Podcasting - DIY or Paid? The complete guide to the cost of legal marketing
“Audio is the future” and podcasting is so hot and getting hotter. As a way to communicate, build an audience, create connection and grow your brand there is no better content.
Podcasts are fabulous ways to create content that can easily be repurposed (quotes, blog articles, content) so are also very efficient ways to create content (as you can get more from less).
They do however require lots of work to get right. There is nothing worse than bad audio, or launching a show to an empty room, or not getting the quality of your interview right.
For anyone looking to DIY their own podcast below are some of the key steps and processes you will need to cover.
Strategy & Ideation to nail your audience and concept. So few people actually think about making a show for their target client or audience. It is not about making something to tell people what you know, but something they will value enough to listen each week. Getting the focus of your show right so that it appeals to the people you are targeting requires a clear strategy. Will it be a short or long show? Interview or monologue? Seasonal or weekly? For clients or possible referral sources? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask.
Launch strategy - There is no point making a show if no one listens. The best way to avoid that is to go out there and nail your launch strategy. The lead-up, the launch and the follow through are all important. How will you advertise your show, get the word out or use different media?
Getting guests or writing content - Getting people to come on your show is quite obviously a necessity if it’s an interview show! How will you approach them? Who will you approach? When and where will you record the show? Think big!
Learning to use technology and record shows. Whether it is your mixer, the type of microphone to use or the software to record in. There are lots of moving pieces that you will need to get your head around. Youtube is a great source of help on everything you need to know.
Production and editing of show recordings - If you want a profession show it makes a huge difference to purchase appropriate music and have show “Intro's” / Outro's created. There are lots of sources for music files that you can buy with a licence to use on podcasts.
Production of your show artwork and blog artwork - To promote your show you are going to need to have podcast cover art created by a designer or have a crack yourself. Make sure you comply with the Apple podcast rules on design!
Setup of your show host on podcasting platforms - Shows need to be hosted somewhere.. And that somewhere is a podcast hosting platform. For clients we use Libsyn, but there are lots out there like soundcloud.
Setup of your Itunes and Spotify accounts - You need to create individual accounts for the platforms you want people to access your show on. The biggest and most important two are Itunes and Spotify! Just be mindful that it can take a week to get setup.
Ongoing show editing and production - It’s critical to properly edit your podcast sound and then produce it on your platform of choice. We use adobe Audition as our primary tool but there are lots of others out there.
Creation of show notes and image assets - If you want to grow your show it is critical that you market it! Show notes are also a necessity when uploading and distributing to the platforms like Itunes.
Marketing your show - What it doesn’t market itself? No sadly… each show you are going to have to get out there and market it across all your social channels, your email newsletter and your network. You will need to create Facebook and Instagram assets as well as share across your other channels.
Approaching and getting podcast sponsors. Want to make money from the pod itself? Getting a sponsor is a great place to start. We suggest writing a detailed sponsorship proposal and approaching brands that want to reach your target audience.
Funnily enough out of all the possible forms of content people look to make I find the biggest knowledge gap between idea and execution is in podcasting. Generally, people think it is easy and don’t understand how important all of the above steps are. This also plays into what they choose to pay for and not.
Most contractors focus on show audio and production. What this means is that they will clean up a file you give them, help with your intro’s and outro’s, and then produce the show by uploading it to your agreed platform. Most will also provide a show notes service and help sourcing gear if you have the need.
Using a contractor for part of your process can make a lot of sense.
If you have the time to get everything else right then offloading part of the process that is more time consuming and outside your skills is a must do.
Expect to pay anything from $120 to $500 per show depending on the basic inclusions (and obviously more for written content / transcripts etc).
There are an increasing amount of digital marketing and audio agencies providing a full service podcast solution (like we do!).
The difference between an agency and a contractor is that the Agency will take a holistic approach, offer other complimentary content services, help with your a strategy, help with your launch, and guide you along the way.
If you are using a great agency they will be able to ensure brand consistency and also help with suggestions and tips to grow your show, get sponsors on board and keep it fresh.
A hell of a lot more goes into a podcast than just sound. If you want to reach an audience then having an effective marketing campaign for your show is just as important as the content itself. A great agency won’t just make content but will help you grow your audience and brand.
One big benefit often overlooked about using an agency is that they ensure consistency. This is a huge factor. As we go on about all the time, consistency is key and it is worth investing in any process that ensures consistency.
So how much does it cost?
Generally expect to pay $3,000 to $7,500 for the basic strategy, equipment, set-up and training to start your show. A basic “rig” will cost anywhere from $1000 - $2000 depending on the quality of audio equipment you use (microphones / mixers / stands / sound cards etc).
From there you will likely pay for a bundle of services from production to content creation. The price is really dependent on how many of these services are included (show notes, blog writing, transcripts, social media posts, social media artwork, posting etc). Expect to pay in a range of $550 to $1500 a show depending on all the extra content inclusions.
Hot Tip - Most podcasts die after 7 episodes. This is because the podcaster either runs out of puff, or doesn’t get the audience results they are looking for. Like all content, you have to be disciplined and consistent. If you are doing it yourself you need a very clear goal to keep you accountable. For many busy professionals it is far easier employing someone to make sure this consistency happens. Audio is the future and is hugely valuable at both building trusted relationships and great brands.
What better case study for the power of podcasting than our own! We launched our podcast in 2017 and built a national brand off the back of it and a successful business. Before the podcast no one had heard of Beyond Billables, but in three months we’d 15 x’d our website traffic and built an amazing network. We have thousands of lawyers listen to our shows, read our blog and engage with us on social media all because we created a podcast!
One point I make to all clients is to consider the power of having 26-52 conversations 1-1 with your clients a year, while making something valuable to them. Face time with clients equals money, so if you want to grow your business even the simple act of making the show will be hugely valuable.