Learning how to start a podcast is an effective and convenient way to deliver content. It builds an intimate relationship with listeners because of its one-on-one communication structure.
When content is delivered in this manner, listeners get information while simultaneously feeling it to be a personal conversation. Podcasts are effortless and easy ways to consume content. Podcasts can only be delivered digitally, eliminating the costs associated with written content, such as hiring a writer or blogger to share expertise on a subject.
All a podcaster needs are their voice and creativity (along with a few other things, but we’ll get to that!), so it avoids costs for the upkeep of an elaborate corporate system. As a bonus, podcasts are easy to archive, which reduces meeting and email storage costs.
With podcasts, the pressure for exposure and visibility is not as immense as other forms of content. Once a listener subscribes to a podcast, every new podcast is automatically downloaded to their account. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that allows podcasters to update their platforms easily and listeners to tune in to the shows conveniently.
According to a study by Podcasthosting.org, 55% of Americans have listened to at least one episode of a podcast, and 37% report listening to a podcast every month.
Listening to podcasts can be done anywhere – at work, at home, even during a commute. In a business setting, instead of having long meetings about a particular subject, a podcast can conveniently convey all the information that needs to be shared. This saves time and improves productivity with all parties.
If a specific podcast holds essential information, let’s say, instructions from a manager, one can download it and save it in storage. If it is kept on a mobile device, the podcast is available anywhere and anytime. This perk is especially beneficial for people who are on the go and need to consume information while attending to other tasks.
What to consider when starting a podcast
There are various ways to monetize a podcast, but the most common method is through sponsorships. When you promote a sponsor during the podcast, you are essentially creating an advertisement, and how much you earn from a sponsor depends on your number of downloads.
The higher the subscribers you have, the higher the rate that you earn. To raise your number of listeners, it is essential to determine what and how they want to listen to content. Ultimately, what they look for is a quality podcast.
There are five basic principles to a quality podcast:
- It must be authentic.
- It must have structure.
- It must have a central idea.
- It must have a targeted audience.
- It must be regularly scheduled.
Incorporating these elements together into one meaningful experience is an impactful understanding of how to start a podcast from scratch. Because podcasting is an intimate communication medium, speaking from a place that is informational, structured, and authentic is the key to building an audience.
Now that you understand the makings of a quality listening experience, here is a step-by-step guide on how to start a podcast from scratch:
Step #1 – Understand the purpose of the podcast
Why do you want to learn how to start a podcast? Do you want to do it for fun? Do you want to do it to promote a business? Do you need it as a marketing tool? Whatever the reason, a podcast is a great and effective way to build credibility and provide your listeners with entertaining and valuable content.
A podcast reaches a vast amount of people through easy listening, and your purpose in creating it affects the structure of the experience. If the podcast is a personal preference to talk about your interests, you will attract people who have the same fascinations.
If the podcast is a marketing tool, you will have to consider various methods to boost your visibility and traffic regardless of the topic or subject you have chosen and seamlessly include them in the podcast.
In either case, knowing the reasons behind wanting to learn how to start a podcast helps you stay motivated and dedicated to your goals.
Step #2 – Choose a specialty
If you have an existing blog or a business to promote, choosing a topic for a podcast is relatively straightforward. From a business point of view, it is best to stick to the subjects related to your company.
For example, if you manage a gym, you would want to create a fitness and health podcast, wherein you can discuss helpful tips on how to stay fit, including brief spaces of information on the services you provide. The audience that you attract will be people who are interested in healthy living.
From a hobbyist point of view, your selection of topics is just about anything under the sun, and your audience will comprise people that share the same array of interests.
Either way, podcasts are standard recreational and marketing tools, so it would help to do research and check on how many podcasts cover the same subjects. Suppose the topic is not extensively covered in other podcasts. In that case, that is an opportunity to blaze a trail and attract people interested in the subject but have no references.
If there are many podcasts about your topic, listen to them and consider ways to set yourself apart from competitors. Otherwise, you will merely be creating a podcast that has already been done, and it will be harder to build an audience.
