To many people, the question “How do I start my own podcast?” is unanswered. Quite a lot has changed since the early 2000’s when podcasting started. It’s safe to say it has never been easier to start a podcast than today.
With the emergence of cloud computing, affordable hosting, modern bandwidth speeds and more, it’s both extremely easy and affordable to start your own podcast.
In this article, we will cover everything a podcast beginner needs – in a step by step overview.
How to plan and create a new podcast?
Before diving into the tech, equipment and hosting, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to get prepared and plan your podcast – before you even start recording.
1. Podcast Content Planning
Are you planning to cover a specific topic in your podcast? It’s a good idea to focus on a select number of topics, instead of having a podcast show about everything. (or maybe “A show about nothing!” like my friend George used to say.)
The content of your podcast is so important because you need to be confident and knowledgeable enough to talk for hours (over several podcast episodes) about that same topic or set of topics.
We’ve seen anything from “Board Game” podcasts, to “Star Trek” podcasts, to any type of sports podcasts (Basketball, Hockey, Football, Soccer and so many more). Technology podcasts, Fintech podcasts, true crime podcasts, news/politics podcasts, movie / TV series/book reviews, and so much more. Podcasts are really evolving around each and every topic you could think of. It’s what makes podcasting so unique and appealing for millions of listeners.
2. Podcast Structure/ Format
Podcasts are not limited to one structure. They could be extremely long (for example, a podcast episode can be 2 hours long, if you have that much to say), short (down to just a few minutes), can have multiple guests, or no guests at all.
A podcast can be orchestrated by one host who can talk by themselves, interview guests, or have multiple hosts.
Another important aspect is the schedule of releasing new episodes. Some podcasts release once a week, every day, or any other schedule you see fit. Your podcast should work around your own schedule. Some podcasts are using “Seasons” to get some pause between different batches of episodes. Others record 500+ episodes under the same title/ season.
3. Know your Audience
If you’re planning to talk about a specific subject for an hour, you definitely need to do some research. You need to be familiar enough with the topic. Additionally, try to figure what will interest your audience. It might help to try and get some feedback from them once in a while.
You should definitely check if there’s enough demand to hear what you have to say on your podcast, for example –
A podcast about the different types of tomatoes that first arrived to Europe in the 16th century may only interest a handful of listeners, but other topics can attract thousands, or even more.
With that said, you can always start a podcast on a topic that is very niche and irrelevant to 99.99% of the world, but then build and grow the right community around you.
Your podcast can be a non-profit hobby, a full-scale or side business of its own, or an integral part of your pre-existing business.
Most podcasters are probably run by individuals who merely want to talk about subjects they have interest in. These types of hobby podcasts are not always looking to get rich from podcasting, but it’s still possible by enabling donations, ads, subscriptions, and many more monetization methods.
There are podcasts that are real businesses and usually rely on either paid subscriptions or sponsorships. You can look at your podcast as a business and get to the point where you are able to earn thousands of dollars if you have the right model and enough audience. There are many amazing success stories in this area.
Lastly, many businesses are creating their own podcast. This is done by any type of business, it can be a very small business with no revenues that is trying to promote their services/products through the podcast, but many enterprise and corporate businesses are also creating their own podcasts as an additional medium to reach more potential customers. These types of podcasts are not always getting revenues directly from the podcasts, (unless they have sponsors as well), but just having this medium where you can talk to the ears of thousands of people directly, can help with your corporate or business marketing strategies.
Growing your audience is a tough nut to crack for any podcast. You definitely want to have as many listeners as you can, but how do podcasters get to so many people? There are no secrets here, a lot of hard work and dedication can always help. We recommend on being active on social media and also setting up a dedicated podcast website for your show. Your website could attract many new listeners via organic or social based traffic and could become the face of your podcast/business.
What do you need to start a podcast?
Now that we’ve covered the basics and preparations, let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of starting a new podcast.
