Podcasting is the new marketing gold rush. Each day, thousands of people flock to the format for its many advantages. Whether you are trying to connect with like-minded audiences, build a community, demonstrate your expertise, or promote a service, podcasting is an excellent tool for attaining your goals. Let’s face it, it's also a therapeutic tool for story sharing. But how do you actually start a podcast?
Does starting a podcast seem overwhelming? If you just aren’t sure where to begin, then this post is for you. We’re delighted to help you find the right (and often free) resources for you.
*BYC Recommends: Set a timeline for yourself. Choose a launch date and work backward from there.
Wondering How to create your Podcast Brand?
1. Choose your topic: What is your podcast about?
2. Focus on your audience: Who do you want to speak to? It’s helpful to get really specific; consider age range, locations, languages, and interests–for example. Know why your podcast adds value to their lives. These factors will help you with your promotional targeting later on.
3. Format is a creative way to think about how to start a podcast. Will you conduct interviews or share long-form narration? Or would a mix of both be compelling? These decisions will help you structure your overall story. Next, consider how your timing will serve the story. You can make your show episodic. Or maybe you are interested in one-off long-form shows. If you choose to make your podcast episodic, decide when the episodes will go live. Whether episodes are released weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or bi-monthly is up to you.
4. Consider running time. How much time will it take for you to tell the best story? Not sure yet? It’s ok. Start seeing how 20/30/40 min run times work for you. You will figure it out along the way. To dive deeply into a topic, you may want to create “seasons.”
5. Pick an intriguing name & compelling tagline. It doesn’t matter which you start with, but eventually, you’ll need to have both. P.S- working titles are ok, too. (e.g ours is: Be Your Change, create the world you want to live in)
6. Design your podcast’s visual components. Not everyone is a design expert and that’s okay. We love Canva’s beautiful templates and easy-to-use interface. Thankfully, your podcast look isn’t a face tattoo! Why not change & experiment until you land on something you love? You can change and change again! Your first attempt is not permanent.
7. Create a webpage. Include all the great details about you (the podcast team) and your podcast on your webpage. You can also collect email addresses, start promoting your work, and gather input before you even launch your first episode! Think of your website as a tool, not a task. It’s a place for your audience to get to know your work. Maybe you’ll feature artwork, upcoming guests, or your process. Your website can help you gather input from your friends and your community. By doing so, you include them in your process and tune in to their interests.
8. Do your research! Start by listening. Why are some podcasts more engaging to you than others? Do you enjoy your favorite podcasts because of the content or is it the hosts? Will you listen to a format you don’t love because the subject is compelling? Get inspired! Then, have fun experimenting with your podcast.
Pre-Production Guidelines For Beginners
A great podcast starts with a great plan.
*BYC Recommends: Try producing at least 6 episodes in advance. With these episodes queued up for delivery, it will be easier to focus on promotion. It’s better to focus on one item at a time rather than being split between making and promoting. Apply the 80/20 rule: 80% promotion and 20% production. Keep this simple rule in mind as you forge ahead.
1. Develop a 6-month content calendar or planning timeline when you start a podcast. This is a great way to keep you creating an episode a month.
2. Choose a day to put out your podcast. Sounds simple, right? Try to be consistent with the times and days you make your show public. Audiences love consistency.
3. Map it out. Start by looking at the topic as a whole. Next, think of how many episodes you might need to tell the story of your topic. Then look at who you might interview and in which episodes. You may find you need more than one episode and maybe even more than one season! Your map will help you avoid stumbling blocks.
4. Create your ideal guest list. Think about how including different guests’ voices might be valuable to your podcast’s audience. Maybe you’ll want to hear from subject matter experts, people with compelling stories, and/or interviewees with differing perspectives. Some episodes may include multiple guests while other episodes may just feature the host narrating. You get to choose.
5. Write an elevator pitch for each episode. This will be a quick and efficient way to keep your episodes specific and clear. Also, it will give you a way to talk about the focus of your podcast.
6. Introduce yourself with a thorough and honest bio. Don’t be too modest! People want to know the person behind the voice. Include your team's information too.
7. Write your podcast. We strongly recommend you create (at least) a rough script. A script doesn’t need to be scary. Simply jot down: research, questions for guests, and the topics you’ll cover. Having a basic understanding of who your guests are will be helpful for your interviews. An outline or script can shape your podcast so it has a beginning, middle, and end.
8. Writing is rewriting. Consult fellow podcasters or trusted community members for feedback. Getting help early (and often) will take your episodes from good to great.
