How to start a podcast – Anchor app hosting review

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To start a podcast the process also includes the decision on which hosting provider to use.

That means we should consider what hosts make production easy. Of course, mobile content creation helps us busy content marketers get stuff done. I’ve shared my mobile techniques for writing and video before.

Today let’s focus on podcasts. I’ve shared podcasts on my blog for a while and in 2019 started syndicating my Business Storytelling Podcast via Anchor to 9 channels, including Apple, Google, Spotify and others. Anchor makes it extremely easy to start a podcast – technically speaking.

The production and syndication has been quite easy and it’s cool to see my podcast on all these different networks. This is Apple:



Why I love Anchor to start a podcast

There are many services out there that allow you to upload, house and syndicate your new podcast. As is often the case, there are advantages and disadvantages to all. Some make it easier to add ads – even retroactively  and for specific time periods. Others have a strong brand and brand marketers are drawn to them. As they say: It’s hard to screw it up when you work with an established player. Others have advantages that I can’t find but yet some people love them.

I love Anchor for a number of reasons:

  • It’s free
  • I can record directly in the app on my phone
  • Syndication is automatic
  • I can record in the app with guests after sending them a recording link
  • I can trim and edit directly in the app

Anchor doesn’t own my content’s copyright – as some have claimed – but I did agree that they can syndicate my content worldwide. I’m just fine with Anchor distributing my content. I want to reach as many people as possible.

This article specifically reviews Anchor, while this article here discusses other things to consider before starting a podcast.

Let’s dive in how you can start a podcast with Anchor.

Sign up for Anchor

To get started, head over to Anchor and sign up for an account.

  • Upload an image
  • Add a description
  • Set the Anchor url
  • Pick a name

My podcast cover art currently looks like this and I simply created this in Canva, using free stock art:

Business Storytelling Podcast cover art

I use a spin off to highlight guests and promote specific episodes as well:

When it comes to your podcast name, consider what it’s trying to accomplish. The choice often comes back to two areas:

  • A topical name
  • A brand name

My show is a topical name technically speaking: The Business Storytelling Podcast. Though my name is in there too on Apple and you can find it by searching for Christoph Trappe.

A pure brand name podcast example would be: The Christoph Trappe Show.

Read next: [Branding commentary] What should I name my blog?

Recording

I use the Audio Recorder app on my iPhone for episodes that are just me talking. That allows for good audio. Remember to know where the mic is located.

Once recorded in the app, it’s an easy transfer to the Anchor app. Of course, make sure you download the app first.

You can then copy it over to Anchor directly from the audio app.


You can also directly record in the Anchor app.

I have my phone display set to never go to sleep so it stays on the app while I’m recording. You can also set flags when you need to remind yourself to cut something.

How to record with guests in the Anchor app

Having good guests on the show can help with listenership and increase quality content. Case in point, 4 of my top 5 podcast episodes all had guests on it.

The process to record with a guest (up to a half a dozen or so) is similar to recording by yourself.

Go to the record section, click Invite Friends

Then share the link with them so they can join:

The recording starts immediately once they join. There’s usually a bit of chit chat before we start. Before starting the official recording, just pause for a few seconds and go. There’s no mute button currently.

Once the clip is processed – which happens automatically after you hang up – you can use the Trim function to cut the clip down.

The day before the recording, I send guests this email:

For the show tomorrow can you please download anchor.fm and sign up for a free account and I’ll send a link for you to join me right before. We will record in the app. Please use your phone, or you might be able to record in the desktop version as well.Hope that works. Looking forward to it.

That way they should be ready to go at the time of our scheduled recording.

Sometimes, we are both on the recording but can’t hear each other. That’s usually fixed by hanging up and restarting the devices. Once disconnected you have to send a new link to record.

Occasionally the connection is lost in the middle of a recording. Just restart, send another link and continue. When that happens, I usually just add a mid-roll ad to break up the conversation.

Read next: How to do a live audio broadcast with a remote guest on social media?

