How to Start a Podcast – The Complete Guide for 2020
How to start a podcast? How do I get people to listen to my podcast? If these are the questions haunting your head, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through every step of starting a podcast. We’ve written this article in the form of a ‘guide’ so you don’t simply read this, but also start your podcast in the next 30 days.
“But I don’t have any idea of what show I want to create”
If that’s what you’re thinking, don’t worry. In this ‘How to Start a Podcast’ article, we cover everything from finding your podcast idea to marketing your podcast. Heck, we even have answered some frequently asked questions and best practices towards the end!
Yes, we’ve got you covered so you can go and ‘free your voice’!
So if you’re ready, let’s dive right in!
(Grab a drink and maybe some snacks too!)
In a true ‘guide’ style, let’s start with an overview.
How to Start a Podcast – An Overview
- What is podcasting?
- Why should you start a podcast?
- Who is your audience?
- Why should they listen?
- What topic should I pick?
- How to find a name for your podcast?
- How long should an episode be?
- What format should my episodes be?
- What should the structure of my episode be?
- Show content
- How to find guests for my podcast?
- Asking great questions
- How often should I release a new episode?
- Recording equipment
- Podcasting software
- How to speak into a microphone?
- Adding Music for your podcast
- Recording your intros and outros
- Creating podcast cover art
- Picking a podcast host/co-host
- Recording your episodes (with and without guests)
- Editing your podcast
- Picking a Podcast Hosting Platform
- Submitting to Podcast Directories
- Post Launch Rituals
- Marketing your podcast
- Create a podcast website
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Best Practices
Before you jump in and got started, a couple of housekeeping suggestions:
- You can download a PDF version of this guide if you like to print or use it offline.
- I keep updating this article often. If you’d like to get these updates, do download the PDF version of the guide so I can send you the updated link to the article and the guide.
So if you’re ready, let’s look at what podcasting is anyway.
1. What is Podcasting?
“If I didn’t know what Podcasting is, I wouldn’t be wanting to start a podcast!”
True. But let’s make sure we are on the same page.
While podcasts are audio files that listeners download to listen, here’s how I define what podcasting is:
Podcasting is the act of:
- articulating your idea
- finding and listening to your audience
- recording your thoughts in your voice
- reaching your voice across to where your audience is, and finally
- getting feedback from your audience.
In short, podcasting = podcast + marketing.
And now that we are on the same page, let’s look at why you should start a podcast.
2. Why Should You Start a Podcast?
Let’s be real. Starting a podcast is a lot of work. The last thing you want to do is start a wonderful show and stop it halfway because you’re overwhelmed. Here are a couple of reasons people start a podcast.
2.1. Start a Podcast for Your Business
Perhaps you are an entrepreneur or a freelancer looking at using a podcast to build authority using engaging content around the topics related to your business.
2. Start a Hobbyist Podcast
Maybe you’ve been fascinated by the power of the medium and start a podcast on the side. You could be wanting to start a show around a hobby or passion or about a side project.
Related Topic: How to Monetize Your Podcast with an Ebook
No matter which camp you fall into, it’s important to stop right now and write down your reason. Pick up a sheet of paper and write this down.
(If you have downloaded the PDF, you’ll find a worksheet to help you with this exercise.)
While you’re at it, also write down what you expect the podcast to do for you or your business in 6 months.
Let’s now look at the most important part of this exercise – The audience!
3. Who Is Your Audience?
If there is one part of this entire guide that I ask you for your fullest attention, it’s this one.
Focusing on your audience at this stage can go a long way. So, who do you want to make this show for?
Who are the people that you’d expect to tune into your show every time there’s a new episode? Having an answer to this question helps you in many different ways. Here are just some:
- You can now find people that fit your description and perhaps have a conversation with them and get to know them better.
- You will be able to see what these people are looking for on the internet.
- You can perhaps get an idea of what your potential audience dislikes.
- You’ll understand what social media platforms your ‘future’ audience hangs out on.
- Finally, you’ll be able to find a handful of these people to listen to your pilot episode!
There are many ways of finding your audience. Here are just some I recommend:
- Create your audience persona
- Create an audience journey map
- Survey your potential audience online or offline
- Run a short series of audience interviews
4. Why Should They Listen?
In other words, why is your podcast compelling enough to listen?
Podcasts are the most versatile medium of content when it comes to consumption. People can consume podcasts while driving, running, taking their dog for a walk, or even while taking bath (yes, a listener confessed to doing that!).
