Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Podcast
Everything you need to know about how to start a podcast, and then some!
How to Start a Podcast
Consider Why You Want to Start a Podcast
Nailing down exactly why you want to start a podcast can help your scope later in this process. From an individual’s perspective, you could be passionate about a certain topic or genre and could be doing this for your own enjoyment. You could be trying to build your own brand and want to be seen as an expert in your industry, and perhaps you have deep knowledge and experience you think others can learn from. Maybe you’re just trying to change the world.
Businesses are increasingly using podcasts as a tool to explain their abilities, expertise, and leadership in their industry. Internal podcasts are also becoming increasingly popular for larger corporations as a communications piece for employees.
Whatever your reason for starting a podcast, it’s good to know. When you’re feeling tired or stressed or finding it difficult to put out an episode, think back to why you started your podcast in the first place.
The Motivation to Start a Podcast
If you’re reading this post, the odds are pretty good that you are considering starting a podcast. Congratulations, you’ve almost made it to step 1 in our step by step guide to starting a podcast.
There are many things to consider when starting a podcast, and it all starts with step 1. Are you motivated to start a podcast? Do you dream of having your own show where you’re free to talk about whatever it is you’re passionate about? Really ask yourself, are you willing to put in the effort that it takes to create a podcast.
Simply not having the time, energy, or passion is the easiest way to experience Podfade. Podfade is the term that describes when a podcast suddenly stops. This happens quite often, someone has the idea to launch a podcast without considering the steps and effort it takes to maintain a podcast and to put in the work. If you have the motivation and you are willing to put in some work, the rest of this guide will help you with everything you need to get started. This guide is also designed to help you think about all the details you need to avoid Podfade.
Podcast Setup and Design
A podcast that has been well thought and planned out will have a greater chance of producing the results it’s looking for. The famous quote by Benjamin Franklin goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan on failing.” The steps involved in the podcast planning phase is necessary and can be a fun and interesting experience.
When the idea of getting a podcast started comes to mind, some people know instantly what they want to have a show about. Others struggle to figure out exactly what their podcast is and what they’re trying to do with it. Podcasts can be in multiple genre categories at the same time.
As you can see below, there are 19 categories you can pick to categorize your podcast. 15 of those 19 have subcategories that you can choose if it applies to your podcast. The following are the 19 podcast categories:
- Arts → | Books | Design | Fashion & Beauty | Food | Performing Arts | Visual Arts
- Business → | Careers | Entrepreneurship | Investing | Management |Marketing | Non-Profit
- Comedy → | Comedy Interviews | Improv | Stand-Up
- Education → | Courses | How To | Language Learning | Self-Improvement
- Fiction → | Comedy Fiction | Drama | Science Fiction
- Health & Fitness → | Medicine | Mental Health | Nutrition | Sexuality
- Kids & Family → | Education for Kids | Parenting | Pets & Animals | Stories for Kids
- Leisure → | Animation & Manga | Automotive | Aviation | Crafts | Games | Hobbies | Home & Garden | Video Games
- Music → | Music Commentary | Music History | Music Interviews
- News → | Business News | Daily News | Entertainment News | News Commentary | Politics | Sports News | Tech News
- Religion & Spirituality → | Buddhism | Christianity | Hinduism | Islam | Judaism | Religion | Spirituality
- Science → | Astronomy | Chemistry | Earth Sciences | Life Sciences | Mathematics | Natural Sciences | Nature | Physics | Social Sciences
- Society & Culture → | Documentary | Personal Journals | Philosophy | Places & Travel | Relationships
- Sports → | Baseball | Basketball | Cricket | Fantasy Sports | Football | Golf | Hockey | Rugby | Running | Soccer | Swimming | Tennis | Volleyball | Wilderness | Wrestling
- True Crime
- TV & Film → | After Shows | Film History | Film Interviews | Film Reviews | TV Reviews
There is a great deal of variety with podcasts. Even the way that the podcasts are structured.