1. Choose the right microphone
Having a trustworthy and high-quality microphone is an essential for all serious podcasters. You can obviously use your laptop’s built-in microphone or use your phone to record, but your audience would be quite upset from the quality, to say the least. With so many options out there, it is hard to narrow down to just a few microphones. We’ve done our own little research and can currently recommend the following microphones: (no affiliate links or anything, just search these microphones in your favorite store)
Entry-level Options –
- Samson Q2U – With dual output, XLR & USB ($69 on Amazon at the time of writing this article )
- Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB – A great go-to mic for beginners. This microphone could help you clean your recording and sound more professional (around $130 on Amazon).
High End Option –
- Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone – Shure is one of the most respected companies in the audio field and offers many different types of audio equipment for professional recording studios as well. This microphone sounds clean and natural. ($399 on Amazon).
2. Record & Edit Software
Many podcasters use Audacity to record, edit and export/import the podcast. Audacity is a free, open-source software, which makes it much more accessible for everyone and easier to recommend.
While Audacity is probably the most popular options for entry-lever podcasters, professionals usually do use a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), and there are more suitable programs for editing including Adobe Audition, Pro Tools or Reaper.fm.
3. Hosting and Distributing Your Podcast
You will need to find a podcast hosting company to work with and host all of your audio files in. You can, of course, create your own DIY solution and host the files yourself with any server (like a WP site, Amazon or Dropbox) but it is not ideal. If you have more than a few listeners, it may quickly reach the limits of those options.
Podcast hosting companies ensure your episodes are all ready to be downloaded in seconds from every corner of the world, even if you have 20,000 or more downloads in a short time.
Distributing the podcast means you will have to create an RSS feed and host that feed online as well. Most podcast hosting companies would manage your RSS feed and set it up for you, so you’ll just have to copy the link and share it.
If you are looking out for a podcast hosting company, check our ultimate list of all podcast hosting companies. For a more detailed review on the top podcast hosting companies, check out Ryan Robinson’s ranked and reviewed list of the best podcast hosting platforms this year.
4. Share your podcast through Podcast Directories
Before your podcast races for the #1 spot on podcast directories (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and the likes), you’ll need to submit your RSS feed to those platforms. Some podcast hosts would also offer this service for you, but otherwise it’s really easy and all you have to do is simply provide some basic info and include your RSS feed.
Here’s an example from Apple on how to submit a podcast on their Apple Podcasts platform.
5. Create your own branded website
Creating a dedicated website for your podcast is highly important. It can help in many ways; You could easily share your podcast with other people, where they could choose their favorite platform to subscribe or listen to your podcast right there on your website. It’s also a great source to expand your audience, and new listeners can find you organically. Lastly, a podcast website is important if you plan to form any type of business on top of your podcast. With Poscastpage.io, you can easily create a dedicated podcast website in minutes, set your custom design, branding, and much more. A podcast website will help you grow your podcast, and doing some basic Podcast SEO can help even further.
Quick recap – Starting your own podcast
Once you’re done planning and forming a vision for your new podcast, getting into the rhythm of recording and editing your show is important. You’ll find that it’s so easy and requires almost no pre-existing training/experience or highly expensive gear to get started.
To plan your podcast, we recommend that you write down a small list of important questions:
- Content planning – what is my podcast about, and how much content am I looking to publish?
- What type of format would be optimal? (long/short episodes, weekly/daily/monthly episode, one main host or multiple, etc.)
- What is my audience expecting to get from my podcast?
- Do I plan to monetize the podcast? If so, how?
- What is my marketing plan and how should I grow the podcast?
Once you’ve answered the questions, you can dive right into the process and run through this checklist:
- Get the right microphone.
- Choose a recording/editing software or outsource the editing.
- Find a podcast hosting company to host your files.
- Submit your podcast to popular directories.
- Create a podcast website and start promoting it.
That’s it! You should now have all the tools and info required to start your very own podcast.