*Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed as legal, financial or tax advice. Please always consult a knowledgeable professional advisor. *
It seems like everyone is starting a podcast these days. Probably because podcasting is one of the most engaging and entertaining media platforms today. The numbers don’t lie. According to a 2019 Ofcom report, podcasts are growing in popularity, and an average of 7.1 million people in the UK listen to podcasts each week.
Though starting a podcast is easy, there are specific skills and techniques that can make your podcast stand out from the rest. Here is our guide to how to start a podcast.
What do you need to start a podcast?
- Define your podcast topic and mission.
- Come up with a podcast name that fits the topic and mission.
- Set up your podcast equipment and thoroughly test it out.
- Figure out a plan for your first season: how many episodes? Any special guests?
- Think about your intros and outros—you want to come up with a unified introduction and conclusion for your podcast that aligns with your brand.
- Schedule times and dates to record each episode, then start recording!
- Create a publishing timeline.
- Edit and publish your podcast episodes.
- Create an RSS feed so you can share your podcast episodes with your followers and submit them to directories. You may want to think about submitting your podcast to a publishing application.
- Launch your podcast with a planned marketing and branding strategy. This may require you to create a Facebook page and use social media to promote your podcast.
One of the first steps in getting started with a podcast is defining your topic and mission and researching what’s already out there. There are over 525,000 active shows in the podcast universe, according to Fast Company. As a newcomer, you have to bring something fresh to the table.
If you need a bit of help navigating the wealth of options for getting inspiration to start a podcast, give Luminary a try. It’s a premium podcast app that offers exclusive access to shows from top creators. Plus, many of your favourites. Podcasts on the platform include Players Tribune, On Second Thought: The Trevor Noah Podcast, The Axe Files with David Axelrod, and more.
Equipment needed to start a podcast and record your first episode
If you’re stumped about how to start a podcast, start with the equipment and learn as you go.
USB microphone: First and foremost, you need a good microphone for a successful podcast. Audio quality can make or break a podcast. If the sound quality is poor, listeners will see you as an amateur and will walk away immediately. But if you wow your audience with clean and clear audio technology, your fanbase will take you seriously.
Headphones: Radio hosts wear headphones during live recordings to listen to audio quality and, mostly, to make sure their words are coming across effectively on air. The same methods apply when getting a podcast started. There’s an assortment of brands, like Audio Technica, that specialise in these specific types of recording. Get a pair of headphones that will get the job done.
Pop filter and boom: Certain letters are amplified over the microphone and sound sharp in the audio. A pop filter makes for smoother audio quality, and a boom ensures a more comfortable podcast recording and editing experience.
Adobe Audition: Editing is one of the most important parts to creating a clean, finished product. Adobe Audition is great audio editing software with a variety of post-production options and is especially good for getting started with a podcast.
ID3 tags: An ID3 tag allows you to provide classifying information about your podcast and each episode, including name, title, year, and genre.
Podcast hosting account: You don’t necessarily have to host your podcast on your website. There are several great platforms for hosting your podcast, each with its benefits and challenges. Many podcasters use Soundcloud to publish and host their shows. Another popular hosting site is Libsyn. You can also host your podcast for free with services like Spotify and the Anchor app, and their site makes it easy to learn how to start a podcast on Spotify and how to start a podcast on Anchor.
Cover art: People sometimes choose to listen to a podcast based on the cover art. Maybe it caught their eye and grabbed their attention. Maybe it featured the relatable-looking hosts, which made them curious about the content. Adobe Photoshop is one option to play around with cover art designs. For less advanced options that have templates for non-designers, look into Buzzsprout and Canva.
The costs associated with starting a podcast
The main cost of starting a podcast is acquiring the equipment. You can start a podcast inexpensively if you go with a basic microphone, utilise the audio software that is already on your computer, and design your logo on your own. Luckily, the cost of starting a podcast is mostly up front. Once you have the equipment, you’re good to go until you’re ready to upgrade.
Also, if you are interested in how to start a podcast to turn into a business, consider approaching it as you would a small business. Research business start-up costs to see which might apply to your podcast. Also, writing a business plan is an excellent way to set your intentions and organise your next steps. If you are starting a business podcast, UK small business guidelines apply.
Recording your first podcast episode
There are no set-in-stone rules for how to start your own podcast in terms of tone, theme, or content. But there are some basic podcast guidelines that help streamline your episodes, create continuity, personalise your content, and draw in your audience.
- Introduce yourself.
- Tell the audience what your podcast is about, and how frequently episodes will be released.
- Ask questions that guide each episode and engage your listeners.
- Dive deeply into exploring answers to those questions.
- Share relatable personal stories and other narratives.
- Wrap each episode with a conclusion or signoff and invite listeners to rate, subscribe, and follow your social media.
Making money from your podcast
There are quite a few ways to make money from your new podcast. If possible, get a sponsor. Using the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) model, the average CPM for 30-second ads is £13.50, and the average CPM for 60-second ads is over £18, which is significantly more than radio.
Another way to generate revenue is through live podcast tapings. Shows like The Read generate thousands through their live taping tours. If you’ve built a strong number of followers, this helps you better connect to your audience. Listeners will want to be part of the experience and purchase tickets for a live taping. Also, you can create a website and sell merchandise both online and at live events.
The benefits of starting a podcast are more than financial, however. If money is your primary goal, know that it can take a lot of time to grow a following and gain sponsors. Many newcomers want to know how to start a podcast with no audience, and the best advice is just to start, keep at it, and be consistent. When it comes to why or how to start a podcast, doing it for the love of it is the most rewarding. And hopefully the audience follows.