When thinking about the name of your podcast, write a list down of some of your favourite ideas. You will want to do some research, see if the name of the podcast is already taken and listed in podcast directories.
Next, if your name for the podcast is open, check out any of the social media handles you would want to promote your podcast on. An e-mail address can also be handy for directing podcast related questions to a specific place that’s easy for your audience.
There is a real variety of great names out there. Your genre might also dictate what you want to do with your name. If you want to keep it general and talk about a variety of topics, keeping it open is great. For example, Ameer Approved is a client we have worked with. He talks to a variety of guests around a variety of topics. We’ve also recorded for Football Daily Ramble, who as you can clearly see by the name, talks daily about football (well, soccer as we say here in Canada!).
If you are set on a name that is already taken, proceed with caution. If you’re set on a specific title that is already taken, be sure to add your name to help distinguish yourself. For example, “The Conversation with Toronto Podcast Studio” would be an example of a name that would otherwise be taken. This can get slightly confusing to your audience or make it even harder to find you.
Podcast Cover Art
Never judge a book by it’s cover. You’ve heard that famous expression many times in your life. But guess what, people will judge your podcast by it’s cover art. This happens at a subconscious and sometimes conscious level. People make thousands of decisions each day, and in order to help them decide to give your podcast a listen or not, you should make your podcast stand out. A great way to make your podcast stand out is great podcast cover art.
Sometimes podcast cover art is overlooked and an afterthought. We can’t stress the importance enough to have great cover art. Cover art will be the identity of your show. What podcasts do you listen to? Can you picture their cover art in your head right now if you stop to think about it? A great cover art also says, “I care about my podcast.” People will judge your podcast by it’s artwork, especially if it’s ugly. Give the perception that you’re a podcast professional before they even click play.
There are a variety of ways to achieve a great podcast cover art. You can have creative artwork, or a picture/cartoon of yourself, and sometimes you don’t need much for a clean look. You can have great artwork only using words, or making it complex with tons of details. Browse through the podcast charts, take some time looking at the top podcasts. You’ll see that very few of the top podcasts have artwork that is poor. After you draw some inspiration, ask your graphic designer friend or find a freelancer to help create your cover art. Fiverr is a great place to find a variety of graphic designers.
Check out our full post specifically on podcast cover art.
Podcast Target Audience
It’s important to consider when starting a podcast who will be your target audience. This will help you to determine what direction your podcast will go. You will want to choose a topic that will be of interest to your audience. Are you wanting to release a podcast for your very own interest to be able to meet different guests and have good conversation that’s great too. Sometimes you don’t even need a specific audience.
Length of your Podcast
Will it be under 20 minutes, 20-30 mins, 30-1 hour, or will it be 1-3 hrs long?
Depending on who your audience is you will want to have a length that is a good fit for your listeners.
How often will it be Released
The key to doing a podcast is being consistent to when you will be releasing your podcast. It will help you gain a following if your listeners know each week when you will be releasing another episode. It will also help you to stay focused and consistent with keeping up with your podcast.
Suggestion to Line Guests Up Ahead of Time
One of the hardest parts about starting a podcast is lining up guests. We all have busy schedules. Not only will you have to work around your schedule you will need to find times that work well for your guests to be able to do a podcast with you. A first step is to make a list of the possible people you can reach out to from your network and who you think would be a good guest. Then start to reach out and see if any of your possible guests say yes and put them into your schedule.
Another idea as well that happens a lot in our studio is clients will book more than one podcast in a day. They will have a target recording day and when reaching out to guests they will line up for two or three in a day if that works best for their schedule. This approach also helps you “bank” up episodes, and allows you some flexibility with release.
Setting up and Designing your Podcast
Show style can keep things clean and precise. There is no right way or wrong way to do a podcast. You will only be limited by how much effort you want to put into your show, and how creative of a person you are.
