So, you’re considering a podcast for your business. Smart move.
Podcast listenership has been growing 10 to 20 percent year-to-year since 2013. As of quarter two this year, nearly 70 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly and 40 million listen weekly. Even with all of this growth, podcasting is far from full market saturation.
On a recent episode of my personal cast, ‘Interview Valet’ owner and business podcasting guru Tom Schwab said the time to start podcasting is now. He discusses how podcasting is in a sweet spot; 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. population listens to podcasts. That means there is enough people in the space to make it relevant, but not so many that it’s saturated.
Thus, it’s an excellent time to get in.
Before going any further, you need to know that the benefits of podcasting for businesses are real. The technical nitty-gritty won’t mean anything if you don’t understand why you should be podcasting in the first place.
The Benefits of Podcasting for Business are Real
I write and speak on the benefits of podcasting often. Podcasts help grow the sales pipeline for your business and increase your bottom-line. There are several ways to determine the return on investment of a podcast. In fact, they have an unfair advantage compared to visually-based marketing avenues.
The list of perks goes on.
However, I’ve found a fair amount of confusion and bad advice when it comes to determining what you should pay and get for quality podcast production.
Understanding the Service You Need
Knowing the kind of service you need will depend largely on the level of expertise you have in producing a podcast and the amount of time you want to dedicate to the process.
You can receive help in 3 different ways:
- Full Production: Best for people/businesses who don’t have any time but want a podcast.
- Technical (Editing, Show Notes, and Transcriptions): Best for those who need help with specific parts of the process.
- Consultation and Education: Best for those who have time and want to learn.
Personal note: Be honest with yourself about what you really need. To make a quality, highly-rated podcast isn’t easy. It takes a lot more than good audio.
The best podcasts didn’t become popular because of clean audio. The best podcasts require strategy, technicality, and human qualities to truly standout.
If you have the time or the desire to learn, find a source you can trust and go for it. Find someone to outsource to if you already are podcasting and need help with certain parts of the process. If you haven’t started yet because you don’t know how and don’t have the time, a full production option might be your best bet.
Full Production Options
Very few agencies offer true, full production options for producing a podcast.
A true, full-production agency handles EVERYTHING: the planning, producing, distributing and marketing. It’s all the benefits of a podcast without any of the work.
Parts of the Process
Before discussing pricing, consider the amount of work that goes into a podcast. We account for 8 main areas:
- Discover – Several hours to define your goal, purpose, success markers and direction of the cast.
- Plan – Podcast planning happens on a macro-level as you formulate your vision and map out seasons. Then, you dive into the planning on a micro-level as you design the flow of each episode. This is where your podcast takes shape. Also, this is the time you should be researching what people want.
- Prepare – Where the rubber meets the road. In this phase, you’re writing scripts, brainstorming questions, and story-boarding show progression. It may also include contacting guests, scheduling and conducting pre-interviews, recording b-roll, and choosing music for the episodes.
- Record – Where you lay the foundation of your episode. This may include recording narration and interviews.
- Produce and Finalize – Edit the audio. Time invested here greatly depends on the style of your show. It could be as simple as an interview recorded in one take, or as complicated as a movie score and public radio story. Good production includes cleaning and leveling audio, proper timing of music and soundbites, engaging story progression, mastering final files and more.
- Publish and Distribute – Push it live! In this phase, you upload the audio files to a dedicated media host, add a post to your website (which probably includes show notes and/or transcriptions) and you make sure the RSS feed is synced to iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, etc.
- Market and Promote – Grow and engage your audience. Great podcasts (especially when planned in advance) will grow organically. However, it doesn’t hurt to boost them. This may include social, blog, newsletter, video and lead generation creation. You can partner with other professionals in a space or guest on other podcasts as well.
- Odds and Ends – The unpredictable happens. Make sure to allow time for things like communication, rescheduling interviews and equipment failure. We typically schedule 30% of the total estimated time to account for the unexpected. If a podcast episode takes 10 hours to produce, we’d plan for up to 3 hours of “odds and ends” time.