But why should they listen to your podcast, when there are a million more podcasts on Apple Podcasts or Spotify?
“But my podcast is so unique…”
I *hear* you. But that’s not good enough!
People don’t buy things that are unique (except for collectors!).
People buy things because they need them or are attracted to them.
You need to know your audience enough so your podcast precisely speaks to their needs, desires, fears, or concerns.
5. What Topic Should I Pick for My Podcast?
“Topic, topic everywhere, I don’t know what to pick!”
I get what you’re thinking. More than 85% of people who go on to start a podcast have asked this question. But you’ll be surprised by my answer.
Don’t look for topics that are too far away. Find topics that are in some way connected to you in things you do every day.
Here are some indicators to see if your topic is good:
- You are comfortable talking about it.
- You are an authority on that topic.
- The topic is closely connected to another topic that you are an authority in.
- You are curious about that topic but know enough to ask the right questions.
- The topic is something you once dealt with, but you’re now reestablishing a connection with it.
- You know that your audience is interested in the topic.
6. How to find a name for your podcast?
You know your audience, and you know a topic that they are interested in. Let’s find a name for your show.
But before you went into finding a name for your podcast, you need to understand what purpose it serves…well, of course, other than being a ‘name’. Here are some other things a name does to a podcast:
- It helps people understand what your show is about.
- A podcast name serves as an instant sales pitch to your listeners and guests.
- A memorable name helps people recall your show easily.
- When phrased right, your show name helps your show get found on Google.
I have written about choosing your podcast name in great detail that you can read. But what I’d like you to take away from this section is not to ignore your podcast name.
To begin with, give your podcast a ‘placeholder name’, just like you’d name a project. You can refine it in the next few days.
7. How long should an episode be?
This is one of the most common questions I get asked. And my answer always is:
“As long as it needs to be.”
Because it *really* is. Podcasts are, in the way it’s today, an open and free medium. Unlike radio, there isn’t an industry body that defines what’s the right length.
But that said, this is a valid question and an empathetic one. Because you are concerned about your listener. So here are some ways to make sure you get your answer:
- Talk to someone from your audience and ask them.
- Define the goal for every episode, and take the least possible time to address the goal.
- Avoid bantering and edit away unnecessary talk or sounds, in general.
- If you listen to an episode and feel like it’s too long, clip it.
Okay if you’re still insistent on a number, I’d say keep the episode length to 30 minutes or less.
8. What format should my episodes be?
There are various different kinds of podcasts out there. Some are interviews, while some others are solo. And then there are the ones from NPR and Wondery that have more storytelling and soundscaping.
Some of the most commonly used formats are:
1. Interview Format
In this format of podcasts, the host interviews a guest. These shows can sometimes have more than one host or guest.
A big number of podcasts out there use the interview format.
2. Cat-on-the-Wall Format
Conversations are sometimes really interesting to listen into. The Cat-on-the-Wall Format is one where two or more people are conversing, and listeners are witnessing the conversation like a cat on the wall.
This format is similar to talk shows and sitcoms on TV.
3. Explorative Format
These are podcasts where the host(s) attempt at exploring a topic or idea. Podcasts that use the explorative format use approaches like teardown, questioning, research and others to explore a topic deeper.
Podcasts like the Stuff You Should Know podcast use this format.
4. Solo Format
Solo podcasts are where the host is speaking to the listener. It almost feels like a 1-1 experience. Such shows are usually around a topic or a sub-topic of a larger one. Solo format brings down the moving parts to just one – you.
Your ability as a host to connect with your listeners will have a big bearing on the success or failure of the show.
5. Audio Experience Format
The Audio Experience format got popular with podcasts like Serial and a lot of the shows produced by NPR and Wondery. These are shows where a lot of emphasis is given to storytelling, soundscaping, and the audio experience.
True Crime, Fiction, and many other narrative-style shows use the AX Format.
“But what podcast format should I pick?”
If you’re still not convinced on picking one of these formats, here are some guidelines to pick your show’s format:
- Be comfortable doing it. Don’t do it because it’s popular.
- To begin with, keep it flexible. Be open about this with your listeners when you record the first intro episode.
- If you like interviewing people, make sure you can reach out to at least 50 potential guests. Remember, not everyone you invite may agree to be on your show.
- Make sure you have everyone you need to help you churn out episodes weekly or wherever the frequency might be.