Some examples of show styles include:
- Solo shows
- Guest Interview Shows
- Co-hosted shows
- Round Table
- Non-Fiction Story-Driven/Documentary
- Fiction Story-Driven
- A combination of styles
The solo show is a challenging style, as it forces you to lead the entire show by yourself. You don’t have the comfort of a co-host or guest for further conversation, and this show format isn’t as common as some of the others. Your challenge with this format will be keeping the listener’s attention, which may impact your decision on how long your podcast should be. One of the shows I am subscribed to is a one-person solo show, it’s about 5-10 minutes long on average with an educational focus, this style works well under those circumstances.
Guest Interview Shows:
The guest interview show is a common style. There are many examples of this type of podcast out there. The host typically finds guests that can talk about the podcast subject, or simply a guest that the host finds interesting.
There are several shows that feature the same hosts on every or most episodes. It’s another common format, and one you must decide if it’s the best fit for you or not.
Ask yourself, is your knowledge of the topic limited? Are you a great conversationalist? Are you a self-starter? If you think someone else compliments your knowledge or the conversation, a co-host may be for you. Some podcasts feature amazingly knowledgeable hosts, but they can lack the charisma needed to draw in an audience even though they’re very knowledgeable. Vice versa is also possible, a great conversationalist who isn’t overly knowledgeable might be enjoyable to listen to, but if you’re trying to learn something and they have nothing to teach you then you may turn it off. Another great benefit of a host is having someone keeping you accountable. Having someone that is following up making sure you’re going to record can go a long way. You might get tired of doing it all by yourself with a small audience. Going through that experience with someone else can help you keep producing content and not getting so discouraged.
Shows like this can feature a host (and sometimes co-host) usually asking or bringing up topics for a panel of guests to weigh in on. It may be the same people every time or the host may find all new guests to talk to each episode. Round tables are great to hear a variety of opinions and to get everyone involved in the conversation.
These types of podcasts are usually time-consuming to create, but very rewarding for the creator. They can feature audio from a variety of sources and include guest interviews. These types of shows are almost certainly scripted and thoroughly planned out. Some of these shows have several people interviewed for a single episode. These types of podcasts are common in the true crime and history genres. Some examples of a show like these include Sword and Scale, 30 for 30 Podcasts, and Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History.
These types of shows might not be as common as some of the other styles on this list, but they’ve really been around long before podcasts. Prior to Television, many fictional series were made during the “Golden Age of Radio” and would air as a source of entertainment. With the rise of popularity in podcasting, fictional story-driven audio is back in style! These are heavily scripted, and like non-fiction story-driven podcasts, they are often accompanied by interesting sounds, music and anything that can take the listener on an immersive journey deep into the story.
Some podcasts are live shows, as an event and some as being a show that’s recorded and broadcast live. A comedy podcast that demonstrates this example is Kill Tony, which has amateur comedians perform a set in front of a comedian Tony Henchcliff and a special guest. There are many examples of live broadcasted podcasts, these are broadcast to platforms such as YouTube Live or Facebook Live. These can be pretty much any genre, and often are guest interview styles.
A Combination of Styles
It’s very common to have styles cross over and combine into a single podcast. While some shows clearly only fit under one style, there are many shows that blend styles and don’t just fit into one category. Shows naturally evolve over time, they may add a co-host after having just one host in the past.
Don’t worry about making sure you fit into one of these styles. There are no definitive rules in podcasting. If you can create something that people will want to hear, it doesn’t matter what style you fit under. Your podcast style can be anything you want!
Podcast Show Structure
If you now have a clear or even rough idea of what your show will be about and the style you want to do it in when you start your podcast, the next thing we will want to decide is what the structure of the show will be. When thinking about the show structure, you’ll want to know how the show will be introduced, where (if any) breaks and sponsorship commercials will be placed. Will your show have segments? Where will your segments be placed in the show? Coming up with a great show structure will keep you organized.
An example of a show structure could be:
- Show Open Music
- Host Show Intro Monologue
- Show Intro: 15 Seconds
- Segment 1: Cohost Discuss Topic
- Sponsorship Break
- Segment 2 – Guest Interview
- Sponsorship Break 2
- Segment 3
- Next Episode Preview
It can also be much simpler too:
- Intro Music
- Guest Introduction
- Guest Interview
However you want to structure the podcast is fine. Not every podcast structure needs to be complicated, and the style you choose may also play a big role in choosing your structure.
