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How to Start a Podcast in Style in 2021: A Step by Step Beginner’s Guide

Have you ever scrolled through Apple Podcasts and wondered what it’d be like to have your own podcast show? 

We’ll let you in on the good news: it’s actually much easier and simpler than you might think. 

You can get started with a couple of key pieces of equipment, a good idea, and a podcast website. 

We’ll talk you through how to get your show off the ground and give you insider tips on how to create a podcast that makes listeners want to come back for more. 

15 steps to start a successful podcast 🎙️

If you’ve been toying with the idea of your own podcast, don’t delay it any longer. 

People often wonder how to start a podcast on a budget, or without a history in radio and audio editing. 

The truth is, it’s easier than you think – you just need a solid topic for your podcast, a microphone, and a computer, and you’re good to go. 

If you’re ready to take things to the next level, it’s time to get your hands dirty and start a podcast with our comprehensive step-by-step guide. 

1. Define the purpose of your podcast

Before you roll up your sleeves, warm up your voice and start recording your podcast, you need to take a look at the bigger picture.

First things first, you need to understand and define what your podcast is going to be about.

Are you a big petrolhead and know a lot about vintage cars? Or maybe you consider yourself a budding poet and love nothing more but discuss the ins and outs of T.S.Eliot? 

You’ll also want to nail down exactly how your show can bring something new to the table

After all, your chances of success are going to be very slim if you start a vintage car show that’s a cardboard copy of the top-rated car podcast on Apple Podcasts.  

Let’s face it – the podcast market is saturated. While you need to be able to differentiate your podcast from the masses, you can’t zoom in too closely on a particularly narrow niche, or you won’t have enough content for all your podcast episodes. 

You also need to think about what you’re trying to achieve with your podcast

Are you building a personal brand? Or are you aiming to launch a podcast for your business as a way to increase your bottom line? 

Or maybe you want to educate people on matters of science on your show. 

Some of the most common reasons for starting a podcast include: 

  • Sharing a topic you’re passionate about and building an audience that shares your interests
  • Repurposing existing written or video content 
  • Promoting your business or side hustle and generating leads
  • Educating your audience on your topic of expertise
  • Bringing entertainment value to serious topics 

Once you’re clear on your reasons for starting your show, do some research on your field and see what people currently resonate with. 

2. Determine your target audience

A girl looking away from camera while sitting on a wooden chair indoors

Once it’s crystal clear to you what your podcast is all about and why you’re wanting to start podcasting, you need to understand who you’ll be talking to. 

Do you have an existing audience in the form of customers or social media followers? Or are you hoping your podcast will give you your big break? 

In either case, building a user persona makes it easier to grasp the ideal listener of your podcast. 

Note down things like the demographics, background, interests, and dislikes of your ideal target audience member. You can go the extra mile and add links to their favorite brands or websites, too, if it helps you visualize your listeners better.  

You’ll have a much easier time talking to your USB microphone when you have an idea of the kind of people who are listening to your episode. 

Let’s say you’re starting a podcast discussing the hot news topics of the week in your area. The ideal listener would be a commuting working professional who’s keen to stay on top of what’s going on but never has enough time to read the local news. 

You could position your podcast to solve this problem by offering weekly podcast episodes discussing the latest happenings of the neighborhood. 

Later on, you can also use audience-related data from your hosting provider, once you have an episode or two out in the open. 

3. Decide on the podcast format

In general, there are 5 common podcast formats that you can choose from:

  • Interview show. In interview podcasts, the host interviews different guests in the podcast episodes. 
  • Solo podcast. Running a solo podcast is the simplest and easiest approach if you’re wondering how to start a podcast in the first place. 
  • Multiple hosts. A show with more than one host makes it easier to bounce ideas off one another. 
  • Narrative podcast. This type of storytelling podcasting format is reminiscent of old radio stories. 
  • Hybrid show. Combining one or more podcast formats creates content that’s engaging and exciting.

While some formats work better for certain fields, there’s no hard and fast rule that dictates that only sports and entertainment podcasts can rock the interview format. 

If you’re on a budget, running a one-man show is usually the easiest way to get started, since you won’t have to worry about reimbursing a potential co-host or interviewee. 

Most importantly, you should decide on a format that supports the purpose of your podcast. 

If your aim is to generate leads for your business, interviewing actual customers or members of your team could be more useful than spending every podcast episode describing the different features of your products.  

