You’ve decided to start a podcast. That is great! But how do you actually get started? This article will help you with the basics of how to get the ball rolling. You can worry about the more detailed things later, but the first step is just to get started!
Table of Contents
Why should you start a podcast?
Do you remember how blogging was just some weird hobby in the early 2000’s, and is now a booming industry that people are generating income from?
This is the 2000 of podcasting.
With the invention of voice controlled devices like Alexa, busier people without time to read, and increasing podcast awareness, statistics show that podcasts are quickly gaining in popularity. The sooner you start your own podcast and become established in your niche, the sooner you’ll benefit.
Since starting my podcast, Backyard Bounty, I have been contacted for advertising opportunities, paid writing gigs, increased brand awareness, and increased website and social media traffic.
There are other benefits that come with podcasting. Believe it or not, I am a shy and quiet person. However, I LOVE talking to new people and learning more about things I enjoy. Podcasting has connected me with some otherwise unreachable people, some of my idols even. It has also improved my speaking skills. I am really excited to see where podcasting leads me in the future!
It’s never too late to start podcasting, so don’t let anyone tell you the boom is over. The best time to start is now!
How to get started
Show Name and Cover Art
Before releasing your podcast to the world, you’ll need a name for it! I find it helpful to brainstorm a list of 5-15 options. Then, take a look online and see if a podcast by that name exists. If so, cross it off the list. Then, ask your friends, family and social media their thoughts. They may even have some great suggestions you hadn’t thought of.
While it would be best to avoid it so listeners aren’t confused, you can always change the name later.
Once you have a show name, you’ll need cover art. Cover art is the image displayed on podcast players while listeners are listening to your show.
There are some great tips and size guidelines on creating cover art here.
What are you going to talk about? Will your show be solo or with a cohost? Will you be having guests? These are some things to consider and maybe even write down.
If you plan to have a cohost or guests, now is a great time to start reaching out to people. You’ll be surprised how many people say yes!
After you record an episode (more on that in a bit), how do you get it on iTunes and other podcast players? You’ll need a podcast host!
A podcast host is a platform where you’ll upload your recordings to. The host creates an RSS link that you share with podcast players like iTunes and Stitcher. Players use this link to pull your episode information from the podcast host. You only share this link once with podcast players, and all future episodes are automatically synced with the players. It is a much easier process than it sounds, I promise! Your podcast host will walk you through the steps.
I use Buzzsprout for my podcast. I started on the free tier, and have since upgraded to the $12/month plan.
Before choosing a podcast host I did lots of reading and Buzzsprout had the best reviews. I have been extremely happy with them.
If you sign up for Buzzsprout here you’ll receive a free $20 Amazon Gift Card!
Now that you’re set up with the basics, it’s time to record!
You don’t need a professional studio to record podcast episodes. If you are on a shoestring budget, you can absolutely record on your phone (or computer) in your closet. Seriously! Your closet is a great location to record.
If you are just wanting to dip your toe in and try things out, don’t invest in equipment yet.
Most cities have podcast studios that you can rent by the hour. Often these are studios with high end equipment and acoustic treatments, so you’ll achieve excellent quality recordings.
If you are looking for an excuse to buy new equipment, you can get a quality setup for about $300. Here is what I use:
- AT-2100 microphone
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd gen)
- Mic boom arm
- Mic shock mount
- 1/4 to 3.5mm headphone adapter
- Wired Headphones
There is a lot of debate on how long an episode should be. The best part about having your own show is you get to pick! I have recorded two hour episodes and 20 minute episodes. Do whatever feels best for you.
Consider recording 3-5 episodes before launching. When you launch your show, you can upload all of these episodes so listeners don’t have to wait as long while you create new episodes.
After recording, you can use the unedited file, edit yourself, or outsource the editing.
Originally I edited episodes myself on GarageBand or used Audiophonic. I have since hired an editor.
I highly recommend starting a website as well. It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate, but at least an online presence. You can read more about starting a website here.
Other useful things
The most challenging part of podcasting, for me, is having guests. There is a lot that goes into finding a guest and getting them on the show- especially if they are not tech savvy.
After I email a guest and they say yes, I send over a calendar link and a google form questionnaire. Since guests are often in other cities or countries, we record remotely with SquadCast.
Calendly is a free online scheduling platform that I use a LOT- even for things outside of podcasting. Guests are also generally impressed with its professional appeal and ease of use. Instead of sending emails back and forth and trying to account for different time zones, I build my availability in Calendly. When guests open it, it automatically updates to show events in their time zone. I also have Calendly set up to send a reminder text and email, and if something comes up guests can easily reschedule.
I use Google Docs for most of my word processing and such (because I have a Mac. But I also really like it). Google Forms is an easy way to create a prerecording questionnaire and audio consent. Here is what I’ve included in mine:
- Guest name and contact info
- Basic bio
- Suggested episode topics/areas of expertise
- Questions NOT to ask
- Links to social media
- Upcoming product launches
- Is there an affiliate program
Guests do say it is a bit of legwork, however, it really helps create a better episode and show notes.
SquadCast is an online application used to record with guests. Within the dashboard, you generate a link to share with your guest(s), and when it’s time to record, they simply click the link. There is nothing for the guest (or you) to install.
SquadCast also has a video chat option so you can see each other.
SquadCast records locally and uploads recordings to the cloud, so you’ll get high-quality audio recording regardless of internet speeds. They also have a backup, so if you lose recordings they can email them to you. Recordings are available in .wav and .mp3.
I’ve had mostly good luck with SquadCast and highly recommend it for guest recording!
I highly recommend transcribing all of your episodes if you can afford it. Transcription will help your SEO, but will also allow hearing impaired guests access to your show’s content.
Buzzsprout offers an ai transcription service, but I have not been overly impressed with it. I like to use Rev.com, which is a transcription service done by real live humans!
Receive $10 off your first Rev.com order here
Along my podcasting journey, I have found the following to be incredibly helpful resources:
Listen To This Article