5 Easy Steps to Starting a Podcast

And, 5 Reasons You Should Start Now!

“The popularity of podcasts is surging, as millions of listeners turn to their smartphones each day for audio content ranging from quick news to immersive storytelling.” Goldman Sachs

About a year ago I started the Doctor Thyroid podcast for one reason, the information I sought as a thyroid cancer patient was not available. There are ‘the usual’ thyroid cancer web sites, but the information is confusing (to the patient). I have always loved listening to podcasts and do so while at gym, driving, or hiking. But, when searching for a podcast that could help me through thyroid cancer struggles, there was nothing available. The combination of wanting great thyroid cancer information and from the convenience of a podcast, resulted in the launch of Doctor Thyroid —the the information I wish had been available to me when diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Doctor Thyroid features some of the world’s best thyroid doctors, presenting information in a short, easy to understand interview; topics cover every step of the journey, including nodules, pathology, surgery, endocrinology, RAI, quality of life and functional medicine.

My plan was to record ten episodes and be done. But, interest grew rapidly, and I was fortunate to gain early support from some of the best thyroidologists as guests. Soon, episodes were downloaded over 20,0000 times (industry data says a typical podcast episode will receive 100 downloads after its first year). The response to Doctor Thyroid is overwhelming.

Podcasts are creating the second golden age of audio

Podcast listenership continues to grow tremendously every year. According to Edison Research; 24% of Americans say they have listened to one in the past month, up from 21% one year ago. Now, is the time to utilize this platform to help reach your audience and boost your brand. Starting a podcast does not require a lot of money or tech-savviness. Before providing a guide to starting your podcast, let’s consider the benefits of podcasting.

5 benefits of a podcast

  1. Emotional authenticity. There is a certain level of intimacy when listening to someone – allowing the audience to become familiar in a way that is not possible through the written word. In the case of healthcare, it makes the provider feel more personal, genuine, and authentic.
  2. Easy and quickly accessible information. Listening to a podcast is something that can be done while walking the dog, at the gym, while driving, or riding the bus.
  3. Narrative. Telling a story is powerful.  People enjoy listening to ‘a story’.
  4. Build your brand. In this day of digital marketing and easily available content, it is important to allow your audience the access to your information in mediums that are most convenient and quick – for some, the easiest and most convenient medium is podcasts or the spoken word.
  5. Innovation. A podcast is a symbol that you are ahead of current market trends, in communication and in practice.

If your main purpose is to educate (not to sell a product), then getting started should be easy.

The end game: an audio file

The intent of this guide is to make your first podcast as simple as possible.  If your podcast ends up being widely popular, or if you want to invest in more expensive production tools, you can do so later.  For now, lets make it as easy as possible to generate a quality audio file that may be shared on your web site.

For a sound engineer or audio engineer, this list maybe open to critique. But, the intent of this list is to provide a simple guide. The intent is not to overwhelm the first-timer with podcast jargon or a list of the many available podcast tools. All of which can be discussed later.

5 things needed to get started

  1. Clarify your objective. The goal is an audio file that can be shared on your web site or as a part of your bio or blog. With this in mind, audio quality needs to be good, but not Grammy quality. Tips to improve audio include recording from a quiet location, with a good microphone, and with good Wi-Fi (if recorded online).
  2. Think of the listener. Keep the interview interesting and between two or three people. Avoid long-winded monologues. Pick topics the audience cares about. Length of podcast depends on the topic, but 20-minutes is a good target.
  3. Equipment. Many blogs that offer advice on starting a podcast sometimes advertise the purchase of special microphones, however, save time and money by using the earphones like the ones that come with the iPhone.  I have used such earphones in given situations, and the resulting audio turned out fine. For first-timers, and when recording in-person, try a portable digital recorder ($80).  If the interview is online, have each party connect over Skype or Facetime and record using Ecamm.  For recording, you may also use GarageBand or Audacity on your computer.
  4. Edit. Once your recording is complete, use GarageBand to edit the interview. GarageBand allows you to overlay audio files, mute tracks, and cut and paste. On occasion, I edit in iMovie, even though this maybe perceived as unorthodox. But, it is simple and easy.
  5. Export and Upload. Once editing is complete, export the audio file and upload to a hosting platform. The majority of podcasts are hosted by libsyn. Once uploaded to libsyn, it will produce an audio file for you to share, use on your web site, and track. If you want to publish on iTunes and/or other platforms, libsyn offers support to help you do so.

The above should cost no more than $100.

Think long-term

If you want to offer an ongoing platform, release new episodes weekly or daily. Make your overall communications and marketing strategy more robust by linking your podcast episodes to your social platforms and web site; re-purpose the content as blogs and video. But remember, do not expect to cultivate an audience until after a year of consistent messaging. In the meantime, a single episode is all you need to give patients a sample of your voice and connect to you in a way that is not possible through the written word.

Want more info?

Popularity is surging as users turn to their phones for quick news and audio content. Podcasting is an excellent medium to engage your audience and educate. Want to get started today? I am available to assist by answering any of your questions, simply send me a direct LinkedIn message or email me at, philipjames@docthyroid.com. You may also setup a time to speak by scheduling a time directly to my calendly, calendly.com/philipjames. Offered at no fee to you.

Want to launch a podcast for your organization or health institution but don’t have the time or resources? I can help you. For select clients, I am available for you to outsource the production and distribution of your podcast, including interviewing your guests, recruiting guests, post-production, and distribution. This is a fee based service.

Are you a physician who would simply like to make an audio introduction available to your patients, and link it to your bio? Then, I am available to interview you and provide the audio file for your personal use. If you are a LinkedIn contact, I will do this for no cost.

About the Doctor Thyroid podcast

On June 1st of this year, the 100th episode of Doctor Thyroid will be released. This comes after overwhelming response and patient interest. The objectives of Doctor Thyroid include patient education, patient advocacy, awareness, free access to the world’s best doctors from the ease of a phone/computer, crossing social and economic borders, reaching doctors from around the world, and reaching the Spanish speaking audience. Recently, I launched the first 100% Spanish thyroid-podcast, www.doctiroides.com.

Some people ask about my background and my business outside of the Doctor Thyroid podcasts, I am recognized as a leading sustainability expert in the U.S. and consult clients in communications and marketing.

If you are interested in becoming a Doctor Thyroid guest, please send me a message: philipjames@docthyroid.com

A special thank you to all past guests of the Doctor Thyroid podcast.

Philip James

Host at docthyroid.com

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