Once we have the framework built, knowing what an episode is about, the style, and now the structure, we will have just about everything we need to have to start filling in a script and bring the show to life.
The key to a great podcast is giving the listener something worth listening to. That something can be entertainment, it can be that they learned something. Inspiration, education, entertainment. Think about this tip as you decide your genre, style and structure.
Resources to Find Music for Your Podcast:
A quick Google search for “Royalty Free Music” brings up more results than you will need. The key is finding a place you can get music you like that you can legally use on your podcast. One of my favorite resources is Envato Elements. This is because they have a wide variety of music, and for a monthly fee, I can download unlimited songs.
- Envato Element
- Audio Jungle
- YouTube (Royalty Free Music)
If you have any talented musical friends, they might be very excited at the opportunity to make your show’s theme song. This could make a really great choice too.
Equipment is a must – you literally cannot create a podcast without something to record your audio. However, there is a setup for everyone, no matter your budget! If you want to test the podcasting waters without buying all the greatest gear, some apps have been made just for this purpose. You can use your smart phone’s built in voice recorder app. A number of podcast hosts such as Anchor, Podbean, and SoundCloud, allow for easy recording also.
There are tons and tons of microphones out there; several different styles and types too. Different microphones are made for different scenarios, so if you’re purchasing a microphone specifically for capturing your voice for a podcast, get a dynamic or condenser microphone.
USB vs. XLR Microphones
If you are deciding between a USB and XLR microphones, here are the pros and cons of both:
|Easier for Beginners||Generally Better Sound Quality|
|Plugs into Computer||Need a mixer or interface to plugin|
|Can get more complicated if recording two people on the same computer||Can plug in multiple mics into a mixer or interface|
|Likely to be cheaper||Can be more expensive (cables, mixer)|
Audio Interface and Mixers
If you go with an XLR microphone, you will need something to connect it into that will connect it to your computer. The Focusrite Scarlett USB interface is popular and works well. We’ve used this product many times and it does the trick.
You can also get a USB mixer that will have multiple XLR inputs. When shopping for a mixer there are a few things to look out for. On a cheap mixer, there can be weird hums and noise, read reviews when you are in the market for a mixer. Also make sure that the mixer you choose can output multiple channels. This is huge if you will ever have someone else record in person with you. If you don’t then everyone’s audio will be on one track only. This can be a problem when it comes time to edit.
When you record, make sure that your mic isn’t hitting -0 dB. That is red in your recording software. If you are hitting green and sometimes yellow, that is okay. Red is dangerously close to clipping your audio. Clipping is when your microphone is recorded so loud that the audio get distorted. It’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible to make clipped audio sound nice.
Recording from your phone is a convenient option, but it won’t be the best option in terms of audio quality. If you own a laptop or desktop computer, you will have access to a large variety of Digital Audio Workstations (DAW). This is essentially the software that you can record and edit your podcasts in. More on editing later.
A few popular DAWs include Audacity (free), Adobe Audition, Avid Pro Tools, Logic Pro and many more. If you’re looking for video as well, you can again use your computer’s built-in software, or check out other programs like OBS (free), Wirecast, or vMix.
What We Use:
The software we use is primarily Adobe Audition, and vMix to capture the recordings. We also use Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, (Illustrator and Photoshop for graphic work). Adobe has a great bundle of software that you can get (for a monthly subscription cost).
Remote Recording Software
If you are in need of recording a remote guest, our favourite website to do this is riverside.fm. This website allows for several different membership types based on usage. It even offers a free service. We have also used Zencastr in the past, and we also enjoyed using their platform. Another good remote recording site, the benefit of Zencastr is the unlimited recording for only $20/month. Both of these websites will record locally and upload to the website afterwards. This is very important for getting the best quality recording. Zoom or Microsoft Teams will not record locally, so if the internet doesn’t have a great connection you can get those lags and stuttering internet sounds.
