This article is contributed by Josh Butt, Founder & Executive Producer at StudioSpace agency Ampel. Delivering a Sonic Experience to remember, Ampel are known for podcasts like The Next Billion Seconds and The Swab with Georgie Carroll . Not to mention their ultra-memorable sonic logos (enter HiPages…)
I’ve lost count of the number of podcasts we’ve been involved with here at Ampel. If you’re reading this, you must actually be considering making a podcast. Uh, well, I guess that’s the title of this thing. So great timing. If you want to make a podcast in 2024. And if you don’t wanna make a podcast by the end, you might want to.
*BTW, there’s a link to our podcast on making a podcast at the bottom of this article…
What is a podcast?
Well, very simply, a podcast is an audio file that you listen to on a mobile device. That’s it. It’s heard in a podcast app. Could be Apple Podcasts, could be Spotify. Could be on YouTube in a video version of some variety, or it could be on Pocket Casts or 20 other podcast player apps, wherever you get your podcasts.
It is not a defined format. It’s an audio file. And so when you start to think about your audience, that’s what’s defining your format. Not. the fact that it’s being listened to in audio only. Think of your podcast as LinkedIn for your ears or Instagram for your ears.On Instagram, there’s a lot of content that are videos, that are pieces to camera, that are in real format. R E E L. So think about who your audience is. That should help you to define what the podcast is that you’re making. Now, if you’re thinking about B2B content, maybe use LinkedIn as your reference. If you’re thinking about B2C content, maybe use Instagram for your reference.
On those platforms, people do lots of different stuff. It could be a post that’s all written. It could be a video. It could be a picture or a GIF, Jeff. You know what I mean? And people who are posting on those social media platforms are not hamstrung by what a post is, or a video is. Styles obviously do develop over time, but in audio, you are free to do whatever you want.
So, we have a variety of different styles that we consider what a podcast is, and when you’re thinking of making that. Podcast. Start with your audience, then think about what it is that the goal is that you want to achieve by creating something. At Ample, the metric we like looking at most is consumption. How long did your audience listen for? What percentage? Were they listening for 20 percent? That’s a bad result. 50 percent? That’s a satisfactory result. 70 percent? Very good result. 80 percent or more. Fantastic. Especially when you think that audio files go from anywhere from two minutes to an hour. Now, we wouldn’t always, uh, advocate for an hour for certain types of podcasts, but point is there’s a range.
And so with that in mind, we’ve created some terms to define….
So where we’d like to start with most people who want to make a podcast is what we call the foe cast And so that’s where you pretend that you have a podcast and what you do is create the social media clips that you would generate from the creation of a podcast and from that There’s not a huge amount of audio only content.
It’s very much a video and audio experience. And you’re creating something that can be promoted on social media, either promote yourself or to promote your business.
The next style is the chat cast. Actually that might be what you think of when you say a podcast, and that’s two or three people having a chat. That might be the Joe Rogan. Or Abbey Chatfield’s podcast It’s A Lot.
it’s two people having a chat, lots of ch ch ch ch chat. If there’s gonna be a style where the hosts go off topic, it’s your chat cast.
Then we’ve got a story cast. Now, a story cast is where the host is telling you a story. Now, it might be just on their own, or it might be where we have other voices there, whether they’re guests or interviews.
But ultimately, The host is telling you a story. There’s usually a little bit more music in these ones, maybe some sound effects. It’s a little bit more polished than two people just having a chat.
And so there we have the next style, which we call Sonic Reels.If you’re an Instagram user, you might be familiar with the term reels. We think of it in the sound version of it, or the sonic version or the audio version. Anyway, we call them sonic reels, and those reels are short form content designed to entertain and inform.
What we’re doing there is we are treating our audio and to great sounding sonic education. information, and we’re being entertaining. Now these are much shorter, these might be only up to about three or four minutes, and, they’re a bit different. You can take sonic reels and extrapolate them into whatever it is you’re trying to achieve from your audio enths, and you could create a sonic sales kit, or a sonic how to guide.
You can play with that in the way that you would do with Instagram. or YouTube or LinkedIn, and you can have a little bit of fun with it so that you’re not just creating a podcast that sounds exactly the same as your competitors. In fact, if you think about your sound a bit differently, you can create something that your audio ence has never heard before.
