How to Start a Podcast: The Easiest Step-By-Step Guide
Why Should You Start a Podcast?
The popularity of podcasts is growing on a daily basis.
It’s estimated that there’ll be more than 160 million listeners this year!
Podcasts are easy to listen to while on-the-go, which makes them a great way to reach people.
You’ll be in their ears:
- During gym workouts
- While commuting
- In the background while working
Podcasts don’t require your undivided attention like a video does, which makes them easy to consume any time, anywhere.
A podcast is also a great way for you to establish yourself as an expert and communicate your message while connecting to a larger audience…
Some of which may turn into customers down the line.
With engaging content, you’ll also have the opportunity for SEO that will work really well with other aspects of your marketing strategy.
Another one of the benefits of having a podcast is that you’re able to repurpose your content into blogs and social media posts, which can help drive traffic to your website.
How To Start a Podcast
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a technological genius.
It also doesn’t require a lot of money to start a podcast.
Below is a guide to launching your podcast and starting to reach out to an audience.
Type of Podcast Format
Choosing the right format for your podcast is important!
This will also determine the structure of your podcast.
For entrepreneurs, B2B, and B2C, I’d suggest choosing one of the following formats:
This is great for guests who specialise in business and can share their knowledge and expertise.
It also allows you the opportunity to ask pointed questions, where they can provide expert advice, offer varied opinions, or offer “how to” tips.
The benefits of this type of podcast format include:
- Building authority and credibility
- Allowing you to engage with the audience
- Offers direct strategies on growth and leadership
- Helps to build relationships
- Has the potential to generate leads
Panel Podcast Format
This format is very similar to the one-on-one interview…
But it involves multiple guests who will provide interesting opinions and insights.
It does require a little more work, as you need to coordinate schedules and make sure that each guest has an opportunity to talk.
But this does provide an opportunity for great Q&A sessions, where all guests can share their experiences, success stories, and thought leadership.
These kinds of interviews also provide opportunities for discussing theories about fundraising, leadership and management.
The benefits of this kind of format include:
- Dynamic conversation and insights that will engage your audience
- Multiple guests can change your perspective, as they offer useful insights
- Your audience gets to learn from a variety of experts in their space
- Guest networks can provide an opportunity for promotion
- Can help create a demand for your brand
This is a fairly common format and most podcasters start out using it.
This is just you, talking about your own experiences and insights.
It also gives your audience a chance to get to know you.
You’re able to talk about your personal experience, bring the focus back onto your company, and create brand awareness, but with your own creative flair.
Here you can also lay down “the voice of the brand”, deliver your company’s message, describe pain points of your potential customer, or share the benefits of your product.
It’s a great opportunity for you to engage and communicate directly with your audience.
Benefits of the solo/monologue format:
- Your podcast schedule is flexible and convenient as you work on your own time
- Allows you to connect with your audience in a more personable way
- You choose and control the message you want to convey
- Share your own unique story with your audience
Pick Your Topic
There’s a variety of podcast genres and categories to choose from when you start your podcast. Some of the potential genres include:
- Society and Culture
- Health and fitness
- True Crime
The one you choose should tie in with your expertise, knowledge, hobbies, and interests.
Name Your Podcast
Choosing a name for your podcast may seem easy…
But with over 2.4 million podcasts you need to make sure that yours stands out from the crowd!
The name of your podcast should give your audience an idea of what they’ll be listening to.
Keep the name between 3-4 words, as they’re easier to remember and roll off your tongue.
Make sure that the name you choose works best for the brand or your personality!
Try to come up with a few names and then check to see if they already exist.
You can use the following free podcast name checkers to see if the name you want is available:
You can also do a quick search on Google or apply through the Apple Podcasts Connect portal for name approval.
Your podcast description is also known as a show summary.
Put some thought into creating an interesting summary…
It will be the first introduction that potential listeners will get to your podcast!
This summary tells the listener what your podcast is about and what they can expect to hear when they listen to it.
“The Blah Blah Podcast, hosted by John Smith, brings you all the latest news and information about…”
Note that this is a general summary for your podcast, not for each episode!
Your podcast summary will stay the same for the foreseeable future, unless you decide to change the genre.
Podcast Show Notes
Your podcast show notes provide an overview of each episode.
These can add tremendous value to your podcast.
Use the show notes to reinforce the episode’s message by adding some extra details here.
They’re also excellent for SEO!
You’ll summarise the episode, mention a few key points from your podcast, and add links to your website and other social media.
This is also where you’ll provide your listeners with any additional resources, relevant content, and your guest’s bios.