Unfortunately prices range all over the spectrum. Freelancers range from $20 per episode to several hundred dollars per hour. The major problem here is that most individuals and even small teams are not equipped with the expertise needed for turnkey production.
There are multiple moving parts, and inefficiencies in one area can have a domino effect on the others. This is why our team includes dedicated audio engineers, copywriters, content marketers, project managers, and more. Everyone gets to focus on their specialty to create an amazing podcast.
Think of it like hiring your own podcast-specific CMO or marketing specialist. Orbit Media produced a study that highlighted that a marketer’s salary ranges from $3,896 to $13,594 per month. And that’s for a single person! When you hire an agency like ours, you are receiving a team of specialists to run your podcast-driven content strategy.
Schedule a free call to see how our podcast services will help you.
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Analyzing the Cost
Some of you might think this type of service is too expensive. This couldn’t be further from the truth once you analyze the benefits.
Long-term, Sustainable Gains
If you’re looking for quick returns on your marketing investment, podcasting likely isn’t for you. Podcasting has massive benefits but it takes time. If your business has a marketing budget and wants to make a long-term investment, podcasting is a solid bet.
Benefits of Experts
Hiring a team like ours will save you time and money. If you were to do this yourself without any prior experience, the above time estimates would double.
Also, your success rate will be lower. We’ve produced close to 200 episodes across multiple casts. We continuously research to stay at the top of our game. We’ve vetted processes on everything from securing interview guests and how to be an interesting host, to creating a fascinating story arc for your listeners.
Why do you hire accountants, lawyers, or other consultants to help your business? They are better and more efficient at their craft. They save you tremendous amounts of headaches and stress. Podcasting, like other outsourced marketing solutions, should be left to professionals.
Audio’s Unfair Advantage
What about all of the other marketing assets you have? Your blog posts, videos, social, and case studies? First, understand audio has an unfair advantage. Articles, video, and social are all visual mediums and they are competing for attention with any other visual medium that exists (not just ones similar to your niche).
Podcasts are unique because audio is the one medium you can do while doing something else. People drive while listening to a podcast. They run while listening to a podcast. The only other mediums competing for the podcast listeners’ attention are other podcasts, audiobooks, or music.
Like inbound marketer Dan Moyle said in our recent interview, “There are more fish in the ocean than in a barrel, but where do you want to fish?”
Listen to the episode here:
Plus, podcasts can drive your entire marketing campaign. I’m a huge advocate for recycling or reusing your content. For example, let’s say you sell an eCommerce-related SaaS product and you start a podcast interviewing eCommerce experts on how to improve online sales.
- If planned well, your podcast season should follow a logical arc of what you want to teach your audience.
- Each podcast episode should be turned into a post on your website.
- Each episode will have guest quotes that can be used on social and referenced/ internally linked on future blog articles (like I’ve done in this article).
- Each episode or groups of episodes can be turned into definitive guides, case studies, and expert round-ups.
- Each podcast episode and subsequently written content can be promoted via social and to your email list.
- You can also turn video content into podcast episodes and podcast episodes into video content.
That’s at least five additional pieces of content from a single podcast episode! Your podcast acts as the spearhead driving all of your content marketing forward, instead of each piece of your marketing working on its own.
What is your average lifetime customer value? This is the total amount of revenue you get from a single customer. For example, let’s say it’s $500. Let’s say your podcast costs $2,000 per month to produce. So, how much of your audience would you need to convert before you start to see a profit?
With a small audience of only 100 people, you’d need just 4 people to convert per month. At 5,000 listeners, you need less than one percent of your audience to become a customer. That’s the beauty of this – quality podcasts constantly see their audiences grow. However, their monthly costs remain static; most contracts run several months at a time. Thus, the longer you commit, the greater the payout.
