For a few years now many podcasts have been created out of great ideas. However, the process of starting a podcast can be tricky if you don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve rounded up everything you need to know on how to start your very own podcast this year!
1. Initial decisions
Before you take action, you need to make some initial decisions that will determine the basic details of your podcast.
– Name and logo
First, you need a name for your podcast. This may take some brainstorming, as the best option is the one that will be both catchy and descriptive of your content. A good thing to do is practice the intro of an episode using the name of choice to make sure that it makes sense to you.
Once you choose the name of your podcast, you’ll need a logo. For this, if you don’t have the chance to hire a graphic designer to do it for you, you can get inspiration from other podcasts and get some ideas to create a logo that will adjust to your name and niche.
A tip that everyone who has a podcast will give you is for you to choose a niche. This will allow your podcast to grow faster. However, if you’re not quite sure of your niche right in the beginning, you can test a few different topics on your episodes at first and check the analytics to see which ones did better, so you can decide on the niche afterward.
– Format and length
Before you start, you also have to decide if you’d like your podcast to have only solo episodes (you will talk by yourself), with guests, or mixed. Of course, this depends on your niche as well, because sometimes it’s easier to talk about a topic in a conversation rather than hold a monologue about it.
About the format, you also need to choose if your podcast will only be audio or if you also want it to be in video to post on YouTube. Just remember that if you also choose to go with video, you will basically need to edit “two episodes” every time: the audio and the video.
Additionally, you have to choose if your podcast will be conversational or more Q&A-oriented. This will make a difference when outlining your episodes and recording them.
Another thing you should set up from the beginning is the length of your episodes. Usually, the best thing is to start with shorter episodes, from 30 to 40 minutes each. Then, with the growth of the podcast and with more listeners, you can extend this time if you’d like to.
Don’t underestimate the work that will take to release episodes. With that being said, once a week is the perfect frequency and the most used by podcasters these days. This will give you just enough time to create an episode for the following week if needed, and you won’t get too tired that you’ll give up after a few weeks.
– Microphone and headphones
In the very beginning, when you still don’t know if you’ll like podcasting, it’s not worth investing your money in a good microphone if you don’t have one. During this time, you can easily record your episodes with a simple wired headphone that also has a microphone attached to it.
Also, wired headphones are better than wireless ones, as these last ones might give an echo to the sound in your episodes.
After a few months, once you’re sure you like podcasting and you’re willing to invest more, you can buy a microphone. However, it can be hard to decide on which one to purchase, as the most expensive one is not necessarily the best one. A great and more affordable option is the Blue Snowball iCE, which won’t capture background noises that can interfere with the recording, for example.
If you plan on adding music to your episodes, you can search for royalty-free music, but you can also pay a small amount on some websites to get the royalty of a specific song you think has to do with your podcast.
Another option is to get the music directly from your distribution tool, that has music specific for podcasts, so make sure to check that out first.
The two most used recording tools, if you’re recording with guests, are Zoom and Zencastr. However, the first one is still more used by podcasters, not only because it’s easier to manage but also because it’s more accessible.
As much as Zencastr was created for podcasting, after the recording, everyone in the call has to wait until the recording is converted. This means that if someone leaves the call before the conversion, the recording will be lost.
Additionally, Zoom offers different options for its users. Depending on your level of expertise in editing, you can save the audio of the video in just one file or separately. This means that you will either have one audio to edit from or you will have two, so you can mute one person or increase the volume separately, for example.
If you’re not a pro, this part can be scary. However, it’s not as hard as it seems, especially once you get some practice. There are many tools on the market to choose from, so go for the one that seems easier for you, especially if you won’t use video, because you’ll only need the basic tools for editing audio.
If you ever wondered how podcasters distribute their episodes on platforms, they do it through podcast distributors. These are tools that will ensure that your episodes will be available on all platforms, such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, and many others.
The two most used distribution platforms are Anchor and Buzzsprout. To make the right choice for you, the best thing is to do your own research and see what will work best for your situation, as the opinions on this are very divergent.
– Social accounts
Creating an email and social media accounts for your podcast are also two things you should be doing once you are in the process of creating your podcast.
An email account will make your communication with guests or sponsors more legit and formal. Moreover, social media will bring more people to your content, making those the face of your podcast. That’s why it’s very important to also create a social media strategy for your podcast’s social media.
To attract more followers and listeners, brainstorm some ideas to add to your social media besides the episodes themselves. For this, you can get some ideas from podcasts on social media and adapt them to your use.
– Outlining episodes
Whether you’ll have solo, guests, or mixed episodes, before recording anything, the best thing is to outline the episode.
In the outline, you’ll want to create the structure of the episode, indicating the intro, outro, and the middle content of the episode. The best tip is to put words or phrases that will indicate key topics to be talked about if you decide on a conversational podcast. However, if this is the case, remember (and remind your guest) that the outline is north of the conversation and that you don’t necessarily have to stick to it or the order, so you’ll assure a natural conversation.
On the other hand, if your podcast will be more Q&A, outline the questions, so you and your guest can go prepared before the recording.
– Promoting strategies
Especially if you don’t have a prior following, it may be hard to get people to start listening to your podcast, so you’ll need some promoting strategies.
Of course, the first thing is to get the word out to your family and friends so they can support you and promote your podcast to their following. Outside of that, you’ll have your social media, but you can also use different tools.
A good promoting tool is entering Facebook groups. Find ones that have to do with your niche and that will allow you to promote your content, but also search for specific groups for podcasters. Not only you’ll be able to promote your podcast to all kinds of people, but you’ll also learn a lot from their strategies as well.
Last, if your podcast will feature guests, you can do podcast swaps. This is a very organic way not only to have new guests but also to attract new listeners. For this, you will be a guest on another podcast and the host of that podcast will be a guest on yours. This is also a great tip for connections that can help you a lot in the future!
– Record in advance
Before starting your podcast, make sure you record as many episodes as possible in advance. Especially when you’re still getting the hang of podcasting, recording weekly can get very exhausting really fast.
Consistency is key. If you want to keep your podcast for some time, once you start, don’t stop. You’ll get more listeners with time, but if you miss one week of your podcast, you may lose all of them and have to start all over again, so be prepared!
– Intro and outro
Before actually getting into the recording, make sure to practice your intro and outro. You can get some ideas by listening to a few podcasts and then creating your own, in which you’ll want to present your content and make it catchy, at the same time, ensure people will keep listening.
– Inviting guests
Listen to podcasts, search the internet and find people you’d like on your podcast. Once you find them, email them from your podcast email account explaining a little bit about your podcast, why you’d like them to be a guest, and what you’d like to talk about.
Make sure you know a little bit about them and explain how they would add value to your podcast and also how your podcast would add value to them as well. A good tip is to mention similar guests that you already had. If you didn’t have any yet, just explain that you’re starting a podcast and that you’d love them to be one of your first guests.
– Background noise
Background noises are always something to be careful with, especially if your podcast is just audio. If you’re recording with a guest, before actually getting to the recording, ask them to record in a quiet place and to also use headphones to reduce any possible noises.
Starting a podcast can be tricky, especially when you have to look up many sources to get all the information you need. That’s why we put this article together so you have everything in one place explained and detailed. We hope we gave you all the tips you need to start a successful podcast this year!
Ana Tagliati is a Brazilian attorney, writer and podcaster. When not working, you can find her doing one of the many things she's passionate about, like writing, reading, traveling, working out, watching trashy reality tv shows, partying, going to the beach or enjoying a good time with family and friends.