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What is a Podcast?
A podcast is an audio program, much like a radio show— you can stream or download it on your smartphone and listen to it anywhere!
Generally, podcasts are episodic, releasing new episodes periodically. They focus on a specific topic such as:
- True crime
- Fictional stories
- Any topic!
They can be hosted by a single person, co-hosts, or have a whole cast of voice actors.
They can be any length, from short snippets to hours long.
What is Needed to Start a Podcast?
To start a podcast, you need:
- Confidence in your voice
- And passion for your topic
You’ll also need some equipment like:
- Editing software
- Quiet place to record
Your podcast set-up can be as simple and inexpensive as you’d like it to be. Plus, there’s no need to purchase fancy equipment – you can start recording your podcast episodes on your smartphone.
How Much Do Podcasters Make?
How much you’ll earn as a podcaster depends on how you monetize your podcast. The most common ways to monetize your podcast include:
- Affiliate links
- Support from your listeners
- Episode downloads
You might not make much when you first start your podcast. Still, podcasting can be a profitable career over time if you consistently produce quality content and strategize for optimal audience engagement.
Generally speaking, you can earn anywhere from $745/month to $13,450/month, depending on listener support and ad placements.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Start a Podcast
Step 1: Plan
1. Choose a topic:
The first step is nailing down the topic of your podcast. Ask yourself these questions to find your niche and topic:
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you want to share with the world?
Don’t be afraid to be specific — find the niche you’ll be comfortable talking about.
2. Define the goal of your podcast and who is it for:
Once you define your niche, it’s time to define the purpose of your podcast.
The questions below can help you set the goal of your podcast:
- Do you want your podcast to be educational?
- Or is it for entertainment?
- What do you want your listeners to gain from listening to you?
- Who are your listeners?
Narrowing this down will help form a cohesive experience and better cater to your audience.
3. Choose a name:
The name is one of the most critical parts of setting up your podcast. This is what will lure your listeners and make them click on your podcast.
It’s okay if the title is a bit broader than your actual topic— this will give you some freedom and wiggle room to explore topics underneath that umbrella.
Pro tip: It’s best not to use your name as the title of your podcast unless you’re already well known in your niche or a celebrity. Choose a name that’s catchy and shows what your podcast is about.
Here’s the list of some of the best podcast names:
- Pod Save America
- No Such Thing as Fish
- The Guilty Feminist
You can use the podcast name generator to help you come up with a catchy name for your podcast.
4. Choose a format:
When it comes to formatting, there’s no right or wrong answer. Podcasts can be as long or as short as you’d like. The key is to let the content guide your length.
Some recommend podcasts to be the length of an average commute, anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. But don’t cut your podcast short just to fit this suggested time frame. Likewise, don’t add fluff or filler just to make your show longer.
For example, one of the most popular podcaster – Joe Rogan – publishes episodes that are over 2-3 hours. On the other hand, Up First podcast episodes are always around 15 minutes long.
Step 2: Prepare
1.Create cover art:
Cover art is just as important as your podcast name – it should spark the interest of your audience and make them stream your episode.
Canva offers free templates to create your cover art in just a few minutes without any graphic design background.
If you’re not artistically inclined, you may need to hire a professional to create the cover art for you. Fiverr is a great marketplace to find the talent who can help you create compelling cover art for your podcast — prices at Fiverr start at $5.
2. Choose intro music:
To make your podcast look professional, you’ll need to add the intro music to it.
You’ll want to use royalty-free music, so you don’t have to pay per listen or download. You can find these tracks for free or can purchase licensed music tracks.
Prices of royalty-free music depend on whether you want to buy a subscription or just a few tracks. Most tracks range from $20 – $30, but sometimes creators will only require a credit or a link.
Here are some of the best sites to find music for your podcast:
3. Get a professional intro:
Getting someone to record an introduction makes your podcast sound much more professional and credible.
Definitely invest in a solid introduction to the show — it will pay off in the long run.
Again, you can find talent to create a professional intro for you via Fiverr.
4. Get a microphone:
A microphone is arguably the essential piece of equipment on your podcasting journey— but you don’t need an expensive one to start. You can spend less than $100 on a small microphone to get you started on your podcast journey.
If you don’t want to spend any money, to begin with, you can also use your phone microphone.