4. Name your podcast

A notepad, a coffee mug and a pen on a desk indoors

How you name your podcast is almost as important as the content of your podcast episodes. 

While the name of your podcast should be unique and relevant to your niche, it should also be search engine friendly, too. 

Ideally, your podcast listeners should understand what your podcast is about just from the name, so don’t shy away from being descriptive. 

Using particular keywords in your podcast name helps you optimize your podcast for podcast directories. 

While ‘Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger’ might not sound like the sexiest podcast title out there, its 37,000+ monthly listeners prove that anyone interested in nutritional facts can easily find Dr. Greger’s podcast. 

5. Create podcast cover art and write a description

All good ‘How to start a podcast’ guides emphasize the importance of great podcast cover art and a description that hooks the user. 

Of course, this one is no different. But why?

Cover art and bios are the first things the world will see when browsing Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts. More often than not, they are the thumb stopper, the reason that people either start listening or keep scrolling. 

Get the most out of your podcast descriptions

The Podcast Host found that users ranked the podcast description as one of the most important deciding factors when looking for a new podcast to listen to. 

Nail your podcast description with these tips: 

  • Be clear about who the podcast is for
  • Explain the benefits of listening to the podcast 
  • Introduce yourself or the brains behind the podcast 
  • Give the listeners an idea of what to expect 

Okay, but how long should my podcast description be? Well, sorry to tell you that there’s no single right answer, but in general, 4000 characters is considered the upper limit. 

Some of the most popular shows are able to summarize what their podcast is about in 600 characters or less.

You can also add links in your description, so you can promote your podcast website with little effort, too.

Wow users with beautiful cover art

Your podcast’s cover will be what catches the eyes of listeners idly browsing podcast directories. 

Your podcast artwork should reflect your content, communicate your main message clearly and match the rest of your brand (if you have one). 

But most importantly, the cover art needs to be the right size. 

For example, Apple Podcasts has strict guidelines for podcast artwork: 

  • All artwork has to be a minimum 1400 x 1400 pixel resolution, but Apple recommends going high definition with 3000 x 3000 pixels (after all, your cover needs to look good on both a cell phone and a computer screen)  
  • The format has to be JPEG or PNG 
  • The color profile has to be RGB and the print density 72 dpi

It’s also a must to analyze your competition – you don’t want to create cover art that looks exactly like everyone else’s.  

6. Plan podcast content

People working on documents at a table indoors

In order to get your podcast show off the ground, you need to be prepared and plan ahead. 

That includes your audio content and episode ideas. 

If you’re a total beginner in the world of podcasting, start by determining the main topic of your show

Naturally, the more you know about your field is always beneficial, but the key is that you’re interested in whatever you want to talk about. 

You also want to know what’s currently trending in your chosen field.

P.S. Check Google Trends. 

If you’re going to create a podcast around skincare tips and tricks, you wouldn’t want to waste time discussing the best car waxes – unless they would somehow explicitly relate to skincare. 

Once you have your topic, you need to brainstorm what will be on the menu for each one of your episodes.

An episode plan for a gardening podcast could look a little like this: 

  • Episode 1 –  Why gardening is so important 
  • Episode 2 – Gardening trends of 2021 
  • Episode 3 – How to start a balcony garden
  • Episode 4 – The best plants for bees 
  • Episode 5 – How to avoid killing your tomatoes (hint: it’s water) 

7. Prepare your podcast equipment

Without the right recording equipment and software, you won’t get far if you wish to record a podcast. 

Thankfully, you only really need a good microphone and a computer with recording software to get started with podcast recording. 

Your microphone

Microphone against a blurry blue background

While you can get started with a smartphone, most professional audio quality can only be achieved with a real microphone. 

Ideally, you want to have a little bit of budget so that you can get a quality recording device and a few key accessories (think mic stands and pop filters for improved sound quality). 

Our favorite picks for starter-level microphones include:

Look for a USB microphone if you’re a beginner and working without an external audio interface. 

Pro tip: An audio interface is a device that acts as the bridge between your computer and your microphone. It helps to convert analog signals from the microphone into digital ones for the computer. 

Your headphones 

Black headphones against a white background

You want to hear yourself properly, right? 

Especially if you’re working with guests or co-hosts, you should get a decent pair of headphones. 