Right Before You Hit Record:
You now have a clear idea and understanding about what the show will be about, who it’s for, and how it will go. All you need to do now is hit record to start creating your show. We have a few tips to offer about how to make this process as smooth as possible.
Test, Test, Test!
It’s incredible the amount of times that people could have saved a recording that didn’t work out because they didn’t test before recording. If you can record even 10-20 seconds and stop it and watch it back, that could be the difference between realizing a microphone is covering your entire face, and fixing the problem. You might also find you can’t hear the audio, and it’ll give you a chance to diagnose the issue.
Removing Recording Distraction
Are you sitting near a window that you’ll see people walking by? Do you have a TV on in the background? Is your phone on silent? Anything that can take your attention away from your conversation is important to limit. If you’re talking with a guest, and they see you looking away or checking something else out, they can also lose focus. When your guest loses focus, your conversation will start going downhill quickly.
Jewelry and Recording
If you have a watch, bracelet or anything on that will make a loud, distracting noise, it’s best to take them off before you record. If you don’t sit in front of a table, or it won’t make any noise, then feel free to leave your jewelry on. The noises they make often pick up on microphones and might be noticeable to the listeners.
Use the Bathroom Before Recording
As obvious as this one is, when you have to relieve yourself in the middle of a conversation, it’s not so easy to pick up the conversation where you left off. Sometimes minutes go by and people have entered into a different mindspace when coming back to conversations. It’s only natural so sometimes it can’t be avoided, but try to avoid this whenever possible. Even if you don’t leave the room, holding it in can be on your mind, and whenever you interview someone and you’re in your own head, it’s harder to listen to what they are really saying.
Even if you aren’t trying to go over and remove every single umm and uhh, you will at bare minimum want to consider adding an intro/outro to your podcast. That is why you will want to get familiar with some of the tools available to you in the editing softwares.
Luckily, within your DAW, this becomes very easy to do.Your intro can simply just be a music track that leads in before you start talking on the episode. The software that I do most of my audio editing on is called Adobe Audition. For this purpose I will explain how to do a simple edit from Adobe Audition. There are many other softwares, and as stated earlier, such as Audacity.
Within Adobe Audition by using the keyboard shortcut, R, it brings up the razor tool. You can then slice audio wherever you want. Typically during your recordings you’ll hit record a few seconds before you get right into your words. By clicking on the excess audio, you can split it and delete the part you don’t need.
Before you begin, check the audio levels of everyone on the podcast. You’ll want to aim for around -16 (stereo) or -19 (mono) LUFS as a rule of thumb. You’re probably wondering what the heck is a luf? Loudness Units Relative to Full Scale. So LUFS are essentially an average loudness of your audio. Don’t worry, there is likely a loudness normalization tool in your DAW. When it comes to video, YouTube videos, they are normalized to 14 LUFS. You should set your audio slightly higher than this to around 13 LUFS to ensure it’s loud enough.
Cutting Out Words
When you cut out words, it can be very difficult to take words out of the middle of a sentence. People often drag words into the next word. If you have to do that, you will need to play with crossfades and try to get it sounding normal.
Using a Breath to Your Advantage
When you hear someone taking a breath, that’s a great place that you can easily swap out the proceeding sentence for another one. Make sure you don’t cut in the middle of a breath, and that will help your edits go unnoticed.
Over Editing Can Be Unnatural
Have you ever heard the expression that too much of anything is bad? The rule holds up with editing. Removing too much can feel weirdly robotic. Don’t eliminate every breath, and be discreet with what you remove. The audience shouldn’t hear where you removed a word or sentence.
When we discuss podcast hosting in this section, I am not referring to the person talking on the microphone. A podcast hosting platform is a website that you will be uploading your podcast to. From there it will be distributed to all the places that you want, such as Google Podcasts, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, etc.
