Creating a podcast is easy as long as you have the right equipment and software, but few podcasts ever gain the traction they need without the necessary resources.
Investing in an all-in-one podcasting bundle can get you started with the equipment, but much of your time and effort needs to be channeled into your marketing efforts and the format of the show. Without the right execution plan, your great ideas may never come to fruition.
Before whipping out your mic and pressing record, let's consider some of the most important aspects of starting a podcast and put yourself in a position to succeed.
1. Nail Down Your Niche
Because the barrier to entry is so low for podcasts, it’s simple for anyone to create their own show. The key is figuring out how to stand out from the noise. For most creative avenues, like writing or art, creators need to develop a niche, making their work very specific and recognizable.
Before you can develop a really great podcast concept, you need to choose a niche that works with your idea. This helps to keep your project focused and adds a cohesive flow to the show.
The best way to find your niche is by brainstorming a topic that people are interested in and would frequently seek professional advice on. If you have a particular skill-set or knowledge base, this could be a great start for your podcast. However, many podcasts of course are just created to provide great entertainment.
So naturally your show needs to entertain and inform – but you still need to develop a niche within your main subject area. Thinking about creating a political talkshow podcast? Then determine how your angle will be different from other similar podcasts.
2. Specify Your Audience
Sometimes the best way to pick your niche is by drafting up a profile of your target audience. For example, if you’re trying to create a podcast for Millennials, you need to consider what issues or subjects are most important to this generation.
The better you understand the people who are listening to your podcast, the easier it will be to create appealing content that sticks. Before starting anything and to help with your promotional efforts, you should know the average age of your listener, where they live geographically, what they are interested in and what online platforms they engage with the most.
3. Determine The Format of Your Show
Okay, so you’ve got your niche and your audience outlined, but how are you going to run the show? One of the things that people love most about podcasts is the conversational but structured interplay or narrative. In short, each show should go somewhere.
Listening to a well-crafted podcast may make it sound easy to put together, but once you sit down with a guest to record your own show, it feels much more difficult to come up with enough interesting content to fill the entire episode. Unless you have a very developed show format planned out, it’s recommended that you start with a shorter length show of 20 to 30 minutes. Some podcasts, such as those from Neil Patel and Brandon Gaille – are often as short as juts five minutes, and some audiences love these bite-sized formats.
The most successful longer podcasts break up each episode with different segments. You should organize the show based on a theme or story you plan to tell – but by breaking the episode down into different parts you can prevent it from becoming monotonous. Branded voiceovers and musical bumpers at the start, middle and end of your show can also help achieve this.
Developing a regular, clear format also tells your listeners what to expect every week. If you’re constantly changing from an interview to solo based show for instance, your audience may get confused or disappointed when it doesn’t meet the same expectations as the previous episode.
4. Purchase Affordable Podcasting Equipment
Once you’ve solidified your idea and format for the show, it’s time to invest in an all-in-one podcast bundle to get you started with everything you need to produce something great.
While you can opt to purchase each item individually, if you’re just starting out a bundle will provide everything you need without the hassle of seeking out different devices.
As part of this process it's important to find a quality microphone to ensure your audio sounds crisp and comprehensible.
Sure, you might have to spend a little more money on a nice mic, but grainy audio is a deal breaker for most listeners. It can be tough to hear the actual context of the show and it makes your production seem unprofessional and unorganized.
Aside from a good microphone, you’ll ideally need an audio mixer if you want to create a really clear sound, (however, some USB mics will serve new podcasters well without the need for a mixer).
Many beginner podcasters opt to skip this piece of equipment, but if you have the budget then a mixer can greatly enhance the quality of the show and therefore give you more credibility.
Headphones are a necessity to avoid feedback loops and echo – so invest in a great set of cans if you – erm, can. Over time, you’ll also want to invest in a mic stand or multiple mics for guests.