Headphones help you notice if anything is off with the sound straightaway during recording, rather than when you’re editing your audio. 

Sure, it’s weird hearing yourself at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it. 

Software for audio editing

Audio editing software on a screen

You can get your hands on free software to convert your audio recording to real audio files. 

Audacity is a great free option for beginners

If you’ve never used editing software before, head to YouTube for some basic tutorials. 

Make sure your chosen software fits within your budget (if you have any), and you’ve checked everything works as intended before you start importing potentially hours of raw audio. 

8. Create an outline or script 

Now that you have your topic in focus, and your equipment set up, it’s time to start scripting your episodes. 

You don’t necessarily have to create a full-blown script – usually, an outline helps to sound more natural without losing your focus. 

Dot down the most important conversation points and comments in the order you want to discuss them. 

Your outline could look a little like this: 

  • Introduction. Introduce yourself, your guests, and what’s going to be discussed. This of this section as the table of contents to your show.  
  • Segment 1. This section could be a reoccurring segment or the first discussion point of the day. If you interview multiple people in one episode, this could be the first interview of the episode. 
  • Segment 2. The second interview, discussion point, or reoccurring section. 
  • Conclusion and outro. Wrap up your show and offer the listeners some tangible takeaways. 

Depending on your podcast format and topic, you can include more than one or two segments, or rotate two or more outline structures for particular topics or weeks only. 

If you’re using statistics and articles to back up your points, remember to mention the sources

This way, you’ll boost your credibility and slowly cement yourself as a thought leader in your field.

9. Reach out to any guests

A screen showing two people doing a podcast recording

A good way to bring variety to your podcast show is by having guests in your episodes. 

You might already have a network of colleagues and friends in your field of expertise you can ask to join. 

There’s no shame in reaching out to people you don’t know, but whose thoughts you’d like to hear on your podcast. 

In order to reach out to potential guests, you need to figure out whether they work under an agency or as individuals. 

Chances are that a popular, well-known podcast host is much harder to get a hold of than smaller podcasters – and they most likely ask for quite a hefty reimbursement to be featured on your show, too. 

Ideally, your guests know about the topics you discuss on your podcast and are able to add new and interesting angles to the discussion. 

Approach your guests like you would potential business partners: explain who you are, why you would love to work with them, and what’s in on the collaboration for them. 

And remember: you don’t need to have a guest in every single episode unless that’s your show’s format. Sometimes one or two good collaborations can pay off tenfold compared to ten poor ones.  

10. Record your first episode

Okay, it’s go time – sit down and record the first episode of your podcast. 

It’s normal to feel a little nervous, especially if you have no previous radio host experience.

After all, you’ll be talking by yourself for quite a while.

Talk through your outline or script a couple of times to check that everything you’ve written down works well when you’re talking. 

You might find that some comments can be mentioned earlier or later during your episode, so don’t be shy about editing and re-editing your script. 

Before you start recording, get comfortable, make sure you have all your notes and all of your podcast recording equipment is working as it should. 

It’s always a good idea to have a glass of water close by in case you need to refresh your voice at any point.  

Also, don’t worry too much about getting everything perfect on your first recording. It’s OK to start a segment over if you stumble over your words – you can always edit the bad bits out. 

Pro tip: Rather than simply talking to yourself for half an hour, consider podcasting as a conversation between you and your audience. A great approach for involving your listeners could be having a podcast-only mailbox or hashtag for collecting stories and comments to feature in your episodes. 

11. Find royalty-free music

Black cassette tape on a red and yellow background

Unlike, say, TV shows, your podcast won’t need long segments of music. Unless you run a music podcast, of course. 

In fact, your intro and outro music shouldn’t last much longer than 10 seconds, or you’ll risk losing listeners – after all, they didn’t sign up to listen to your jingle for half a minute. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pick the right music for your podcast. 

Ideally, the music in your intro and outro should sound on-brand and evoke the right kinds of feelings related to the topic of your podcast. 

A podcast reviewing the newest rock music wouldn’t use a string quartet arrangement in its intro, and vice versa. 

Music evokes emotions, so list down some different feelings and soundscapes that you want your show to be associated with. 

You don’t need to go and get a custom jingle commissioned: with some easy editing, you can combine a few sounds into a great intro for your show. 

