Welcome to our latest FAQ Friday — on how podcasting can boost your business — where industry experts answer your burning technology and startup questions. We’ve gathered Minnesota authorities on topics from software development to accounting to talent acquisition and everything in between. Check in each week, and submit your questions here.

This week’s FAQ Friday is sponsored by The Jed Mahonis Group. The Jed Mahonis Group helps businesses strategize, design, develop, and deploy custom iOS and Android mobile applications. The company has partnered with many startups and large brands over the years to deliver software that is used by millions of people around the world, including companies such as Great Clips, Green Mill, VSI Labs, and Kwikly.

Meet Our FAQ Expert

Tim Bornholdt, Partner at The Jed Mahonis Group | @timbornholdt

Tim got his start in web development in the first grade, so he’s been building websites and apps for more than 20 years. In addition to being an accomplished software developer, Tim is also an award-winning videographer and podcaster. He currently edits the C Tolle Run podcast hosted by Olympian Carrie Tollefson, and he hosts the Constant Variables podcast where he breaks down complex mobile app development topics for entrepreneurs and product managers.

This Week’s FAQ Topic – How to Boost Your Business by Podcasting

PodcastingI’ve been an avid consumer of podcasts since around 2011. I took a road trip with some friends to California, and we decided to drive straight through with no stopping. We each took turns driving, and as is custom, whoever is driving gets to choose what is on the radio.

One of my friends wanted to listen to a podcast called The Nerdist. Over time, they had interviewed the entire cast of “Community,” and it was instantly captivating to hear personal stories from the actors behind one of my favorite shows. I couldn’t believe that these people would have “normal” conversations for hours on end.

Once I got back from the trip, I followed down the rabbit hole of podcasting to see what else was out there. I couldn’t believe that there were podcasts about every single interest of mine. It didn’t matter if it was astronomy, economics, Apple, ultramarathoning, craft beer, big rig trucking, the Supreme Court, architecture… I could search and find experts in each topic breaking it down in terms that a novice like me could understand.

At the same time, I was just getting started with a video series on YouTube with an Olympian in Minnesota named Carrie Tollefson. For more than six years, we created a weekly video that touched on a topic in the world of running and fitness. We interviewed elite athletes, flew around the world and provided highlights of major marathons, and taught people how to become faster runners.

constant variables podcastTime constraints such as my growing app development business and the birth of my first child forced me to cut back on how much time I could spend on recording a weekly video show. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to switch to a podcast where we could provide the same value to listeners and it wouldn’t take as much time from our end, so we switched to podcasting and haven’t looked back.

As for my second show, we brainstormed several ways at the Jed Mahonis Group to spread our message that app development doesn’t need to be complex or difficult to understand. That led us to launching our own show called Constant Variables. We’re closing in on 40 episodes of that show, and overall, the show has been a marketing success for us. We’ve generated several sales from people who stumbled across the show and wanted help building apps for their own businesses.

How can podcasting help my business?

Increase Brand Awareness

PodcastInsights.com says 55% of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast this year alone, up from 51% in 2019. Podcasting offers an opportunity to connect with a new audience and increase awareness of your company in an engaging, affordable way.

Expand Your Network

Inviting someone to be a guest on your show to chat about a topic they’re passionate about (and that also resonates with your audience) is a much easier and more effective way of connecting than sending a cold LinkedIn request.

Build Trust

If you’re consistent with producing content relevant to your audience (podcasting included), it keeps your brand top of mind and portrays you as a thought leader in your space. Your audience gets to know you on a more personal level, building their trust in you and your brand.

How do I market my podcast?

Creating a website for your show and sharing your episodes on your social channels and with your email list are good places to start with marketing your show. But probably the best way to spread the word about your show is to leverage your guests’ audiences.

When a guest’s episode releases on Constant Variables, we make it easy for them to share it with their audience by sending them a direct link to the episode, along with our social handles and some graphics. We also make sure to tag them and their company in anything we post so it’s even easier for them to hit that share button.

What are the most important factors to consider when starting a podcast?

It’s important to decide upfront how frequently you will release content. Factor in not only the time commitment for recording the show (and editing it if you’re not outsourcing that), but also the time to book guests and determine relevant content for each episode.

It’s also important that no matter what you decide your release schedule is, you need to create one and stick to it. If you release episodes every other week on Tuesdays, your audience will get into that rhythm and expect new episodes.

Where do I start with choosing software and hardware?

podcast mics

Podcasting Hardware

A while ago, I read a post on the AskReddit subreddit that said, “What hobby gets more expensive the further you get into it?”

The highest rated answer was “every hobby.”

I say that because when it comes to podcasting, the thing that tends to intimidate most first-timers is the gear. Professional podcasters spend tens of thousands of dollars on microphones, headphones, preamps, mixing boards, editing software, and so much more.

Quality is very important when it comes to podcasting, but I would argue that a well-crafted conversation should stand on its own regardless of the setup used to capture it.

The good news is that you don’t need much money to have a quality podcasting rig. If you own an Apple computer, you’ve already got everything you need! You can use the built-in microphone to your computer to capture the audio using GarageBand.

If you want to step up your rig with no additional money, use the headphones that came with your phone. Generally speaking, the closer you can get a mic to your mouth, the better. Even though the quality of the microphone in a pair of headphones isn’t something you’d hear on NPR, it’s better than speaking a foot or more away from the mic that’s built into your laptop.

If you are able to spend a little bit of money, I’d recommend the Blue Yeti USB microphone. You can find them brand new for $150 and often, you can find them on eBay for a lot less. Many popular podcasts today pull it off with that mic, including C Tolle Run (which I edit).

The most important thing to remember when upgrading your mic is to learn good mic technique. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to forget to talk directly into the mic at an appropriate distance for an entire episode. Watch this short video from longtime podcaster Dan Benjamin for a good primer.

Podcasting Software

podcast softwareIf you are recording yourself alone, any audio recording software will do the trick. On the Mac, GarageBand will work perfectly for you. Just plug in your mic (make sure it’s selected in the settings) and hit record.

If you are recording episodes with guests, you have plenty of options as well. I’ve found that the best sound quality comes from Skype with Ecamm Call Recorder, but you can use a number of tools to capture audio from your mic and your guest’s mic.

If you want to step up the quality, you’ll want to use a tool which records the guest’s audio directly on their end. In the radio business, they call this a “double ender.” I record Constant Variables using a web app called Zencastr. You and your guest(s) load the site in a browser and it takes care of recording the audio directly on each end of the conversation. After you stop recording, it automatically uploads each track to Dropbox. You can then drag the files into GarageBand or Logic Pro X and begin editing.

When it comes to editing the recorded audio, you have three routes you can take. The traditional route is to use audio editing software like GarageBand, Audacity, Logic Pro X, or Adobe Audition.

The trick to editing in a traditional audio app is to figure out how to equalize each voice to maximize its quality. GarageBand makes it easy with a ton of presets you can choose from, and you can experiment over time to figure out what settings sound best for your voice.

The second route is to use a web app to edit your podcasts in the cloud. One of the most intriguing to me is a tool called Descript. With Descript, you can edit by reading a transcript of the audio. If your transcript includes a bunch of “umms” and “likes”, removing them is as easy as deleting the word.

If you don’t find the process of editing podcasts enjoyable, you can take the third route: hire an editor. Editors can easily apply EQ and remove “umms” and “likes,” and shifting this time-consuming task to someone else frees up your time to hone the tone of the content of your podcast.

Still have questions? Ask Tim and The Jed Mahonis Group team questions on podcasting and more on Twitter at @timbornholdt.