Anchor recording processingWhere do I find the Anchor recording of a podcast with my guest?

Anchor saves all recordings in the media library and they are usually named like this:

Recording with <guest name>

The processing of the recording can take time – which worried me some before I realized that. I just got done recording a show with a guest and it looked like it didn’t save! Do we have to record again? No, the “Your recording is done processing” showed up about an hour later.

Give it some time. Processing a 30 to 50-minute recording can take time.

How to find guests for your podcast

There are a number of websites that connect people that want to be guests with podcast hosts. I’ve found some good guests that way. And many of my guests come from me noticing their content on social media, their website or at a conference. Once I see what they are about I ask if they want to come on the show.

You might also consider inviting people in your field to come on the show. Some podcast hosts even say loudly that they are only inviting potential customers on as guests. So, if somebody reaches out something to be aware of. Your appearance might be free, but they will continue to reach out with a sales pitch.


Publishing your podcast

Publishing from Anchor is easy and can be done completely from mobile.

Once you have the audio in there fill out the title and add a description.

Then publish – or change publish date. You can also easily share to Twitter from here. I love the scheduling function as well. It allows me to record a number of podcasts in a week and then publish them later.


So a super easy process. Of course you’ll still have to market your podcast and get people to listen to it.

Making these podcasts part of your Create Once, Publish Everywhere Model makes sense!


Highlighting your podcast headlines on your website

You can also grab the RSS feed for your podcasts and add the feed to your website’s sidebar. The RSS can be found under advanced settings.

You can also easily use the RSS feed to create an Alexa skill of your podcast.

 

 


Sponsorships when you start a podcast

Heather Osgood shared on a previous episode of my podcast that podcasts need to have a good amount of listens/downloads before any real money can be made through ads.

Read next: What’s the difference between podcast listens and podcast downloads?

When you start a podcast with Anchor the app immediately gives you access to a sponsorship for Anchor. It’s not a bad strategy for Anchor and maybe consider running it for a few episodes. But – in hindsight – I would recommend to focus on producing a great product first.

Here’s a look sponsorships on Anchor.


Sponsorships on Anchor

Of course, I was just getting started and hadn’t even had 100 listens, yet. At the time of this writing  there have been thousands.

Given that I usually record in one take the spots would go at the beginning. If I split my recordings up I can also add an ad mid-roll.

My rule is to have a show up no later than every 7 days, so there’s content being published. And with that lots of ad segments were published as well.

Many of the early shows had and still have an ad segment:

Then I got the following email from Anchor:

The campaign had ended. Okay, fair enough. But the sponsored segments remained on all old shows.

A TV advertiser wouldn’t expect to see their commercial on TV once the campaign is over!

So apparently Anchor doesn’t remove them once the campaign is over. I can do it manually, but why do I have to? Plus, new campaigns should get those slots. Old podcasts get listened to as well.


Does it even matter?

When you start a podcast, there is a lot to think about and I probably wouldn’t recommend putting sponsorships on the back burner. It all depends on what the purpose of your podcast is. Make sure to determine that when you start a podcast.

I don’t think of mine as a direct revenue stream actually.

I podcast – just like I blog – to:

  • Test
  • Learn tools
  • Keep sharpening my storytelling craft
  • Keep sharing knowledge and thoughts (aka – hopefully – thought leadership)
  • Business development

If you are doing it for direct revenue, maybe try the Anchor sponsorships, but also consider:

  • Selling sponsorships direct
  • Using it to drive people to sign up for your emails
  • Share your services that people can hire you for – after being educational of course.

Podcasting still has potential and I’m glad to see my numbers trending up.

That is really all we can ask for when it comes to content creation – no matter the channel. Keep going, try trending up and drive ongoing improvement.

For now, I probably won’t use sponsorships on the Anchor platform – even if one is offered.

I’m focusing on trying to grow my podcast audience and make it part of my overall content strategy and experimentation.


This article was newly written and edited in April 2020 and includes content that was previously published. The older content was updated, refreshed and included in this more in-depth article on the Anchor app.



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