To keep the costs at bay, look for royalty-free music and sound effects on sites like:  

  • Shutterstock. Get access to all music for $19 a month.
  • Epidemic. Use the free trial and pay only $13 a month afterward.
  • Storyblocks. Unlimited access to music and other assets from $19 a month.

Whichever platform you choose, you only want to use music that has a creative commons license to avoid copyright strikes and other legal trouble.

Or, if you happen to know a musician or a composer, get them to help you out.

You can also pay freelancers on websites like Fiverr and Upwork to create custom music for your podcast. 

12. Edit your podcast

The editing process of your audio recording might seem like a big and daunting task when you start a podcast.  

The good news is that it’s a lot less complicated than you think, even if it’s one of the most time-consuming parts of podcast creation. 

Choosing the right kind of editing software makes the process faster and smoother. 

We’d recommend considering one of the following: 

  • Audacity. This free open-source audio editing software works on Mac, Windows, and Linux, and has all the basic features you need. You’ll need to use an MP3 converter to have your audio files in the right format, but if you’re on a budget, Audacity is a great choice. 
  • GarageBand. Apple’s free video and sound editing software is not only pre-installed on all Macs, but it also comes with royalty-free music. Meaning that you can create your own jingles without wasting time in external music libraries.  
  • Pro Tools First. Sworn by the biggest Hollywood sound mixers, the free version of Pro Tools certainly suits podcast editing. The software works great on both Apple and Windows operating systems, and the cloud storage makes it easy for your co-host or other people to collaborate with you. 
  • Adobe Audition. Whether you’re already an Adobe Creative Cloud user or have some budget to spare, Adobe Audition is a powerful editing tool for any kind of audio recording. If you’re looking for quality audio editing software, you can get your hands on Audition for $19.99 a month. 
  • Logic Pro X. Outgrown GarageBand? Apple’s Logic Pro X allows you to edit movie-quality audio with all the possible add-ons you can dream of. If you’re serious about a career in podcasting, Logic Pro X can be yours for a one-off payment of $199.99.

Whichever software you choose, make sure you can get your recordings to MP3 format and learn your way around the editor. 

YouTube is full of free tutorials on the basics of audio editing, but you can also look at sites like Udemy for audio editing courses.

Sometimes it’s also not a bad idea to just play around in the software

Since intuitive design has been having a moment in the world of UI and UX, you can most likely figure out what a menu button does by clicking around the audio editor. 

13. Choose a podcast hosting service

Code displayed on a laptop screen

Well done, you’ve got the first episode or two of your podcast ready as MP3 audio files.

Now you need to decide on your podcast hosting provider. 

A podcast hosting what? We hear you ask. 

Like with all things online, you need to store your files somewhere. In the world of podcats, your audio files need to published in a way that they can be easily shared as an RSS feed with directories (think Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts). 

Just like the world of website hosting, there are plenty of players out there and you can really shop the market.

We’d recommend taking your time and choosing a provider that ticks all the boxes and requirements for your podcast. 

Some of the most popular hosting providers include: 

  • Buzzsprout
  • Captivate
  • Transistor
  • Castos
  • Podbean
  • Simplecast
  • Resonate

More importantly than following what other podcasters use, you want to pay attention to these 4 most crucial hosting features:

Storage capacity 

You should already know how many episodes you’re planning on creating for your podcast, and how long each podcast episode will be. 

But have you thought further down the line? If your podcast takes off in style, you might want to create more content or longer episodes. 

Your ideal hosting partner has the capacity to let you scale easily and fast. They should also be able to handle multiple podcasts, if you decide to branch out and start covering another topic later on. 

Check the storage capabilities of your shortlisted providers and pay attention to things like the dashboard and the ability to create a separate RSS feed for each podcast. 

Website integration options

Since the chances are that you will have a dedicated podcast website, you don’t want to get stuck with a hosting provider that doesn’t support various website integrations. 

Top hosting providers make sure that you have access to domain routing capabilities and custom code

This way, your newest podcast episode will be featured on your website automatically. 

Analytics 

In a digital world, data is everything. It helps you make the right decisions (like focusing on certain topics or segments in your show) and avoid costly mistakes (like paying for ad space but getting next to no traffic from the source). 

In order to grow your podcast, you must understand your audience. 

The best way to do that is by having access to information like best-performing episodes, average listening time, and other audience-specific analytics.

The better you understand which devices and platforms work best for you, the easier it will be to optimize your podcast content and overall marketing efforts. 