And by sounding distinctive, you’ll find that your podcast will be heard more often. Last thing before we leave, if you want to make a video podcast, that’s great. That’s for YouTube. From that, you’ll be able to take out a whole lot of video clips for social media promotion, but it’s in the audio version that you’ll be able to have the most impact because that’s where you’re heard.
And being heard, being distinctive, is what will set your business apart from everyone else’s when you’re making a podcast. It’s just a matter of which podcast you’re choosing to make.
How much does a podcast cost?
The answer is, it depends. And if you think a podcast should be cheap and cheerful. Then it’s not going to work. It’s not. No, let me explain why it’s not going to work. Okay. And also if you think that making a podcast is super cheap and easy and in, you know, anyone can do it. You just need a microphone and an, you know, quiet sounding room. And that’s true. You, you do, you don’t really need much to make a podcast. It used to be really, really easy to do that. But I warn you, if you want your podcast in whatever format you’re doing to have an impact. It’s not that cheap and it’s not that easy.
Most of the clients we have have come to us after the second episode because they’ve realized how difficult it is to make a podcast. So this guide is not about how you physically can make a podcast. This is about how you can work with. either your team or an external team to make a podcast that generates a return on your investment because otherwise, you know, why are you doing this?
You know, the goal is here to make something that people want to listen to. So to make something that people want to listen to, it takes time and it takes effort and it takes planning and takes scripting and it takes good sound. And can you just like play some music for a second? Cause I’ve just worn myself out.
So the budget of what you’re spending on your podcast will depend on what style you’re making. Are you making a chat cast? Are you making a story cast? Or are you making sonic reels? So we have some different pricing. They kind of start at a hundred bucks per finished minute of audio, um, for a, uh, for a chat cast.
So however long the episode is. It’s about 100 USD per minute, so, you know, a 30 minute episode might be three grand. These are just ballparks. Um, we’ll give you a specific quote if you ever want to work with us. For a story cast, there’s a lot more editing involved to craft that story. There’s a lot more scripting, there’s a lot more interviews.That will be anywhere from 180 to 350. Uh, and then for Sonic Reels, um, that will be more like 180 to 250 or 300, again, depending on what you’re trying to do, depending on how long you’re going for. There’s a lot of minimums, but those, those per minute of finished audio, remember we’re talking in US dollars, it will always depend on what you’re trying to do and what you’re trying to achieve.
Those costs won’t include a content or creative strategy, nor will it include Um, any distribution or any paid media, but when you’re budgeting, you should always think about allocating at least 40 percent of what you spend on the production in the marketing. Some people say 50, 50, 50 percent marketing, 50 percent production.
Not everyone has huge budgets, but you have to spend something. You’ll also want to consider making ads, whether that’s a radio ad or a podcast ad, or just an audio ad in general, or that could be used for both. If you’re going to be doing that, that’s a whole nother conversation, but you do need to think about how you’re going to promote it.
And you want to make sure that you’ve given your editing team time to edit up the podcast, put some music in, make it sound great, make it sound clean and crisp. You want the audio to sound really schmick because. While there are millions of podcasts out there, there aren’t actually that many podcasts out there.
But there are more than enough to fill your audience’s eardrums. So if your show isn’t so great, they’ll just listen to someone else’s who’s better. Now what does better mean? Better means that you’re sharing information that is relevant. That is interesting, that is new, it sounds great, it’s worth listening to, and it’s different and distinctive than your competitors, because you’re fighting for your audio-ences attention.
And in order to keep them listening till the end, you’ve got to be saying something that’s worth listening to.
A Sonic logo works in audio without any visuals needed. As opposed to an audio logo, which doesn’t say the name of the brand.
The term audio ads could mean a podcast ad or a radio ad. Now they’re very different.
A podcast ad is often a host read.
A hosted podcast ad is where the hosts make an ad that can be used over and over again or maybe even outside of their show. Most host read ads feel like they do need to live in the show that the host is reading the ad for
And if you do want your radio ad to be in podcasting. It should sound much quieter, because it’s a more intimate experience. So you want to be telling a story, not ruining the audience’s experience with the ad.
But if you’re making an ad, you want your ad to be as flexible as possible, and ideally the same on radio and podcast, but that would mean you’d have to make it podcast first.
If you want to do that, then radio would get a benefit of the story as opposed to making a radio ad and then taking it into podcasts which will just irritate your listener.