5. Get podcast guests (optional):
If your podcast centers around interviewing guests, this is a crucial step. Put together a list of people you’d like to invite to your podcast and start reaching out.
Pro tip: Even if your podcast doesn’t revolve around interviews, having guests and professionals on your topic from time to time is a great way to add variety, extra credibility, and new perspectives on the topic.
Step 3: Create a Script
By now, you already know the topic of your podcast – now it’s time to create a script that you can follow while recording your podcast episode.
Step 4: Record & Edit
Once you’ve recorded your podcast episode, you’ll need software to edit it – add an intro and cut any bloopers out. Here are 2 of the best editing softwares you can use to edit your podcast like a pro:
1. Alitu (the easiest way):
Alitu is an excellent software if you have no prior experience in audio editing. It makes the process easy and quick. An Alitu subscription would cost you $28 per month or $280 per year.
2. GarageBand (free option):
If you’re not ready to spend money on editing software, GarageBand (for Mac or iOS) is a great way to edit your podcast without any additional cost.
You may have to spend more time learning how to edit on this platform, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to edit your podcast with ease.
Step 5: Launch
1. Get a podcast host:
You’ll need a platform to host your podcast. While there’s no free podcast hosting available, at $12 a month, Buzzsprout is a popular choice to get started.
Buzzsprout will take care of:
- Audio optimization
- Metadata tagging (so your audience knows what they’re listening to)
- RSS feed
The best runner-ups for podcast hosting are Captivate and Transistor, both at $19 per month.
2. Upload your first episode:
Once you’ve finalized your plan for the podcast and have 3-5 episodes recorded, it’s time to make the leap — uploading your podcast.
It’s best to start with at least 3 episodes, so your listeners don’t have to wait for more content. This will get them hooked!
3. Submit to Apple Podcasts:
Use your podcast host provider to upload your podcast to Apple Podcasts and other podcast directories. New uploads will automatically be added via your host!
4. Submit to Spotify:
Upload your podcast to Spotify at the same time as your hosting platform.
5. Promote your podcast:
If you use Buzzsprout, it’s easy to spread awareness for your new podcast, using audiograms (audio converted to a video) and spreading the word on social media.
It’s also a good idea to create a website, email list, Apple smart banner, giveaways, paid ads, and social media posts to promote your podcast.
Pro tip: Share your podcast link on your personal social media channels to boost your visibility.
Recommended Steps After Starting a Podcast
1. Create a Website
After creating a podcast, it’s a good idea to create a website to look professional to help promote your podcast.
PodcastPage is the easiest platform to create a website specifically for your podcast, offering a range of templates to choose from.
If you’re a little more experienced, you can use a platform like WordPress or Bluehost to create your website.
2. Get Transcriptions
You’ll want to optimize your search engine results by transcribing your podcast episodes.
If you’re already using Buzzsprout, you can use their built-in transcription service. If not, another good transcription service is Scribie.
3. Create a Blog
Create a blog to post your transcriptions or summaries of your podcasts. This provides your audience with another route to consume your content and get more information about your podcast.
Pro tip: An SEO-optimized blog should drive organic traffic from search engines to your blog and ultimately to your podcast as well.
Plus, you’ll be able to place affiliate links, sponsored posts, or Google Adsense ads to your blog to monetize it even more.
4. Embed Your Podcast into Your Blog:
Make sure your podcast is embedded into your blog so your listeners can access your show directly from your blog!
How to Start a Podcast – FAQ
Do I need an audience to Start a podcast?
Not at all! Your audience will grow organically once you start consistently producing content.
Can you record a podcast on your phone?
Yes! You definitely can record a podcast for free on your phone.
A great app to record with is Anchor. You can easily record and edit an episode on the app and upload it to Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Wondering how to record a podcast on your phone? Just make sure to record in a quiet, non-echo-y setting, and place the phone 20-30cm away from your mouth.
How much does it cost to Start a podcast?
It doesn’t have to cost anything at all! If you already have a phone, you can get started just with that. Use free music tracks, design your own artwork, and you’ll have your own podcast started for free.
If you want to buy a microphone, purchase music and artwork, and host yourself, you may have to spend upwards of $200 or more. Still, not a bad investment for your future career.