The time is always right to start a podcast! According to Pew Research, “… the share of Americans who listen to podcasts has substantially increased over the last decade.” Podcasts are an excellent way to share your passions, build your personal brand, and bring in some additional income.
It can be overwhelming to start, though. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you start podcasting off on the right foot. Read on to learn everything you need to know!
The 5 P’s of Podcasting
Podcasting seems as easy as simply picking up a microphone and speaking into it. But it’s a bit more complicated than you might expect! Podcasters often put hours of work into their shows to ensure it’s perfect for their audiences. They plan, prepare, and practice, before they publish and prosper.
If you’re paying attention then you probably picked up on the not-so-subtle hint of what the 5 P’s of podcasting might be:
We didn’t just choose them because they start with the letter ‘P’ (though that was a big factor 😉), but because they represent the key components of creating an engaging and successful podcast. We’ll take a more detailed look at what each of these components means.
Many creators say that planning is one of the most important steps in producing great content. Our podcasters have shared with us all the ways they initially prepared for their shows; from writing scripts, to developing their artwork, deciding on episode cadence, and sometimes stressing over the perfect name. It’s never a bad idea to sit down and make a plan for your podcast. Even short notes and casual details make a world of difference!
1) First things first, what’s your podcast going to be about?
The very best place to start planning is deciding the topic and feel of your show. You may want to consider these questions when brainstorming:
- What topic(s) do I want to cover?
- What topic(s) would be interesting to my audience?
- Who is my audience? How do they identify? What’s their age range? What sort of things do they link? (Decide on their demographics.)
- How long do I want episodes to be? How long is long enough to cover my topic(s)?
- How often do I want, and have the capacity to, publish an episode? Once a week? Twice a month? (Consistency is key to nurturing any creative endeavor!)
- Should there be intro and outro music? What about ad breaks?
Planning how your show sounds and feels helps to inform the rest of the podcast including name, artwork, and future episodes. Take a minute to decide what your show is all about!
2) Next up, name!
Names can make or break a podcast. You want one that stands out from the sea of shows, but is descriptive enough that listeners can easily discern what your show is about. There’s no shortcut to coming up with a compelling name, but we do have some advice that might guide you to selecting the perfect name:
- Be Descriptive: You want potential listeners to quickly understand the content of your show by simply reading the title. The “History of Airplanes” is a better title than “Joe’s Show”.
- Be Unique: Make sure that your show is the only one with your title! You don’t want to send potential listeners to another show.
- Be Creative: A show title like “The Music Podcast” can easily be lost among the thousands of other similar show titles. Choose a memorable name that sticks out to the listener.
3) A picture is worth a thousand words
Artwork is a must when it comes to podcasts. Bright, visually appealing thumbnails are great eye-catching assets. Podcast artwork also allows you to provide additional information about your show at a very quick glance. Of course, don’t forget to add the name of your show to the artwork!
Like your title, try to create (or select) an image that fully encompasses your podcast. Make it memorable, make it unique, make it you.
Once you’ve decided on the focus of your podcast, the next step is to prepare for the launch!
With a plan in hand, the time has come to prepare for the initial, and future, recordings. While you may be tempted to fill your online shopping cart with an abundance of podcasting tech, you really only need three things to start recording: a microphone, an editing software, and a podcast hosting platform.
There are plenty of wonderful options out there for your first podcast mic. We encourage you to invest in a great microphone so that you can produce high-quality audio that your audience is sure to love! Here are some of our favorite options, ranging from totally free to decently priced:
- Totally Free – Your phone or computer microphone. If you’re just starting out, then utilizing the built-in mic on your phone or computer is a good option. It’s free and there’s zero setup needed. Plus, technology is leagues ahead of where it used to be when podcasting first started way back in 2004! Keep in mind, though, that the audio quality may be less than perfect as it can sometimes pick up the sound around you. Using headphones or earbuds with built-in mics help to cut down on outside noises.
- Budget-friendly, under $50 – Travel mics like the Samson Go Mic are great beginner options. Other USB Mics like those from TONOR create an easier barrier to entry.
- Semi-professional, $50 to $100 – If you have a bit of extra money to invest in your microphone, there are a few wonderful options like the Samson Meteor Mic and the Blue Snowball. They produce higher-quality audio without breaking the bank.
- Professional Options, $100+ – If you have the budget for it, then one of these spectacular mics will elevate your audio to a whole new level. RØDE Podcaster is a fan-favorite option, while Shure SM Series Mics boosts professionalism. You can’t go wrong with any of these options!