Marketing integration options  

The best podcast hosting providers make sure your podcast RSS feed is distributed everywhere. 

From embeddable podcast players to social media auto-sharing, look at what marketing integrations different providers offer, and make sure they align with your own marketing plans.

It’s not a bad thing if the platform has a big selection of marketing integrations but you only plan to use a few. It means that you have room to grow your marketing activities later.   

14. Distribute your podcast to a podcast directory 

A girl listening to music or a podcast lying down with headphones on and laptop in front

On many ‘How to start a podcast’ guides, the podcast distribution step might seem like the most complicated one. 

After all, how are you meant to get a hold of the right people at Apple, Spotify, and Google to feature your show under their podcast sections? 

In reality, in order to submit your podcast to a directory, all you need is the link to your RSS feed and an account with the directories you want to show your podcast. 

Start with creating accounts with the biggest and most important ones: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. 

Depending on your niche, you might also want to submit your podcast RSS feed to platforms like Stitcher, Podcasher, TuneIn, doubleTwist, iPodder, and Castbox. 

You might also want to follow a few podcast-focused blogs or websites, like Cliff Ravenscraft and The Podcast Host. Whenever any new up-and-coming directories surface, you’ll be the first one to know and can get your podcast up there as soon as possible. 

15. Publish and promote your podcast

Now that your podcast is up on Apple Podcasts and other directories, it’s time to start promoting it. 

The best and easiest way to make your podcast known by the masses is by having a podcast website

A website helps you build authority and credibility in your field, and gives your podcast an instant air of professionalism. 

Unlike before, nowadays you won’t even need to worry about knowing how to code – you can simply use a website builder like Zyro to get ahead. 

Pick your favorite from design-made website templates, customize it to your liking, and add your RSS feed or embed the podcast widget. 

Once your website is live, set up social media accounts and start making a name for yourself. 

If you’re short on ideas, try out these marketing approaches: 

Start a blog 

Adding a blog section to your website is good for two reasons. 

Firstly, it will help you generate organic traffic to your website, as long as you’re mindful about search engine optimization. 

And secondly, a blog will help you establish your authority and expertise in your field. You can repurpose your transcripts into blog posts and go deep into your favorite subjects.  

Engage with users on social media 

Never downplay the power of social media. 

It’s not just a great place to chit-chat, but you can use competitions, conversation openings, and polls to generate buzz around your podcast and website. 

Adding a user-focused section to your podcast is sure to bring you a fan or two, give your show different angles, and raise awareness about what you’re doing.

Wondering how to start a podcast that actually gets noticed? 

Advertise your podcast on other podcasts, and get a popular podcast host to name-drop yours. 

Networking with other podcast hosts is a great way to not only learn a thing or two, but to start building a name for yourself within the podcasting community, too. 

There’s a lot of rumors out there about the New and Noteworthy section on Apple Podcasts. 

While some step-by-step guides promise to take your podcast to the moon and back, some things are merely an urban legend. 

There’s no method to trick the algorithm, but your chances of getting featured are higher if you’re creating a quality show that adheres to Apple’s guidelines

Benefits of starting a podcast ☝️

Podcasts aren’t merely chopped-up versions of radio shows anymore. 

In fact, the best podcasts have a seriously loyal audience and can generate considerable income for the podcast hosts. 

Just like all digital content, there are plenty of benefits to podcasting. 

Get up close and personal with your audience 

When you’re listening to a podcast, you’re building much deeper connections with the podcast hosts than when you’re reading someone’s blog. 

That’s because the spoken word can convey meaning in more layers than the written word. After all, how easy is it to misunderstand a text message or an email, compared to a phone conversation? 

Hearing another human’s voice telling us stories takes us back to our parents reading us a book at bedtime and our teenage selves listening to ghost tales around the campfire. 

If you’re struggling to get personal with your audience, podcasting is a great way to bring a more human side to your business. 

The format is super convenient 

Podcast statistic

Let’s face it – not everyone’s going to be a bookworm, so no matter how great your blog or eBook is, it’s bound to go unnoticed by some.

Thankfully, podcasts are able to reach those people who don’t usually have the time or energy to sit down and read a blog post. 

As content formats go, podcasts are easily digestible and can be consumed while doing other things – it’s no coincidence that many of the top podcasts have been created with commuters in mind. 

