You don’t have to be a seasoned writer, an exceptional photographer or an expert videographer to make a podcast. If you’re wondering how to start a podcast, all you need is proper planning, some affordable equipment, great content and a clever marketing strategy.
Whether you’re an individual or a business looking to build your brand, podcasts are something you should consider adding to your content marketing mix.
Podcasts have been around for more than a decade now and have made their way into mainstream digital content. As of Jan 2021, there are over 1,750,000 podcast shows in the world.
It’s no wonder they’re so popular; podcasts are easy to consume on the go, require no screen time, and allow listeners to be in control of what they consume.
Best of all—unlike radio or video content—they’re inexpensive and easy to create. Hover’s here to help you learn how to start your own podcast in seven days or less.
Pro Tips for Starting a Podcast
1. Podcast Planning Basics
The topic of your podcast should be a combination of your passion and expertise, something that gives you enough to talk about substantially for a few episodes.
It also needs to be something people want to listen to and a quick search on Google or Apple Podcasts will tell you how popular your theme might be.
For instance, if you want to start your own podcast about travel, you can look at search volumes for travel-related keywords or explore popular podcasts within your niche on podcatching platforms.
There’s no right format for podcasts but you can experiment with a few initially, then stick to one that best suits you and your listeners. If you’re hosting your podcast solo, you can choose to talk about topics that you are passionate and knowledgeable about, such as technology, food, or fashion.
If you’re creative, you can use the narrative or storytelling style. Such podcasts are extremely popular, especially in genres such as romance, horror, true crime, and Sci-Fi.
If you want to involve other parties, you can find a co-host or invite people for interviews.
If this is your first podcast, you must make sure that you give your listeners enough substance while also holding their attention. Start with podcast episodes that are at 20 minutes to one hour in length. You can gradually increase or decrease the duration based on your listeners’ response.
Your cover art is your podcasts’ only visual identity and plays an indispensable role in your branding. It must be something that reflects the general theme and mood of your podcast. Above all, it needs to look professional, so consider hiring a designer to come up with your cover art if you’re not a design expert yourself.
Finding a name for your podcast can be tricky as you definitely want something unique that catches people’s attention. But if you’re a new podcaster, you should pick a name that is explanatory enough to let people know what your podcast is about. To maintain consistency in branding, you should check if your name is available for use as a domain name and on social media before you register it.
2. Getting a domain name
Most people will come across your podcast on podcasting platforms such as Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, or Pocket Casts. But these are not platforms where you can register your podcast name.
The best way to do that is by registering a domain name for it, whether you’re creating a separate website for it altogether or hosting it on your existing website.
A unique domain name for your podcast can give your promotion efforts a major boost by reinforcing your brand.
For instance, let’s say that your name is Stan and you have a travel podcast called Travel with Stan. Consider these two domain names: www.hostwebsite.com/travelwithstan and www.travelwithstan.online The latter gives your podcast its own identity and gives listeners the impression that you mean business.
The former, on the other hand, is doing more to promote the host website.
When choosing your domain name:
- Try to match it as closely as possible to the name of your podcast, just as in the example mentioned above. This helps build brand recognition, which is especially important when you’re just starting out.
- Keep it short and simple to make it easier to communicate. Let it be no longer than three to four words or 20 characters. Avoid using confusing elements such as numbers, special symbols, or modified slang spellings.
- Keep it relevant to your topic, enough for people to know what your podcast is about when they come across its domain name.
- Consider new domain extensions to give it more context, such as www.standecodes.tech, www.newsviews.press or www.officehumour.fun.
3. Technical Aspects of Podcasting
You don’t need to be an audiophile or a sound-editing genie to create a podcast. With some basic equipment, a quiet setting, and simple editing software, you can create a high-quality podcast right in your bedroom or your office.
There are a few things that you’ll need.
You can record your podcast on your phone’s or computer’s built-in microphones but they are seldom equipped to deliver the kind of audio quality that your listeners will expect. All you need is a simple USB microphone that can connect to your recording device. A few reasonable options include the Samson Q2U Podcasting Pack, the Heil PR 40 and the Blue Yeti.
