How to Start a Podcast

So you want to know how to start a podcast?

Miguel Branco

In this article, we will guide you through all the stages of launching your podcast: from planning to production. By the end, you’ll know exactly what you need to do so that you can, hopefully, launch it quickly.What is a podcast really?

If we’re going to do this, let’s start from the beginning. Do you keep hearing the word podcast but have no idea what it is? Well, a podcast is a digital audio file that can be downloaded to a computer or mobile.

Where do you begin when starting a podcast? First things first, if you’re going to start a podcast you need to come up with an idea.

Do you want to tell a story, debate ideas or interview interesting people? Apart from common sense and technical specifications, there are no rules or limits to podcasting. Podcasts approach different topics and have different themes – pure entertainment, investigative journalism, promotional content and much more.

The second step will be deciding the format of the show. A podcast can be a solo enterprise, where you are reading from a script or you can have a host interviewing guests, a panel show, a conversational or co-hosted.

Ok, so you’ve come up with an idea for the podcast, now you need to start production. Remember, a great idea doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. This is the critical stage where your idea has to fulfil a deadline and stay on budget. For that, we need to find the best possible way to bring this idea to life.

YouTube has been a revolutionary tool in media; suddenly we all can make a movie. Right? Technically, yes, but most of the home videos are a “little” far way from a Spielberg production.

The same is true with podcasting. Technology has made it possible for everyone with an idea, some money and basic IT knowledge to produce a podcast. However, there are a lot of low-quality productions out there. Fortunately, some podcasts are really interesting and exceptionally well produced.

With this in mind, we recommend these 11 steps:

1. Make a budget and a production plan

Doesn’t matter if it’s a one or a twenty person project. Your plan should be your “Production Bible”. No matter how big or small the budget is, you need to decide on one and stick to it!

2. Find the right people

Unless you are able to master all areas of podcast production and delivery yourself, this is probably the most important step when producing any kind of content.

3. Research

No matter the subject, we have always to go the extra mile, dig deeper and learn. The better the research, the better the writing.

4. Writing

Now it’s time to get in there. This part of the job is 10% talent and 90% hard work. Even if you do a podcast with people just talking, you still need a script.

5. Sound recording

This is the amazing time when the ideas start to come alive. Recording is very tricky and to do it properly requires quite some knowledge and a bit of technology.

6. Sound Design

Creating the right sound environment is a main feature that will set up the all show.

7. Sound Editing

Post production work. Get the recorded voices at the right level and in the right place, “clean” eventual sound background, put together the sound design and… “Voilá!”

8. Use the right technical tools

This can range from an improvised home studio to a full on professional studio. From a simple microphone and a free recording and editing software like “Audacity”, to a completely soundproof studio with the best dynamic microphones, pro software like “Avid Pro Tools” handled by professionals. It all depends on your objectives and, of course, the budget.

9. Graphic Design

Like in any other product, “Packaging” is very important. We have to be sure that the way it looks matches the way it sounds. Just like a cover of a beautiful Vinyl record, the promotional material for your podcast, including the cover art has to stand out and give an idea of what it is about. Before listening to our podcast people will look at it first.

10. Distribution and marketing

Now that we have our podcast produced it is time to choose the best way possible to distribute it. At the same time, we have to come up with a marketing plan to let people know that your new project is out there.

11. Monetizing

Monetizing your podcast will be the last, but probably the most important step. If you are on a contract that means you have developed it for a certain price and for a specific client. But most podcasters monetize their work on an audience-based payment, which means they get paid per listener.

Although each platform has their own payment scheme, they all share the same thing in common – you will need a lot of listeners to properly monetize your podcast. Anything from 10,000 listeners and up will be a good place to start.