2020 has been nothing but a success for the podcast industry. World-famous hosts like Tim Ferris, Joe Rogan and Ben Shapiro are in everyone’s mouths - or should we say ears? If you’re planning to start a podcast yourself, there has never been a better time! In our last article we’ve discussed the top marketing podcasts every marketer needs to know, today we’ll cover how to start your own podcast - no matter your niche. If you’ve long been dreaming of hosting a super successful podcast, here's how to go about it, step by step.
An easy to consume format for a wide range of topics
Growing faster than ever before, podcast platforms are becoming increasingly competitive spaces - a fact that makes content creators and listeners rejoice. With more traffic come rapid technological advances and more advertising opportunities, which is great news for everyone. Podcasts are widely popular because they’re easy to digest. They can be consumed on-the-go, which is what most of us do when we listen to our favourite poddies: We can learn to take care of our health on the way to work or improve our marketing skills whilst walking the dog.
- Small Biz Genius claims that 70 per cent of adults are listening to podcasts.
- 2 million podcasts are registered by Google alone.
- TechCrunch reported a 27 per cent increase in podcast creations in 2019
How to start a podcast in 12 steps
The Anchor Digital guide to starting a podcast includes the following:
- Choosing the right topic
- Deciding on a format
- Picking a title and writing a description
- Setting yourself up for success
- Podcast equipment needed to get you started
- Getting your podcast creatives sorted
- Editing your podcast
- Recording your episodes
- Podcast hosting platforms
Let’s get started!
Listen up! Here’s how to start your own podcast
1.Choosing the right topic
It all starts with one, simple idea. Let’s say you’re a new parent. Why not make a podcast about the trials and tribulations of parenthood? Or, if you are retired and constantly visiting one exotic destination after the other, why not make an amateur travel podcast? When you start off, it can be tricky to come up with fresh ideas. We recommend sticking to what’s already familiar to you and then build on that. Chances are that there are thousands of people out there that have very similar interests to you. Finding that niche and targeting super specific people, is your golden ticket to success. There are heaps of categories arts and culture Wellbeing Comedy business Relationships Branded Sports News True crime Entertainment Interview Documentary Educational Fiction And more! If you need some inspiration, check out these podcast ideas!
2.Deciding on a format
Before you start to worry about the ‘how’, think about the ‘what’: What style are you going for? Do you want to have a co-host or will you run the show alone? Are you going to interview experts or talk about your own experiences? Is your podcast going to be of a more serious nature or fun? Professional or casual? Maybe you’ll do a documentary-style podcast that looks behind the scenes of a topic that is of interest to you and your listeners. There really are no wrong answers.
And you have a lot of other important decisions to make:
How long should a podcast episode be?
Looking at the 10 most popular podcasts, you’ll quickly realise that their length is all over the place: From 15 minutes up to three, four hours, the length of a podcast depends a lot on its category. The only thing that can give you an indication for the right length of each episode is your content.
How often should you publish a new podcast episode?
Some resources suggest that two weeks is the perfect amount of time to successfully market a podcast (especially if it’s not your full-time job) and make the most of your budget. However, your publishing schedule needs to meet your own unique needs and situation. For your listeners, consistency is key. Whatever you decide your publishing routine to be, once you’ve made up your mind, try to stick to it.
3.Picking a title and writing a description
You really want to nail this one. A good podcast name can be creative (e.g. 99% Invisible, My Dad Wrote a Porno), descriptive (e.g. Football Weekly) or you might just use your own name. Famous examples are The Tim Ferris Show and The Joe Rogan Experience.It’s a decision that can keep you up at night. The name of your podcast is one of the first things people will see - before they even listen to a single word you have to say. Naturally, this is a really important decision. Once you’ve picked a name, make sure to check for duplicates. After all, you might not have been the first one with a brilliant idea. Simply google “Podcast Name + Podcast”A great description is equally important. You'll need to write a descriptive paragraph about your show for your audience. Avoid keyword stuffing, but make sure to play around a little and use keywords and phrases that speak to your target audience and will help them find you.Have a look at Peter Attia’s and Sam Harris’ podcast descriptions below. Both texts make it super clear to the audience whether this show is for them or not and what they can expect from each episode.