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself who you would want to listen to this content. This way, you can keep a specific persona in mind and curate your topics for that customer base. Understanding the type of audience you are looking for helps to choose a specialty, which guides you in creating engaging content.
Step #3 – Pick a title
When you are picking a title, there are several ways to go about it, and each method comes with a set of pros and cons. The most common choice is to go with a name that explains right away what your podcast is.
For example, a health and fitness podcast titled “The Way To Weight Loss” depicts exactly what it is on face value and will attract listeners interested in losing weight. This approach is the most likely to pull in a specific audience.
However, it lacks memorability due to its unoriginal and common label. As long as the title is not overly wordy or vague and you are voicing quality content, it effectively finds the audience you are looking for.
If you want to stand out, you may opt for a clever and unique name for the podcast. For example, a podcast about lifehacks with the title “The Chamber Of Secrets.” Though it is a great way to have people remember such a distinct name, the audience would be unable to detect a lifehack podcast. Nor will they easily find it if they searched for podcasts on lifehacks.
But let’s say you change it to “The Chamber of Lifehacks.” That is a wonderful balance of uniqueness and clarity.
You may also name the podcast after your name, like “The Robert Caulfield Show,” but this direction is more suited when you have already built a large following. If you prefer to go in this direction, try to include a descriptive phrase along with it.
If your podcast is about hiking tips, you may title it “Hiking Tips, with Robert Caulfield.” This technique explains what it is right away with the bonus of gradually making your name known.
Step #4 – Decide on the format
Once you have decided on the topic, you need to consider the format of the podcast. Will you, as the host, provide all the content? Will you feature interviews with experts who have the content? Will there be another host alongside you to entertain the audience? How long will each podcast take? How often are you going to publish them?
This may seem like a bombardment of questions, but the answers are essential in understanding the structure of your podcast.
If you decide to go solo, you are building your own reputation and authority on the specialty. You solely choose which sponsorships to promote, and you don’t need to split the profits. The biggest challenge with going solo is the intimidation of being on your own and finding ways to entertain the audience by yourself.
If you want to host the podcast with another person, you no longer have to face the pressure of entertaining the audience by yourself. You have someone to banter with and make openings for a continuous conversational flow. You must have chemistry with the co-host for an enjoyable listening experience.
The downside of this format is having to integrate another person throughout the entire experience. This includes scheduling disruptions if one person is unavailable and potential conflict on the monetization. Is it 50/50? What if one person does more of the talking – does that change the balance of profit? And what happens if the other person is no longer interested in partaking?
If you are planning to have a co-host, establish strict guidelines to ensure that the podcast runs smoothly.
If you decide to put up a podcast to interview people and share their expertise, you provide credible information to the audience. Additionally, the peers of your guest will likely tune in to listen and support them. Many podcasters have built a following this way due to its trustworthy and authoritative spin.
However, podcasting is not the same as interviewing. To go with this format, you will need to practice how to be an interviewer. This means knowing when it is time for you to talk and how to ask the right questions.
Aside from the people involved in your podcast, you must also determine the duration of each episode. To do that, you must consider your topic and your target audience.
For example, if your topic is about task management skills, your listeners probably don’t have the time for a 45-minute podcast – they need something quick and useful. If your topic is casual, like gardening tips, you have a bigger window to discuss in-depth advice.
This also applies to businesses that want to cater to a specific audience. If your target audience is fitness devotees who enjoy listening to podcasts, you can create a longer episode to listen to as they train for the next marathon. If your target audience is business owners who like listening to podcasts but don’t have the time for them, make it short and relevant.
Step #5 – Choose a host
Every podcast needs a hosting account. Podcast hosting accounts are platforms that store your audio files and let people find you. They allow listeners to download and subscribe to your podcast.
You must sign up with a media or podcast hosting service to store your files. You might be wondering why it is even necessary to transfer your podcasts to a separate server.
Once you have accumulated many podcast episodes, it results in a big bulk of audio files that you may not know how to organize and store. Using a host server avoids the inconvenience of a slow website, plus you never have to worry about reducing the quality of your files just to fit everything into storage. The server does all that work for you and preserves every episode of your podcast.
