Your group is dead. No one’s talking. You make a post, and it’s crickets. You know you are working your hardest, you’re doing all the…
How to Start a Podcast
Starting a podcast can seem overwhelming. There’s so much to consider: what should you talk about? How do you set one up? Is it expensive? Will anyone listen to you? How can you be sure that you’re doing a good job? There are loads of questions, and if you’re like me, once you consider all those variables, it’s so overwhelming so you decide that you’d just rather not do one at all and go watch TV. If I’m being honest, I was really overwhelmed by all the information out there, and I realized that it’s just because no one was outlining the process in the way that I needed it. Hence, this article.
We’re going to go over some of the basics of podcasting. I’ll share with you the bare minimum of what you need to know to get started. The truth is, you don’t need a lot, and it isn’t really that hard to get going – once you have the blueprint.
First, you’ll need a topic. If you’ve already completed the Direct to Success Target Audience training, then you should already have a very strong idea of who your audience is, and what kind of podcast they would want to listen to. If you’re thinking about a podcast for a different target audience, or, if you’ve never done the training here’s what you want to consider:
- Don’t start a podcast expecting to make loads of money, or get famous, or reach 8 million people. All those things may happen, but they probably won’t happen all at once, and probably not as a result of just doing one podcast.
- Pick a topic that you want to talk about, that you love to learn about. You’ll need to make a lot of episodes about it, so don’t make it so narrow that you run out of episodes, but not so broad that it wouldn’t interest anyone.
- Set your expectations at the bottom. Meaning, expect no listeners, no engagement, for every ounce of effort.
- Don’t worry if your first one isn’t perfect. Creating a podcast is iterative. That means you’ll make one, learn something, make some changes, record another. Rinse. Repeat. We’re 17 episodes in and still workshopping. Better done than perfect.
Once you’ve figured out your topic, it’s time for the hardware and software. You’re going to need a few things for sure, and then others you may want to buy later on. First things first, DO NOT SKIMP ON THE MICROPHONE. Legit. Learn from my mistake. I spent money on getting a cheaper mic, and it turned out to be crap. I got another mic. Also, crap. Finally, I bought the mic everyone told me to get in the first place, and it works perfect. Skimp on everything else but invest in a good mic.
- Microphone: Blue Yeti USB Microphone – Blackout Edition – 2070
- Foam Cover: Mudder Mic Cover Foam Microphone Windscreen for Blue Yeti, Yeti Pro Condenser Microphone
- Screen (For Pops): InnoGear Updated Microphone Pop Filter Dual Layer Mic Pop Shield with Clip Stabilizing Arm for Recording Vocals Home Studio Broadcasting
- Isolation Shield (For Echo): Monoprice Microphone Isolation Shield – Black – Foldable with 3/8 inch Mic Threaded Mount, High Density Absorbing Foam Front And Vented Metal Back Plate
If you get all the hardware listed above, you should be able to construct your entire studio for under $200. You may not need the isolation shield, depending on the room you record in, and you may only want to get either the screen or the foam cover, which would bring it down to about $140. The microphone is the most expensive part of the hardware purchase.
At this point you have everything you need to get the sound into your computer. Next step is to record it.
When I started recording, I was hell bent on using Adobe software to record and edit my podcasts. Everyone said that it wasn’t very good, but I love Adobe, and I was already paying for the subscription, so I committed. I learned within 2 episodes that I had made a mistake. Adobe is great for graphics and video editing, but for audio, it was pretty bad. Now I was stuck trying to pick software. The good news is that everyone and their grandmother recommended Audacity.
Now, my thought was, it’s free – how good could it be? Turns out – VERY good. Don’t waste your money on getting fancy, expensive software. Download Audacity and use that. It’s simple to use, easy to edit, and you’ll hit the ground running.
The only thing you’ll want to remember is that podcasts need to be uploaded in MP3 format, which Audacity does not do natively. To export files in MP3, download the LAME Encoder and install it.
When you are ready to create your MP3, you can go to File –> Export, and export as an MP3.
Sound Effects and Music
You may want to add sound effects or music to your intro. If you decide to do that, there are plenty of places you can download royalty free music from. Here are some of the ones I use most frequently:
**Thank you to Luke Pittman for providing these resources!
Getting Your Podcast to the Internet
Once you’ve recorded and exported your podcast, it’s time to get it to the internet so that people can listen to it. For this you need a special podcast hosting company. After a lot of research, I selected Blubrry. They are reasonably priced, and provide a lot of statistics, hosting, and reporting features that I found useful. They also have a WordPress plugin (more on that in a minute) that will help you give people more ways to listen to your cast. You can host for as little as $12/month.
Connecting the Podcast to the Listeners
This is where I got ridiculously confused. I understood that the podcast needed to be uploaded to a special server. That made sense to me. What I didn’t understand was how it gets to the people? How do I create a graphic and make it so that when people open up their podcast app, they see an option to subscribe to me? It seems simple now, because I’ve done it, but this was probably the most challenging part for me. So, I am going to break it down for you the way I wish someone had for me.
In order for your podcast to show up on podcasting apps on iOS or Android, you will need to submit it for approval. You will want to do it for both platforms, and for the web as well.
First you’ll want to upload your podcast to the web. This can be done a few different ways. If you already have a website run through WordPress, then you can download PowerPress from Blubrry and install the plugin to your WP site. Once you do that, then you can use the instructions to set up your podcast online.
If you do not have a website, then you can use Blubrry’s WordPress hosting service. They have 2 options available for hosting. The free one is branded, but you don’t get your own domain. You can upgrade for $20/month to host your podcast on their servers with your own domain name.
Blubrry has comprehensive instructions about how you submit a podcast for review to iTunes. You will need an AppleID to submit, and it takes 10 days from the time of submission for approval, so plan accordingly.
A podcast on an Android device is uploaded via Google Play. To submit your podcast to Google play, you can follow these instructions.
Once you’ve submitted your podcast for review, then all you need to do is wait to get the email approving you, and you’re good to go!