2) Audio Editing Software
You don’t need to be a professional audio engineer to produce some great audio (though, it certainly helps!) But that’s not to say that you shouldn’t put time into learning the basics of editing audio. Knowing how to edit audio helps to create a cleaner, more engaging show. With editing software, you can cut out your mistakes, adjust the volume of different clips, and more. Just like mics, audio editing software ranges from Free to Professional-price. Here are some of our (and our podcasters’) favorites:
- Totally Free – GarageBand is a cult favorite among podcasters, video creators, musicians, and more. And for good reason! The software comes free on all Mac computers (and who doesn’t have at least one Apple product in this day and age??) It’s easy to use and provides just about everything you need to edit your show.
- Totally Free – Audacity is another great option for podcasters on a budget. And it’s free on all platforms! This open-source tool is extremely popular among novice and pro podcasters alike. It provides you with everything you need (plus a little more) to create the podcast of your dreams.
- Budget Friendly – Hindenburg Journalist Pro was designed specifically for the voice. They even offer a “lite” version of the software for a lower price.
- Professional – Logic Pro is a favorite among professional audio engineers. This software is an excellent option for podcasters looking to dive deeper into audio engineering.
- For the Creative – Adobe Audition is included for anyone subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. So, if you’re already investing in another one of Adobe’s creative tools, then this is a good option for you.
3) Podcast Hosting Platform
Now, we might be a bit biased when it comes to this particular area of podcasting. However, the most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a host is knowing what you want out of your podcast. Do you want to monetize your show? Do you want the show to supplement your brand? Are you podcasting just for fun? Really thinking about the purpose of your podcast can help determine what hosting platform would best fit your needs.
By now you should have the plan for your podcast and the technologies you need to create it. You could just record an off-the-cuff episode and hope for the best, but that usually doesn’t pan out well unless you’re an accomplished improv actor or professional speaker. Instead, we recommend practicing a bit before sitting down to record. Practicing speaking into a mic also helps to make the final recording that much more comfortable!
It’s not uncommon for podcasters to write scripts for their episodes or jot down some bulleted notes to help keep themselves on track. You certainly want your show to feel conversational, but be careful not to allow the conversation to devolve into a long, hard-to-follow ramble. Notes and practice runs allow you to smooth out the edges and keep you (and your co-hosts) on topic
An often overlooked technique of any creative endeavor is storytelling. Your podcast episodes should tell a cohesive story. A well-told story keeps your audience engaged as it helps them to connect deeply with your content. Take the time to create the important beats of your episode(s) to create compelling content your audience will fall head-over-heels in love with.
So, plan your episodes, jot down some notes, do a few practice runs, and make sure you’re happy with your content.
Pause for a moment and congratulate yourself on creating your very first podcast episode! You put in the work and it’s culminated in a fantastic inaugural episode. The hardest part is behind you! The time has come to share your voice with the rest of the world. But how?
You most likely have heard about Spotify and Apple Podcasts (you might even subscribe to some shows on there), these apps are known as “listening platforms” or “distribution platforms”. These apps are where the majority of your audience is going to listen, and discover, your podcast. So it’s vital to take the time to set up your podcast on these platforms.
Of course, listening platforms aren’t the only place potential listeners could learn about your show. Harness the power of social media to amplify your reach. Edison Research reported that a majority of younger audiences find podcasts through social media platforms. It never hurts to widen your reach!
Don’t forget about your supportive circle of friends and/or family, too! Encourage them to listen to your show, leave a rating, and share with some of their friends. Community is a powerful asset! The best way to grow your audience is to talk about your show and encourage others to share it around their own communities.
We even offer opportunities to easily collaborate with fellow podcasters through our Cross-Promotions Marketplace. Reach audiences far beyond the scope of your community by advertising your show on a similar podcast, all done through RedCircle!
Don’t be afraid to publish your show far and wide. Casting a wide net catches the most fish, after all.
Probably the most exciting part of podcasting is seeing your show grow to new heights. You’ve nurtured it and you’re starting to see some real promise. This is when you can start exploring monetization options like Host-Read Ads and Community-driven revenue streams. RedCircle, in particular, can help you transition your podcast from a part-time hobby to a full-time job. Just like we already have for a number of our podcasters:
Our Dynamic Insertion technology not only allows you to easily run all sorts of advertising campaigns, but it also helps you to add tons of personal touches to your episodes through announcements, music, and more.
The possibilities in podcasting are endless!
We’re here to support you every step of the way and celebrate every win! So, let us help you embark on your thrilling journey into the ever-changing world of podcasting.