You are a WordPress professional and thinking about starting a podcast? Your customers are interested in podcasts and you want to give them advice? Then this is the right guide for you. Learn how to publish a podcast using WordPress - from equipment and production to distribution and marketing.
Is podcasting even worthwhile?
Podcasts are becoming more popular with listeners every year. So it's no surprise that more and more companies are getting on track and starting their podcast. But are things already taken? Is it still worthwhile to start your show?
The following statistics may refer to the USA, but the good news is: there is still room for improvement in Germany:
- 51% of the population have heard a podcast before.
- Podcast listeners are above average loyal, educated and belong to the high earners.
In Germany, on the other hand, it is according to 2019 evaluations only 21% of the population listening to podcasts - but the trend is positive. Besides, global podcast advertising revenue is predicted to reach $1.6 billion by 2022. That's almost a doubling of 2019!
Still not convinced? Regarding the frequency of according to a survey about a quarter of them listen to weekly podcasts and 13% even daily. Based on consumer demand, supply is related to this. So if you want to start a podcast, pay special attention to the positioning.
What are the advantages of a podcast?
Compared to a blog, your show has one or two advantages thanks to the audio format:
- You go straight to the ears of your target group: Since many users listen with headphones, you appear very close to them and your voice becomes your distinctive brand ambassador.
- Because it's less anonymous than a blog post, your listeners quickly build trust in you.
- A show in which you share your knowledge increases your expert status.
- Podcasts fit perfectly into everyday life because we all don't have time to read endless blog posts. Listening to them while jogging or in the car is a great fit.
What do you need to start a podcast using WordPress?
Let's get down to business. What do you need to start a podcast using WordPress and what are the steps from buying your equipment to releasing your first episode? I have summarised all details in the following five steps.
Step 1: Create a concept and position your podcast
Choose the theme of your show
Probably the most important decision will be the subject of your show and the target audience. These two points are the framework for your concept and your positioning. Choose a topic that suits you and that you can talk about for hours. Earning money with your show is challenging, but not impossible.
What does that mean? Having a show can certainly get your customer enquiries or be the tip of the iceberg when a customer doesn't know who to choose. Choosing a topic for your podcast that you also deal with professionally can be beneficial in many ways.
Select the target audience for your podcast
With regard to the target group, the question arises whether you are doing your podcast for your customers or for your profession.
A short example: If you are a web designer, you could do a show about web design for web designers. But you might as well change your point of view and do something for your customers. This podcast would be about how to use a website to drive business and the value of good web design.
If you take a different point of view, your show will certainly have a much smaller target audience. But your subject is more unique and you can tailor the content of your episodes much more to the needs of your customers. Last but not least, it is more likely that some of your listeners will become customers at some point.
Choose a name for your podcast
Having defined the topic and target group, it makes sense to think about the name of your podcast. But before you decide, first check if the name or something similar is already taken.
Tip for choosing a name:
Also, consider whether the name is SEO-friendly - or whether you want to deliberately avoid it. Names with lots of keywords may give you an advantage, but they can also sound generic. Last but not least: Check whether the domain is still available and secure it - just in case.
Choose the format of your podcast
Podcast shows can have different formats. You don't have to commit to one, but be sure to think about it in advance.
In a solo show, you are the king and the solo entertainer for your audience. The effort is the least here because you have to prepare less than with other formats. Example of an episode in the solo format: Successful with the website.
Podcast interviews are not only exciting, but you can also quickly gain reach if you have celebrity guests and they share your show. Example of an episode in interview format: The coronavirus update with Christian Drosten.
Podcasting with a co-host can be great fun - and at least the two of you keep on talking. It often seems more lively than in a solo show. Example of a co-hosted podcast: "Gemischtes Hack".
In which frequency do you want to publish new episodes?
Most shows release new episodes weekly or bi-weekly. Be sure to choose a frequency you can keep up with. Once your listeners get used to a certain frequency, it's disappointing when you suddenly stop.
Think of an intro
The intro is basically the elevator pitch of your show. You need to be able to make clear what your theme is and who your target audience is. To avoid monotony, it is the best practice to accompany the intro with a soundtrack.
The intro mustn't be too long. Just take as a rule of thumb that it should be between 15 and 45 seconds long.
Some podcasters always use the same intro, and others suggest an individual intro for each episode. The latter makes for more variety but also with a great deal of effort. You can find suitable music tracks in different lengths and variations on premiumbeat.com.
Design your cover
The cover of your show is also very important. Quick tip: Less is more. The design is a matter of taste, but here is a list of elements you can accommodate:
- Name of your show
- A portrait of you
- A graphic related to the topic
- Your name
Make sure to incorporate elements that are easy to recognise and to read - even though the cover is very small. This is because the covers in common smartphone apps are displayed about the same size as the icons of apps.
