How to Start a Podcast (Steps A to Z)

Woman starting a podcast

There has never been a better time to start a podcast. Today you can start your own podcast with almost no money and make a huge impact, whether financially or non-financially. If you are here you are probably looking to start a podcast, thus you have come to the right place. In this informative article, I’m going to walk you through how to start a podcast and what to do once you have your new show.

Why are you Doing a Podcast?

The first step is to ask yourself, why are you doing a podcast? Are you a business owner? A freelancer? Or a marketing expert? Are you trying to make money to quit your day job? Whatever is the case, having a podcast can help you build real authority as well as provide your target audience and existing customers with useful and pleasurable content.

It doesn’t even have to be a professional podcast, you can just start one to share your personal opinions or hobby. Meaning you will be doing it during your spare time and the topic will be something you are very passionate about.

Either way, it is important to identify why you are doing this particular podcast. This is extremely important and must always be in your mind to give you that extra motivation, especially when you hit a snag along the way.

What is your Podcast About?

The next question to ask yourself is what is your podcast about? In other words, who are you creating this podcast for?

If you don’t know why you are doing the show and who you are doing it for, your chance of success is extremely minimal.

Assuming you approach it from a business perspective, for instance, you are a personal finance guru who wants to empower individuals to attain their financial freedom, then your target audience should be people who are interested in learning about personal finance, side hustles, and investment tips.

What if you are creating a podcast based on your hobby – let’s says based around comic and marvel films – then your target audience might be folks with a similar passion as well as be fans of movies such as Spiderman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, and so on.

One way to get it right when it comes to building an audience is creating a listener avatar or personas. Just sketch out who it is you would want to listen to your podcast and this persona avatar will be something to guide you every time you plan a new episode.

Creating a listener persona helps your show stain in focus, thus allowing you to fully engage with your audience.

The thing is, there are lots of podcasts out there, which means there is stiff competition. Therefore, you need to give the audience a reason to choose your show.

This is particularly important if you intend to sell the podcast because it needs to be something that benefits people for them to pay for or subscribe to it.

What is the Name of Your Podcast?

Your podcast has to have a name, so make sure you choose the most appropriate name for your show. Here is how to name a podcast.

Use Your Own Name

This is the easiest way to name your podcast but it should be an option only if you already have a following.

For instance, someone like Joe Rogan already had an audience before starting his Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

If your name your podcast show using your name and you are not well known, then it may be hard when starting out.

This does not mean you can’t use your name for your podcast.

For instance, you can name your show something in the line of ‘Financial Literacy with John Smith’. The most successful podcast will offer great content so pick a name and then start producing great content.

Come Up with a Clever Name

I recommend this method of naming a podcast. However, as you come up with a clever name for your show, make sure it relates to your subject of discussion and that people can be able to find it easily when they search on podcast apps topics related to your topic.

If you are a creative person, you can come up with a catchy/clever name for your podcast to make it stand out from the competition. You can also try to incorporate a relevant description of your show into the title.

Try Descriptive Name

The best way to name your podcast is by using the terms your targeted audience is typing on the search bar. This way, your show will come up on top whenever someone searches your topic. If you called your show The Financial Literacy, there is no doubt what the show is about.

How Long is Each Episode?

The length of a podcast episode varies based on the type of content your offer. You don’t want to cut down on good content because you want to adhere to a certain timeframe.

It comes down to the message you want to get out. How long do you think it is needed to get your message out?

A short episode tends to be less than 15 minutes and a long episode would be anything just over an hour.

Since most people listen to podcasts during their commute time, you should calibrate the length of your episode based on average commute time, which is usually between 20 and 45 minutes.

How Often Should You Record an Episode?

The most ideal schedule is usually the one you can commit to on a regular basis. If it is weekly, make sure you stick to this schedule. If it is monthly, stick to a monthly schedule.

This way, your audience will get used to one schedule and will be looking forward to a new episode from you after every week or month.

However, you need to keep in mind that most people tend to plan their lives based on the day of the week, and thus tapping into this can be a powerful way to get your content in front of a large audience.

But choosing a schedule and sticking to it is the best way to build an audience.

