Podcasts_Body.jpgBy Robert Lerose.


Simply put, a podcast is an audio file that is available for listening or downloading through a web-enabled platform, such as Apple's popular iTunes store or even through your own company website. Strategically, a podcast provides genuinely useful content to prospects without the overt sales pitch found in traditional forms of promotion.


The audience for podcasts is small but growing. According to a survey by Edison Research, the number of Americans above the age of 12 who listened to any type of recent podcast jumped from 12 percent in 2013 to 21 percent today.


Small businesses that catch on to this wave can gain an edge over their competitors. Digital Trends, an online service that covers technology news, has these recommendations for producing your own podcast.  


1. Pick a theme for your podcast

Your podcast needs to be about something. Find a topic that you are ardently interested in and make that the core of your program. The focus can be as narrow or as broad as you want. For example, a manufacturer of heavy-duty construction equipment could discuss the state of the construction industry across the country or concentrate just on the equipment itself. The key is to be passionate and informed about the subject.


Podcasts_PQ.jpg2. Settle on a format and schedule

Each show in your podcast series should clock in at roughly the same length. Podcasts typically range from a few minutes to a maximum of 60 minutes. You should also decide on the frequency of your podcasts. Most come out weekly or bi-weekly. Choose a length and schedule that you can stick with comfortably.


3. Prepare a script

Even if you want your podcast to sound improvised or spontaneous, you should still write some type of script outline to keep the show on track. For shows that have multiple segments or a variety of speakers, an outline can also make your transitions smooth.


4. Choose your recording software

A small business does not have to invest a lot of money in sophisticated recording equipment. There are a few free alternatives that will do the job. Digital Trends recommends starting with Audacity, an open-source editing and recording program, or Acoustica Basic Edition.


5. Choose your microphones and headphones

"In all reality, podcasters should consider purchasing an external microphone," Digital Trends says. "USB mics, such as the CAD 37 and Fifine USB Plug & Play, plug directly into your computer and interface with your recording software, thus offering superior sound and greater flexibility than your computer's built-in microphone." Make sure every podcast member has his or her own mic. For headphones, Digital Trends says that any reliable pair is all you need.


6. Record your show

Don't get discouraged if you suffer a few bumps during your first podcast. Even the pros experience glitches. Get the show recorded and improve your methods as you go along.


7. Make your podcast available through a hosting service

A podcast needs to be hosted in order for people to access it. WordPress and Blogger let you host your audio files free of charge, but they don't offer much flexibility, according to Digital Trends. HostGator charges a modest fee, but provides more options.


Producing a regularly scheduled podcast might be intimidating at first, but small business owners who take the leap may find it an exciting way to build an audience of loyal listeners and future customers.


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.


©2016 Bank of America Corporation