If you’re wondering how to start a podcast, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide you’ll find everything you need from creating a podcast to publishing your content online. Follow the steps below to get started!
This is the most important part of the podcast creation process. Coming up with a podcast idea is easy for some and difficult for others. Actually sticking to the idea throughout the lifetime of the podcast is one of the hardest things for many hosts to do. Their ideas evolve over time and eventually, they find themselves completely removed from their original themes, leading to loss of listenership.
If you don’t have an idea in mind but want to join the podcasting game, try creating a list of all of the topics you’re interested in. The beauty of podcasting is that there is no limit to what you can podcast about. There’s a show for everyone and it’s up to you to decide who you want to target with your content.
Do you want to do a show about ferns in the Pacific Northwest? Or perhaps you’d be more interested in ancient Roman history. Whatever the case may be, deciding on a theme and sticking to it is key for lasting success.
If you already have an idea or multiple ideas, the first step is to define exactly what you want this idea to be, how you’re going to stick with it, and how to evolve it over time while staying true to your originality.
For example, say you have a podcast about traveling around the world to find the best wine. But you also want to cover food and culture and maybe some history too. Podcasting 101 tells us that it’s best to find one solid theme and to stick with it. If your ideas are too broad or too spread out, it can be confusing for your audience and cause them to quickly lose interest. So for this wine podcast, it would be best to stick solely to the finding wine theme, and sprinkle in elements of local food and culture along your travels. Just keeping the main theme in mind and at the forefront of all topical detours is a great way to keep the audience engaged. Remember, they will always want the content they originally tuned in for.
Sure you have a podcast theme in mind, but do you have enough content planned to keep the show going for a while? Here’s our guide to developing a content plan for podcast episode topics.
Sticking to your main podcast theme is very important. To do so, you absolutely need to plan your content, even if that means writing episode scripts.
Listeners are quick to click off of an episode if they’re bored or if they can tell the host didn’t do their research ahead of time. Simply “winging it” won’t cut it (unless of course your podcast is presented as such to begin with).
Curating topics to grow your podcast listening is easy once you’ve developed a content plan. This can be done through social media research, gathering the most commonly asked questions on your chosen theme, finding trending topics online that relate to your content, and evaluating the commonalities between them all. This is a great way to come up with future topics and to plan your content for the days they will be released so you’re not rushing last minute to come up with something to talk about.
The last step is to create a content plan that’s easy for you to follow. We’ve found that the best way to do this is to make a list of dates the episodes will be released on, assign a topic to each date, brainstorm some episode titles, and write a little info next to each topic so you know what to research or talk more about when creating the episode.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to have an intro and outro on every episode, particularly a script that stays consistent. It can be something as simple as “Hey there! Welcome to the Forest Lore Podcast where every week we speak with park rangers about their wildest stories.” An outro can sound something like, “Thanks for tuning in to the Forest Lore Podcast. Join us next week for a wild adventure!” Keep it simple, easy to remember, and unique to your style.
Click here for our in depth guide to help you find the right podcast equipment including microphones, noise filters, handheld recorders, and reverb dampeners.
In addition to this list, you need something to actually record your audio with, especially if you plan on recording with other people. If you plan on using just a USB mic, you’ll need recording software. The most commonly used podcast recording softwares are:
If you’re looking for more of a one-stop-shop piece of equipment, our favorite digital recorder is the Rodecaster Pro. We use this in the studio and our clients love using Rodecasters as well. This device looks like something a DJ might use. Described as the “perfect all-in-one podcasting solution,” the Rodecaster has four XLR microphone inputs, allowing for four people to record together. It also has programmable sound buttons for custom effects and can even record conversations via smartphones. Most importantly, it’s extremely easy to use. Simply hit the power button and record when ready! While it has a higher price tag than some of the other options out there, it’s hard to beat its simplicity.
When it comes to recording etiquette, the guide linked above has a full list of podcasting dos and don’ts to help you have an excellent recording experience. Of all of our recommendations, the items below are the most important to remember.
When it comes to editing your podcast, there are a few options out there that produce excellent results. At LPM, our Audio Engineers use Pro Tools and Logic Pro to edit raw audio files and to transform them into awesome podcast episodes. With so many options out there, it can be hard to know what to use. Below are some of the most popular podcast editing platforms including the two we use. Many of these software examples are capable of doing both audio recording and editing,
One of the best things you can do to edit podcast audio, no matter what software you’re using, is to listen to the entire raw audio first. Note timestamps of sections that need to be edited out. Editing sections of noise disturbance, unrelated talking points, and speaking mistakes, or even shortening lengthy conversations to better frame the narrative, are all great audio editing practices that will help the audio flow together better.
Something else to keep in mind while editing raw audio is the desired length of the episode. This can help you eliminate unnecessary sections of audio, only keeping the most important for the final cut.
We advise anyone speaking on a podcast to refrain from using too many filler words or phrases like “um,” “you know,” and “like.” If these words are a habit for you (as they are for most people) they can be edited out later on.
If you choose to add background music to the episode, make sure to keep the music levels to a minimum and choose a soundtrack that enhances, rather than confuses, the listening experience. If the music fights with the voices on the recording too much, it can be confusing for the listener to the point of frustration. If you’re not sure if a music track is too distracting from the audio, try having someone else listen to a clip for some feedback.
The last step to getting your podcast out into the world is to choose a podcast hosting platform. This is quite different from a podcast distribution platform. Here’s our in depth explanation of the two and why they are both essential parts of podcast publishing.
Podcast hosting platforms are websites that actually store your uploaded podcast content including everything from audio files and show notes to episode thumbnails and titles. Our favorite host is Spreaker because it’s easy to use and provides accurate podcasting analytics like the amount of downloads per episode and what regions people are listening from. Stats like these are an essential part of revising content plans down the road because they help you better understand your audience and the type of episodes they listen to the most.
Other hosting sites include:
Once you’ve chosen a podcast host, you need to create an RSS feed. An RSS feed is a page of code that contains all of the relevant information per episode such as titles, descriptions, and other information, which is then continuously monitored by distribution sites, keeping your podcast information always up to date.
Having a podcast hosting platform is essential to getting your content online. Since podcast distribution platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts don’t actually store your podcast itself, the hosting site is what tells the distribution services, “Hey, we’ve got a podcast here. Pick it up so people can listen to it on your app!” From there you can schedule when you want the episodes to go live on these sites and monitor its progress along the way.
Starting a podcast can be really overwhelming and it helps to have someone help you along the way. You are totally capable of doing it yourself but if you would like to have a team of podcast experts working behind the scenes, give us a call! We’d love to help you reach your podcast goals, whatever they may be.
Book a time with one of our podcast experts and launch your brand into orbit. Or don't... we can't really tell you what to do.