Media hosts vary, but all in all, they provide the same benefits:
- Exposure to listeners
- A fast website
- Large storage space
- A better overall experience
Step #6 – Design a logo
First impressions are crucial. Colors and visuals are one of the first things that people perceive about a brand, and it is often the quality that pulls them in.
A study shows that it only takes people 10 seconds to form a first impression of a logo. Having an attractive logo for your podcast is vital in standing out during those critical 10 seconds.
If you need the perfect logo for your podcast, LOGO.com’s logo maker has everything you need to create an attractive and suitable visual. Podcast logos are usually displayed in a small size, and it will be one of the first things that potential listeners notice.
Since the visual is small, try to avoid cluttering it with unnecessary details.
LOGO.com is one of the few logo makers that understands the qualities of a good logo and shares designs that will work for your brand today and in the years to come. Of course, you get the chance to customize it as you please, but you’ll still end up with a professional and brandable logo.
Step #7 – Get the equipment and software
Podcasts don’t have to involve extensive equipment. The bare minimum for any podcaster is a computer with a good microphone and internet access.
However, it is important to note that the higher the quality of your setup and equipment, the better the sound quality of your podcast.
Since you are starting a podcast from scratch, there is a benefit in keeping your operations simple and easy. This way, you can focus more on keeping the content interesting and building a following. There’s always time to upgrade your equipment later on once you start gaining momentum.
Just be sure to run a microphone check before every podcast to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
Step #8 – Record an intro and outro
Every podcast has a brief introduction that includes the name of the show, what the show is about, and why people should listen. The statement is usually a part of every episode. Because it is a constant presence, you may start practicing and recording it yourself. You may also opt to have it done by a voice-over artist.
It is also a good idea to include an “outro” in each episode with a call-to-action for your audience. For example, you can end the podcast by telling listeners how to contact you or where they can access more related content. This portion of the podcast is a helpful way to keep listeners engaged by voicing your appreciation and showing enthusiasm for the next episode.
Once you are happy and satisfied with your recorded intros and outros, save them as templates in audio editing software. This allows you to simply attach the templates in each episode, making the editing process convenient and easy.
Step #9 – Plan and promote your launch date
Launch your podcast like it’s an exciting event (which it is!). People won’t anticipate it or know it is a big deal unless you make a big deal out of it yourself. This is the time to attract as many eyeballs as you can to your podcast before it launches. Tell your friends, family, colleagues – anybody in your network – to support you and look out for the launch date.
Suppose you have access to a broader group of people, like social media platforms, email lists, various groups, post about it and let them know that the podcast is launching soon. The more visibility you get, the better.
During the week of the launch, show your appreciation to the people who interacted with your posts. You may ask them to leave comments, reviews, feedback – anything to show your audience that you are keen on building a relationship and sharing your knowledge. Let them know that they can share this with anybody who may find your information helpful. Even if you start with a small audience, the direct and personal interaction lets people know that your podcast is an engaging one with an invested host.
Step #10 – Launch and continue to promote your podcast
Launch your podcast! And even when you have launched it, you must constantly promote it. Don’t fall for the misconception of “If you launch it, the listeners will come.” The more exposure and effort you exert into promoting your podcast, the more people will start getting in tune with you as a host.
Though the process of starting a podcast is a bit more involved than creating a blog, it ultimately requires less energy and time in the long run. Once you have launched your podcast out into the world, always think about promotions and building your audience. The bigger the audience, the more profit you attain from sponsorships. First things first, focus on molding a trusting and loyal relationship with your audience.
How to start a podcast – Let your voice be heard
Podcasts play a massive role in the digital marketing space. If you know how to operate them for your business, it can be a powerful tool that leads to more traffic and a loyal community of supporters. Not only can podcasts promote your brand, but they are also an effective medium in conveniently building a solid rapport with customers. And that is a crucial element for all long-term success in a business.
Guest author: Kari Amarnani is a content marketer at LOGO.com. She’s a creative writer who is fascinated by the world of business and marketing. Outside work, she enjoys reading, painting, and a great cup of coffee.