With podcasts rising in popularity every day it is easy to understand why. Now the only problem is where to begin…You may have already started to look into equipment or places to record and became overwhelmed by all the information to start a podcast. Perhaps you were even completely discouraged from podcasts for a while and this is your second time looking into it. Consider this your ray of sunshine in the dark world of overwhelming podcast information!
Podcasts do not have to be overwhelming, in fact, they are supposed to be fun. In this blog, we are going to discuss how to get your podcast up and running. From the beginning steps of planning all the way to your listeners listening! By the end, you will be feeling more confident about making a podcast and ready to get started on your own!
How To Start a Podcast
The very first thing you want to do is the plan! What is your podcast going to be about **and who is your podcast for? Without knowing why you risk losing sight of your purpose and when things get hard, you might be more likely to completely drop it altogether.
Figuring out why you want to make a podcast will keep you motivated to keep creating even when you find it not as easy. Maybe you are a business or business guru ready to aspire and give out business-savvy advice. Or perhaps you are just an interesting person who wants to do this as a hobby to tell the world what you think. That’s fine too!
In all cases, this helps you figure out possible topics to discuss and keeps your subjects about something you are passionate about. It also helps you with setting realistic time goals for your podcast. If you are doing this as a business most likely you will schedule time specifically during your workday to achieve recording time. Versus if you are doing this podcast as a hobby then you may be recording in your spare time, off-hours, or late at night.
Figuring out who is key for your podcast. It is a good idea to write out exactly who it is that you want to listen to your show. This allows to you judge possible content based on if that listener would like something. Is it going to interest them or better their lives in any way? Ultimately, what is your listener going to be able to gain from listening to your podcast?
Then once you know exactly who you want to listen to your podcast, it is also much easier to figure out how to get your podcast in front of them!
Why Do They Care?
If you want to make a successful podcast you need to give people a reason to listen to your podcast. No matter if you are giving business tips, or giving an interview with a well known interior designer. You need to make sure you are providing useful, valuable content for your listener.
Once you establish value for your listener, you are creating reasons for them to keep coming back for more. This is important to consider in your beginning stages so you can preplan multiple possible episode topics. Giving your listener something to take away from each podcast episode also gives them topics in their everyday life to discuss with the people around them. Think about it this way you’re informing them, or entertaining them, or giving them advice, that they are likely going to use in their everyday life and maybe end up telling someone around them about you. Insert new followers!!
The Name Game
While choosing the perfect podcast name may seem like a make or break decision right now. Take note of the fact that once it’s all said and done and you are popping episodes out like a boss the name is ultimately just a name and you might even find the name to be irrelevant and unimportant later on.
The first thing you need to do when choosing your name is check for duplicates. This is an easy task. Use your podcast app to do a quick search of what is or isn’t available. Then follow up that search by hopping on Google to do a search there!
While you may find some podcasts that used your name or something close to it. This will save you hardship in the long run. Having a name close to another podcast can confuse listeners or prevent listener growth.
Consider keywords that your podcast focuses on and use those as your starting point. Just be sure to not stuff your name with keywords though as iTunes/Apple Podcasts have started to crack down on this. Also, don’t feel like you have to put the word “podcast” in your name. Lastly, I would advise against using your actual name as the title. While there are plenty of podcasts that do this, their hosts generally started with a significant audience before making a podcast. Unless you already have a large following I would advise you to steer clear of that idea. No matter what name you ultimately set on just be sure to fill in the “author” area so your listener has other ways to search for your podcast.
Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
When planning your podcast you already know you want to know your audience. Furthermore, you need to plan your content not just for one but multiple episodes. Once you figure out what you are going to talk about. Now you need to figure out how long you’re going to let yourself gab.
The question to ask yourself is how long do I need to get my message out? If your message takes 19 minutes to get out then stop there. There is no need to take a perfect message and pan it out just because it didn’t meet a certain time length. The same goes to say if your message takes 2 hours to convey then why chop it down? On the same note though remember you can take one topic and split them into two episodes too!
Length is for sure a subjective topic with podcasts varying in time from ten minutes to hours long. Figuring out the “sweet spot” for your podcast is a process but you shouldn’t worry too much just focus on your content and your audience. Over time, you will be able to gauge the best amount of time your listeners prefer, maybe even send out a survey.
Planning the frequency of your episodes should be based around realistic consistent goals. If you can only consistently do once a month then stick to that. If you can keep up with ever two weeks or once a week that’s great too. Just stay consistent. On the flip side if you are struggling to meet your deadline with good quality content then push it back. Releasing amazing content is more important than just putting sub-par content on time.
You can also do season podcasts. Like tv shows that have on seasons, you can do that with your podcast as well. Some creators do this to keep the fun in creating content. This allows them times away helping them prevent getting burned out.
Slap A Title on It
Just as conjuring up your name for your podcast is important. The same goes for drumming up a searchable, descriptive title for your episode.
When it comes to choosing the right title remember people are only seeing your title with no clue what they are about to listen to. Give them a reason to click on your episode! You want to make sure that from your title they know exactly what they are gaining by listening to that episode for example: “Five Tips For Raising Kids.” The reader knows without even listening that they will be gaining five tips for raising their kids. These types of titles can be found on most podcasts, but it’s for a reason…THEY WORK!