- Create a pilot episode and run it by your audience. Listen to what they have to say.
Remember point #2, pick a format, and move on to the next. Trust me, you’ll be fine.
9. What should the structure of my episodes be?
The structure of a podcast episode is nothing but the segments inside the episode and the way they are sequenced. One of the most common structures you’ll see with podcasts is:
Intros and outros are what you do at the beginning and end of your episodes. Intros may contain a jingle and some voice over to introduce the listeners to the show and the host. And outros sometimes contain the jingle along with a CTA or a Call To Action.
There is so much more you can do when it comes to the structure of your show. Here are some ideas:
- Ad / Promo spots
- Rapid-fire rounds during interviews
- Episode Trailers
- Audience Q&A
I have covered podcast episode structures in-depth if you’d like to get more ideas and best practices.
10. Show content
Content is the centerpiece of your podcast. This is what listeners come for. It’s your content that makes listeners stay listening, subscribe to your show…or walk away.
The kind of content, and how it’s presented is what differentiates good content from the bad ones. There are a few elements that you can use to focus on creating good content.
But first, what are the kinds of content you can create? This is a big topic, but here are 3 broad ways to look at the content:
Let’s now look at the elements you can use to focus on creating good content:
- Popularity and demand for the topic
- The angle you take towards that topic
- Your tone
- Length of segments and the episode
- Conversation segue
These are just a few of the intricate elements that can make your content stick. We cover this in detail inside the Free Your Voice Pro Podcasting program.
11. How to find guests for my podcast?
So you decided to go with interviews. A very good choice for the simple reason that you now have a guest to help you create high-value content.
But where do you find them, and how?
There are many places to find guests for your show. But first, you need to know what kind of guests you’ll want. Here are some qualities in a guest you should be looking for:
- Experience and knowledge on the topic
- Willingness to collaborate
- Preferably, knows and has been on podcasts
- Preferably, has written books or a blog or has a podcast
The last point is something I recommend because people’s ideas get refined as they put them out on books or blogs or podcasts. You don’t want guests that are struggling to articulate an idea for the first time.
Now that you know ‘who’ to pick, let’s look at ‘where’ to look for your guests. Here are some places you should look for:
- Personal network (family/friends)
- Niche topic forums
- LinkedIn and Instagram hashtags
- Blog posts
- Other podcast guests/hosts
You can use tools like Hunter and Voila Norbert to find email addresses or contact them directly on social media platforms.
12. Asking good questions
It could be that you decided to do an interview format podcast, or maybe not. You still need to be able to ask good questions. Because better questions get better answers.
But how do I ask good questions?
Let me quote Cal Fussman, one of my favorite interviewers here:
“When asking questions, first aim for the heart, then go to the head, which will lead you on a pathway to the soul.”
Now here’s my recommendation:
Ask questions about something people deeply care about. They’ll walk any distance to help you with the best answer you possibly could have.
You can apply this to any kind of conversation. It could be about life, craft, something technical in your topic, just about anything. All you have to do is to understand what that person deeply cares about.
If you’re speaking to a postman, ask a question about delivering mail. If you’re speaking to a doctor, as something about an operation that saved a life. If you’re speaking to a musician, ask about a certain tune or a beat or a composition.
13. How often should I release a new episode?
As often as it needs to be. That’s the answer. But if you want to know a little more, read on.
Just like radio, podcasts are usually predictable. Listeners look forward to listening to a new episode on a particular day every week or month or perhaps every day.
But how do you decide what that frequency should be for your podcast?
Here are a few factors that will help you decide how often you should release a new episode:
- The core reason why listeners listen to your show – if it’s a daily inspiration show, you’ve got to have a new episode every day.
- Your bandwidth.
- When your audience actually consumes content.
- When other competing shows release content.
- Listeners’ feedback.
If you’re just getting started and you don’t want to break your head, start with one episode every week. Adjust the frequency as you get some feedback.
14. Recording equipment
Every time I meet an aspiring podcaster, the first question I get asked is about…
Yes, you guessed it right – microphone.
Recording equipment is a topic in itself. But let me simplify this for you right here.
“What equipment do I need to start a podcast?”
The answer to this question totally depends on your need and how much you want to invest. You can find an equipment setup from a laptop and a microphone, to a full-blown studio setup. Let’s take a quick look at each one of them really quickly.
You can get the full equipment guide for podcasting when you download the printed version of this article.