How to Create Great Titles

When choosing the title for your podcast episodes, you want to ensure that it is searchable and descriptive.

Avoid calling them Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, and so on. The most important thing is to give your targeted audience a reason to listen to your podcast.

Ensure the titles are clear and communicate what people can expect once they listen to your show.

The most impactful titles are the ones starting with “How To…”, “Ten Ways To…” etc. which tells the audience what they should expect from the episode.

Another benefit of naming your episodes this way is that some podcast hosting platforms allow searching by name of the episode.

That said, it will never do you any harm using keywords in titles.

Choosing a Podcast Format

The format of your podcast depends on the type of show – solo or co-hosted the show.

Good thing is, you don’t have to stick to just one single format. One episode can be solo and the next one you can bring in an expert in the topic.

A solo show is often called the monologue and you don’t have to rely on the second person to record your episodes.

Co-hosted show on the other hand is presented alongside a colleague, friend, or an expert in the subject. This is a great format in that it provides the audience with profound knowledge of the topic.

The interview show is also another format you can explore. It involves talking to professionals and experts in your domain. This will give you a chance to talk to heroes your target audience looks up to.

Other formats include:

Roundtable: You and other guests talk through one particular topic, for example, the Red Table by the Smiths Family.

Documentary: If you are passionate about a certain topic, you can walk your audience through various conversations, interviews, and on-location shoots.

Recording Equipment

The most basic equipment you need to start recording your first episode is a computer hooked up to a good recording microphone. Your podcast audio is the key to providing users with a great experience. The audio quality is going to depend on the type of microphone you use, if you use a mixer, and your audio editing software. You will need some podcast recording equipment to get started, so see below for equipment the top podcasters use.

1. Shure MV7 Microphone

When it comes to using a USB microphone for podcasts, not many can stack up against the Shure MV7. This mic performs great no matter the environment.

One of the reasons you should get this cardioid mic is because you can use it both as a USB and XLR microphone or simultaneously.

2. Audio Technica ATH-m20x Headphones

For your over-ear headphones, the Audio Technica ATH-m20x is a great option. It is a decent audio reproduction and comfortable and firm design.

It features modern design as well as industry-grade materials, which are combined to provide a comfortable listening experience, with top-of-the-line audio as well as effective isolation.

3. Behringer Xenyx Q802USB Mixer

In terms of a good mixer, don’t look beyond the Behringer Xenyx Q802USB. First of all, this device can accommodate either a condenser or dynamic microphone due to its Phantom Power.

This is an ideal mixer for any audio performance. It is compact, practical, quiet, and has a pretty good interface.

But the best feature of all is the built-in stereo audio/USB interface that lets you connect it directly to your computer.

Recording & Editing Software

When you hook up your new mic into your computer, you are going to need software to record or edit your audio. Luckily, there are plenty of options to get you started.

Audacity

When looking for audio editing software, Audacity should be on top of your list. Known for being a leader in the field of podcasting, this tool is an open-source audio editing and recording program. It is great for those starting out on a string budget but who want to invest a good deal of their time to learn audio recording and editing.

Buzzsprout

This is another option tool for recording and editing audio.  It is very good, whether you are a new or a seasoned podcaster. If your main aim is a rock-solid and reliable feature-set, high-quality design, and intuitive interface, then Buzzsprout should be your top choice. It offers a good value as well as a simple pricing scheme if you want to run a single show.

GarageBand

For Mac users, GarageBand is an ideal choice. It can record studio-quality signals, thus if you are after a professional sound, this software is a great addition to your studio setup.

How to Script your Show

Now that you have your setup ready, what are you going to say? You need a script of your show, an essay that you will read out verbatim during the recording of your podcast.

But it is easier said than done because it is going to take you a lot of time to write a script for a single episode.

Another challenge associated with scripts is sounding like you are reading rather than having a natural conversation.

How to Talk into a Mic

If you are a beginner, this is probably the most challenging task you will come across in your podcasting journey. Do you talk to yourself or a microphone?

None of these questions matter, instead concentrate on talking to a single individual.

You need to come up with as many details as possible about your persona because you want every listener to feel like you are talking to them directly.

The more you practice the better you will get so just keep podcasting.

