With millions of podcasts released into the ether every year, it’s easy for entrepreneurs to believe the market is already saturated and that it’s not worth any of their time or money to create a show of their own. However, listenership is also on the rise, surging to 464.7 million listeners worldwide in 2023. Within that, the U.S. podcast listener base has grown by 40% over the past three years, with 51% of consumers saying they started listening during the past two years. There’s still time for you to capitalize on this growth.
Ryan Gallego believes creating a podcast as an entrepreneur will prove to be a worthwhile investment. As the founder of video marketing firm Media Pouch and fully autonomous podcast studio, Pouch6 Studios in Austin, Texas, he feels that creating success in the podcast world is about to become more predictable for entrepreneurs. Gallego has been obsessed with recording techniques since his teenage years and his studios have hosted influential people such as Chris Williamson, Codie Sanchez, and Dr. Peter Attia, all of whom have expanded their personal brands with podcasting. Gallego’s dream is that podcasting at the highest level of quality will soon be available everywhere for everyone, without all the production costs.
For any entrepreneur thinking about dabbling in podcast hosting, Gallego doesn’t just believe it’s worth a shot. He believes meteoric podcast success is completely predictable with the right plan, sufficient understanding of podcast creation, and optimal allocation of resources. I interviewed Gallego to find out his top tips for success.
1. Put your personality forward
“The psychology behind successful podcasting is that people don’t listen to brands, they listen to people,” explains Gallego. Entrepreneurs must relate to people, whether through reading social media updates or listening to a podcast episode about a topic they care about. “If you’re an entrepreneur, you have to share stories about yourself for people to understand who you are and relate to you.” When you start a podcast, don’t make it about your brand. Don’t make it a sales pitch. Make it about you and the value you bring to an audience.
Although it might feel self-indulgent for your podcast to focus on you, listeners are searching for entrepreneur personality they can relate to. They are trying to find inspiration and idolization and you could be exactly what they’re looking for. Find a format that brings out your personality, because you’re passionate about delivering valuable information in this way. Whether through wild founding stories, hot takes on the policies of your industry, or lessons from your journey practicing what you preach; put your slant on every topic related to your field. Look to own a concept in listeners’ minds. Even if your brand is incredibly well-known, you will build valuable trust by people getting to know you personally. Be front and centre instead of behind the scenes.
2. Don’t scrimp on equipment
An obstacle thwarting potential podcasters is the money and time it takes to build a proper studio. Creating a podcast set with the wow factor feels near impossible without an audio engineering background, production experience, or interior design skills. Fake it until you make it is definitely true in the world of podcasting. In fact, the more professional a podcast’s setup, the more professional the hosts are seen by listeners. With a few tricks, you can do this at home. “You don’t even need a cinema camera, you can get away with using your iPhone,” said Gallego, adding, “Go into your iPhone settings, put it on 4K, select 30 frames per second, and put the Apple ProRes RAW on it for good measure. Then you’re golden.”
But there’s more to this than just your camera. “Smart entrepreneurs understand the importance and financial viability of outsourcing as many tasks as possible,” Gallego said. Hiring a studio is an easy way to outsource production tasks and equipment costs, among various annoyances that can come with trying to do everything yourself. Recording from home sounds like it will be fine, until the doorbell rings, the acoustics aren’t great, and there always seems to be something better to do. Gallego’s advice is to “Google podcast studios near you and find an option that suits your budget and timeline.” Leverage your large audience to get a good deal. If you’re not blessed with a huge listenership right now, “your professional setup will make that happen much faster.”
3. Hang out with fellow content creators
Gallego believes that, “podcast studios will become a sort of Soho House for entrepreneurs.” He’s biased, but he’s got a point. Entrepreneurs make deals and collaborate on projects with people they would’ve never met had it not been for their membership to entrepreneur networks. Meeting fellow entrepreneurs trying to start and grow their podcasts will work the same way, but with more aligned goals. “Start your show in the same room as the podcasts and podcasters you view as being 5 to 10 steps ahead of you. Network, learn and innovate with those already seeing success.
“If you’re making a podcast, you’re a content creator.” Identify with this title and find others who do too. Gallego wants you to brandish the label around to get ahead. “Ask the studio manager who else is recording on your booking day, or find out who uses which studios in your area.” Then work the room. “Make an excuse to show up early, shake hands, and offer ideas for collaboration. Look at going into the studio the way you would look at walking a trade-show floor.”
4. Leverage AI to outproduce
Don’t sit there struggling to come up with titles. Use the tools now readily available to outproduce other shows and build familiarity with your audience. “Ask ChatGPT for the top 5-10 video topics trending for your specific audience, in catchy headline format.” You can go one step further with the right prompts. “AskChatGPT to write a 30-second introduction script about a specific topic for a specific audience, so that all you have to do is hit record.” Make it easy to fall in love with podcasting and your high energy will carry through to your shows.
Don’t stop at titles and intros. Use AI tools to find impressive guests, send outreach emails and follow ups and summarize episodes into show notes after recording. Make shareable graphics and bite-sized quotes, find follow up topics for that same guest, and turn questions and comments from listeners into more content. Use AI like your very own podcast assistant and be amazed at what you can produce.
5. Consider outsourcing podcast production
AI can take care of the content and promotion, but Gallego believes the production is best outsourced. A growing podcast needs a system by which it consistently produces multiple forms of content, and you should, “look at the entire endeavour as creating content, not recording a podcast. Nevertheless, this stems from a valuable and high quality episode. At the very least, Gallego said, you should, “find somebody just starting out in the production space and ask them to record your content.”
If you’re in this for the long game, it doesn’t make sense to edit your own episodes, which can be difficult and time consuming. To ensure costs don’t get out of hand, set yourself a budget and produce a defined batch of episodes with help from the professionals. Compare listener numbers and feedback to the batch before, and consider what the upgrade has added in terms of time saved, growth and perceived production value. Compare and contrast to make your plan for the next steps. If you can, use that same person or company to repurpose your episode into multiple content forms, and “get skin in the game however you can.”
Podcasts are here to stay. Put your personality forward, don’t scrimp on equipment, network with those a few steps ahead, leverage AI to outproduce and find trusted partners for professional production. Stand out and stay on the cutting edge of the industry while making your podcast a worthwhile investment.