How to Start The Production Process on Your Podcast
Production- A key part of how to start a podcast.
You have your voice. Your episodes are flawless. The podcast website is flourishing. Now, it’s go time!
*BYC Recommends: Be patient with yourself. Learning new skills takes time. If you plan ahead you’ll be golden. Let your podcasting passion drive you forward.
It’s also important to note that it doesn’t take lots of gear or money to record a podcast. But, it does take a little of each. You’ll need equipment. However, the essentials don’t have to break your bank. Reading reviews is an excellent way to find budget-friendly gear that meets your technical needs.
1. Computer. Sounds obvious, but make sure your trusted bot is capable of holding your recording software.
2. Recording software. Our top three suggestions are; Audacity: free and simple, GarageBand: available for Mac users free of charge, and Adobe Audition, which is affordable and available to all podcasters despite computer type.
3. Microphone. This is essential. For cost-efficient solutions (and planet-friendly) go vintage. Which is a fancy way of saying second-hand. The articles we share contain great info for new podcasters.
4. Headphones. Unfortunately, your average commuter headphones won’t do the trick. BUT there are many affordable and effective options to choose from. See below for recommendations and consider second-hand equipment!
5. And you’re off! Or, is it, ON? When on the air, think of the microphone as a sleeping baby. Any sound but your voice can wake it. Find a quiet room, preferably carpeted, and avoid all other sounds but your voice. No eating or drinking please (it might also stain the carpet!)
6. Listen to your recording. Rework your diction and aim for clarity. Becoming a pro takes a little practice. Go back to the first episodes of your favorite podcasts and you might recognize the sounds of beginnings. It's encouraging– at least for us!
How To Do Podcast Post- Production
It’s a wrap!
*BYC Recommends: Get over listening to the sound of your own voice! It’s true, getting used to our voices takes some time. You’ll be fine, we promise.
Remember writing is rewriting? Same here, only harder–sorry. Post-production might seem daunting when you’re new. Practice, practice and practice some more. Editing your own audio isn’t easy, but it’s the key to high-quality sound. Think of how much creative control you’ll have as the editor of your work! Rewarding, right?
1. Listen, listen, listen. First, just listen. Then, listen and take notes. On the third listen, start cleaning up. This may seem overwhelming but this process will actually save you lots of valuable time.
2. Take out any long pauses or awkward silences. Listen like an audience member, not as yourself, the podcast maker. What stands out in a bad way? What do you want more of? You can enhance your story by taking out the bad or awkward and arranging the great content accordingly.
3. Say bye-bye to coughs, sneezes and mumbles. Then, start a glorious collection of all of them for your own personal amusement.
4. Remove doubles, obvious explanations, and repetition–your audience is smarter than you think!
5. Add music. Make sure you properly license the music you are using. Without a license, you could find yourself in some legal hot water. Don’t be afraid, definitely include tunes to keep the show interesting. If you’re really creative, you might even compose your own original sounds.
6. Record intros and outros. If you have credits or mentions, pop them into the episodes during this post-production stage.
7. Invite a good listener. By your 8th time through, it’s possible your ears will start hearing what they expect to hear. A fresh set of listeners will help you fine-tune any ambiguous parts. They’ll also be able to point out areas that need attention.
8. Publish your podcast! Finally! Is editing actually over? It's time to send your beautiful podcast out into the world. Upload time! How? Choose a hosting site with an RSS feed where your podcast will live. You can find a list of those below.
9. Once your podcast has its RSS home, it’s time to distribute it to all major platforms. Each platform has a review process and adds some days to the time your podcast becomes public. Just think of this as the essential step. Soon your podcast will live in: iTunes, Spotify, google podcast, and many more!
10. Promote! Now that the show is out of the nest and flying in the air people need to know about how to hear it. Make sure you share, post, and ask your listeners and friends to review. Social media is a great tool for promoting your work!
Sounds like a lot? That’s because it is.
But, great planning and the patience to simply move one step at a time will keep you engaged in the process of creation. Try to see the excitement in bringing your podcast into the world.
Hopefully, these guidelines have shed some light on the “mysterious” path to podcast making and producing. The links below will help you along on your journey.
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Now that you’re on your path, explore assets that elaborate on areas where you need more support. Here’s a curated list of some of our favorite free sources.
- WNYC Studios
- She Podcasts
- Getting Started: Sound Girls
- Free Editing Sofware: Audacity
- Hosting Platform
- Audio Editing & Sound Design