Creating show notes can:
- Enhance SEO, as they help search engines index your content
- Help attract new listeners to your podcast
- Make it easy to repurpose the podcast and publish the information in another format i.e on your website
- Increase traffic to your website and other social media profiles
- Turn casual listeners into regular fans
How Often Should You Publish Your Podcast Episode?
The question you should ask here is “How much time do I have to commit to creating content?”
Some creators will upload an episode every day, while others will schedule their podcasts weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
You also need to consider the topic you’ll be talking about and the length of your podcasts.
As you release more episodes, you’ll be able to analyse your audience and take their listening habits into consideration.
You may want to start with one episode a week and then increase the frequency as your fan base grows.
It’s better to deliver quality content consistently and regularly.
This will help establish trust and reliability with your listeners.
When you’re predictable to your listeners, you become part of their podcast routine.
Choose the Right Equipment
The quality of the equipment you choose will determine the audio quality of your podcast.
Don’t neglect this factor – it’s extremely important!
If the audio quality is compromised, sounds tinny, or has too much background noise…
You’ll lose credibility.
Your audience won’t sit through grainy audio or fluctuating volume levels.
It’s essential that you produce high-quality audio and content.
You’ll need the following equipment when you start your podcast:
- Recording software
If you’re going to do interviews or panel podcasts, then make sure that your equipment supports multiple ports.
You should also consider getting a USB interface or mixer.
Fortunately, there are plenty of high-quality products available that will suit every budget.
Create a Quiet Environment
Can background noise impact the performance of your podcast?
The simple answer is yes.
Background noise can be very distracting to your listeners and poor sound quality can diminish your credibility.
If you’re recording your podcast in the office or on the go…
Other people talking, phones ringing, and a ton of other unwanted noises can make their way into the podcast.
You may think that recording your podcast at home would be quieter.
But unwanted noise can be picked up by your microphone.
- Ambient sounds, like typing
- The hum from air conditioners
- Buzzing light bulbs
- Traffic, trains, or planes flying overhead
- Pets barking or running around
- A room with a lot of echo
By creating a quiet environment, you can reduce background noise.
This can significantly reduce the amount of time spent editing the audio!
Look for a room in your house or office that’s far from outside noises and where you won’t be disturbed while recording.
Before you press record, make sure to turn off notifications on your laptop and to either put your phone on silent or onto aeroplane mode.
Choose Easy Software
While you could use your computer or mobile phone to record your podcast directly, there are a number of benefits when you use a podcast recording software program.
Podcast software provides high-quality audio that:
- Gets rid of unwanted noises
- Balances and adjusts your audio’s frequency
- Makes it easier to edit
Most recording software is easy to use…
All you need to do is press Record when you start and Stop and Save when you’re done.
Most podcast recording software also comes with a range of sound effects that you can use to keep your episodes engaging.
Some allow you to record from your mobile device if you’re recording remotely.
Do some research before choosing software, though.
You want something that’s easy to use and has great reviews!
Learn How to Edit
Editing is an essential part of podcasting…
And it helps make your episode a more enjoyable experience.
It allows you to:
- Streamline your message
- Remove filler words, such as “um,” “uh,” “like,” and “you know”
- Remove any tangents that will detract from your message
While it may form part of your manner of speaking when you’re with family and friends, your audience will find them distracting.
You’ll also be able to work on the pacing of your podcast and decide on what works best for you.
Just remember that speaking faster doesn’t always mean that your message will be more meaningful or memorable.
Editing your podcast will help you tell a story and let it flow so that it sounds natural and conversational!
You can learn how to edit effectively online.
YouTube is a great starting point!
Do a Test Run
Before you launch your first episode for the whole world to hear, do a test run.
This will help you get a feel for the entire process.
Plan your episode, record and edit it, and then send it to your family and friends.
Ask that they give you their honest opinion on what they liked, disliked, and what they feel you could have done better.
While it’s never easy and it can be downright scary to receive feedback, it’s necessary!
This will help you deliver content that’s unique, memorable, and that’s really helpful.
You want to create a lasting impression that will have your audience coming back for more!
It will also help you become more familiar with the recording and editing process.
Plan Your Content
You may have a million ideas written down, but you’re going to have to put them into action.
This will require you to plan each episode in advance…
As well as decide on how many seasons you’re going to start with.
Plan the length, what you’ll be discussing in each episode, and potential guests you can invite to join you.
If you have a lot of content planned, then you may want to do a 40 to 60-minute episode and have a shorter season of 6 to 12 episodes.
