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It seems like everyone is starting a podcast these days. That’s because podcasting is one of the most engaging and entertaining media platforms today. The numbers don’t lie. According to a 2018 Nielsen report, the number of people listening to podcasts continues to grow — with 13 million homes identifying as “avid listeners” in 2016 and 16 million in 2017.
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 starting a podcast.
The steps to starting 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.
One of the first steps in defining your podcast topic and mission is to research what’s already out there. There are over 500,000 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, give Luminary a try. It’s a premium podcast app that offers exclusive access to shows from top creators. Plus, many of your favorites. 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
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 making a podcast for brownie points, and will walk away immediately. But if you wow your audience with clean and clear audio technology, your fanbase will take you seriously.
Headphones: Have you ever been to a radio station? Radio hosts wear headphones during live recordings to listen for the audio quality and, mostly, to make sure their words are coming across effectively on air. There are an assortment of brands, like Audio Technica, that specialize in recordings for these specific cases. Grab a pair of headphones that will get the job done.
Pop filter and boom: Certain letters are amplified over the microphone. A pop filter makes for smoother audio quality. And a boom makes for a more comfortable podcast recording and editing experience.
Adobe Audition: Editing is one of the most important parts to hearing a clean, finished product. Adobe Audition is great audio editing software with a variety of post-production options.
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. Many podcasters use Soundcloud to publish and host their shows. Another popular hosting site is Libsyn.
Cover art: People sometimes choose to listen to a podcast based on the cover art. Maybe it was sexy and caught their eye. Maybe it featured the hosts in funky costumes, which makes listeners curious about the content. Adobe Photoshop is one option to play around with cover art designs, but it’s pretty advanced software. Some other options are Buzzsprout and Canva.
The costs associated with starting a podcast
In the beginning, you’ll spend most of your money on equipment. You can start a podcast for $100 if you go with a basic microphone, utilize the audio software that is already on your computer, design your logo on your own, etc. Luckily, the cost of starting a podcast is mostly up front. Once you have the equipment, you’re good to go for a while. That is, until you’re ready to upgrade.
Recording your first podcast episode
- Introduce yourself.
- Tell the audience what your podcast is about, and how frequently episodes will be released.
- Ask a question.
- Dive deeply into exploring answers to that question.
- Share relatable personal and other narratives.
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 impression) model, you can get $17 per 1,000 downloads for a 15-second pre-roll or $75 for a mid-roll slot. Another way to generate revenue is through live podcast tapings. Shows like The Read generate thousands of dollars through their live taping tours. If you’ve built a strong audience, listeners will want to be part of the experience and purchase tickets for a live taping.