There are so many podcast hosting platforms, a quick google search will bring up several. One thing to be weary of is that not all podcast hosting sites are built the same. There are a few factors that you will want to look out for. If you plan on podcasting multiple times in a week, make sure you get a host that offers unlimited storage. You will also want to compare prices and see what value you get, there is a large range in prices between different platforms. One other thing to check out is the analytics available. Some podcast platforms have really great analytics, and others are really basic that don’t provide a lot of insight.
A few podcast hosts worth checking out include blubrry.com, buzzsprout.com, libsyn.com, and podbean.com. There are many other great ones to choose from, so do your research and get one you’re happy with.
Once you’re set up with a podcast host, you will then be given an RSS feed. This is a URL link that will provide the code from your podcast hosting platform to the platform you want your podcast on (spotify, apple podcasts, google podcasts, etc.) This feed is important and you will be instructed to copy and paste that link to connect your show to these podcast platforms.
Apple Podcasts are different. You will need an apple account and submit your RSS feed to https://itunesconnect.apple.com/. Your podcast will need to be approved which can take anywhere from a day to over a week depending on how busy they are. If you swear on your podcast and say your show is clean, you may get rejected and be forced to reapply, delaying your apple podcast launch.
When you start a podcast, you might want to look into ways at maximizing your efforts, and making things easier on yourself. Here are a few strategies that will help you stay organized and save you time.
One pro tip to save you from stressing about having your weekly podcast ready is to bank them up. Having 2-4 episodes finished and ready to post is a great buffer. We all have guests that back out last minute, and unforeseen technical issues. Having episodes ready to be published ensures you won’t get off track and will continue to grow your audience.
Multiple Sessions in One Day
Another pro tip and something to think about is recording multiple interviews in one day. This will not only be a time saver, but you’ll be sure to have consistency, and you’ll be in the same mindset as you were for the other recording. Proceed with caution as we’ve seen people try to do too much in one day and underestimate how mentally taxing recording a podcast can be. Several hours later, their energy is depleted and the interview lacks the appropriate body language and the podcaster is not as enthusiastic as when they first started. The sweet spot for many people is somewhere around 2-4 hours of recording.
If you are able to, having one track for every microphone is very helpful. If you’re recording remotely, both locations will have their own unique background noise print and by having a different track for each individual, will help you in post production. Each track will also give you flexibility to cut out one person if needed. Often during edits, we notice people will accidentally speak over each other. Having individual mic tracks is your way to turn that off. It can also get rid of unwanted noises from the person not speaking, such as coughs. If you’re recording in-person, some USB mixers allow for individual tracks, while others will blend it all into one track. Think about this when it comes time to make purchasing decisions.
For the simplest of podcasts, you will likely want an intro, your content, and then an outro. A couple of things to keep in mind is to make sure you have some extra music to fade in/out as that transitions listeners/viewers from the intro into the episode. One common mistake from new podcasters starting out is that they abrupt transitions. This won’t ease them into the show and it will come across as an error. Be sure to fade the intro music out.
Marketing Your Podcast
It goes without saying, if you don’t tell anyone about your podcast, nobody will know it exists. Marketing is a lot of fancy concepts and words, but it basically comes down to telling people about your show. If you can tell people about the podcast in an interesting or fun way, now you have their attention and possibly a potential listener. If you can convert enough of these people to listeners, now you have an audience. Below I’ve provided a couple of ways to let the world know of your brand new show.
If you aren’t utilizing social media for your podcast, how are you letting your friends and family know you have a podcast? Unless you already have a following that you’ve built up, your listeners will start off as friends and family; and that’s okay. Establish your pages on social media of choice. Instagram is great as you can post video with captions, regardless of whether you recorded your podcast with video or audio-only. You need to get your content out there or people won’t know you exist.
What type of content should you be putting on social media? Audiograms are very popular. It offers an audio snippet of your episode. You can pick out a very powerful message, or a fascinating pieces of the conversation. Throw the bait out there, and if they bite, you want to hook them. Make sure the part you choose is captivating or interesting.
We’ve also designed many teasers as instagram stories for clients. If there’s a great introduction that hypes up the guest, you can take that snippet and cut it. Text goes along with these videos well.