5. Invest In Editing Programs
Once you’ve got the hardware, it’s time to find the right software. You’ll need both recording and editing programs to piece the entire show together, edit parts out and, again, enhance the overall quality of the recording (unless you pay someone to do this for you).
In the beginning, you may find some reputable free software will fit the bill – such as Audacity, but these will not have the same capabilities and quality as a paid-for software. If you want to just test the waters first, try out some of the free programs before researching and investing in a better option.
6. Accompany Your Podcast With A Website
Though you may think of a podcast as a standalone audio show, if you want your podcast to gain popularity, you need to create a strong online brand. At the very least you should create a website where people can go to learn more about the show, the hosts and the guests. If your show relies on audience input, this is a great channel to ask for contributors too.
Make sure you include SEO friendly show notes and preferably an audio transcript to help better serve your website visitors and podcast listeners. Try Rev for low cost transcription.
7. Find The Right Hosting & Streaming Services
You might have a great podcast that could potentially attract a large follower base, but without somewhere to host your episodes, no one can listen to your show. And hosting is only half of the equation. Your listeners need to be able to stream the episodes, and it’s more likely that they’re going to be looking for new podcasts on popular streaming platforms like iTunes or Spotify.
To find the right hosting site for your show, do some research into the most popular service providers like PodBean, Libsyn, Blubrry and BuzzSprout. A few of these services are free while others charge a monthly or yearly fee.
When you’re first getting started with your podcast, you may want to try one of the free options until you can grow your budget. Many of today's hosting services do much more than simply live your podcast somewhere to live; they also incorporate analytics features to provide data on who and how people are listening to your show.
This information can help you understand how people are engaging with the podcast and may help you make changes to improve your show.
Once you’ve selected your hosting service, it’s time to get your show onto popular streaming channels to help your audience find you. Luckily, this step is relatively straightforward.
Simply copy and paste the RSS feed from your host into a form on the streaming platform and allow it to validate that your feed is real before pulling it through to iTunes or Spotify. You can then check and complete your details to update your show profile.
8. Promote Your Podcast Through Various Channels
You can create the best podcast in the world, but it won’t matter if no one knows about it. This may be the trickiest part of the entire podcasting process. Once you’ve edited and uploaded some content, you need to spread the word about your podcast to a market that cares.
Of course, telling family/friends/business colleagues/the neighbour's cat etc is a great start as these are the people in your life who want to support you most – and will probably listen to your podcast even if no one else does (especially the cat).
Beyond your personal connections, you should also create social media accounts for your show to begin attracting followers with interests similar to your podcast – and then link to your episodes. Be sure to focus on platforms that your audience would be engaging with.
9. Planning Your Guests & Material
In order to efficiently plan your podcast, you should develop some type of production calendar to remind you when you need to be writing, recording and editing new episodes.
You will need to start recording regularly if your podcast gains traction – and it's a great idea to set aside days to batch record and edit shows. You should develop a regular schedule and stick to it – as your audience and the podcasting networks love a committed and regular production.
Planning a schedule of guests is vital too. The first few episodes that you created might be great, but you need to keep the standards high by inviting new, interesting people on to the show and continuing to push the boundaries with different content that stands out.
10. Batch Record Your Launch Content
If you really want to make (sound)waves with your new show, consider batch recording a month of shows in advance (for example 8 shows if you're going to publish bi-weekly), then create some pre-launch buzz with some social media and other forms of marketing before the first episode of your show even airs.
This is also a great way to get ahead of yourself and never have to worry about catching up, especially when you have to book and interview guests or record and edit audio.
Go Create Great Audio Content
Planning a podcast is a lot more work than most people think, but once you’ve set yourself up for success with the right equipment and research, you can start creating great audio content that people want to hear.
Find a quality microphone, invest in an all-in-one podcast bundle, lock down your niche and start writing episode outlines and/or booking guests. Just have fun with podcasting because it’s your time to shine 🙂