Top tips on how to start a podcast

What exactly is a podcast?

A podcast is an online audio recording that you can listen to. It has episodes and seasons just like a TV or radio show. Subscribers are able to download episodes of a podcast as soon as they become available, listen to the podcasts whenever and wherever it is convenient for them, and subscribe to a certain podcast. A mobile phone, tablet, or laptop is all you need to listen to a podcast.

But how exactly do you go about creating your own podcast? Here are some tips from experts on how to start a podcast.

1. Determine your subject matter as well as your target audience.

The first thing you need to do is decide what the primary purpose of your podcast will be. You need to find a topic that is both broad enough to cover a lot of ground and specific enough to attract people who are interested in the same thing.

Jennifer Moxley, the founder of Sunshine Media Network, advises people not to try to be everything to everyone. Part of her job is to help clients start, improve, and get interviewed on podcasts.

By showing quality content to a specific group of people who want that content, you’ll find your voice and start to grow your audience, she said.

If there aren’t enough podcasts about your industry, there are probably listeners out there who want to learn more and are consciously looking for new content. Find a niche market where you can quickly and confidently speak for long periods in a casual and interesting way.

Select a name you want.

As part of figuring out what your topic is and who you’re writing for, you should pick a catchy name.

You can find the perfect name for your podcast in a few different ways. You are able to think of a title that is not only descriptive but also explains itself. Another option is to make something clever and catchy, but make sure it ties back to your niche in a clear way. People who are looking for your topic should be able to recognize the name right away.

Even though it might be tempting, don’t put your name in the title. This will only work if your audience already knows your name very well.

Decide on a format.

There are a variety of formats for podcasts, the most common of which are solo shows, shows co-hosted by two or more people, and interview shows. When a podcaster hosts a solo program, he or she addresses listeners directly. In a co-hosted show, you and another host took turns talking into the microphone. You can host an interview program by yourself or you can split the hosting duties with another person.

The president of SmartBug Media and the host of the monthly podcast SmartBug on Tap, Jen Spencer, remarked that having two hosts while interviewing guests can be a bit of a hassle and may impede you from going into their interesting material. Despite this, she said that two hosts can share a show successfully as long as they each have clear roles to play.

It is more important to discover a structure that works effectively for studying your topic than it is to find an arrangement that you enjoy writing in.

Mary-Lynn Foster, co-founder of the coaching and e-learning company BIGG Success and co-host of its podcast, said, “In the end, it’s about having a message that resonates with your audience, not the number of voices delivering it.”

2. Obtain the necessary equipment.

You don’t need a professional studio with lots of fancy gear to record a podcast. To record audio, all you need is a laptop or tablet, software that lets you record and edit audio, and a good microphone.

Microphones

“Sound is the most important part of a show,” said Tom Scarda, the founder and host of The Franchise Academy Podcast. Don’t be cheap when buying a good microphone.

If you use a cheap mic, the sound may not be clear and sharp, which will make your podcast sound like it was made by a beginner. You should look for a microphone that has a USB connector so that it can be plugged into your computer. Please do not make use of the microphone that is already installed on your computer.

Although there are inexpensive mics available, a higher-quality device should be considered for serious podcasting. A lot of podcasters like the Blue Yeti USB and Audio-Technica microphones.

Popular condenser mics, such as the Blue Snowball iCE, can produce a rich sound. Make sure you buy enough microphones in case you have a lot of guests or speakers.

Consider buying a pop filter to reduce or stop the clicking and smacking sounds people make when speaking normally into a microphone.

The best place to record audio is somewhere quiet, away from cars and natural sounds. To cut down on the time you need to spend editing each podcast, you might want to divide the room and add dense, sound-absorbing materials. Some podcasters record in a closet, where the carpeted floor and clothes on hangers absorb sounds from the room.

Taking recordings and editing them

You will need audio software to make your podcast. If you already have a MacBook or iPad, you’re already ahead of the game when it comes to recording and editing. GarageBand is a free, easy-to-use studio editing program that comes with most Apple laptops and tablets. It can be used by professionals and is easy to learn. Watch the GarageBand Podcast Editing and How to Use GarageBand for Podcasting videos on YouTube to learn more about how to use it.

3. Establish your personal style.

The most preferred podcasts offer targeted information in an interactive, interesting way.

A teleprompter has no place in a podcast. There is a possibility that a brief topic outline will be useful, but good podcasters do not employ scripts since they cause the speaker to use formal language that does not resonate with listeners. Podcasts that feel like ads or that sound like college lectures also won’t do.

Be yourself. Use essentially the same language and tone that you use when speaking with a close friend while discussing what you know. Successful podcasts let people get to know the people who make them.

“Anyone that is new to podcasting needs to know that the key to being interesting is to be interested,” said Jason Klamm, who created the Comedy on Vinyl podcast and is the founder and executive producer of StolenDress Entertainment. “Curiosity is the most important thing, even if you already know a lot about a subject.” Make a connection with each show, either with the person being interviewed or with the audience. At some point, you’ll figure out what story you really want to tell.

Once you’ve decided on your style, you’ll need to think about your podcast’s duration and how often it comes out.

Determine the frequency.

How often new episodes are released is up to you and your material. It’s not necessary to film and release a new episode every week, but doing so could help you establish your brand and grow your audience.

It’s crucial to retain a consistent release schedule to keep your audience and attract new ones, as Klamm wished he’d known before starting his podcast. Perhaps the success of the show could have been more rapidly expanded “if I had.”

Spencer suggests making a few episodes ahead of time so that you’re not scrambling to create fresh ones. So, “you don’t feel unnecessarily pushed, yet you are able to stay on a regular schedule for your subscribers.”

Choose how long it will be.

