A Beginner’s Guide To Launching a Podcast

Do you have a favorite podcast that you listen to during your work commute, while you’re at the gym or whenever you get the chance?

Podcasts are becoming an increasingly popular way to consume content. They are also relatively easy to create, if you know the basics.

Maybe you have expertise in a niche and want to share it with other enthusiasts. You may have been thinking about starting a blog or website or already have one and want more ways to connect with audiences. You may be a business looking to gain a competitive edge and are experimenting with more engaging ways to connect with customers.

Podcasts could be the perfect channel for you, but once you decide you’re going to do it, how exactly do you set one up? Follow our step-by-step guide to help you through the complete process.

1. Recording essentials and equipment

First, you need to have some essentials to be able to create a podcast:

● Recording device, preferably a USB microphone

● Editing software

● A place to host them (Website, blog or podcast hosting service)

● RSS feed

Technically, it is possible to record audio using just your smartphone or your computer microphone, but the quality is often terrible. Audio quality is crucial if you want people to listen to your content. For clear audio recording, get a USB microphone. You can purchase one for anywhere between $40 and $150. Some inexpensive microphones that you can use are:

● ATR2100 - a little over $65.

● MXL990 - a little under $100.

● Blue Yeti - a little over $100.

● Samson Q1U Dynamic - around $40

When you are just starting, you may want to go with the most affordable microphone, and invest in more equipment as you progress. Remember to record in a file format that is accepted by podcast platforms. (Common types are MP3, MP4 or MOV.) 

2. Define your niche and plan content around it.

Podcasts need to be consistent, which means you need to plan ahead. The content in your podcast should resonate with you and your audience. It should be valuable and relevant.

The ideal podcast length is anywhere between 20 and 45 minutes, so keep that in mind when you brainstorm possible topics. Make sure it is something you could comfortably discuss for that length of time, and that it is interesting enough to engage users for that long.

Some suggest building up content before launch. Instead of only uploading one episode on your launch date, make three episodes available. This way, listeners don’t form their first impression based on one stand-alone episode.

3. Name your podcast.

Your podcast name should be both simple and unique enough for people to remember it. People need to be able to search a topic and discover your podcast, so being descriptive is important.

For example, the popular Myths and Legends podcast covers exactly that. Stuff You Missed in History Class covers history, but with a twist. You can be clever and creative with your name. but people need to be able to find it foremost.

Unless you are already a recognizable brand or person like Tim Ferriss or Gary Vaynerchuk, don’t use your own name in the podcast. People won’t know what you offer and may have a hard time finding your podcast.

4. Decide your episode structure.

How will you format your show? Will there only be one host? Will you have regular interviews or a round table? Some common structures are:

● Interview - Ask experts or celebrities questions about their field or experiences. At times, you may partner up with other hosts and guests on a show.

● One-person show or multiple hosts - You have one main host or multiple. Hosts are usually expert, well-versed in the topic and entertaining.

You can do a hybrid structure and incorporate interviews within your show, but the key is to make sure to maintain consistency from each episode.

You may want to craft an intro and outro, a few sentences at the beginning and end of every episode that tells viewers who you are and what to look forward to in the podcast. It sets that tone for the rest of the episode and your entire channel.

5. Record and edit.

Once you have some audio recorded, you need to edit it. Your podcast will likely not be flawless the entire recording. You’ll want to cut out sections and condense it down to the most interesting and relevant parts of the program.

To do that, you need an audio editing software. Audacity is an easy-to-use, free software that has a suitable range of features to cut and edit your recording. Another tool that is often used is Garageband. If you have a Mac, you should already have it on your computer.

6. Create podcast cover and design.

To submit it to various podcast platforms and to market your content, you’ll need a cover and other artwork and design. The requirements for artwork are:

● Size - Minimum 1400x1400 pixels.

● Format - JPG and PNG are accepted.

● Design - Make sure it is clear and free of clutter.

Remember, most view podcasts on mobile devices. Make sure your icon is easy to view even as a thumbnail.

7. Publish your podcast.

People can listen to your podcast from two places: directly through a RSS Feed or through an app like iTunes or Podcast. There are dozens of podcasting listening platforms, aggregators and sites that round up the most recent and top-performing podcasts.

Either way, you need to set up a RSS Feed to submit it anywhere. It is a good idea to have a feed dedicated only to podcast episodes. This way, when apps and aggregators update your podcast channel with the latest episodes, new episodes won’t be crowded out by blog posts or other updates. They will ignore anything that isn’t a podcast, but you want to make sure the most recent content is added.

To get the maximum number of listeners, you should have a distribution strategy in place. At the least, you should have your podcast available on your site and on iTunes. The majority of podcast listens come from mobile devices and apps. In 2016, 64% of Americans over the age of 12 reported listening to podcasts from their mobile devices most often.

Consider submitting your podcast to:

● iTunes - If you only submit your podcast to one place (other than your website), it should be iTunes. The app accounts for the majority of podcast listens and subscriptions. There are very specific submission requirements that you can review here.

● SoundCloud - The audio sharing platform is ideal for podcasts. With an account, you can share your podcast episodes and communicate with your community. Learn more about the submission process and requirements here.

● Overcast  and Pocket Casts - If you submit your podcast, these aggregators and other will automatically pick up on it. (Another reason you should submit your podcast to iTunes.)

● Stitcher - A platform and mobile app that is similar to iTunes.

Encourage listeners to rate your show. The more reviews that you get, the better your rank on platforms and chances of growing your number of subscribers.

Convinced that you need to start your own? You don’t have to be a technical expert to set up your own podcast. However, you may want help from a professional design or marketing team to guide you through it. To learn more about podcasting, crafting engaging content or other ways to connect with customers and grow your business, chat with our team at 10twelve.