All the Benefits without the Work
How would you feel to have all of the above without spending any time or effort making it happen? My guess is pretty good. 🙂
Learn how a podcast could drive your marketing strategy.
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Editing and Show Notes
This is your technical solution; best if you’re already recording your show but don’t want to deal with the hassle of editing, summarizing, or posting the episodes.
This is also the most popular service when it comes to podcast production. Most agencies offer audio editing and/or audio editing plus show note writing. You’re going to see a variety of price points in this realm, so be careful.
Podcast Editing, at it’s essence, is taking your recorded audio and making it sound better. People try to make this sound more fancy by listing a variety of processes they will perform; things like equalization (EQ), noise reduction/removal, compression, volume matching, ID3 tagging, mixing intros and more.
Most podcast editing packages worth investing in will cost around $500 for 4 or 5 per month. A good audio engineer can take 2 to 4 times the length of an episode to edit it. Thus, I’m skeptical of editing services that cost less than $100 to $125 per episode.
Most podcast editing and show notes services will cost at least $600 for 4 or 5 episodes per month. In a recent study put out by Andy Crestodina and Orbit Media, the average blog post takes over 3 hours to create. So again, I have a hard time trusting the quality of a writing service that charges less than $50 per post.
Analyzing the Cost
Consider the entire picture if you decide to edit and summarize in-house.
- You’d need to pay someone on your team a fair wage to complete those tasks.
- Not only do you need to account for the time you’ll spend editing and summarizing, you’ll need to consider that as time away from the tasks you/your team should be working on.
When asked how much help should a business get when starting a podcast, marketer and podcaster Andy Baldacci said, “When it comes down to how much should (a business) do themselves, the answer is as little as they possibly can… the more budget you have, the less you should do.”
Listen to the interview here
Thus, if you don’t want/can’t afford the full production, editing and show notes services are your next best bet.
Consulting Services and DIY Education
Maybe you want a podcast and decide that producing in-house is the best step for your company. A handful of experts exist that will charge a fee to answer your questions.
Most experts charge in-between $100 and $300 per hour for consulting. Some do one-to-one consulting and others only do group sessions to save time. Research in advance if you want to check the expert’s credentials; most of us frequently write and speak about podcasting.
I have written extensively on podcasting. You can likely find an answer on one of my posts, podcasts, or websites. However, sometimes it’s nice to talk to an expert and get your answer quickly.
You can also sign up for digital classes, conferences, and membership websites that teach you everything you need to launch a podcast. Prices for these options start at free to $10-$50 per month for membership sites to hundreds-thousands for conferences.
We have EquipmentforPodcasting.com that teaches you what equipment to buy for free and we’re about to launch our own membership site, Come Alive Academy for people who want to learn but don’t need our services.
Analyzing the Cost
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Can you find what we teach on the internet? Again, yes, but good luck finding accurate information with the same convenience as someone telling you.
If you want to get better at something, get a mentor.
In episode 248 James Altucher interviewed Noah Kagan on a variety of topics including the importance of mentorship. Noah has a chess coach, a Hebrew coach, random podcast coaches, and business mentor Jonathon Coon, founder of Wikibuy.
I have a business coach and a small team of advisers for Come Alive Creative. They have a tremendous amount of experience and are able to teach me things in conversations that would take me months to figure out on my own.
Having a mentor for areas you want to improve makes sense.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Yes, you can teach yourself how to podcast. However, it will go faster and be much easier if you hire an expert.
Podcast consulting is a no-brainer when you compare the cost to the benefits. One bad equipment purchase can cost you as much as a month of consulting. Not to mention, you’re saving time you’d otherwise never get back.
Hopefully, this enlightens you on what goes into podcast production and why services cost what they do. Recording audio is easy. Producing a high-quality podcast is not.
If you just want to play around, by all means, start recording with an app on your phone or a cheap USB microphone.
However, if your goal is to create an engaging podcast to grow your business and improve your marketing, consider making the investment in professional podcast services.