You’re not alone in your desire to learn how to start a podcast. As of April 2020, there are over 1,000,000 podcasts with over 30 million episodes.
Whether you have a business to promote, enjoy sharing a good conversation, or love the casual content format, podcasts have a lot to offer. But where to begin?
With so many questions surrounding podcast hosting and creation, let’s cover some actionable tips on how to start a podcast right away.
As the adage goes, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” While you might not fail at podcasting if you don’t map your journey, you’ll increase your chances of hosting a successful podcast by planning.
First, choose a niche or theme. Determine what you want to talk about and create topics that cover your choice in-depth.
The key here is to choose something that’s niched down but still broad enough that you can speak about it in a series.
For instance, if your business is centered around helping your clients improve their fitness, you might start a podcast talking about health. You can begin with a specific niche, like heart health. And as your podcast becomes more popular, you’ll expand into other aspects of health.
The possibilities are endless in this niche, and you can provide immeasurable value through your podcast series.
You’ll also need to pick a name. You can choose a name that’ll describe what your podcast is about. Or perhaps you’ll decide on a name that gives you the freedom to change your theme as your series progresses.
Podcast & Episode Format
While this section could be classified under planning, there’s enough information to warrant its own section. Even though some people believe the perfect length for a podcast exists, several variables come into play here.
How long does your podcast need to be to deliver the information to your audience? It’s essential to keep the podcast entertaining without going on a tangent on some unrelated topic.
Some “experts” believe the perfect podcast length exists. The truth is it should be however long it deserves to be. If you’re uncertain about how long your podcast should be, try keeping them short and entertaining as opposed to lengthy and boring.
Consider your podcast style, as well. While interview-style podcasts are popular, you can always create a solo or co-hosted show. There’s even the option to combine the best of both worlds to make a hybrid podcast.
Episode formatting will help you brand your podcast. This is how you’ll keep your series consistent as your listeners continue consuming your content.
Here’s an example podcast episode format:
- Intro Music
- Welcome Statement
- Sponsorship/Advertisement Placement
- Interview (Meat & Potatoes)
- Call-to-Action (“Share ”)
Include several segments in your podcast format. This also helps when it comes time to share small clips on social media.
Podcast Cover Art Creation
Your podcast cover art is where you’ll make your first impression on new listeners. It’s best to make it as eye-catching as possible.
Whether you’re wondering how to start a podcast on Youtube, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts, you’ll need a podcast cover art image. This is what people see as they scroll through their favorite podcast app, as well as when someone shares an episode on social media.
Podcast Equipment Selection
Here’s a list of the podcast equipment you’ll need to get started:
- Podcast Recording & Editing Software
You can use your laptop or computer to record and upload your podcast files. While it likely has a built-in microphone, a USB microphone will ensure you get a better recording. If you’re planning to have multiple people on, it’s best to purchase one or more microphones with an XLR output.
Dynamic mics are usually best if you plan to record multiple people together.
If you buy a microphone, you’ll also need an audio interface. This is the device that connects your microphone to your computer by converting the analog signal from the mic to create a digital signal your computer can use.
There’s some other optional equipment you could get. Here are some nice-to-haves:
- Pop Filter or Windscreen
- Headphone Amplifier
- Mic Stands
- Shock Mount
- Acoustic Panels
Don’t worry. If you’re starting with a limited budget, you can begin with the essentials and expand your equipment ownership over time.
Audacity and Garageband are excellent for editing your podcast. Both softwares are free and relatively user-friendly. If you have a Creative Cloud subscription, the best option is likely Adobe Audition.
Whichever software you choose will enable you to edit, mix, and restore audio, making them perfect for creating your podcast content. Whether you need to clean up the sound, add music, or piece together your audio segments, podcast editing software will enable you to make these edits yourself.
If you’re uncomfortable editing your podcast, you can always find a freelance podcast editor. Again, Upwork and Fiverr are both decent platforms for finding freelancers. But you can also outsource your editing to a professional podcast editing service.
Once you finish editing, you’re ready to launch your podcast! You can host the podcast on your own website or use a company for podcast hosting. Regardless of which route you choose, you’ll publish your podcast to one of these initial locations first.
You can also publish to Apple Podcasts. You’ll submit your podcast and follow the step-by-step process.
Once you submit your podcast to this platform, you’ll get a podcast RSS feed and can submit it to other podcast directories too. This will help increase your series’ visibility.
Each time you upload new episodes, your host automatically updates your RSS feed. So if you’ve submitted it to other podcast directories, those directories will also receive your updates.
There are other ways to promote your podcast than submitting your RSS to podcast directories. But first, make sure you’re asking people to subscribe. New subscribers will help you to rank higher in Apple Podcasts. The higher you rank, the more likely you are to acquire new listeners.
One option is to create teaser videos and share them across multiple social media platforms. Some of the most popular platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and LinkedIn. However, you’ll need to determine where your listeners are to find the best platform to share your content.
If you have any existing assets, you can use them to promote your podcast too. For instance, if you have an email list or website, you can use them to let your audience know about your podcast. Send an email each time you publish a new episode to get some initial listens, as well.
Some people become guests on other podcasts to promote their own show. If the other show has a similar audience, you’ll effectively expose potential listeners of your podcast to your show.
The desktop Apple Podcasts app is great for finding shows with overlapping audiences. Simply click on the ‘Related’ tab, and explore the options. Then, reach out to request a guest spot.
There’s also the option to bring guests on your show to leverage their audiences.
Regardless of how you plan to use your podcast, the first step is to get started. Take it step-by-step to work towards hosting a successful podcast. Your content will improve with experience, and your audience will grow as you find your rhythm creating and publishing your podcast series.