How to Start a Podcast: A Step-By-Step Guide
If you are a beginner and want to start a podcast, then you have arrived on the right page. This guide is going to walk you through the step-by-step strategic process of starting a podcast, that will help you in starting your podcast from an initial idea to going live. Let's begin!
“Most people that I know are interested in on-demand stuff; the podcast is essentially audio Netflix.”- Jordan Harbinger.
How to Start a Podcast:- t is 2021, and one of the on-demand industries that are seeing a boom is podcasts. While there are over 600 million blogs out there, there are only 1.75 million podcasts so far. Furthermore, there have been about 100 million podcast listeners per month in 2020, which is expected to grow to 125 million listeners in 2022.
And, if you are wondering if this is the right time to enter podcasting, the answer is YES! While podcasting may not be as big as YouTubing, it is all set to become the big thing tomorrow since giants like Spotify and Apple are betting big on it.
So, what are the things you need to do to start a podcast? Read on.
Steps to Start a Podcast
While starting a podcast might seem like child’s play due to the flexibility it provides currently, it is as detailed as any other media production like a photo or video. Here are the broad steps that you need to cover:
- Planning (the Why and the Who)
- Choose a name and topic
- Decide the episode time and format
- Finalising the creatives (cover art, music, background score)
- Recording and Editing Equipment
- Scripting and Describing the show and episodes
- Recording the show
- Choosing the Podcast Hosting Service
- Submission to directories
- Promotion, Marketing, and Advertising
- Making Money from Podcasts
Step by Step Guide to Starting a Podcast
Now that you know the steps involved in making a podcast, let’s dive more into the details of what each step entails:
Planning (the Why and the Who)
Before you start recording the content for your podcast, it is necessary to understand why you are doing it. While podcasting is creating content at its core, realising and aligning that with an end goal should answer the why of it. Then why should essentially be the USP and also the problem is solved.
Once you figure out the why, it is time to figure out the who. The audience that you are targeting and the people who you want listening to your podcast. This falls directly in line with determining the why, as the audience will approach the show only if it caters to their interest and solves the problem they are looking for answers to.
Choose a name and topic
Choosing a topic is the first step after determining your audience. When you assess your audience, there might be a lot of topics within the niche. Choosing one that you want your channel to resonate with should be directly in line with the why.
Adding to that, choosing a name and the topic are some of the most crucial elements in podcast success.
If your name is too generic or too complicated, then you might risk getting lost in the crowd. The best way to choose a name is to decide on your topic and add a slightly creative element by adding everyday slang from the community.
E.g., True Story Bro, The Chill Podcast, etc.
Decide the episode time and format
Once you have laid down the name, topic, and done with the preliminary planning, it’s time to move on to the actual podcast planning, i.e. episode count, length, and the format. This is the step in which you lay down the basic flow of the episode, the segments, the details of what each episode will include, a broad outline, if you may.
You would also want to include the length of the episode and the number of episodes you want to have on a particular topic. This will help narrow down your efforts appropriately and more fruitfully.
While it is easy to get carried away in shooting 100+ episodes, it would be better to start with a plan for 15-20 episodes and then build from there.
Finalising the creatives (cover art, music, background score)
Once the primary directives of the podcast are done, it’s time to dive into the slightly more creative stuff. One of the biggest things that will make your podcast recognisable is the cover art. Take your time with it and design one that will resonate with your brand as a podcaster.
Post that, to make your vocal content sing, you would want some music that will form the intro, outro, and the main background score.
You can either get some music made professionally or license the rights for using some existing music for your podcast. That being said, the former method will be cheaper.
Recording and Editing Equipment
Podcasts are similar to video shows in the sense both have to be recorded. However, with videos, you have visual cues; your voice has to do all the work with podcasts.
Hence, recording equipment should be top-notch. You can either use software tools like Audacity, Alitu, or GarageBand, which offer recording and editing functionality, or record using one way and then use software to edit.
Podcasting relies heavily on the delivery since there are no visual cues involved, so that it might be slightly intimidating a lot of times.
So, it would be an excellent bet first to use standard equipment like a simple lavalier mic for your phone to record the content and then eventually graduate into professional tabletop mics.
Scripting and Describing the show and episodes
Like a conventional Netflix show, each episode has its script and its description to intrigue the viewers. Similarly, you will have to write an intriguing description for the show, episode, and any special feature episodes.
Before any episode, you want to have a complete script prepared of what you will say, how you will say it, and when you are going to say it. You can do all of this via pointers, full-blown sentences, or a well-scripted document like the ones you see on TV. It ultimately boils down to what you are comfortable in preparing.
Recording the show
Now that you have done the groundwork, it’s time to record. Press the record button on the software and start delivering your content. At first, there is a very high chance that it might not turn out how you expect it to, and that is okay.
The best approach is to do a trial run of 1 min and understand how your content is turning out. After 2-3 trials, you will determine what way and speed of delivery work best for you.
Once you have decided that, you can record the entire episode in one go or break it into short segments to merge during editing.
Choosing the Podcast Hosting Service
After you have recorded and edited the episode, you need to decide whether you want your content to be downloadable or not. In today’s time, it is an excellent choice to make the show downloadable.
So, for that, you will need a podcast hosting service that will host your audio files in the long run for other listeners. Choose a podcast service that offers the most benefits, the best price for your budget, and the maximum audio file size that you can host.
Submission to directories
Post the completion of production; it is finally time to go live! Apple Podcasts is one of the oldest ones out there, but newer entrants like Spotify have started to pick up as the go-to option. Use metrics such as engagement, platform size, and audience presence to gauge which directory will bring you more success.
At first, you might be compelled to list any and every directory out there, but that should not be the case. Instead, list in one directory, build an audience and then expand.
Doing too many platforms can get overwhelming due to the specific content calendar for each, tracking the regulations, and other nitty-gritty details.
Promotion, Marketing, and Advertising
Like any media product, promotions, marketing, and advertising are a must. If you have a dedicated social media network or page on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram where people of your community interact, you can start from there. Otherwise, you can start promoting through your own social media accounts.
Marketing is equally important to build a brand identity and get more listeners. Using various tools like boost posts, or targeted adverts, you can make sure to come up in front of the right kind of audience.
This might take time, but it will be worth watching your show to get more subscribers and listeners. Basically, what you are doing here is to show “your people” why this podcast is worth listening to.
Making Money from Podcasts
Pretty much like YouTube, you can earn money from podcasts as well. While YouTubers rely on showcasing the product visually, you can do the same by getting endorsements from the brands that you use the products of. Usually, brands have no problems collaborating if you have at least 5,000 to 10,000 subscribers.
Later on, you can invite prominent identities from your niche or market some products to earn better. Sometimes, even platforms pay podcasters to produce their content. So, it might take its time to gain traction, but it will start making you a decent income once it does.
Conclusion- Is Podcasting the New Netflix?
Absolutely! Podcasts are tapping into a new way to engage people worldwide who want to enjoy their daily dose of information or interests via audio. And with the way the trend is catching on, it won’t be a surprise to see people doing podcasting as full-time jobs very soon!
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