It seems to me that many small to medium sized companies like the idea of having their own podcast and have heard that they are a course in miracles podcast, and as a result, we receive plenty of enquiries about recording and podcast production. However, a lot of work and time is involved in producing a regular podcast and can turn out to be quite daunting for the new podcaster. It is therefore no surprise that a good number of enquiries do not actually turn into podcasts.
I feel that there are some very valid reasons for this.
The cost of professionally produced podcasts can be prohibitive for small to medium sized companies who are new to the world of podcasting. In our experience, a podcast is only really effective as a series, with the recording and production costing anywhere from 150 GBP to 500 GBP for each podcast, depending on the complexity and involvement of professional voice-overs and audio editing services. With an average cost of around 300 GBP for podcast production and a series of at least six shows, the financial investment is significant; however, if you get the content of the podcast series right, you should get a healthy return on your investment. More about this later.
Typical costs can include: –
- Using professional voice-overs
- Location recording
- Mixing, editing and production
- Inclusion of sound effects and music
If done properly, the benefits of your podcast series will far outweigh the costs for many years. Once on the web, it can be accessed and enjoyed by millions of people around the world. The trick is to pitch the podcast content correctly to your target market. If you are business minded and approach your podcast from this point of view, it may make sense to try and cover your investment by selling Podverts (podcast adverts) to potential sponsors. This works quite simply by placing one or a number of podverts within the content of your podcast show. The benefits of this are clear as the sponsor will have their product(s) advertised to all of your listeners. Furthermore, your listeners will be in a particular market group and it makes sense for complementary industry sectors to get on board with your podcast series from the beginning. Initially, this will probably be more difficult as you do not have a proven track record, but once you have a successful series under your belt you should have listener figures that you can impress sponsors with.
Your sponsors can pay a one-off fee for their podvert or you could offer a discount for purchasing multiple podvert slots. In a 10 to 15 minute podcast, I do not think it unreasonable to have 3-4 short adverts / sponsor messages dividing up subject segments. Provided your audio producers are discreet about the placement and number of podverts, your listeners will just accept these as part of the package; we are all used to seeing and hearing adverts.
Once your podcast is established, you can take this concept a stage further by offering an advertisement feature to your sponsor, for example, an interview about their product and/or services. As long as the feature is relevant and offers value to your target market, this too will be accepted as part of the package. This already happens on radio shows and TV. Most of the time we don’t even realise we are being advertised to.
This is probably the biggest reason that a podcast never evolves into a series and is probably the hardest part for most businesses to actually get their heads around. Writing the script for a podcast can be time consuming and quite difficult to start with; however, once you have got a feel for it, like everything else in life, it becomes easier. If you really struggle with this, there is no reason why you cannot employ the services of a scriptwriter and give yourself the position of creative director. Personally, I believe that it is more important to find a subject matter that is interesting and valuable to your target market than creating a perfect script. Brainstorming with colleagues and even clients about potential topics, subjects, features, interviews, and entertainment items will soon give you a rough outline of content that can be the raw material for your scripts.
Once you have the outline for your first podcast and possibly your second, the shape of the series will become clearer and from this, you should be able to create a show template. It is a good idea to test these initial ideas with a few people before going to the expense of having a professional podcast recorded and produced. Once you are happy with the overall ideas of your podcast show, you will need to either script it for a professional Voice-over to narrate (usually more favourable) or host the podcast yourself.