The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Podcast

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Podcasting has developed into a wildly popular way for individuals (and businesses) to reach their audiences. In fact, over 67 million Americans listen to podcasts each month.

The exponential growth of podcasts suggests there is an ongoing need for new content in this medium. If you have been thinking about starting a podcast, now is a good time to start.

 

Why Podcasting?

In case you aren’t convinced that starting a podcast will be worth the effort, take a moment to consider the benefits. You may be surprised to learn that the benefits of podcasting exceed any potential drawbacks.

 

  1. Producing a podcast can grow your audience.

Whether you have one follower or 1 million, you can reap the benefits of podcasting. If you have a handful of followers, just think of how much more you can attract by starting a podcast.

 

  1. It requires only a small amount of money to produce a podcast.

Unlike a radio program, the production costs for a podcast are minimal. In many instances, you can start your podcast for less than $200. This amount includes the value of the equipment and software.

 

  1. Hosting a podcast can help you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Although it may not happen overnight, your listeners will begin to look to you for solutions to their problems. Some listeners will reach out to you for help via email or social media channels. You may even be invited to speak at conferences or events.

 

  1. Your podcast can reach people who don’t have a lot of time to read blog posts or long articles.

Some people don’t like to read. Others love to read but don’t have much time to devote to it.

Your podcast can serve as another avenue for people to hear your message. The good news is they can listen to you while they drive, exercise, or relax in their homes.

 

  1. Podcasting helps you refine your brand’s mission and find your voice.

As your podcast grows, you will be able to define your message and voice. This growth period will help you select the best topics that support your audience’s goals.

Your goals for your podcast may change throughout the production process.  As you find out what works, you can adjust your podcast accordingly.

 

How to Podcast

You can start a podcast on a minimal budget. First, you will need to know:

  • The tools you need to produce a podcast
  • How to select your podcast host site
  • How to choose your content
  • Successful podcast hosts who can serve as your virtual mentors
  • How to make money from your podcast

Are you ready to take a journey through the fabulous world of podcasting? Let’s get started.

 

What You’ll Need

The beauty of starting a podcast is it doesn’t require you to invest in tons of fancy equipment. Even if you have lots of disposable income, it’s probably best if you spend a small amount of money to get started. After all, you may get started and quickly decide that podcasting isn’t for you.

Regardless of your budget, you should spend the bulk of it on quality sound equipment. Since your audience will be listening to you on various types of devices, your podcast’s sound quality must be right. Here is a list of the things you should have to get started.

 

  • A reliable microphone
  • Headphones
  • A boom (optional)
  • A pop filter
  • A Skype account
  • Editing and recording software
  • ID3 editor
  • A podcast media hosting account
  • Design software (optional)

 

  1. Microphone

There are hundreds of microphones available at big-box retailers or online. You can get a good one on Amazon for $50. Before you buy any microphone, be sure to check out the customer reviews and ratings.

There is more to selecting a microphone than the cost. It must deliver excellent sound quality. Here are other things you should  consider  when purchasing a microphone.

  • Does the microphone have an automatic noise filter?
  • Does it have a built-in pop filter?
  • Can you customize the sound of the microphone?

 

  1. Headphones

You will need headphones to hear your guests on Skype and listen to your voice as you are recording your podcast.

 

  1. A boom

The boom holds your microphone in place. Although you don’t need one to get started, this piece of equipment might be useful if you want to improve your sound quality and free your hands.

 

  1. A pop filter

Microphones pick up every minute sound, especially when you are saying words that begin with a “B” or “P.” A pop filter serves as a noise filter for microphones. You can purchase one for as little as $20.

 

  1. A Skype account

This platform provides a way for you to interview guests who are in another location. Skype’s core features are free. This service offers a good sound quality that works well with podcasting.

 

  1. Editing and recording software

Once you have recorded your podcast, you will have to edit it. There are a few free editing and recording software options available such as GarageBand (Mac) and Audacity. Paid versions of editing software include Adobe Audition and Reaper.

 

  1. ID3 editor

Podcasts are audio files recorded in an MP3 format. However, the files don’t contain metadata about the track, such as its title, track number, and description.

An ID3 editor permits you to include metadata at the beginning or end of each podcast episode. Free ID3 editors include EasyTag and MP3Tag; there also are paid versions.

 

  1. A podcast media hosting service

Sites specifically designed to host audio files host podcasts. From this site, you will be able to upload your podcast and submit it to iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or another digital distribution service.

Popular media hosting services include Libsyn or Blubrry. These services are available for a nominal monthly fee.

 

  1. Design software

If you want fancy cover art, it might be a good idea for you to purchase design software. Paid versions of this software include Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, and Canva.

 

If creating DIY cover art is beyond your skillset, you can hire a freelance designer to create one for you. You can find talented designers on Fiverr and 99Designs.

 

Selecting a Podcast Hosting Site

Instead of searching for the best podcast host, you should look for the most reliable one. What good is a hosting site if your audience has trouble accessing your podcasts?

One thing you should know is a typical website isn’t equipped to host podcast audio files. It doesn’t have the bandwidth to quickly provide access to your podcast if your show becomes popular.

You must select a dedicated hosting service. As your podcast audience expands, a dedicated server will be able to support your growth.

If you are an IT professional, you can comfortably host your podcast on your own server. However, most people find it easier to pay third-party service providers.

Here is a list of the most reputable podcast hosting services.