If your episodes are going to be 20 to 30 minutes long, then you could do more episodes in a season.
Just make sure that each episode provides more value—feels meatier—than the last.
This will help your listeners come back for more!
You can do this by dividing each season of your podcast into different informative topics.
Here’s a quick example:
- Season 1: The Journey of B2B or B2C
- Season 2: How to do social media right for B2B businesses
- Season 3: The power of SEO in business
- Season 4: Humanising the customer experience in the digital age
Then break down each season into individual episodes, with a rough road map of what each episode will cover, the format of the episode—Solo, Panel, Or one-on-one interview—and the audience you want to target.
As your planning your podcast ask yourself the following questions:
- What would my target audience be most interested in?
- How do I deliver the most valuable content in the planned amount of time?
- How and when do I introduce new elements to keep my podcast engaging?
- Is my podcast following a logical conclusion?
- Does the content satisfy my audience?
Create a Script
Once you’ve planned all your episodes and what you’ll be discussing, create a rough script for the episode.
This will help keep you on track…
And prevent you from talking unnecessarily, where you may lose your audience!
You don’t have to write out your entire script word-for-word in advance.
You can use bullet points to help you keep track of what you’re covering in the episode.
If your script is done well, it will provide structure, allowing you to be concise with your message which can lead to fewer mistakes during recording.
Practise what you want to say using your script a couple of times before you record your podcast.
This will also help you to follow it more naturally, keeping it casual and conversational instead of it sounding like you’re reading a script!
You’ll also make fewer mistakes while recording, which will significantly reduce your editing time.
Your script should cover the following:
- A memorable tagline or hook
- An introduction to the podcast
- Introducing your guest (if you have a guest)
- Introducing your topic
- Outline the main content of your episode (your biggest talking points)
- An outro (summarise the main points and give a Call-To-Action)
Unsure how to create a memorable tagline or hook to capture your audience’s attention?
Consider the following questions:
- What problem could your audience be experiencing?
- What solution are you offering?
- Who would it serve?
Remember to add music and any ads into your podcast layout when you do your planning.
In your outro provide some sneak peeks into your next episode. You can do this by:
- Announcing an exciting upcoming guest
- Using “carry-over” questions
- Creating exclusive episodes
- Engaging with your audience by having them share their experiences with you
- Providing a sneak peek of the value in the next episode
Your Call-to-Action is important.
It can help you to grow your audience, encourage deeper engagement, grow your email list, and even boost conversion rates.
Stick to one Call-to Action per episode and choose wisely…
Make sure your instructions are clear for your audience to follow and there’s an attractive incentive for them to do so.
Some Call-to Action examples are:
- Asking listeners to subscribe so they get notified about upcoming episodes
- Encouraging your audience to leave a review
- Asking your audience to come up with ideas for future podcasts
- Downloading a free resource like a cheat sheet, email course, or checklist
- Purchasing or receiving merchandise like a T-shirt, cap, coffee mug, or stickers
- Watching a video, reading an article or leaving a comment on your website
- Clicking the notification button
- Checking out some of your other episodes
- Checking out my YouTube channel
- Providing a special discount for your products and services
When a member of your audience does leave a review, take some time to read it out and show the person some appreciation.
This will help deepen your engagement with your audience.
Choose your guests carefully!
Having guests on your show that are experts in their field can help you build authority and credibility with your audience.
By inviting subject-matter experts, you’ll be offering your audience new insights and tips.
This can help a member of your audience make a decision or provide a solution to a problem they may be experiencing.
When choosing guests, you can start with industry experts in your network.
As your podcast gains more popularity, you can look at inviting business influencers, other podcasts hosts, YouTubers, and other relevant people in your niche.
There are also podcast matching services which help you reach out to potential guests or be a guest on their podcast.
Launching Your Podcast
Select a Host Platform
A podcast hosting platform makes it easy for you to upload and distribute your podcast so that listeners can find you.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be tech-savvy, as most platforms have an easy-to-use interface.
The biggest advantage of a podcast hosting platform is that they can automatically publish your episodes to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podchaser, Stitcher, and TuneIn.
Depending on the platform you choose, you may also get access to:
- Scheduling tools
- Analytics that provide key insights about your show
- Transcription services
- Ability to interact with your audience in real time
- Monetization options
- One-step distribution to other platforms
- Unlimited episode uploads
- Automatic social media sharing
- Customizable RSS feeds
- Fast download speed for your podcast
Most hosting platforms will give you unlimited storage space, unmetered bandwidth, and you can upload between 2 to 5 hours worth of content per month on the free option.