This is one of the most convenient setups for podcasting. And it consists of just a laptop and an Audio Technica ATR 2100 microphone. There’s a new version of this mic, ATR 2100x comes fitted with a USB-C. You can use this with any laptop and a headphone, and you’re off to the races.
The other alternative to this setup is to use the Logitech ClearChat H390 headset + noise-canceling mic. The Logitech ClearChat H390 is one really good piece of a microphone with headphones and I’ve used it quite a bit during travel. The audio is clear and the headphone has nice padding, which means you can comfortably wear it during long conversations.
If you don’t have a laptop, I recommend using a recorder like Zoom H5 (which is what we use) to record your podcasts while on the move.
Home Office Setup
The highlight of the home office setup is to invest a little into better sound quality and ergonomics. The use of an audio interface to use the XLR output of your microphone is a good addition.
Cloudlifter is one of the best audio interfaces in the market. It helps boost the gain levels and thus helping you record great audio from your microphones. A second great addition to your setup is a good mic stand – I recommend a boom arm mic stand.
Pro Podcasting Setup
This is a very good option if you have a studio setup, and maybe even interview guests on location. A mixer can be a very good addition to your setup – and I recommend the Mackie ProFX8 V2.
I like the Mackie ProFX8 V2 for its build quality and more importantly their pre-amplifiers or preamps. The preamps in this mixer offer a good gain, which is very much needed for dynamic microphones like Heil PR 40.
No matter which setup you choose to pick, definitely add a microphone pop filter to your kit.
15. Podcasting software
Podcasting does involve software because you need to record and edit your episodes, and finally, publish your episodes to the internet.
There are 2 kinds of software you’ll need. Let’s walk through each of them below.
Digital Audio Workstation
This is the software you need to record and edit your podcast. You might not *always* use this for recording, but you will need this for editing.
- Apple GarageBand (Free; Apple)
- Audacity (Free; Apple/Windows)
- Adobe Audition (Paid)
- Hindenburg Journalist (Paid)
All these software offer an interface for editing your podcast. You can also use them to record your podcasts. But I recommend you use a dedicated recorder like the Zoom H5 or dedicated recording software for recording.
These are software you can use to record your podcast. There are a few options you can pick from the below:
- Ecamm Call Recorder: For recording Skype Calls on Apple Mac. (Audio & Video)
- Zoom Meetings (Audio & Video)
- Zencastr (Audio & Video)
All three of these allow for recording audio and video (Zencastr just added this feature). Zoom Meetings additionally also allows you to live-stream your interviews on Facebook and YouTube. Both Ecamm and Zoom allow for recording audio in separate tracks. This feature is very helpful when you get to editing your podcast as you can independently adjust the volume.
16. How to speak into a microphone?
Everyone is ready to go microphone-shopping. A far lesser number cares much about understanding how to speak into these powerful devices.
Speaking into a microphone is not just about the way you speak, but also about how you handle the device. In this section, I’ll show you how to speak into a microphone from a few different perspectives.
Microphone Polar Patterns
Polar patterns define a microphone’s directionality. In other words, a polar pattern defines the distance and direction in the three-dimensional space surrounding a mic where it’s most sensitive to sound.
There are 7 kinds of Polar Patterns that you can find with the microphones in the market:
- Shotgun directional
When speaking into a microphone, it’s important you understand what kind of a polar pattern that microphone conforms to. Based on that, you should position yourself mindfully in the distance and direction of the highest sensitivity.
Below are my suggestions for a couple of most-commonly used polar patterns:
These microphones are most sensitive when you are closer to the front of the microphone. Remember to check the correct microphone placement, as that varies from one microphone to another.
Not every microphone is meant to be held the same way. Usually, you’ll find the details during unboxing or on the company’s website.
These are unidirectional microphones and usually have a longer sensitivity range in terms of distance. A very commonly used microphone by radio journalists and video podcasters.
Most of these mics are pretty sensitive up to a distance of about 2-3 feet from the mic, in the direction of the mic.
How you sit matters when it comes to ‘sounding right’ when speaking into a microphone. The best results come when you are sitting straight or (ideally) standing.
This is because it gives you an opportunity to use the full vocal range.
Distance From Microphone
How close (or far) should you be from your microphone? If it’s a cardioid microphone like Heil PR40, keep your nose about 2-3 inches close to the microphone. If need be, power your microphone with some phantom power for a better outcome.
