So you want to know how to start a podcast?
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.
How did the name come about?
15 years ago, journalist Ben Hammersley was writing a column about internet radio blogs at the Guardian newspaper. By the end of his column, he wrote: “And what should we call this new phenomenon – audio blogs? How about podcasts?'”
And that’s it. Without realizing at the time, Ben just made up a new word to describe what would become a multi-billion dollar, global industry. The story of how it happened is still online and is pretty cool.
Where can you listen to podcasts?
Most phones come with native apps that allow you to download and listen to podcasts but there are many different options that you can download. Here are some of our favourites:
- Podcast & Radio Addict
- Podcast Republic
- Pocket Casts
- Stitcher Radio
- Podcast (native)
- Stitcher Radio
- Podcast Lounge
- Podcast Picker
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?
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.
All of these options will have their own advantages and disadvantages; you just have to choose what suits you best.
How to produce a podcast
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.
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 10 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.
How to distribute a podcast
Most independent podcast producers will put up the podcasts both on their own website and on common podcast platforms such as Apple’s podcast-app, Spotify or the Google Podcast app.
Another way to get published is to have a host website for it. These websites are designed to host and publish podcasts on different platforms. Some good examples are “Anchor”, “Buzzsprout”, “Captivate” and ”Transistor”.
Getting published alone is not enough to get noticed above literally hundreds of thousands of other podcasts. This is where marketing takes place, and, again, it’s all about the money. Your marketing plan can include having your friends spread the word on their social media, to creating a large-scale advertising and PR plan in order to promote the podcast.
Monetizing your podcast will be the last, but probably the most important step on the distribution plan. 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.
Ready to start your own podcast?
With the tips we’ve shared you can see that it’s not hard to start your own podcast. All you need to do is to focus on the end goal and start working, following the steps we’ve given you. If you still have some doubts, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you plan, execute and launch your own podcast in no time.
Happy podcasting, and don’t forget to let us know in the comments how it went!