Most also have multiple hosting tiers, so you can choose the best option for your podcast.
Promote Your Podcast
The USA has the largest listenership, with 47.9% podcast listeners.
But podcasting is gaining popularity all over the world!
Many countries are seeing podcast engagement increasing every year, including the UK, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and Mexico.
That means that there’s a lot of people out in the world looking for valuable content!
By promoting your podcast, you’ll be able to reach a wider group of people than just your network.
So how do people find new podcasts to listen to and how can you tap into that?
Here’s how most podcast listeners are finding new shows:
- 30% of new podcast listeners do an internet search to find new podcast shows
- 19% is word of mouth, as listeners ask friends and family for recommendations
- 17% of listeners have discovered new podcast shows from social media
- 6% of podcast listeners follow recommendations of a current podcast host they listen to
- 7% of podcast listeners will follow suggestions from advertisements that they hear
Use analytics to gauge what’s working, when people listen to your episode, and where in the world your podcast is being heard.
This will help you adjust your podcast and also see where you’ll see the most amount of growth.
Marketing is usually a multi-layered effort.
One of the best ways to promote your podcast is through using effective SEO, as Google now scans audio files for relevance.
So make sure to add keywords into your script and summaries!
This will target those people searching the internet for new podcasts.
Word-of-mouth advertising is a little more challenging.
Look at attending conferences in your niche.
If you’re focusing on B2B you may want to attend:
- B2B Marketing Expo 2023
- The Digital Summit—DigiMarCon—2023
- The Global ABM Conference
You’ll be able to mingle with like-minded people, whom you can also invite to be guests on your show.
As well as this, you can also promote your podcast by:
- Using podcast directories and aggregators like Overcast, iHeartRadio, PodcastAddict
- Cross-promoting with other podcasts creators
- Using social media and incorporate it into your companies marketing strategy
- Running a contest or giving away branded podcast-related merchandise
- Repurposing your podcast content to YouTube, LinkedIn, and your website
- Sharing your podcast in your weekly or monthly newsletter
- Collaborating with other content creators and feature as a guest
- Paid advertising with Google and Facebook ads
- Creating short trailers of your podcast episode
Get Your Podcasts Transcribed
There are a number of benefits to having your podcast transcribed.
Some podcasting software features automatic transcription, otherwise you’ll need to find a transcription service.
By transcribing your podcast, you’re making it more accessible to a wider audience…
Including people who are hard of hearing, deaf, or who may not speak your language.
It’s easier for someone to take the transcription and translate it, versus trying to translate audio.
But it will also help to enhance your SEO, which could make you more discoverable and increase your ranking.
Your podcast transcription will be indexed on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, which will also help potential listeners find you faster.
It also makes it easier for you to repurpose the content as you’re able to create snippets for social media, turn it into blog content, or even use it in your newsletter.
Embed Them Into Your Website
Hosting your podcast on a platform is great.
But if you really want to make the most of SEO…
Add your podcast to your own website.
Embed your podcasts into your website so people can watch it there.
It becomes another piece of content that could attract people to your site…
Through SEO and organic search.
You could also create a website just for your podcast.
If you have a B2B business podcast, and you have “B2B Marketing Podcast” in your name…
When people search for “B2B marketing podcast”, there’s a high likelihood that your podcast website will come up.
What You DON’T Need to Start a Podcast
Now you know what you need to start a podcast. What about what you don’t need? Here are two misconceptions!
Professional Speaking Experience
You absolutely don’t need professional speaking experience to start a podcast.
All you need is something of value to share.
Anyway, your guests are likely to speak more than you.
So if you’re a nervous speaker, you can still do this!
Practise your scripts, and remember you can always edit out stutters.
It’s just like having a conversation with a friend.
A Huge Audience
Only a handful of podcasts began with a huge audience.
Most of them started with a tiny audience…
Or even no audience at all!
As the saying goes…
“Build it and they will come.”
Instead of thinking in terms of audience → podcast, flip it.
Your podcast will bring in the audience.
Start regardless of how big your audience is.
Final Thoughts on How to Start a Podcast
Podcasting is an amazing way to build your brand, share extra value with your audience, and grow your business. It also doesn’t require a lot of money to start a podcast. Check out this Libsyn guide that provides helpful tips to getting started.
The key is doing your podcast the way that works for you.
If you plan ahead, prepare properly, make sure you get quality equipment, and stay consistent…
You’ll have a high chance of seeing success with your podcast.
Push through the first few quiet months, and you’ll see…
Once it takes off, you’ll understand what the podcast high is all about!