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 worth it?
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 refer to the USA, but the good thing is: they show that there is still room for improvement in Germany:
- 51% of the population has listened to a podcast at least once.
- Podcast listeners are more loyal than average, educated and are among the high earners.
In Germany, on the other hand, only 21% of the population listen to podcasts, according to 2019 evaluations - but the trend is positive. Furthermore, the global advertising revenue with podcasts is forecast to reach 1.6 billion US dollars in 2022. That's nearly double what it was in 2019!
Still not convinced? In terms of frequency, according to a survey, around a quarter said they listen to podcasts weekly and 13% even daily. Where there is demand, supply is not long in coming. So if you want to start your own podcast, pay special attention to positioning.
What are the benefits of a podcast?
Compared to a blog, your show has one or two advantages thanks to the audio format:
- You go directly into the ears of your target group: Since many users listen with headphones, you appear very close to them and your voice becomes your unmistakable brand ambassador.
- Since it's less anonymous than a blog post, your audience will quickly build trust with you.
- A show where 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.
Choose the target audience of your podcast
In terms of audience, the question is whether you're doing your podcast for your clients or for your profession.
A quick example: If you're a web designer, you could do a show about web design for web designers. But you could just as easily change your perspective and do something for your clients. For example, this podcast would be about how you can use a website to drive your business forward 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:
Choose the format of your podcast
Podcast shows can have different formats. You don't have to commit to one, but definitely think about it in advance.
In a solo show you are the king and sole entertainer for your audience. The effort here is the lowest, because you have to prepare less than in other formats. Example of an episode in solo format: Successful with the website.
Podcast interviews are not only exciting, you can also quickly gain reach with them if you have prominent guests and they share your show. Example of an episode in interview format: The Coronavirus Update with Christian Drosten.
When co-hosting, there are at least two of you talking in your episodes. This often feels more lively than a solo show. Example of a co-hosted episode: Mixed Hack.
At what frequency do you want to release 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 about an intro
The intro is basically the elevator pitch of your show. It's important to get across what your topic is and who your target audience is. So that it doesn't become monotonous, it's good form 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 record an individual one for each episode. The latter provides for more variety but also for a good portion of effort. By the way, you can find suitable music tracks in different lengths and variations at 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 that has to do with 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: Choosing the right recording equipment and software
Equipment for recording a podcast
The right microphone
The heart of your equipment is the microphone, and there are plenty to choose from. For a quick and inexpensive start, so-called lavalier microphones are suitable. These are these small microphones that you can put on your shirt collar. As an example, here is the Lavalier GO from Rode.
Wearing headphones to hear yourself while 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 also use them later to edit and optimize the soundtrack.
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 shield are recommended.
If the room you're recording in has a lot of reverb, you can help yourself out with acoustic foam mats or curtains. I recorded my first episode under a wool blanket. It's not comfortable, but it's 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 very old-fashioned, but it's still a very good program to record your episodes.
Adobe Audition can probably be called the industry standard. The advantage is that it has many filters to improve the sound quality. If you have Adobe Creative Cloud, you don't have to buy Audition separately, because it's part of it.
If you have a Mac, you can also just use Garageband to record and edit your episodes. The program is comparatively easy to use and delivers a decent result. If you're a Mac user, it comes pre-installed and it's free.
Step 3: Now it's time to rest, because you're 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 more tips on recording and speaking:
- Record your episodes standing up. Standing allows the air to 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 soundtrack, you can use the tool auphonic.com. You just have to upload your soundtrack, 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 also outsource the post-production of your audio files
If you don't have the time or inclination to edit and optimize your audio files yourself, there are plenty of freelancers who can do it for you. You can find a wide range of people who can support you onupwork.com.
Step 5: Upload your episode and make it available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google and Co.
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 delivery 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 WordPresssite 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.
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 route, however, you'll have to take care of creating and updating your RSS feed on your own.Blubrry's WordPress -Podcast-Plugin PowerPress does that for you and has a lot of useful features to boot.
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 service
- 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 behavior of your listeners.
- Integration of useful tools to improve your podcast marketing.
- You will 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 podcastplugin?
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 stands out for its interesting features. For example, you can create custom audiograms and automatically post your episodes to YouTube.
Castos also has their own WordPress -Plugin, which you can find here: Seriously Simple Podcasting. You can also use Plugin if you host your episodes elsewhere.
Libsyn is one of the oldest and most used podcast hosts. Interesting are the low entry price of $5 as well as features like paywalls and additional hosting of video, PDF and text files.
Blubrry is another podcasthost and is behind the podcasting Plugin PowerPress. According to their own information, PowerPress is the most frequently used solution for WordPress . With its numerous features it is very flexible and scores especially in terms of SEO.
Of particular interest: you can also use PowerPress with your own feed. Learn more about it here: PowerPress Podcasting Plugin by Blubrry.
Podigee is in this list the only european Podcast-host . With regard to data protection, the provider scores with sample clauses for your data protection declaration and you don't have to search long for an AV contract or ask for support. Speaking of support: This is of course also available in German.
In addition, there are useful features such as audio optimization by Auphonic and automatic transcription of your audio track. Also interesting is the possibility to have the post production done manually by professionals.
WordPress Quick Publish Plugin
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 Apple and Google's own Plugins , 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 your podcast host's backend. The rest require you to manually register and submit your podcast feed. Even though most users listen on Apple and Google platforms, you shouldn't ignore the potential of the others.
Use your podcast to build a newsletter
Sure, you can inform about new episodes in your newsletter. But very few people will subscribe to your newsletter to hear about new episodes. After all, they appear automatically in the podcast app.
However, you can withhold more in-depth information such as checklists and transcripts from your newsletter subscribers only. This gives your listeners an extra incentive 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
Audiograms work very well here. With an audiogram, a video is made from the audio file of your episode. The cover of your episode serves as the visual material, which can be spiced up a bit with different elements.
A suitable tool for this is headliner.app, which you can also use for free with appropriate co-branding.
Invite other podcasters for an interview and become a guest yourself
Another method you can use to increase the reach of your podcast is to invite 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 also a platform for this. HalloPodcaster brings experts and podcasters together. You can use HalloPodcaster in two ways:
- You can enter your podcast and attract potential interview guests to you.
- 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.