With over 30% of the U.S population actively listening to podcasts, now is a great time to consider starting your own.
Sadly, often the fear of the unknown prevents potentially successful podcasts from launching.
In this post, we will aim to dispel your analysis paralysis and provide invaluable tips on starting a podcast of your very own.
Find a Reason for Starting a Podcast
Before you begin, you must have a crystal clear reason for starting a podcast. This must be established at the very beginning because it will help you stay on track and plan your content accordingly.
Clearly defining your reason for starting a podcast will also help you identify the audience you should market to.
There are two main reasons for starting a podcast
Share a Hobby
Hobbies can include things like:
- Discussing a particular martial art
- Recipe discussions
- Fiction / non-fiction storytelling (these are getting quite popular!)
Keep in mind that if you choose to create a podcast based around your hobby, it does not mean that you cannot make money from it.
As you grow your audience, you can start selling affiliate products or advertisement space on your podcast show.
Grow Your Business
Podcasts are a great building tool for brand awareness.
If you run a business and want to increase your client base, starting a podcast is a fantastic method of showcasing your expertise.
If you start such a podcast, your aim should be to establish yourself as an expert in your field – someone your potential clients would listen to and respect.
The best way to achieve this is to provide as much value to your subscribers as possible.
For example, if you run a social media marketing agency, the aim of your podcast should be to help your listeners dominate the competition with their social media.
By being overly generous with the value you provide, you are giving the impression that you have a lot of expertise you are capable of offering in your field – which will, in turn, result in many new clients.
Whether your motivation for starting a podcast is a hobby or to grow your business, aim to narrow down your topic to be as specific as possible.
If you love to play guitar and want to start a podcast, consider narrowing your topic to a specific genre of guitar – for example, Spanish guitar.
There is a lot of competition in the podcasting space – so aim to stand out in your niche and offer something unique.
Before writing your content, listen to some podcasts in your niche and ask yourself what it would take for listeners to tune in to your podcast over others.
Write these ideas down and start crafting your killer content!
Choose Your Podcast Format
The format of your podcast will govern the recording equipment you purchase for it, as well as your choice of a recording studio.
A podcast falls in one of three categories:
This format is the simplest because you are the only presenter. As a result, the recording equipment does not need to be highly specialized.
For a co-hosted podcast, you are presenting the show alongside another host.
Your recording equipment should, therefore, be capable of capturing two sound sources simultaneously.
An interview podcast is one where you interview guests to discuss a topic related to your niche.
Interviews can take place either live in your studio or remotely, via software like Skype. Your recording setup should, therefore, be capable of accommodating both scenarios.
How to Record a Podcast
Once you have clearly identified your reason for starting a podcast, the next step is to confidently understand how to record a podcast.
Let’s discuss some of the basic recording tools you will need.
You will need a microphone capable of recording in high definition.
If your budget is extremely lean, you can even record using just your smartphone. Smartphones nowadays are capable of recording very impressive quality audio.
Just keep in mind that smartphone microphones are not designed to focus on one particular sound source – they will capture background noise as well as your voice.
If you are recording using your smartphone microphone, you will need to do it in a very quiet environment.
Hot Tip for Starting a Podcast
A free alternative for a soundproof room is your closet! The coats hanging in there make for some very effective sound absorption material.
Many podcast hosts on a shoestring budget use their closet as a studio – just be sure to regularly open the doors to let some air in!
If you want a microphone capable of focusing on one particular sound source, the Rode Smartlav+ is a great low budget option.
This is a lapel microphone that can be clipped onto a speaker’s shirt for convenient, hands-free use.
The other end of it connects directly to your phone headphone jack and records onto software that can be downloaded from a smartphone application store
Note: If you have an apple phone without a headphone jack, you will need to purchase an adapter, such as the one pictured below:
If you are running a co-host podcast, you can purchase an adapter for plugging multiple Rode Smartlav+ microphones into the one phone.
If you want to invest in a more specialized microphone, the Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone is a fantastic choice that will not break the bank.
This microphone provides broadcast quality sound and connects straight to your computer via USB.
It also has an inbuilt headphone jack, so you can connect your headphones for latency-free monitoring of your recording.
The greatest challenge for interview-based podcasts is recording a podcast with an interviewee located offsite.
A great tip for recording remote interviews is to do it via Skype.
To record the best quality sound of a Skype conversation, you will need to use software installed onto your computer, rather than recording the sound coming out of the speakers with an external microphone.
There are two cost-effective options to choose from, depending on the type of computer you are using.
Mac users can use software called ecamm.
Windows users can use software called PAMELA.
A great free tool available for both Windows and Mac is Audacity.
Audacity really goes above and beyond with all of the incredible features it offers.
With this software, you can seamlessly delete a specific section of your recording, couple multiple recorded tracks together, add sound effects, and even background music.
Audacity even gives you the option of exporting your audio in different formats.
Find a Podcast Host
The final step to starting a podcast is to have a means of publishing it.
You could either publish your podcast freely on your website or invest in a podcast host.
The benefit to having a podcast host is the analytics that will they will provide (number of downloads etc).
A great tip when looking for a podcast host is to find one that provides an unlimited upload option.
That way, you do not need to worry about increasing your overhead as your show grows in popularity and you start uploading more frequently.
If you can find a host that also offers a free trial, you can freely test the playing field before committing to a subscription.
Podbean is a great, cost-effective hosting option. They offer an unlimited upload plan and a free trial!
All in all, you’d be surprised at how little is required to start a podcast.
If you have a great idea for a podcast show, the only thing standing in your way is your own hesitation.