
My Buzzsprout Stats
It's early days for my Ikigai Podcast. I have only recorded 7 episodes resulting in 1363 downloads in the past 90 days
Buzzsprout will tell what episodes are getting the most downloads and which directories hold most of your audience.
Buzzsprout will estimate your number of listeners you can expect to have on your next episodes over a 90 day period.
Now my friend, would you like a $20 Amazon gift card?
Buzzsprout has an affiliate program where you, as person I refer to Buzzsprout, and I will both get a $20 Amazon.com gift card when you upgrade to any paid plan. A win-win for both of us! Get started on your podcast and host it with Buzzsprout.