The fun thing about the format is you can switch it up! While keeping with consistency is still important in the format it is ok to break consistency here and there. No matter if you begin your podcast as a solo show, co-hosted show, interview, etc. Mixing up the format of your show here and there can keep listeners intrigued. Know that with every format there are going to be benefits and challenges to each. Also, if you begin with one format just know there is no rule saying you can not switch.
Mic Check 1, 2…
Ok, you have planned all that you can plan it is finally time to record. The first thing to remember is the more limited you are with your equipment and set up the more limited you are in the quality of the show.
The bare minimum you need in order to record a podcast is a USB microphone and access to the internet. Will this be a fantastic quality? Probably not. Think of your podcast as a business in order for you to make money you also have to spend money, right?
Obviously whichever mic you choose has to be in your budget. But if your serious about podcasting this is where investing in your business would pay off. So now let’s talk about quality but not robbing the bank. The right microphone will make all the difference in quality when making your podcast. If you have all the money in the world and want to buy the best top of the line mic more power to you. One popular mic is the Shure SM7b. It is one of the best-known mics in the podcast world manly thanks to Joe Rogan since this has been his go-to since day one. If you ask me, I like to find good quality while also keeping as much money in my pocket as possible.
Insert, the Rode PodMic with its mid-range price of around $300.00 this mic packs a punch. It includes everything you need in this start-up kit to get you making episodes and sounding professional. This little beauty is perfect for in-home podcasts achieving amazing audio quality. This kit includes the Scarlett Solo USB interface, giving you an input for your microphone, offering pristine sound. However, if you plan on having two people there and need a second mic, you can always splurge for the two-person kit as well.
But I want to also address the beginners who maybe think the price of the Lyra is steep. Maybe you are a complete newb and really are just sticking your toes into the podcast waters to test it out. In this case, I would suggest the Rofeer. This dynamic mic kit offers quality audio. This mic does a great job eliminating background noise. Is compatible with both the USB and XLR connectors and to top it off it even comes with its own pair of headphones or offers a “starter” pack. Starting at $34 this would be the best value and bang for your buck, for this price range.
Not so SOFTware
Once you plug your fancy new microphone into your computer, you are going to need some software to record and edit in. While there are many options out there, some are for sure more difficult to learn and manage than others. If you are a MAC user you most likely already have the handy dandy garage band software already on your computer and ready to use. If you have a PC or you just don’t really favor garage band might I suggest Audacity. This nifty software is a free, good quality, editing app that can meet the majority of all your podcasting needs.
Ok, so you have your plan and your equipment. Now is time to use them. While you most likely DO NOT want to write your showdown in script form having a paper with bulleted topics might help you guide your episode in the right direction but not make it sound like you are just straight reading.
Another thing to take caution to is how you talk into the mic. For many, this has proved to be a difficult thing to learn when starting a podcast. When beginning tries pretending you are talking to one individual listener. If it sounds like you are having a conversation with that one listener rather than just talking to yourself in a mic. It is going to sound much more natural and personable.
You ultimately want to form a relationship with your listener. You want to reach your listener on an emotional, or personal level so they want to come back to listen to your podcast over and over again.
In order to keep your audience’s attention, there are many tips and tricks you can do along the way. One tip is to have guests or co-hosts on your podcasts. More people equals more personalities on your show to relate to a wider span of listeners. Also, if your guests have a following and they enjoy your show you may be able to piggyback a follower from them!
Edit and CoVeR aRt
Now to make it pretty. This is the time you can edit out mistakes or bloopers you might have made when recording. You can add in music, level compression, or much more. If did choose to go with Audacity, to begin with, this is a good platform for producing your podcast easily. However, if this is the point of the ride where it is just too overwhelming for you there are other options as well. You can always outsource your editing to marketing firms to save you time and frustration, but this all depends on your budget.
You are almost ready to publish but first, cover art. Just like choosing your title, you need to pick or create some cover art to go with your episode. While there are professionals out there you can hire out, you can also use this opportunity to shine creatively. Since this and the title is what people see to decide if they want to listen…I suggest you make it eye-catching.
Let That Baby Fly
Finally, you are ready to release your podcast baby into the world! It is a popular misconception that you just upload your podcast straight to iTunes. Actually, you need a podcast or media hosting account. There are many out there to choose from but if you are looking for the quick and cheap route you might give Buzzsprout a lookie. Buzzsprout also offers 2 free hours of uploading which is perfect for the ones out there who just want to stick your toes in the water.
Once you have you have your masterpiece of a podcast and have it in your media host of choice. Then you get to submit it to directories where you grace the ears of some lucky listeners. After listening they can subscribe and download your magic! Most hosts have many great features like auto-submit or guided-submission tools. These hosting sites also make it easy to get your podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and a whole lot of other good sites.
If you already have a website then you don’t need an extra hosting site per se- you can just set up your podcast on your site. Either way, you have to have a spot on the web to store your episodes.
Well, that’s all folks! Now you know how to make a really awesome podcast granted you have something cool to say, with a fancy title to slap on it. So go out there and make yo’self a podcast already!
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