Podcasts are becoming ever more popular with businesses keen to engage with new potential customers.

Two decades after it was invented, podcasting has changed drastically. No longer do listeners download an MP3 file into iTunes then sync it to their iPod; instead they can search and stream shows via an array of dedicated apps – or simply ask their smark speaker to play the latest episode.

As the medium moves into the mainstream, a whole new audience awaits those able to create content of value. However while accessing podcasts is easier than ever, those who make them have a tendency to overcomplicate the recording and production process.

“People often go out and buy a really expensive mic, a mixer and all sorts of gear that they think is going to make them sound professional. But actually it’s just complicated to use – and they should focus on finding a nice environment to record in, like a soundproof room,” Alitu founder Colin Gray tells TechBlast.

“The simpler it is, the easier it is to set up. And the quicker you can just hit that record button.

“People also spend way too much time on their editing: instead of editing out all the little mistakes, they should treat the first 10 episodes with a live recording mindset. Acknowledge a mistake, keep going and don’t edit it out!

“The less time you can spend editing in the early days, the more sustainable your podcast will be. The easier it is to create one every week, the more likely you are to stick with it.

“Also, if you don’t lean on editing as a crutch, you get better at speaking so much quicker.”

How to find a job in podcasting

Be unique

However a great deal of thought should go into the product before hitting that record button for the first time, Gray says.

“The most common mistake that podcasters make is that they don’t plan: they just come up with a topic and start speaking!

“There is such a better chance of success and growing an audience if you actually put all that time into thinking about who your audience is and the topic they’re really into – then explore that topic. The key is figuring out the problem you’re going to solve for that audience around that topic, and how you’re going to do that most uniquely. 

“For example, if you’re a physical trainer and want to do an exercise podcast, it’s going to teach people how to get fitter and healthier… but your unique take on it may be that you are a CrossFit coach – and therefore you know how to create nice and varied workouts every single day that can be done in only 15-20 minutes.”

Start with the audience

‘Starting with the audience’ is an idea that has shaped Gray’s own business. 

“If you create content around something you have a passion for, you know a lot about and can go really deep on, you can gather a community around you,” he advises. 

“I tried a lot of different things in the early days: I was writing about podcasting, obviously, but also about sports and mountain biking. And beer! I was really into craft beer at the time.

“The only reason I created a business around podcasting was because it was the one that took off.”

Inverness-based The Podcast Host, founded in 2007, aimed to help podcasters to launch, grow and run their own show. He would later develop technology platform Alitu, a simple tool for recording, editing and publishing podcasts, which now accounts for the vast majority of the combined business’s circa £1 million revenue.


“After I created more content, some educational products and really got to know the audience, they inspired the [Alitu] product – because they kept talking about editing taking too long and being too technical,” recalls Gray.

“We keep listening to that audience: it’s such an advantage to have their feedback. It makes our product better.”

Today the all-in-one podcast maker is used by around 2,800 ambitious podcasters to ship their show – including Logitech, Harvard and Stanford Universities, Intuit, Workday and the NHS. Gray’s business now employs 14 people across engineering, operations, growth marketing, support and content.

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Podcast recommendations

Away from its own The Podcraft™ Podcast – which teaches the entire art of podcasting, from launching a show to growing a ‘legion of fanatical fans’ – Gray recommends three shows.

Startups for the Rest of Us… Rob Walling is a great supporter of startups, with business advice and some really good guests. I get a lot of learning from that.

This Week in Startups from Jason Calacanis is along a similar theme.

“And the Audience Growth Podcast from Niki Hutchison is worth checking out as well: it offers really good insights into how to grow an audience.”

Podcasting tool Alitu now lets you edit audio using text