As someone who actively produces the Chamber Leadership Podcast and has helped numerous chambers start their own podcasts, I’m clearly invested in the medium. Why? It’s probably one of the cheapest ways to communicate to a mass audience, and the audience is growing at a significant pace.
There are an estimated 90 million podcast listeners in the United States, and the percentage of people in the United States between the ages of 25 and 54 who have listened to a podcast in the last month has gone up from 32% last year to 39% this year. This is a prime target audience for any chamber.
So why don’t more chambers have podcasts? It boils down to three words: time, talent and money. With this column, I hope to build a bridge over these three hurdles and get you on track to starting your own podcast in 2020.
Drop the Anchor
Having produced a podcast for well over a year now, I recognize how daunting it is to start a podcast. So I’m going to give you an Anchor to keep you from floating around aimlessly. You’ve probably guessed it by now, but the application’s name is Anchor.
Since starting my foray into podcasting, Anchor is, hands down, the easiest program I’ve seen help people start podcasting. Let’s start with the fact that this app is entirely FREE. That’s right—no fees to host a podcast. Every other major podcast hosting site requires you to pay, but not Anchor. Its philosophy is that content creators shouldn’t be charged to add value to the marketplace. Plus, when it’s owned by Spotify, one of the largest media streaming companies, it has the bandwidth available to give you unlimited storage. Try to find that with any other host.
If you own a smart phone, you also own an entire podcasting studio. With Anchor, you can record, edit and distribute your podcast all through your phone.
When recording, you can use the phone’s microphone or plug in a headset or external microphone. You can also invite other people to record with you, no matter where they are, just as long as they have the Anchor app on their phones as well—another great option for remote recording, which I addressed last month.
As far as editing goes, Anchor also has tried to make this as simple as possible by including its own editing tool within the app. Because I haven’t had the chance to play with its editing tool, I can’t attest to its simplicity first-hand. But what I can say is, based on how the app describes it, there should be no fear about needing to be an expert audio editor.
The app also features a tool called an episode builder, which allows you to take and reorganize segments of your podcast, drop in audio transitions and even insert voice messages from your listeners right into your podcast.
Having the ability to import or upload existing audio is key if you already have intro and outro music put together. By doing so, you can essentially create a finished podcast from literally anywhere in the world. You also can use any of the loaded transitions, sound effects and background music with just a tap of your finger.
Your listeners using the app also can hear songs from your favorite artists available on Spotify or Apple Music in your podcast without any copyright issues.
Finally, you have the ability to record a simple, one-minute trailer to give your listeners a brief idea of what to expect with your podcast.
Most podcast hosting sites have made distribution very easy. Anchor is no different. With its “one-click” distribution option, you can easily select which platforms you want your podcast to appear on or decide to manage it for yourself.
Monetization and Analysis
Not to be forgotten, Anchor provides simple-to-understand analytics as well as the option to monetize your content. If you decide to monetize your show, Anchor will match you with potential sponsors. Then you can record an ad and drop it into the episode wherever you want. When the ad is heard, you get paid.
For these reasons, Anchor is an easy-to-use app that is undoubtedly a lifesaver for any prospective podcaster. And now, you have no excuses for not starting your own chamber podcast.
Russell Lahodny is vice president of W.A.C.E. and vice president of local chamber relations at the California Chamber.