Usually, listeners don’t need to rely on radio waves or even wifi (most directories, like Apple Podcasts, allow users to download episodes to their smart device for offline use). This means that there are fewer excuses and fewer distractions to podcasts compared to blogs or eBooks. 

And since you don’t need any specialist equipment to listen to new episodes, the format is accessible to plenty of people. 

It’s easy to start a podcast

Unlike other types of content (we’re looking your way, video), podcasting is easy and simple to start. 

You can get your podcast project off the ground with a microphone and a laptop. You won’t have to spend too much money and you can always scale your production equipment as you go. 

Since the editing process is a lot simpler than a video (or a complicated visual asset like a flyer or a banner), you can get your episodes out with a lot less effort, but still produce high-quality, high-impact content. 

You have their undivided attention

Podcast statistic

When your audience is listening to your podcast episode, you have their undivided attention for the whole length of the episode. 

That’s 20-30 minutes of complete focus on your content, your brand, and your message.

Unlike many other digital marketing channels, podcasts have proven to keep the audience engaged and focused for the longest – making it an ideal format to build a strong brand. 

No competitors to worry about here. 

Build a powerful brand image

Podcasts are fantastic for soft brand building, brand awareness, and strengthening your overall brand image. 

Why? 

Because you don’t need the hard sell. 

You can have your logo and company name visible in the artwork and featured in your intro, but you can focus on discussing the features of your products or recent innovations of your company in detail instead. 

Useful tips for creating a podcast 💡

Although it’s easy enough to start a podcast, creating a truly great podcast takes some work. 

Sure, you can influence the audio quality with the right recording equipment when you record a podcast. 

But to take things to the next level, you’ll want to start working on your content and overall delivery as a podcast host to make the listening experience better and smoother. 

Sweep people off their feet and create a podcast show like no other with these tips.  

1. Avoid vocal fry

Golden microphone behind a screen

Vocal fry happens when you speak in a lower register than your usual speaking voice and your vocal folds start to produce creaking sounds.

Vocal fry not only tickles your throat after a while, but it can also affect the overall sound quality of your podcast. 

It’s possible to use microphone accessories and computer software to tone down the vocal fry during the recording and editing process, but you’re still left with an episode that doesn’t sound natural. 

Do yourself and your listeners a favor and just speak in your normal voice. 

2. Engage and involve your listeners

A sure way to make your podcast more engaging is by getting your listeners involved

Ask them questions on social media and create polls that allow them to influence the content of your next episode. 

Introduce an audience segment to your show and get listeners to email in stories and questions every week. 

If you use your podcast to promote your brand or business, consider organizing giveaways and social media competitions with your products as prizes.  

You’ll strengthen your brand image and come across as approachable and highly engaged. 

3. Stay on topic

Podcast notes on a table

Your audience has chosen to listen to your podcast, so it’s your job to make sure they get what they order. 

That means that you should avoid derailing and going off-topic – unless that’s the special spice that makes your podcast unique. 

Think about it – would you be happy if you chose to listen to a show about gardening, only to find out that the only bit of gardening advice comes in the last segment of the whole podcast? 

It’s in your own best interest to stay on topic; so make sure you have a clear enough outline for each episode before you start recording.  

4. Invite relevant people on your podcast

Similar to staying on topic, you also want to think twice about who you’re inviting to co-host your show. 

Ideally, everyone on your podcast can share new information and experiences that are related to the topic of the episode.

You’ll only upset your audience by inviting a race driver to talk about race cars on a finance-themed podcast. 

Think about how you can frame each guest’s experience and expertise to fit the overall theme of your podcast. 

If the race car driver can give insights into how your audience can save on their gas bills and prolong the life of their cars, it will fit right into your financial podcast. 

5. Post transcripts of your show

A person writing a blog post on a laptop

Another great way to get the most out of your podcast content is to publish the transcripts of your episodes as blog posts on your website. 

Especially if you have co-hosts, you might want to rework the structure of your script to resemble more of a narrative – but it’s not a bad idea to create an interview-style blog post every now and then. 

Make sure you’re optimizing the transcripts for search engines by using the right keywords the right number of times, and before you know it, you’ll be dominating Google’s search results. 

Learn more about SEO

6. Be open about additional resources

It’s impossible to cover everything ever written on any subject in a mere half-hour. 