Always try and sit or stand upright. Understand the microphone’s polar patterns before using them. And finally, turn on the phantom power if your microphone manufacturer recommends doing so.
Phantom Power is a voltage to power the diaphragm and the mic’s internal amplifier. It works “invisibly” by sending DC power back to the device using the same microphone or instrument cable that carries the audio signal from it. It’s typically used in condenser microphones, but some dynamic microphones also use phantom power.
17. Adding Music for your podcast
Music is increasingly finding its place in podcasts for different reasons. Podcasts like Serial accentuated the use of music in podcasts. What are the uses of music in podcasts? Should I use music in my podcast? Can I use any of my favorite music in my podcast?
We’ll answer all these questions really quickly in this section. Let’s start with the uses. Here are some reasons why music finds its way into podcasts:
- Enhance intros and outros
- Part of the main content (music review show, etc.)
- Breaks between sections
- Background music
Why Add Music To a Podcast?
There are plenty of reasons why you might want to add music to your podcast. Here are a few things you need to be aware of if you plan on adding music to your podcast.
- License: Finding royalty-free music is extremely important to avoid getting into unnecessary legal trouble.
- Beats: Make sure you pick music that has the right beat frequency to enhance the tempo of your podcast and the segments inside your show.
- Loudness: While music is nice to hear, they can sound out-of-place if they are too loud or feeble.
- Right Moments: Introduce music in the right moments, else that spoils the experience of the listener.
Where to find Royalty-Free Music?
There are quite a few ways you can get royalty-free music, but my favorite is Audio Jungle. The reason I like them is that they have a very good collection, use filters to find the music you want, and the music is affordable.
“But I want someone to produce music for me!”
Well, if that’s you, I highly recommend Music Radio Creative because they don’t just compose custom music for you, but also offer royalty-free music from a library. They also offer high-quality voice-over services at really attractive prices.
18. Recording your intros and outros
Intros and outros are usually the ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ pieces of music that are usually not a part of the main music. This applies to podcasts too, as we’ve borrowed the terms from the music industry.
In this section, we’ll see what typically goes into the intro and outro sections of a podcast.
The purpose of intros is to set the stage for the episode’s main content. Here are a few ways you can make your intros both meaningful and impactful:
- Introduce the listener to the topic and talent (host, co-host, guest).
- Use a jingle to help listeners recall your show (audio branding).
- Quickly establish context for the main content.
The outros are extremely crucial pieces of podcast episodes. Here are a few ways of making your outros impactful:
- Tell the listener what to do when they finish listening to your episode.
- Get listeners to subscribe to your podcast.
- Let your listeners know what’s coming next.
Best Practices to Record Your Intros and Outros
Recording intros and outros are easy, but there are a few DOs and DON’Ts. Here they are some of them along with my recommendations:
- Don’t use a template intro.
- Do use a template outro with a standard CTA. But have a few different templates.
- You don’t necessarily have to start an episode with your intro. Consider using hooks to draw the listener’s attention up front.
- Consider outsourcing your intro and outro jingle because they are important, but your talent can be put to better use with the main content.
19. Creating Podcast Artwork or Cover Art
Podcast Artwork or Cover Art helps people recognize your podcast when they aren’t listening. It’s the image that appears in podcast directories when people search for your podcast. Listeners also see this artwork when they are listening to one of your episodes.
What should I include in my podcast artwork? How big should it be? How can I create my podcast artwork? We’ll cover all of that in this section.
What to Include in a Podcast Artwork?
Your podcast’s artwork is useful to people in a few different ways:
- For someone that’s heard of your podcast, the artwork helps them identify your show.
- For people that know you or your brand, the artwork helps establish the connection between your brand and your show.
- For someone that’s casually browsing the podcast directory, the artwork helps them choose your show over many other shows in the category.
Given this knowledge, it’s important to consider having the following elements in your podcast artwork:
- Name of your podcast.
- Host’s name.
- Elements of your brand – logo, colors, etc.
- Visually communicate what the podcast is about.
These are recommended, but not always necessary. Try and avoid having redundant elements – viz., having the host’s name and photo, brand logo, and podcast name if both the same, brand name and byline if the brand name is good enough.
Podcast Artwork Specifications
The most used version of a podcast artwork is a square image (preferably JPEG) that doesn’t exceed 3000×3000 pixels in the RGB color space.
How to Create Podcast Artwork?
You can create your podcast artwork or cover art in a few different ways. Below are some ways to do that:
- Use Canva to create your podcast cover art.