The length of your podcast should depend on how much you have to say about a subject and what your listeners want.

Certain types of listeners prefer five-minute podcasts, while others prefer four-hour podcasts that go in-depth on certain topics. Most podcasts are between 20 and 45 minutes long, which is about the length of the average commute.

Experiment with different durations until you find what works best, and don’t be reluctant to switch things up when required. What you don’t want to do is stretch out material to fit a specific deadline or, on the other hand, pack so much information into an episode that it overwhelms listeners.

The goal of the podcast is to get people to talk to each other and build a community over time. People will take the time to listen to what you have to say, so make it worth their time.

4. Conduct interviews correctly.

The top video conferencing services (for example, see our review of Zoom) allow you to record calls with remote guests. The call quality is far higher than that of landlines, and the connections are usually reliable.

You’ll need conversational and perceptive skills to obtain information from your guests, in addition to the technical tools required to record interviews. As the interviewer, it’s your job to make the guests feel comfortable and get them talking while keeping them on track.

According to Moxley, interviewers “must keep the interview moving ahead [as well as] focused and relatable.” When the replies start to go off-topic or drag on, they should remain attentive to the useful bits of information hidden in there.

When appropriate, interviewers should also be prepared to contradict or refute a guest’s claims or statements. This might be scary for podcasters who have never done it before, but it’s a must if you want to build a loyal audience and a good name for yourself.

It’s common for a podcast’s first interview to be filled with filler since the host is so excited to have secured an interview, Moxley added. In today’s media climate, if all you do is broadcast 30-minute ads for a company, no one will listen to you or trust you.

5. Improve and publish your podcast.

You are now ready to release your podcast into the world now that you have determined your tone and target audience, as well as performed and recorded your interviews using high-quality equipment. To do this, you should include the following in your podcast:

Music

You should use music that fits the style of your show at the beginning and end of your show. But don’t use copyright-protected music without permission. It’s a serious offense that will get you kicked off iTunes or Spotify.

Incompetech is one of the largest collections of royalty-free music available under Creative Commons licenses. But because the music on this site and others like it is free, it is very common and used a lot. If you have some money left over, you can pay a one-time fee at Jamendo to get royalty-free music. You can also get access to thousands of music tracks through the monthly subscription service Storyblocks.

Local bands and musicians are other resources for original, cost-effective show music. You can commission them to write something new, or simply ask for permission to utilize a snippet of an existing song. Aside from giving the artist some visibility, this collaboration gives you original music.

Voice-overs

An intro is a brief voice-over that, usually accompanied by music, introduces each podcast episode and the host(s) at the beginning of the show. In the end, you thank people for listening and tell them to check out your website. Through a service like Music Radio Creative, you can either record them yourself or pay a voice-over artist to do so.

The beginning and end of a podcast add personality and a sense of professionalism. They can be creative and fun, but most importantly, they should make a good first impression and reassure listeners that they picked the right podcast and that you will deliver.

Cover art

When browsing podcast directories like iTunes or Google Play, the first thing listeners will see is your program’s cover art. In order to be compatible with iTunes, your cover art must be 1400 x 1400 pixels in size, be saved as a JPG or PNG, and weigh less than 500 KB.

The cover image for your podcast is your first chance to establish a consistent visual brand. Include your logo (if you have one) and make use of basic typefaces and high-quality photographs to create podcast artwork that effectively conveys your podcast’s content. It’s important to bear in mind that the image will be seen by your audience in a significantly reduced form, so make it simple and clear.

Canva and Shutterstock are useful for finding stock photos to use in your cover art, and companies like 99designs, Podcast Designs, and Fiverr will let you get bespoke art made for a reasonable price.

Hosting

After you finish the audio and add any visuals or music you need, you can put the finished podcast on your website or choose other ways to share it.

A lot of beginner podcasters think you just throw your podcast up on iTunes and you’re done. But you need to sign up for a media host, which is a service that stores your audio files and which you pay for on a monthly basis. A podcast hosting service not only stores your audio files but also provides you with analytics, promotional tools, and a website for your podcast, while also connecting you to podcast directories like iTunes.

The most popular podcast hosting services are Libsyn and Buzzsprout, but additional options like Blubrry, Podbean, and Transistor exist as well.

According to Joey Held, digital manager at INK Communications and host of the podcasts The Good Stuff and The Noise (with INK) and Parks n Wrecked, “They make it easy to upload your audio file, add show notes, and get your podcast to the places where people will be listening.”

Once you’ve settled on a web host, your media host will give you an RSS feed in the form of a URL. Submitting this feed to services like iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, TuneIn, and Spotify is the next step. Once you have your RSS feed set up, you can let your audience know where to locate it so they can listen to it or even download it.

When creating a landing page for your podcast on one of these services, it is important to include artwork that fits the tone and style of your show. iTunes and similar platforms care about the little things, including the artwork and the language for podcast descriptions.

Launch and publicize your podcast.

To get people talking on the day of the launch, have a few episodes already done and uploaded. You should send out emails and make social media posts to your professional contacts informing them of the launch as part of your marketing strategy. An audience should be established before a product is released, and promoting new subscribers and reviews can increase your podcast’s visibility on iTunes, increasing the likelihood that it will be featured.

In order to maximize the impact of your podcast, consider sharing episodes on your blog and other online platforms. Also, be receptive to feedback as a means to figure out how to better serve your audience. If your audience consists of present or potential clients, this is of paramount importance.

Butler stated, “We have been able to monitor the most watched episodes and use that data to guide our advertising strategies.” One of my most recent podcast episodes, covering SEO fundamentals, is significantly outpacing the rest of them. This information proves that there is a need for our business to make more educational content about this topic.

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