Step 2: Selection of the recording equipment and the right software
Equipment for recording a podcast
The right microphone
The heart of your equipment is the microphone and there is a huge collection here. So-called lavalier microphones are suitable for a quick and cheap start. These are small microphones that you can put on your shirt collar. As an example here the Lavalier GO from Rode.
There are no limits in terms of sound quality and price. If you want to start with a cheap, but good entry-level model, the Rode Podcaster not a bad choice.
Wearing headphones to hear yourself during the recording may take some getting used to at first, but it will help you speak more clearly and distinctly. Good over-ear headphones are ideal for this, as you can use them later to cut and optimize the audio track.
Depending on which microphone you use and where you record, you may need additional equipment. For larger microphones, for example, a tripod and a pop guard are recommended.
If the room you are recording in has a strong reverberation, you can help yourself with acoustic foam mats or curtains. I recorded my first episode under a blanket. It's not comfortable but effective.
Software for recording a podcast
There are several programs you can use to record your show. They are all the same in their basic function. You can record one or more audio tracks and later cut, move, overlay, et cetera. Here are three examples:
Audacity is open-source, free, and available for Mac and Windows. The user interface is old-fashioned, but it still is a very good program to record your episodes.
Adobe Audition can probably be called an industry standard. The advantage is, it has many filters to improve the sound quality. If you have the Adobe Creative Cloud, you don't have to buy Audition separately because it's part of it.
If you have a Mac, you might as well "Garageband" to record and edit your episodes. The program is comparatively easy to use and gives a decent result. If you're a Mac user, it's pre-installed and free.
Step 3: Now it's silence, because you are on air
In the beginning, it is not that easy to speak freely - especially not when you are talking to yourself. That's why many people find it easier to write a script for the first episodes.
It's elaborate, but it gives you security when starting your podcast. Just make sure to write the way you speak. Otherwise, you will quickly hear that you are draining off and your listeners will notice this immediately. If you have more routine, it is enough to write down only key points beforehand.
Here are a few tips for recording and speaking:
- Record your episodes standing up. When standing, breathing air can flow better and the larynx and diaphragm are more flexible.
- Try to speak as freely as possible and be yourself.
- Always record in the same room and with the same settings, so that the sound quality remains constant.
Step 4: Cutting the episodes
Having recorded your first episode, take a deep breath. Now it's time to edit your recording and optimize the sound quality. To do this, you can usually use the program you recorded your episode with. There are a few important tools I will introduce to you later.
It is about bringing together the intro, recording, and outro and exporting the whole thing as one audio file. You can also cut out Versprecher and Ohms if you want to.
A tool to automatically optimize your audio file
If you don't want to spend a lot of time optimizing your audio track, you can use the auphonic.com use. All you have to do is upload your audio track, make a few settings and Auphonic will do the rest by itself.
The tool does a pretty good job and there is a free plan. In this one, you have a monthly quota of 2 hours to process your audio files.
Tips if you want to do the optimization of your audio file yourself
If you want to do the optimization yourself, you can use Adobe Audition. There are many filters that you can use to reduce background noise or make the sound of your voice more powerful.
You can find clear tutorials for optimizing audio files on YouTube in the channel of Mike Russell.
You can also outsource the post-production of your audio files
If you don't have the time or desire to cut and optimize your audio files yourself, there are plenty of freelancers who can do it for you. You can find a large selection of people who can support you on thepwork.com.
Step 5: Upload your episode and make it available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google and more
To get your finished episode out there, you'll need to upload it to your podcast host of choice. I will give you an overview of the different providers shortly.
How does the provision of a podcast work?
Making your show available in the podcast apps of Google, Apple, et cetera, you need an RSS feed. Your show's RSS feed is available at a URL host provided by your podcast and is automatically updated with each new episode.
Your RSS feed only needs to be submitted once to Apple, Google, and Co. The platforms will then check your feed for updates and publish new episodes automatically.
You may register yourself on each platform and create your show with your feed there. However, most podcast hosts do this for you automatically.
How do you publish a podcast with WordPress?
To publish WordPress podcasts, you have two options:
- You host the episodes on the same server as your WordPress site and take care of the maintenance and distribution of your feed yourself.
- You host the episodes at a podcast host and integrate them into your WordPress site with a podcast WordPress Plugin or iFrame.
The boundaries between these two possibilities are fluid and, depending on the constellation, there may also be hybrid solutions.
Option 1: Self-hosting and independent maintenance and distribution of your feed
Theoretically, you can host audio files of your show on your server. This can be the same server as your website or a separate one.
If you go this way, however, you will have to take care of creating and updating your RSS feed yourself. The WordPress podcast...Plugin PowerPress from Blubrry does this one for you and has lots of useful features on top.
Advantages and disadvantages of self-hosting
- No additional costs through a specialised podcast hosting .
- You have full control over your feed.
- You also have to take care of the maintenance of your RSS feed.
- If you have a lot of subscribers, this may affect your bandwidth.
- As the number of episodes increases, so does the amount of memory required.
- Reading the statistics is very difficult.