- You can create using a tool like Pixelmator or Adobe Photoshop.
- Hire a designer from Fiverr or a logo designer from 99Designs to create your podcast cover art.
20. Picking a Podcast Host or Co-Host
Hosts play a big role in the success of a podcast. There are various reasons why some click and some don’t. In this section, I’ll help you pick your podcast host and if necessary, a co-host.
What role does a Host or a Co-Host Play?
As the name indicates, the host(s) play a big role in hosting the listeners. Like a good host of a physical event, the podcast host does the following:
- Gets and holds the listeners’ attention.
- Creates content through dialogue or monologue
- They set the tone of the podcast
- They shape the podcast through their storytelling, personality, and with other key editorial decisions.
How to Pick a Host or Co-Host?
Picking a host or a co-host is a choice best left to the producer. In most shows, the hats of a producer and host are worn by the same person. And in some podcasts, you might need to have a co-host.
If you need to find a host or co-host, consider the following inputs:
- Subject Matter Awareness: Consider someone that is a subject matter expert or someone that knows the subject enough to speak or ask intelligible questions.
- Good Performer: Being a podcast host is a lot different from playing a host at a dinner party. When it comes to podcasts, your voice is everything. A good host should be good at performing with their voice.
- Good Listener: Good hosts are great listeners. Specifically, they are good at active listening, a skill whereby one can listen closely while actively participating in the conversation.
- A Good Storyteller: Good hosts are great storytellers. Storytelling as art gets nuanced with podcasting or radio because of engaging with listeners using just one medium – your voice.
- Good Interpersonal Skills: Good co-hosts have good interpersonal skills, and I’m not referring to being an extrovert. Good interpersonal skills when it comes to podcasts and radio is the ability to understand when to engage and when to listen. It’s the ability to be easy with the co-host and carry on a conversation without stressing about it. It’s about putting the other person at ease, even when it’s their first time on a microphone.
21. Recording your episodes (with and without guests)
Everything you did so far is what’s popularly termed as pre-production. And that changes with this step.
Because recording episodes falls squarely into what we call as production. If you decide to have guests on your show, you will need to find and invite guests to be on your podcast.
Let’s say you have found and invited guests, or you are ready to record your solo episode. What next? Here are some steps to take to prepare and record your episodes:
1. Prepare a Content Plan
It’s easy to go and start speaking into a microphone and hit the record button. But what next? What would be the next episode? How would the following episodes connect with your first and second episodes?
The answer is to prepare a content plan. Simply put, write down the titles and overview of episodes that would come out in the next 2-3 months. Here’s what you want to cover in your content plan:
- Episode Title
- Episode Summary
- Guest(s) needed
2. Script Episodes
Now that you have a content plan, what would your episode content look like? There are many ways of going about this, and ‘how you do it’ is based on your personal style.
Here are some ways of ‘scripting’ your episodes:
- Completely script what you speak.
- Jot down points and flow.
- Make a list of questions you want to ask your guest.
- Write down the goal for each episode.
3. Record Episodes
When it gets to recording episodes, think of batching. If you have to record interviews with guests, use a tool like Acuity Scheduling to schedule interviews with guests. You don’t have to worry about time zone differences as the tool takes care of everything.
You perhaps have the necessary tools based on what you learned in #14.
Unless you have a studio setup, find the best spot to record your podcast, and enjoy a very good session!
22. Editing your podcast
Editing your podcast is one of the many things you do during post-production. But what exactly happens during editing? Do I have to take up an audio editing course to edit my podcasts? Do I have to be a sound engineer?
I’ll walk you through the details in this section. But let me promise you one thing – you don’t have to be an audio engineer or have taken a course in sound editing to do any of this. If that’s reassuring enough, read on.
Let’s start with the goals. Why do we edit podcasts? Here are 3 important reasons:
- Connect the Pieces: Stitch together the different segments of the episode into one single audio file.
- Enhance Sound: Remove noise like a hiss, hum, echo, static and ambient noise. Improve gain, balance sound levels across the episode, and in general make the episode sound good. There are services like Auphonic that you can use to enhance your podcast audio.
- Improve Focus: Remove every part of audio that you think is unimportant, or not adding to the larger narrative. Keep what’s important and ensure they come together to tell a coherent story.
You could be using one of the Digital Audio Workstations we discussed in #15 to do any of this. If you’re a registered member, we have a full module on editing inside our free course.