To further improve audio quality, make sure that every speaker has their own headset to keep disturbance from audio feedback to a minimum. We recommend the Audio-Technica BPHS1, the Sennheiser HMD 300 Pro, and the Cooler Master MH752.
There is a host of software to record and edit audio for podcast creation to choose from based on your skill level. But even simple software will have the features you need to put together a podcast recording. If you’re struggling to figure them out, there are several YouTube videos to guide you. We recommend Audacity (which is free), Adobe Audition, and Alitu.
Small (to minimize echo) and quiet rooms are perfect for recording podcasts. Make sure that the room you record in is away from the street or your apartment building entrance and has windows and doors that shut properly to keep out the noise. If you live with other people, come up with a recording time that allows you to record in peace without others having to keep it down.
4. Podcast Hosting And Submitting
We’ve already established that you need a website with its unique domain name to upload your podcast before you submit it to podcatchers to be picked up by listeners.
But you also need a podcast host where you can save all your audio files. Even if you already have a website hosted on a platform, you need a special media host for your podcast files as they tend to be quite heavy. Podcast hosting costs approximately $5-100 a month.
Depending upon the kind of podcast you’re planning to create, you may want to look out for storage capabilities, integration with other websites or platforms, audience analysis, and other features that the host offers. Popular and reasonable podcast hosts include:
- Libsyn: $5-40 per month with features such as up to 800 MB storage, opt-in ad monetization management, and downloadable stats reporting.
- PodBean: $0-99 per month for monetization support, a wide range of themes, and unlimited private podcasting channels.
- Buzzsprout: $0-24 per month for two to 12 hours of upload each month, advanced stats, and unlimited storage.
Once you have your podcast uploaded and ready to go, you should try and submit it to as many podcatchers as possible. Getting it on Apple Podcasts, especially in its New & Noteworthy selection, is among the biggest wins your podcast can get. Other platforms you should explore are SoundCloud, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
5. Podcast Promotion and Growth
Every podcaster must aim to make it to Apple’s New & Noteworthy list. You need to increase your subscribers and reviews to be featured and you have only eight weeks after your launch to do so, which means you need to rope in as many listeners as you can find and as early on as possible. You should start creating a buzz about your upcoming podcast at least a few weeks before your official launch.
Use paid promotions on Instagram and Facebook to ensure that your posts are reaching your target listeners. Create teaser posts with quotes, soundbites, and points to be covered, and post them with relevant hashtags. If you’re mentioning brands in your podcast, make sure you tag them to get their attention in the hope of cross-promotion.
Your subscribers are people who are already familiar with you or your brand, so it will be easy to persuade them to listen to your podcast. Send them an email announcing the launch date, a little summary of your podcast, and a link to its landing page (with your new domain name).
Promotion by Guests/Co-hosts
One of the many advantages of having guests or co-hosts on your podcast is greater exposure for your promotion initiatives. With co-hosts, it’s always better to mutually agreed-upon a promotional strategy. If you are inviting guests, asking them to promote the episode on their pages shouldn’t be too hard. You can make it easier for them by providing post material such as images, quotes, and status updates.
Getting Reviews for Your Podcast
People may love your podcast but that isn’t enough to make them write you a review or subscribe to your channel. You can, however, remind them by adding relevant calls-to-action at the end of each podcast episode.
You should also make it a point to send a thank you email to your subscribers requesting them to share their feedback, with a link to your reviews page on Apple Podcasts. You can even reward your reviewers by giving them a shoutout on your future episodes.
Podcasting Like a Pro
Lastly, consider launching your podcast with at least three episodes to give listeners enough substance about your topic. Gaining listeners takes time and you want to convince people to keep coming back for more.
Sure, building a large and loyal audience for your podcast takes time and patience, but above all, it will require you to deliver high-quality content on a consistent basis.
Podcasts are easy enough to create, but there is no substitute for interesting and informative content delivered with a professional look and feel. Don’t cut corners when it comes to researching your topic and purchasing equipment.