Don’t forget your profile bios. Instagram allows you to add a link, so you might as well link to your podcast. Your Linkedin profile is a good spot to write, Podcast Host, Podcast Name. Use these spaces to your advantage and grow your show.
A website is a nice home to your show. Having show notes and even a transcribed episode can do you wonders for SEO. People search for stuff discussed on a podcast all the time. Sadly, there is no way for a search term to lead to a specific time of your audio podcast yet. However, if you transcribe your audio, Google can lead searchers to the text on your website that was originally from the audio.
A lot of people want to know how to make a podcast strictly for the money. We are often are we asked, “How do I make money with my podcast?” It’s very important to remember, like any investment, you shouldn’t invest more money than you can afford to lose. A podcast is no different. Please do not start a podcast and think you will make money right away. It’s very risky for most people, and listenership cannot be guaranteed. With that being said, there are several ways you can make money from your podcast. The main ways we will discuss here is through ads/sponsorship revenue, affiliate sales, donation, and as a lead generation for other products/services you offer.
If you’re reading this, chances are very high you’ve heard a podcast before. On the podcasts that you listen to, do you recall hearing the host talk about any products? As one of the most common forms of monetization on podcasts, ad reads are prevalent on mostly all the top charting podcasts. You’ve probably heard these play at the start of a podcast (pre-roll), placed somewhere throughout the episode (mid-roll) or at the end of a show (end-roll).
But how much are podcasters making from their ad reads? About $18/1000 listeners for a 30 second ad, and $25/1000 listeners for a 60 second ad. So you can do the math on how large your audience needs to be in order for you to make the type of money you want to make per episode.
You can also arrange for all sorts of other ad placements. It’s common to see people wearing a logo on a hat or t-shirt, drinking out of a company coffee mug, or a sponsor’s logo on your cover art. Get creative. There really are no rules to what you can and cannot sponsor.
Another way to earn some money is through donations. The most popular website podcasters use for this method is patreon.com. A website that allows you to collect donations and offer bonus content to your subscribers. There are several strategies that people use to maximize the amount of patreon subscribers. The popular Sword and Scale true crime podcast has exclusive episodes and higher quality audio only for their patreon subscribers.
Many business owners use podcasts to generate sales. If you make a podcast around the topic of business marketing, perhaps you can mention that you have a few books or a course for sale on your website. Maybe you offer a free website health check or one-on-one consulting services. If you have something to sell, this is a good place to start. You have an audience that listens to what you have to say and wants to hear more about the marketing advice you give on your show. Lead them to where they can make a purchase off of you.
The podcast launch is an important time for your show. You can build momentum here if executed properly that can land you on a podcast chart. Getting on a podcast chart is nice, as it can help you be seen by an audience that is looking for shows in your genre. The higher you rank, the more likely you are to be seen. As you saw earlier in this post, there are a ton of sub genre categories. This makes it easier for audiences to find great shows. Hitting the charts is never easier than when you first launch your podcast. Because the charts are based on engagement, be sure to ask your listeners, friends, family, and anyone willing to help to listen, rate, leave a review, and subscribe to your podcast. Hitting that chart in your first week, despite the long road ahead of building an audience, the psychological impact of hitting the chart and seeing success will inspire you to keep up with the journey.
If you missed the chart – don’t be discouraged. Growth hacks can be a nice way to help people discover you, however, the most important thing for your show is putting out really great content. Too often people are so worried about numbers and not worried enough about their product. Think of your podcast as a business. If you are only focused on sales, and you’re trying to sell a terrible product, even if you make a sale, they won’t buy from you again. If you put so much effort into getting people to listen, and the podcast is poor, it will stunt your growth. As the saying goes, “You only get one chance at a first impression.”
General Advice for Beginners:
You will want to start your podcast off on a good foot. We have seen and done many mistakes that you can learn from so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes.