So make sure you’re letting your listeners know where they can find more information about the topics covered in your episodes. 

Create a dedicated resources page on your podcast website and add the link to it in your podcast description.

7. Listen, listen, and listen 

Podcasting is all about listening – for both your audience and yourself. 

Especially if you have a co-host or guests on your show, make sure you’re listening carefully to what they are saying. 

As the old proverb goes, listen to understand rather than to reply. 

While you don’t want to take unnecessarily long to reply, the best conversations include proper reflection on what’s being discussed. 

You can always sprinkle some post-production editing magic over thinking pauses that feel a little long when you’re playing the audio back. 

8. Be actionable 

Your listeners should be able to walk away with real, actionable information after every episode. 

So, make sure you’re wrapping up each talking point and offer real-world implications for your listeners. 

This way, your show adds value to your listeners and increases the likelihood of them listening to another episode of your podcast. 

9. Be a storyteller

Even if your podcast covers the news, try to be a storyteller. 

Rather than stating facts to your listeners, think about how you could build narratives around your conversation topics. 

You could introduce a different point of view or weave an example or two into an otherwise dull piece of information, and make your episodes instantly more interesting. 

10. Research your topic before you start

OK, here’s the thing – not every topic is going to work equally well as a podcast.

That’s not to say that you absolutely shouldn’t be interested in the topic of your show. 

But before you map out all your episodes, do some research on current podcast trends. 

You’ll not only understand your competition and how you need to angle your content, but you’ll also find out whether there’s going to be an audience for your show in the first place. 

11. Just be yourself 

A man in a black t-shirt recording a podcast indoors standing up

Just because you host a podcast show doesn’t mean you need to try and fit a particular podcasting mold. 

All the most popular podcasts thrive because they offer great insights to the people listening, and because of their authenticity

There are almost as many podcasts as there are podcast listeners – don’t worry about needing to fit in a box of any sort. 

12. Be a guest on other podcasts

If you’re struggling to make a name for your show, consider reaching out to other podcasts in your field – you have the knowledge and podcasting experience, why not become a podcast guest yourself? 

Reach out to the hosts of other podcasts and tell them about yourself and your show. 

Consider writing up a short elevator pitch to highlight the main selling points of your podcast. Maybe you dive deeper into particular topics than the podcast you’re aiming to be a guest at? 

Or maybe you are particularly interested in challenging another show’s view on something? 

Whatever it might be, make introductions and start the conversation – chances are that you’ll be able to have a fruitful conversation, taped or not. 

Frequently asked questions about how to start a podcast 🤔

Thankfully, as you probably realize now, starting a podcast is no rocket science. 

But it’s normal to still have some questions left unanswered if it’s your first time venturing into the world of podcasting. 

We’ve collected and answered some of the most burning questions about how to start a podcast. 

1. How much does it cost to start a podcast?

Let us rephrase: how much can you afford to spend on your podcast? 

Bootstrapping your podcast is absolutely doable. You can get started with your smartphone, computer some free editing, and recording software.

Unfortunately, these types of podcasts rarely have as crips and professional audio quality as a show that has put a bit of effort into its podcast equipment and recording software. 

You can pick up a decent starter-level microphone for around $50 (or less, if you keep your eyes out for sales). Most hosting providers also offer a free starter account or at least a free trial. 

In general, podcasting is one of those side hustles that requires a small investment up-front, but the general running costs (given that you’re not interviewing celebrities who charge hundreds by the hour) are usually low. 

Once you have the kit, you’ll only pay for annual hosting for your MP3 files and your website. 

2. How to start a podcast for free?

Yes, you can start a podcast without waving goodbye to your hard-earned cash – given that you have access to a smartphone and a computer. 

You can use audio recording apps (like the Voice Recorder App in Google Play Store, or Rev) to record your episodes, and use free audio software (like GarageBand or Audacity) to create the MP3 file for your hosting platform.

Hosting providers like Buzzsprout offers a free plan for customers who only need to upload up to 2 hours of audio every month.   

So, if you’re just wanting to try podcasting out, you could dip your toes into the audio world for free like this:  

  • Record short 20-minute episodes on a voice recording app on your phone
  • Save your audio recordings in the cloud (you can use Dropbox or iCloud, for example) 
  • Edit your audio into episodes using free software like GarageBand 
  • Sign up for a free hosting account and upload your files to the hosting platform 
  • Grab the RSS feed and create accounts with Apple Podcasts and other directories 

Once your podcast is out there, all you need to do is make sure people know about it. 