23. Choose a Podcast Hosting Platform
Hosting platforms are cloud-based infrastructure platforms that offer space to store your episode MP3 files. They also offer a unique URL to your podcast episodes in the form of an RSS Feed. You submit this RSS Feed URL to podcast directories, which we’ll cover in the next section.
“But there are so many podcast hosting platforms. Which are the ones you recommend?”
Yes, the number of podcast hosting platforms have continued to grow significantly. But that said, I have my personal favorites. These are the ones that I recommend because they make your life easy in addition to being a good podcast hosting platform.
My personal favorite is Buzzsprout and Libsyn. Both these platforms are pretty good and well invested in the podcasting space – you’re going to find them in business even 10 years from now. They both offer plans that are practical and useful.
24. Submit to Podcast Directories
Podcast directories are places where listeners search and find podcasts. Some of the popular podcast directories are Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.
Submitting to podcast directories can be a crazy process. But thanks to the built-in features in most podcast hosting platforms, you can directly submit to podcast directories from your podcast hosting platform.
No matter what, you’ve got to submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts manually.
How to Submit to Apple Podcasts?
- Go to podcastsconnect.apple.com
- Click on the big ‘+’ sign on the top left.
- Paste your podcast RSS Feed URL.
- Click the ‘Validate’ button on the top right.
- Once validated, click ‘Submit’ on the top right.
Once you finish this, your show must be reviewed by the Apple Podcasts team.
“This process may take up to five business days. Typically, new podcasts go live within 24 hours after they’re approved…”
You can read more about the podcast submission review process directly from Apple’s website.
Many other podcast apps like Overcast, Airr, and others start to list your podcast as soon as it’s available on Apple Podcasts.
25. Post Launch Rituals
Your submitted podcast is now approved on Apple Podcasts. What next?
You just got started. Tell the world about your podcast. There are a few other things you should consider doing for your podcast. We call these the post-launch rituals, and here are a few you to consider.
Ritual #1: Repurpose Content
You have some amazing content as MP3 files. It’s time to repurpose them. Here are some ways to repurpose your podcast content:
- Extract quotes to share on social media.
- Write blog posts based on topics covered in your episodes.
- Create infographics, checklists using Canva.
- Create video teasers, audiograms using apps like Headliner.
- Shareable slides to upload on Scribd.
- Content upgrades for lead generation.
- Go LIVE on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
- Start a Twitterchat with your guest.
- Create stories on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
- Create Instagram Reels.
Ritual #2: Engage In Communities
Start engaging inside communities with potential audiences around related topics. The best places to consider are Quora, LinkedIn, and Facebook Groups.
Ritual #3: Share With Your Email List
If you have an email list, share your new podcast with your list. Don’t have an email list? Start one, because an email list is an excellent way of engaging with your audience.
Ritual #4: Be a Guest
Being a guest on other podcasts is one of the best ways to reach out to a new audience. Now that you have a podcast published, being a guest on other related podcasts can help you attract new listeners for your show.
You can read more about how to find podcasts and be a guest in this article. Being a guest on other podcasts is also a very powerful marketing strategy. And that is a great segue to the next section.
Ritual #5: Guest Follow Up
If you run an interview-based podcast, don’t forget to grab the opportunity to build a relationship with your guest even beyond the podcast interview.
Here are a few ways you can follow up with your guest and build a relationship:
- Send a ‘thank you’ card.
- Make an introduction.
- Ask for an introduction.
- Offer help.
26. Market your podcast
A huge part of podcasting is marketing. Without a good marketing plan, chances are that listeners aren’t going to find you.
“But I don’t have any experience with marketing!”
While some experience with marketing would definitely help, it’s not a deal-breaker. Below are 3 of my favorite ways to market a podcast:
- Best a Guest on Other Podcasts.
- Get More Ratings & Reviews on Apple Podcasts.
- Ask guests to share episodes with their communities.
Social media marketing is a great way to attract new listeners for your podcast. If you haven’t already, pick one social media platform and start building your authority.
27. Create a podcast website
“Why create a website for my podcast when my podcast hosting platform already offers a website?”
There are many reasons why you should consider having your own website for your podcast. And they all boil down to one point – marketing.
At this point you understand how important it is to follow the post-launch rituals and do the marketing. You need to do this if you want your show to get discovered, and have more listeners. A podcast website can help you 10x your marketing.
