Lights, camera, action! Having a podcast is very much like having your own stage productions, requiring a whole lot of creative content, technical devices and planning. While the average podcast is only around 22 minutes long, hours of behind-the-scenes work go into each episode. The host may be the star of their podcast, but chances are they would perform better if some of the backstage tasks were handled for them.
Here is a quick run-through of the popularity of podcasts, which illustrates the opportunities waiting for you.
The world of podcasting is exploding. Imagine this: 50% of Americans are fans of more than 750,000 podcasts, according to the pros at podcastinsights.com. There have been 30 million episodes created as of June 2019. statista.com predicts that podcast listening will grow to 132 million in the United States by 2022. And, the US hasn’t even caught up to other countries’ love of podcasts!
These figures are impressive but the scope of genres is amazing — from broad topics like music and politics to niche interests that talk about writing utensils and the recording of sounds. No doubt: There’s a podcast for nearly every interest! And, there are a lot of things that go into making a podcast successful.
This is where you come in.
The Podcast Virtual Assistant industry is on the rise. VAs and project managers in this arena can earn $30 to $50 per hour or more depending on the specialty. That's nothing to shake a stick at. And, the good news, you can learn how to do the most in-demand task needs from the comfort of your home. You may already know a few!
Here are the types of jobs that a podcast assistant can do from home.
No matter a podcast’s size or subject, research is necessary. Gather information about who, what and when to bring professionalism and depth to the presentation.
Tasks you can offer as a Podcast Assistant include:
- Brainstorming a list of relevant topics to cover in upcoming podcasts
- Survey the audience for ideas
- Outlining a list of talking points for these ideas
- List a few guests that may be able to speak further on the topic
- Provide a list of products, services or resources where listeners can learn more
- Do these companies offer an affiliate program or sponsorships?
- What is the call to action for each podcast idea?
- What trends are on the rise in this particular podcast industry? How can your client incorporate some of those things?
A valuable piece of advice to keep in mind: document the source of your research. You may need to go back to it again. Be careful about any kind of copying that could lead to plagiarism.
Skills and abilities needed: organization, searching and finding information on the internet, writing, data collection, critical analysis
2. Social Media and Content Distribution
As a virtual assistant, you can bring great value to a podcaster by helping promote the show on all social media platforms. Be the show’s Promotional Manager! If the podcast has not taken advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, then offer your services to open an account and start the engagement.
- Promote an upcoming show with a teaser and artwork
- Advertise on Facebook and Instagram
- Livestream a show on Facebook
- Summarize a show and share the link
- Interact with commenters answering questions and replying
- Upload the video to their YouTube channel
- Promote & post the video of the podcast on their website
- Email listeners
Here are a few important details about the bullet points. It’s key to understand your client’s brand, voice and vibe to convey their tone with social media.
How do they want to be perceived? Is a light and casual tone or a more straightforward and serious tone the goal? Humorous or not? Or, do they want a mix of the two? This is where your communication skills with your client are important.
Don’t forget, email is a social media platform and is valuable for listeners who may not be huge smartphone users or social media followers. Email listeners, share the link and tease upcoming shows to round out your promotional efforts.
Skills & abilities needed: social media prowess, knowledge of scheduling software like Hootsuite, Buffer and Mailchimp, communication, planning and scheduling, writing, creative mindset, execution, organization, aptitude to learn
3. Technical and Analytical Help
Questions and issues likely will arise with equipment and the podcast’s host company that you can handle – saving your client time. As a podcast grows, you can offer to research additional equipment products that will help raise the quality level of the production.
Hosting companies like Buzzsprout or Podbean offer support and analytics as part of their account service to a podcast. A great service to offer your client is to report these stats, such as how many times an episode was played, what apps people are using to listen and where they are listening. Compare the analytics of the shows to help with future content decisions.
Skills & abilities needed: knowledge of how podcast host companies work, research and internet searching, critical analysis, reporting
4. Guest Relations
Finding the right guests to interview when a podcaster doesn’t want to go solo is key! Your task will be to find the best and most suitable people for the podcast’s genre and bring the right vibe. But there’s more you can do.
- Hammer out the schedule and get the guest on the calendar
- Provide a friendly guest packet that introduces the guest to the podcast, the audience, the format, the standard timeline of completion, etc.
- Provide a list of potential questions the guest may be asked
Guests then need to receive episode information, the link and imagery so they can share their appearance with their listeners, friends and family.
Offer a creative promotion to a podcaster like monitoring a Q&A on social media if the guest is super popular.
Skills & abilities needed: phone skills, research, follow-up, social skills
5. Show Wrap-up
There are a few things that happen after a show ends. Anything that you can do to take the burden off the podcaster is a huge plus. Things like audio and video editing, taking show notes and transcribing the podcast help to deliver a high-quality product.
Show notes describe the episode and give pertinent information and links. When they are published and shared they keep the audience engaged in-between episodes and can attract new listeners.
Transcription of the show helps hearing-impaired subscribers and listeners who are learning English, as well. They also boost the show’s SEO. A lot of time goes into transcribing a show that a podcaster would appreciate outsourcing. You may be able to transcribe a file yourself, or you can simply oversee the project’s completion by outsourcing to a company like Rev.com.
Deliver a high-quality final product for a client with your audio and video editing skills. It is an incredible value and important talent to offer. Not all podcasts have a video element to their show, but if they do you can help arrange the final cut of that as well.
A podcast is all about listening so there will always be an emphasis on audio excellence. After all the hours and work invested in producing a single episode, what good is it if the sound is poor and listeners stop listening? There are a few software programs that podcasters use, such as the basic-level Alitu, free software like Garageband and Audacity, and a higher-level program like Adobe Audition.
Skills & abilities needed: writing, editing, experience with editing software, attention to detail, patience
6. Image Design
Imagery – such as the cover art or images shared on social media and the website – is a big part of a podcast’s brand. And you don’t necessarily have to be an artist, either. Be able to use a site, like Canva, to create social media graphics, thumbnails, posts, cards, or even use stock photos. Weave the imagery throughout the various outlets and create an impression.
Skills & abilities needed: experience with design and design sites like Canva, aptitude to learn
A virtual assistant can tackle any one of these jobs from home. It’s a great time in the digital era when a plethora of functions can be done over a computer and phone. With the right skills and aptitude, you can offer your services as a virtual assistant to podcasters wherever they may be. And, there are so many out there to approach.
Ready to take the next step? Get on the waitlist for Gina Horkey's upcoming Podcast Assist course here.