Recording Remote Guests or Co-Hosts

It doesn’t matter where your guest or co-host is located, you can record your show with them easily.

There are a lot of video conferencing tools that you can use for free to record your chat with your remote guests or co-host.

One tool that is popular currently is Zoom. With this tool, you can record for 2 people for free or for 40 minutes free for a group of people.

There are other options such as Alitu, Skype, and Squadcast just to name a few.

How to Edit your Podcast

I mentioned a few tools above for editing your podcast, including Audacity. If you have chosen Audacity, you made a great choice because it is a tool designed for beginners with the aim of mastering the audio recording and editing game.

But what if you have never used an audio editing tool before? And you don’t have a budget to outsource the entire production? Plus buying a mixer to help with sound quality can get expensive.

The answer is Alitu, a tool that can literally build the episodes for you. It is an extremely simple tool to use, just record your audio into it and it will take care of the rest, including processing, editing, and publishing.

How to Add Podcast Music

Do you feel your podcast needs intro music? If so, there are lots of platforms where you can find royalty-free or library music depending on your taste.

Otherwise, there is no rule that requires your podcast to have music, though it is important to have a short intro and outro. You can hire a freelancer to create for you a custom intro and outro for your show. Your podcast listeners will love it.

Creating Podcast Coverart

While your podcast can do without music, it must have cover art. This is the first impression the visitors will have of your show when they open your podcast homepage. And as you may know, the first impression is very important.

Having great cover art that is visible and communicative is important when your podcast shows up in the list among others in the Google Podcasts or iTunes.

You can have your podcast cover art designed by a freelancer or create yourself using creative commons or stock images to design one on free platforms like Canva and Adobe.

One thing to keep in mind, Spotify has some guidelines for podcasts to meet to be allowed on the platform. One of the guidelines involves cover art.

It states that your cover art must be a square ratio of 1:1 and in JPEG, TIFF, or PNG formats at the highest resolution. It should also be 1400 by 1400 pixels and under 500 KBS in size.

Pick the Best Podcast Hosting Service

There are two main podcast hosting companies you can choose – PodBean and Buzzsprout. There are several other companies you can use as your podcast host. The two we have listed are the most popular.

PodBean

When it comes to user-friendliness, PodBean is one of the top podcast hosting platforms you can find. It offers almost all kinds of services you might need, thus it is a great option for beginners.

But its core service is hosting, which means you can upload your show episodes to the platform and when a user wants to access them, they will stream or download from PodBean.

Features

  • Unlimited podcasting
  • This podcast host has flat rates
  • Sharing tools
  • Comprehensive stats
  • Customizable branding
  • Simple for anyone to start a podcast

Buzzsprout

Since its launch, Buzzsprout has become one of the most sought-after podcast hosting services with more than 100,000 users. The pricing is also friendly even for beginners, starting from just $12 per month.

Features

  • Easy to publish a podcast episode
  • Awesome podcast statistics, that tell you total downloads, what apps are used when listening, and where are users listening
  • Leading podcast directories
  • Multiple podcasts
  • You are able to transcribe a podcast episode
  • Customization option
  • Easy for beginners to start a podcast
  • Buzzsprout will automatically optimize your episodes once you have uploaded them

Podcast Directories

If you are looking for all of the different podcast genres and shows online, you need to check out a podcast directory. The two most popular include Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

There are many more directories to check out other than Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

We are going to give you a list of the top 5 directories so you can check each one out.

  1. Apple Podcasts – This has been around since 2005 and Apple Podcasts is the biggest directory in the world.
  2. Spotify – Huge and popular directory for podcast content.
  3. Castbox – Great for finding new podcasts.
  4. Google Podcasts – Started in 2019, Google Podcasts does crawl the web now to pull together podcast content.
  5. PodcastAddict – This is the #1 podcast app on android.

If adding to your phone you can use Google Play or Apple to download the app.

Next Steps Once you Start

Now that you have launched your podcast, it is time to begin thinking of about promotion and expanding your audience base.

In the world of podcasting, consistency is very important. If you create a schedule, make sure you stick to it.

Once you start to deliver consistently to your audience, you can now start thinking about monetizing your show.

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