Here are just some ways a podcast website can help you:
- Introduce your guests to the other related content.
- Serve as a catch-all destination for listeners to get everything related to your podcast.
- Deliver lead magnets related to podcast episodes.
- Get richer analytics apart from what your podcast host provides (eg. listener engagement, email signups, replies, comments, etc.)
- Expose listeners to higher-value content including bonuses and paid products or services.
- Get your podcast and other content discovered on Google Search with more keyword-focused content.
28. Frequently Asked Questions on Podcasting
Still have questions about podcasting? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this section, I will try and answer some of the most common questions on podcasting that I’ve been asked.
How does podcasting make money?
Podcasting doesn’t make money in and of itself. But when you use podcasting strategically like a tool, it can help you make money. Here are two ways you can use podcasting to make money right now:
- Start a podcast on a topic where you also have something to sell. Perhaps a course or an ebook. Use your podcast as a value delivery platform and use the courses and ebooks as bonuses for a low price.
- Align a podcast with your business and use the show to talk about your business. Promote your products or services inside the show. Market your show to your target market.
How Podcasting Works?
Here’s how it works:
What is podcasting used for?
Podcasting is used by many people for many different reasons. Here are just a few of them:
- Spread an idea and find an audience.
- As an auxiliary platform to your existing business or brand.
- Tell stories – fictional or non-fictional.
- Teach and educate.
- Learn out loud.
- Build a brand/personal brand/authority.
- Build a network.
How to Start Podcasting for Business?
There are many ways to start podcasting for business. Here are some quick ideas:
- As an auxiliary platform to deliver bonus value to your existing customers.
- As a customer advocacy platform.
- Market your brand or products.
- Internal podcasts to build culture, bridge distributed workforce.
- Build partnerships.
Are There Good Books on Podcasting?
Not that I know of. But here are a couple on an important skill – interviewing:
What are the Benefits of Podcasting?
There are plenty of benefits depending on your background. Here are some based on my experience with my students and clients:
- A podcast is a powerful way to build your personal brand authority.
- Help build powerful relationships with people who are more influential than you.
- Accelerate your business’s customer advocacy efforts with a podcast.
- A podcast can help you build partnerships for your business.
- Your podcast can help you find a new job. They can turn job interviews to a conversation about your podcast.
- A podcast can turn your side-project into a full-time business.
What are Some Good Podcasting Courses?
There are plenty of podcasting courses out there, and you can read if you need the details. My favorite courses are Power-Up Podcasting by Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, and our own Free Your Voice Pro Podcasting program (signup for the LIVE Pass to get access) that doesn’t just help you start a podcast, but also grow one.
What Podcasting Equipment Do I Need?
You just need a microphone and a laptop to get started. The microphone I recommend is the Audio Technica ATR 2100 or ATR 2100x. I also recommend using a decent pop-filter for the microphone. I have covered this in detail in section #14.
Is Live Podcasting a Thing?
Yes, they are. There are two ways of doing LIVE Podcasting:
- Perform the podcast in front of a LIVE audience at some public space.
- Livestream a podcast online.
Podcasters have been using both these forms of LIVE Podcasting.
What USB Microphone Should I Buy for Podcasting?
I wholeheartedly recommend the Audio Technica ATR 2100 or ATR 2100x. I have used the ATR2100 for over 4 years and strongly recommend it because of its sound quality and build quality. Very sturdy and reliable performance, perfect even if you had to pack your bags for a trip.
29. Podcasting Best Practices
There are plenty of best practices when it comes to podcasting.
Let me summarize the 10 most important ones below:
- Listeners are just listening. Be more descriptive and use sensorially engaging words to engage your listeners with other senses.
- Focus on your audience in every step. It’s always about the audience, and not you, your business, or brand.
- Keep your microphone gain levels at check all the time – best is between -12dB and -6dB.
- Always sit/stand upright when speaking into a microphone.
- Don’t record your podcast sitting close to windows or inside empty rooms.
- Always make sure your podcast is a means to an end. Use your podcast as a tool to take you further on a journey you are on. Podcasting becomes sustainable when it pays for itself, directly or indirectly.
- Create an editorial for your podcast. Don’t shoot in the dark.
- Just like your body, your voice needs exercise too. Always exercise your voice.
- Focus on listener engagement and not on downloads.
- Be your podcast’s biggest ambassador.
And that brings us to the end of this article. Ready to get started? Start by defining your podcast target audience.