How to start a podcast in 6 steps
- Plan your podcast
- Plan your episodes to get a feel for your topic and its longevity.
- Choose a format.
- Choose your equipment and record your podcast.
- Publish your podcast.
- Next steps.
Plan your podcast
To create a podcast you need to ask who and what is your podcast for? Finding an audience is key to a successful podcast.
Whether you are looking at podcasting from a hobby perspective or a business perspective as long as you provide your target audience with valuable and entertaining content you are on the right track.
So, why do you want to make a podcast? It’s important to know “why” so you can stay motivated even when you’re finding it difficult to grow your podcast.
Give them a reason to listen.
Whether you provide information or entertainment make sure you provide value for your listener. A reason to listen means they will come back for more.
Planning Your Episodes
It’s time to think about your podcasts episodes. So, how long should an episode be? Your podcast length depends solely on the content. Don’t cut down good content or pad out short content!
A long episode would probably be anything over an hour and a short episode would probably be anything under 20 minutes.
Whatever you choose just try to be consistent. If you have 40 minutes of valuable content don’t down to 20. Just because you want to do 20-minute episodes. Try to find a consistent length for an episode which is tailored for the content you make.
How often do you release an episode? Just like your episode length, your content will dictate this. There’s a good case for putting out a weekly episode if you can because consistency is key for longevity.
Longevity is still possible if you do a fortnightly or even monthly show because there’s no point just putting episodes out for the sake of hitting a self-made deadline. One excellent episode a month instead of 4 very average episodes has more chance of growing your podcast.
Your listeners will tell you if they think your episodes are too short or too long. Use your audience to make changes and adjust to the most popular format.
However, be wary of making big decisions based on one or two comments. Only change things if it’s something that will benefit the majority of your listeners.
Choose a podcast format
It’s your show. This means you can choose whichever format suits you, and you don’t have to stick with one.
So what are the common types of podcast formats?
A solo show is also known as a monologue.
You don’t need to rely on anyone else and the podcast is also exclusively yours. You make calls on sponsorship and monetization and you don’t need to split the profits.
However, it is the most intimidating style of show for a beginner. You need to make sure you remember that you’re not talking to yourself and that you’re talking to the listener.
A co-hosted show alongside a friend or colleague.
Make sure your co-hosted podcast has great chemistry between the presenters. This can create a great listening experience and you can bounce off each other.
When choosing your co-host make sure both you and your co-host can set aside time to record. Set out ownership early. Who’s podcast is it? Will you split any future income 50/50? Make sure everything is clear from the get-go.
An Interview podcast.
Doing an interview gives you the opportunity to have a chat with someone and have a fresh voice every episode. Your guests will have their own audiences who may listen to the interview and could end up subscribing which is a good way to grow your audience.
You will need to learn the skill of interviewing through practice, so don’t approach the celebrities in your field from the start. You also need to constantly find and approach potential guests because without them you have no show.
Some less common but interesting other formats you could try:
Documentary: As the narrator, you walk your audience through a range of interviews and conversations to paint a picture and tell a story.
Roundtable: You are the regular host and you get a number of guests/permanent co-hosts to talk through one specific topic.
Recording your podcast
The minimum you need to record a podcast is a computer or laptop with a built-in microphone and access to the internet.
However, the lower the cost for your setup and equipment, the more limited the sound quality of your show will be. However, a simple USB microphone setups can give great results if you choose the right mic. The benefit of keeping things simple in that it’s easy and a lot cheaper. So depending on your budget choose the equipment suited to you and go from there.
Recording and editing software.
You need some software to actually record and edit the audio. The good news is that this doesn’t have to cost you anything.
There’s a free programme called Audacity which is suitable for all your podcasting needs and can be used on both Windows and Mac. If you’re a Mac user you probably have Garageband installed by default which is also a popular audio software for podcasters.
If you want to pay for something more professional there’s Adobe Audition, which is available through a paid subscription.
This is where you iron out mistakes, stitch together audio clips, add in music or FX and make sure it sounds great with EQ, levelling, compression and more.
If you’re prepared to spend a bit of money to save time, you can always outsource your editing and hire someone else to do it for you.
You don’t have to have music, but many choose to add it at the beginning and to the end to add an extra layer of professionalism.
What Music Can I Use? There are a lot of websites that have music you can legally use on your podcast. The music will be referred to as royalty-free, stock, or library music. You can choose to pay a one-off fee for a song which entitles you to use it on your show, or you can now get subscriptions that give you access to a library of music.
It’s possible to find free music for your podcast if you search for creative commons licensed music, but it’s often very commonly used. Always check the source site and make sure you have permission to use a particular piece of music.
So now you’ve done the groundwork and planned out your podcast, it’s time to get to work and start recording your first episode.
Publishing your podcast
You can publish your podcast in different ways. The most common is via a media host but you can also publish it by yourself if you self-host.
Media hosts are services that store your audio and allow your listeners to listen, download, and subscribe to your podcast. You can either have a website set up on their site to deliver them, or place them on your own existing website.
Once you’ve created your show inside your media host of choice, you can then submit it to be listed in various directories, where listeners can discover, subscribe to, and download it.
If you want to self host your podcast you need a personal server to generate the RSS feed to syndicate your podcast. This option offers complete control over your podcast, but is complicated and can be time-consuming unless you are an experienced web developer.
A new way you can publish a podcast is via Sound Branch. The platform makes creating a podcast really easy and requires no editing skills. It gives you total control over your podcast and is easy to use. It has basic features like push notifications and the ability to create a playlist of your episodes. Download the app or go to www.soundbranch.com and start today.
Once you launch your podcast out in the world, that’s when you’ll move on to thinking about promotion and building your audience.
If you consistently deliver great content for a wanting audience, then you’ll eventually be in a position to start thinking about monetising your podcast.
There are several different podcast ad networks that can connect you with advertisers. They do all the work of finding advertisers, negotiating rates, give you a script, and more. You usually need a larger audience of at least 5K or 10K listeners per month. So grow your audience stay consistent and you can reap the rewards.