The key to success is staying with something long enough. You don’t get a black belt in martial arts after training a few times. The same can be said about podcasting. You will not become a master after your first time you’ve used a microphone and camera. There’s an art to it. The encouraging news is that you can master this art form if that’s what you desire. The secret is through consistency.
Being consistent is helpful for many reasons. The first of which is that you will develop good habits if you hold yourself accountable for publishing on a regular basis. I’ve talked to many people that believe there is a power in publishing consistently. There is a consensus that if you can only do one episode a month, that is better than firing off four in the same day then not doing another episode for months. Your fans will get used to a consistent schedule, and as you develop your audience, they will look forward to certain times when you will be publishing.
Make Good Content
Above all else, if you create content that will be interesting, entertaining, or educational, chances are you will have a show people are willing to listen to. As easy and as simple as it sounds, creating good content can be a challenge. This is why we recommend planning out and structuring your show. Make a podcast outline, drafting what you want to accomplish, and what you want to discuss. You never have to be held hostage to an outline, but it’s handy to have and can keep you organized.
I know you likely got to this page by searching, “How to start a podcast.” So how can you be expected to make good content? Don’t skip steps and put in the effort. If you aim to hit the highest level of quality in everything to do with the podcast, that’s when you’re going to see results. The quality standard for podcasting has become so great, you will have a hard time standing out if something to do with your podcast looks amateur.
Learning From Mistakes
Problems will always arise. Last second scheduling conflicts, a computer freezing midway through a recording, a strange buzz in the microphone you don’t hear until it’s time to edit, etc. Your job is to minimize these mistakes. Your goal should be to learn from what goes wrong and not let it happen again. Learn as much as you can to minimize the mistakes that you make, and for the ones you do make, learn from them. Learn why a problem happened and what steps you can take to ensure it doesn’t happen again. A guest forgot he was scheduled to do the podcast? Send a confirmation out the day before.
One step that is often missed is listening and reviewing your own podcast. It takes a very long time to go from the podcast outline to the interview, to the edit, and finally publishing. If you write a narrative script, you’ve undoubtedly spent hours and hours on a single episode, and you’ve already heard it through the edit. But it cannot be overstated that it would be beneficial to listen to each episode objectively. Listening not just for sound quality, but the quality of the actual podcast. Is it interesting to listeners? Why did I ask that question? What was great and what can I do better next time? By being able to critique your own show, you’ll learn so much each time, and that will exponentially increase your skills.
Nail Your Guest Intro
If you’re introducing a guest, make sure you give them a great introduction. It’s your job to let everyone know how great your guest is. You don’t just want to impress your audience, you want to impress your guest. You may not have ever met your guest
Practice several times before you actually introduce them. You may redo the introduction, but I believe you should do it in front of that person even if it’s not the take you use in the episode. Let them know you’ve done your research and your introduction is a hint about what it is that you want to discuss with them. Talk about some of their accomplishments, a fun fact, or whatever makes this
Another point on a guest intro is to say the name of your guest last. Build up to their name. Rather than saying, “John Doe is a world traveler,” say, “My guest today is a world traveler.” After listing out their many accomplishments, you can end the introduction by saying, “I’m so happy to have a chance to speak with you, John Doe.”
Address Your Audience As a Single Listener
I hear so many podcasts where the host categorizes the entire audience, like they’re all listening together. “Hey guys, welcome back to another episode…” The problem with this is that, although they’re a collective group to you, they may not know each other. Your show should be more intimate, and you should address the single listener. Most people listen to a podcast with headphones on or in a car by themselves. Address the single person listening as an individual, and not a group.
Podcasts are changing the landscape of media and can be a very powerful tool. Whether you’re looking to create a podcast to grow your business, for fun, or for any other reason, this guide was made to try to make your life easier. You should start a podcast if that is your goal. Don’t be discouraged that there are already so many podcasts out there. No one has the same exact brain as you. You have different experiences, conversational tone, and perspective. This alone is why you should have your own podcast.
It’s a big deal to start a podcast. It is a lot of work and a large learning curve if you’re brand new to this. Don’t give up, you will get the hang of this.
Good luck podcasting!
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