4.Setting yourself up for success
Now that you’ve figured out the ‘what’, let’s take a look at the ‘how’. To record a podcast, you’ll want to plan ahead:
- You’ll need a quiet place to record. Close all windows and turn off any machines that could interfere with your plans.
- Small rooms reduce echoes. You’d be surprised to hear how many podcasts have been recorded in walk-in-closets.
- Fill the room with soft items such as pillows or a carpet to absorb sound and muffle any errant noises.
- Make sure that pets and kids don’t disturb you for the next hour or two.
- Turn on your phone’s silent mode.
Just as you would when planning content or social media strategies, mark days for recording, editing and publishing in your calendar to help you stick to your posting schedule. We recommend using Airtable if you love organisation or Milanote if you’re a super visual person. There are heaps of templates available for both.
5.Podcast equipment needed to get you started
Apart from the obvious basics like a computer and a stable internet connection to upload your podcast) you’ll need a few things:
- A microphone with a wind muff for crisp and clear audio. Oftentimes these microphones just plug into your computer or iPhone. Depending on how many people will be part of your podcast, you might need more than one mic. Get a microphone stand so you’re not holding up your microphone - some have a built-in clip that you can use.
- Podcast headphones are a non-negotiable part of the setup. A good pair of headphones to help you gauge the sound while you’re recording. Over-the-ear headphones offer the best quality sound and help you hear exactly what’s being recorded. Remember, everyone who is recording needs their own pair!
Keep in mind that you really don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get you started. It’s best to begin with a simple setup and focus on what matters most: Your content! You really don’t need to be a tech person to host a podcast. Over time, and as your audience grows, you can invest in more and better equipment.
6.Getting your podcast creatives sorted
Many first-time hosts often forget about the visual side of things. Every podcast needs some eye-catching cover art and music that keeps it interesting and serves as transition break. You need to think about your intro and outro, too. It’s all in the details: Adding music to your podcast and picking a great cover all make for good branding. This means you’re not only immediately recognisable but also more memorable. If this is beyond your skill level, you could ask a talented friend to help you out or hire a freelancer to create a personalised theme. Tip: The Free Music Archive is a library of thousands of downloadable tracks that are free to use as long as you credit the creator.
7.Recording your episodes
If this is your first rodeo, it’s perfectly fine to feel a bit nervous. Relax and take a few breaths. Your first few episodes probably won’t be perfect, but that’s part of the journey and it’ll definitely get easier with time. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Have a bottle of water on hand.
- Don’t rush it and take a second to regroup if you’re very anxious.
- Have a script with a rough plan ready.
- Introduce yourself and provide some context for the audience.
- Speak slowly and enunciate so your audience can hear you.
- Try different distances from the microphone. You want to be close but not too close!
- When you’re done, export your file into MP3, that way it’ll be compatible with most podcast apps.
- Include ID3 tags. They are metadata for your audio files.
8.Editing your podcast
A lot of magic can happen with the right recording and editing software. There are heaps of great tools out there, so do some research to find one that suits your needs and skill level best. Some beginner-friendly suggestions that don’t break the bank include:
9.Podcast hosting platforms
As mentioned in our last article, podcasts are available on different streaming platforms. They’re the middlemen between you and your listeners. Picking the right platform is crucial for your success. You’re not only using it to manage your podcast files but to make sure that you actually get into people’s ears. Your host delivers each new episode straight to your subscribers’ feeds. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket! You can and should be present on the major streaming platforms for the greatest reach. Here are a few popular and free hosting platforms:
Wrapping it up
When you have polished and published your first recording, what’s next? First of all, don’t forget to promote your podcast! Make sure to share your work across the web, on your socials, with your friends, colleagues and family members. If you’re interviewing guests, leverage their audience. If they have a podcast, too, even better! Maybe they can interview you in return?Whatever your marketing strategy is, make sure to be consistent in your branding and to keep putting out content on a regular basis. And don’t forget to have fun! Podcasting will open you many doors, but can sometimes feel like a chore, too. If you ever reach a point where you think “Uh oh, now I’ve gotta record another one!”, just remind yourself of why you started in the first place and try something a little different. If you’d like to share your thoughts or need some help to get the conversation going, our team at Anchor Digital is here to help you promote your new podcast! Get in touch with us to kick things off!