In summary, this option is less attractive in my view. This is because it is the most complex - especially when it comes to the reading of statistics, like the number of downloads, subscribers, et cetera is missing.
Option 2: Using a podcast host
Some specialised providers for podcast hosting offer useful features besides storing your audio files and creating your feed. Some of these features are designed to simplify post-production and publishing your episodes.
Advantages and disadvantages of using a podcast hosting
- Partially automated post production of your audio files using services like Auphonic.com.
- Partial automatic transcription of your episodes (automatic creation of a text version from your audio file).
- Publish your podcast to multiple platforms with just one click.
- Easier to set up than self-hosting solutions.
- Detailed statistics on the user behaviour of your listeners.
- Integration of useful tools to improve your podcast marketing.
- You incur additional costs.
- The features of the different podcast hosting differ a lot, which makes the choice a bit difficult.
Although you have to spend extra money on podcast hosting, this is the most attractive option for me. The few euros per month save you time and nerves and on top of that, you get useful features for processing and marketing your podcast.
How do you publish your episodes with a WordPress podcast plugin?
Most podcast plugins for WordPress follow more or less the same principle:
- You upload your episodes to your podcast hosting platform.
- Then you create a new post for the episode on your WordPress site.
- The feed of your podcast plugin already pulls the most important information and makes it available on your website.
The interesting thing is that some podcasts have plugins in detailed settings. These allow you to control exactly what information from your feed is displayed where and how.
Another advantage of using a plugin is that they have built-in audio players, which you can style to match your website's design.
Publishing your episodes via iFrame
Not all podcast hosting sites offer a WordPress plugin or maybe you want to keep your website as lean as possible. In this case you can easily integrate the audio player of each episode into your website via iFrame.
What podcast hosting platforms are available?
Castos is characterized by interesting features. For example, you can create customized audiograms and automatically post your episodes on YouTube.
Castos also has an own WordPress plugin which you can find here: Seriously Simple Podcasting. You can also use this plugin if you host your episodes somewhere else.
Libsyn is one of the oldest and most used podcast hosts. Interesting is the low entry price of $5 as well as features like paywalls and the additional hosting of video, PDF and text files.
Blubrry is another podcasthoster and is behind the podcasting Plugin PowerPress. According to their own statements PowerPress is the most frequently used solution for WordPress . With its numerous features it is very flexible and scores especially in terms of SEO.
Especially interesting: You can also use PowerPress with your own feed. Learn more about it here: PowerPress Podcasting Plugin by Blubrry.
In addition, there are useful features such as audio optimization by Auphonic and the automatic transcription of your audio track. Also interesting is the possibility to have the post production done manually by professionals.
WordPress Quick Publish Plugin
On WordPress -Plugin there is also, which is currently but not compatible withGutenberg : Podigee WordPress Quick Publish.
How can you increase your reach with your podcast?
Publish your podcast on as many platforms as possible
Most users listen to podcasts via their smartphone. However, in addition to the in-house Plugins ones from Apple and Google, there are also platforms such as Deezer, SoundCloud and Spotify.
On most of these platforms, you should be able to publish your show with just one click in the backend of your podcast host. On the others, you can register manually and submit your podcast feed. Even though most users listen to the platforms of Apple and Google, you should not ignore the potential of the others.
Use your podcast to build a newsletter
Of course you can inform about new episodes in your newsletter. But few people will subscribe to your newsletter to find out about new episodes. After all, they appear automatically in the podcast app.
However, you can withhold further information such as checklists and transcripts only from your newsletter subscribers. This is an additional incentive for your listeners to subscribe to your newsletter.
Post your episodes on social networks
Podcast episodes are great for posting to social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Even better than a picture and a link to the episode is a video.
Creation of audiograms with Headliner
So-called audiograms work very well here. In an audiogram, the audio file of your episode is turned into a video. The cover of your episode serves as the image material, which can be spiced up a bit with different elements.
A suitable tool for this is headliner.appwhich you can also use free of charge with appropriate co-branding.
Invite other podcasters for an interview and become a guest yourself
Another way you can increase the reach of your podcast is by inviting interview guests. If they are podcasters themselves and you have similar audiences, the combination is perfect.
Because this way you and your guests can benefit from each other's reach. You can also get on podcasts as a guest. That way you can attract new potential listeners.
Of course, there is a platform for this as well. HelloPodcaster brings together experts and podcasters. You can use HalloPodcaster in two ways:
- You can enter your podcast and attract the attention of potential interview guests.
- You can register yourself as an expert and make yourself available to others as an interview guest.
Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular not only among consumers but also among those who create content. Podcasting is interesting for content creators because it takes comparatively little time to produce new episodes. With a little practice and structured processes for publishing new episodes, podcasting takes less time than blogging.
For production and supply, there is a wide range of options for every budget. But the most important thing is the marketing of your podcast. Just sit and wait for listeners might not be very promising. I remain curious about the bright future of podcasting and how it will affect the way we listen.