Learn more about marketing your podcast: 

3. What are some ways you can monetize a podcast?

There are plenty of ways to make money from your podcast, even if you’re not using your podcast to sell existing products or services. 

You could consider: 

  • Selling subscriptions to your podcast
  • Repurposing your podcast into an eBook 
  • Selling merchandise related to your podcast 
  • Hosting live events. 
  • Running ads in the middle of your podcast. 
  • Keep older episodes and podcast seasons behind a paywall. 
  • Also recording a video of your podcast and putting it on YouTube.

If you already have a business, you could use your podcast as an additional marketing tool for your product or service. 

4. How long should an episode be? 

That varies from podcast to podcast, but on average, podcasts last for 20-45 minutes

It doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice the quality of your show just to fit your episode into half an hour. 

Instead, experiment with different lengths at first. Use audience analytics (most hosting providers offer great insights into your audience’s listening habits) and determine when people stop listening to your episode. 

Once you notice a trend, it’s easy to make future choices based on real data. 

You can also be upfront and ask your audience on social media what length they consider ideal for your podcast. You’ll most likely start a fruitful conversation and engage with users in a way that will keep them listening, no matter the length of your show. 

5. How often should I release a new episode of my podcast?

One word – regularly

People love a frequent release schedule for most things in life, podcasts being no different. 

If you can manage to publish one episode a month, that’s great. If you want to get one episode out a week, go for it. 

It doesn’t matter how often you release a new episode, your listeners will thank and appreciate you for frequent releases that you’re sticking to. 

6. How to design my podcast cover art?

Even if you’re not a graphic designer (and never plan to be one), there are a few things you should know about cover art design. 

Mainly, you want to pay attention to:

  • Typography and fonts. Stick to easy-to-read fonts, and don’t mix and match multiple different styles.  
  • The tone of your imagery. Ideally, you want to use images that communicate what your podcast is all about. Play with common associations and think how you want people to feel when they see your show cover on Apple Podcasts.
  • Colors. Contrasting colors are your best friends: they make the text easier to read and give any images the attention they deserve. For example, NPR uses different accent colors to categorize different types of podcasts.
  • White space. Giving your show title enough room with ample padding ensures nobody misses the most important information.   
  • Size. Your cover will be tinier than you probably realize. That means that people need to be able to read and see everything in your design no matter the size. Tools like Podcast Artwork Check help you check your designs are legible no matter the player.  

And as for the creation process of your artwork? 

You can use intuitive drag-and-drop browser editors like Canva or Adobe Spark to create your graphics for free.

Canva boasts a massive library of free templates for almost all things possible, and for a small premium charge, you can access stock photos and other assets. 

Or outsource the task to professional designers. Platforms like 99designs are home to designers who can get the job done fast.  

7. How do I create a website for my podcast? 

Generally speaking, you can create a website by either coding it yourself, paying someone to code it for you, or using a website builder. 

If you know a coding language or have the budget to hire external help, fantastic – prepare yourself for a project that will take a little while.

But if you’re just setting out and need a no-frills website fast, website builders like Zyro are ideal technologies to get you up on your feet. 

Usually, website builders Let you choose from ready-made website templates and all that’s left for you is to customize your favorite one to your liking. 

For example, you can create a one-page website with Zyro that has all the relevant information about your show, your contact details, and an embedded podcast player in literal minutes. And if you get stuck, help is just a short instant message away.  

Zyro even has podcast-specific templates, making it even faster to get your website published. 

Start a podcast the right way ✨

How to start a podcast isn’t as complicated, time-consuming, and expensive as you think. 

With a bit of groundwork and planning, you can launch your show and live your childhood dream of being a radio DJ. 

Remember that investing in your kit upfront can pay huge dividends down the line, not to mention the professional look your podcast will have from the get-go. 

Written by

Author avatar

Matleena

Matleena is a seasoned eCommerce writer, with a particular interest in emerging digital marketing trends, dropshipping, and growth hacking. She’s addicted to coming up with new eCommerce business ideas and making them a reality; she deserves her nickname of ‘print on demand business mogul.' In her free time, she enjoys cups of good coffee, tends to her balcony garden, and studies Japanese.

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