  1. Buzzsprout charges by the number of hours of content that you upload each month. This service offers a free plan and tiered plans for budding podcasters and professionals.
  2. Blubrry offers five tiers of services. Each plan features unlimited bandwidth, premium stats, web upload, and audio.
  3. LibSyn offers plans that are suitable for amateurs and professionals. The amateur hosting service meets the needs of organizations such as small churches, independent podcasters, non-profit organizations, and small businesses.
  4. PodBean provides a complete podcasting platform for users of all stages of their podcast journey. This hosting service offers fun customizable themes, analytics tools, search engine optimization, and reliable cloud hosting.
  5. Spreaker offers five tiers of services. Whether you are looking for a reliable RSS feed or hosting for multiple shows, this site has plenty to offer.

 

Selecting the Right Format for Your Podcast

There aren’t any rules when it comes to formatting your podcast. As long as you abide by the copyrighting laws, you can do whatever you want to do.

Having a written plan will guide you through the start-up process. As you produce shows and gain experience, you will determine the format that best fits your podcast’s style. Here are a few things to consider.

 

  1. Should you have a co-host?

There are thousands of solo podcasters who have successful shows. If you believe having a co-host would be the best way to support your message, you have that option. Your co-host can live in the same city or another part of the country. You can use Skype to record the podcast with your co-host.

There are advantages of having a co-host:

 

  • Having different voices and opinions on your podcast can make it more interesting.
  • You can share the production responsibilities.
  • There will be more people to provide ideas about the content of the podcast.

 

Here are the potential drawbacks of having a co-host:

 

  • You won’t have full control of the podcast.
  • You will have to coordinate your production schedule with another person.
  • If your co-host leaves, you will have to create another format for the podcast.

 

  1. How long will each episode last?

When it comes to the length of your podcast, you are in control. Some podcasts are less than 10 minutes long; others run for an hour.

The length of your podcast depends on the amount of content you have to share. Podcast episodes don’t all have to be the same length.

It’s okay if the first episodes are short. As you become more comfortable hosting your podcast, you may decide to extend it.

You should know that longer podcast episodes require more storage space on your hosting site. Consider this as you are making your decision.

 

  1. What kind of format will your podcast have?

Although there is no right or wrong way to format a podcast, each episode should have a structure.

Here are sample formats that you can include in your podcast.

  • Interviews
  • Intro Theme Song
  • Announcements
  • Final Comments
  • News
  • Show Reviews
  • Song Reviews
  • Book Reviews
  • How-to

As you can tell, there are a lot of interesting segments you can include in your podcast. You aren’t required to adhere to a predetermined list of formats. Take a few moments to make a list of your own.

 

  1. Will your podcast feature music?

Many popular podcasts have theme songs that add excitement to each episode. A catchy theme song increases your podcast’s energy.

Before you select any music, check the copyright laws. If you use unauthorized music, you can get sued.

You have the option of paying a freelance musician to create a theme song for you. To get a theme song recorded at an affordable price, go to Fiverr and Upwork.

 

  1. How often will you produce your podcast episodes?

Whether you record new episodes daily or weekly, it is crucial for you to be consistent.

If your listeners expect a new chapter every Tuesday, you should produce your podcast according to schedule. An inconsistent production schedule will cause your listeners to lose interest in your podcast.

Formatting your podcast will require a considerable amount of your time. But implementing a plan will make the production process more manageable.

 

Masters of the Podcast Game

Why are you starting a podcast? Do you want to occupy the top spot on iTunes for podcasts? Or do you want just to have a forum to share your ideas each week?

Whether your goal is to rule the podcast world or promote your business, it’s a good idea for you to know the top performers in the podcast game. Here are a few people who have dominated the iTunes playlist.

Podcast producers who have mastered the podcast game know how to cater to the listening preferences of their audiences. By studying top podcast hosts, you can get a few helpful tips.

 

How to Monetize Your Podcast

Did you know that you can earn revenue from your podcast? In fact, some top podcasters make thousands of dollars per episode.

There are more than a dozen ways to earn money from your podcast. Here are a few:

 

  1. Sell sponsorships.

This concept is similar to television commercials. Find companies that service the demographics of your target audience. Determine your sponsorship rates. Pitch the sponsorship idea to the companies. It’s just that simple.

 

  1. Do you have a membership site?

Promote it on your podcast. Talk about your site. Tell your listeners how they can join.

 

  1. Get coaching clients.

Service-based businesses can benefit from hosting podcasts. Include information on your podcast site that shows clients how they can hire you.

 

  1. Create and sell informational products.

Send a survey to your audience. Find out which topics interest them. Create products that meet their needs.

 

  1. Sell products as an affiliate marketer.

If you don’t have time to sell your own products, you can sell another company’s products and earn a commission.

 

  1. Ask for donations to support your podcast.Put a “donate” button on your site. During your podcast, tell your listeners how they can support your podcast.

 

Tips for Launching a Successful Podcast

This guide has provided you with enough information to launch your podcast.

Here are a few additional tips that will help you throughout the process.

 

  • Be passionate about your topic
  • Choose a good name for your podcast
  • Create a website that promotes your podcast
  • Select a clearly-defined niche
  • Promote your site on several channels
  • Have fun!

 

Hosting a podcast can be an exciting way for you to grow your business, meet new people, and build your brand. This guide as a tool that to help you have a successful podcast startup experience in 2018.