So, you want to start a podcast? I do not blame you. There has been explosive growth in podcast creation and fans over the past two decades and for good reasons too.
Podcasts are easy to listen to, they do not require much commitment. You can listen to them where ever you are, and while you are doing anything.
This convenience and ease of you are some of the reasons why podcasts have exploded in popularity. Now, is the best time to get into podcasting.
And I have the 7 Steps You Can Take to Get Started and Make Money:
- Pick a Niche
- Pick A Name
- Pick A cover art/music
- Get Your Equipment
- Pick a Method
- Go to Market and promote
PICK A NICHE:
Similar to starting a blog, you need to have a niche in mind before you start podcasting. Unlike blogging, your niche does not have to be some small obscure thing that only a small group of people look for or care about.
A podcast allows you to have a broader niche so that you are able to attract a larger group of people. As a matter of fact, I will argue that it is actually better to have a very broad/general niche.
Examples of really popular and successful niches:
- Stories: This is the perfect example of a broad and general niche that attracts a large audience. Examples of this are crime stories, investigation, fiction, etc.
- Personal Finance: Talk about making, saving, and investing money. Or anything financial that you want to talk about.
- News: You already know what this is.
- Others: There is an abundance of other options out there that I have not listed. Find your niche, stick with it, or switch it up (it is your podcast and it is up to you!)
KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE IN MIND:
As I mentioned above, podcasts that have a broad audience are usually better (but it also depends on the niche). However, it is good to have an audience in mind while creating these podcasts!
The better you are connected to your audience the better content you can produce because you know what you think, what they enjoy, and what they have in mind.
LOOK AT SPONSORSHIP AND REVENUE POTENTIAL:
If your plan is to make money, then you need to have in mind the revenue potential of your podcasts.
You do not need to have every sponsorship in mind; however, it is good to start thinking about brands and products that align with your podcasts. Having the revenue potential in mind will keep you focused on your ultimate goal.
PICK A NAME:
Now that you have chosen a niche and determined its revenue potential it is time to pick a name! You can have a fun/funky creative name, an interesting name, a descriptive name, a moniker name, etc.
It is really up to you and your niche.
You should also consider adding a tagline to your podcast name to add more details, or simply make it more memorable.
PICK A COVER ART AND MUSIC:
Although, podcasts are mainly audio. Having great cover art will definitely set you up for success.
The cover image you have should reflect the content of your podcasts or show your personality in some ways, or simply be attention-grabbing.
Here are some tidbits to get you started:
- Avoid excessive words. The most I would recommend is to have your podcast title and tagline (if you have one)
- The dimension should be a minimum of 1400 x 1400 and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels.
- Make sure that your image is sharp and clear, with no sloppy or blurry picture here.
You can create your own cover image if you want.
- I would recommend Canva, as a free option. They have “CD cover” templates that help you create different interesting designs.
- If you are more creative and do not mind spending some money. You can use adobe illustrator to create your cover art.
You can also hire someone to create your cover art.
- There are plenty of websites that offer freelance work. Websites such as Fiverr, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and 99designs.
- Make sure that you see these freelancers’ work before paying for it. Give them a clear direction and image of what it is that you want and expect from them.
Because podcasts are heavily reliant on audio music is critical. You will find that some of the most popular podcasters use an introductory song that becomes part of their theme.
This can be a great thing, but it can also be a bad thing if the music does not belong to you. Make sure the music you use is not copyrighted or is royalty-free.
There are some great royalty-free music options out there and also so really affordable one-time purchase ones such as:
- Epidemic Sound
The downside of free music is that it is not unique to you or your show. If you want a piece of signature music or sound then purchasing or having someone create music might be the best option for you.
If you are musically inclined then you can create your own music or get a friend to create it for you!
Your music is should be about 5 to 10 seconds long. It can be longer, but it really should not surpass 30 seconds.
GET YOUR EQUIPMENT:
Although it is fairly easy to start a podcast you will need a few things in order to get started.
In order to have a podcast you will need:
- A laptop/computer
- A microphone
- A Recording software
- A podcasting host
In the podcasting world, the microphone is your greatest weapon. If you only have money to splurge on one of these pieces of equipment, a microphone should be the thing that you spend money on.
Your voice is your money maker.
Please don’t use the microphones on your devices, please don’t.
USB: This is the cheaper and easy-to-use option. You just plug them in and get started. The customization options are limited, but they are great for beginners.
XLR: These are the more expensive options that also provide a lot more options. They are great if you are planning to have a co-host or a guest-heavy show.
Great recording software is Audacity. This is a great option for beginners because it is open source and completely free.
If you want more features, you can use your Adobe Audition for $20.99 per month.
OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT (HEADPHONES)
Do not overthink this one, a regular pair of earbuds will work.
When you think of podcasts you probably think that they all occur on Spotify, Apple Music, Google podcasts, podcasters, etc. Although these apps distribute podcasts they do not actually host or hold the audio recording.
These hosts usually charge a monthly service fee to host your audio recordings.
Here are some of the most popular hosting options:
Libsyn: This has been around for more than a decade. It also offers some great WordPress integration which is nice if you have a blog.
Podbean: This provides you with your own podcast site, and they also have 24/7 support.
Buzzsprout: This is one of the more beginner-friendly interfaces and dashboards.
Blubrry: This has some affordable options that start at $12 a month for 100MB storage.
Buzzsprout, and Podbean provide some free options that are somewhat limited.
Anchor: Their purpose is to “democratize audio” and they are 100% free. You heard that right, 100% free.
Soundcloud: It is not just for your cousin’s struggling mumble rapper career. The platform allows you to upload 3 hours of audio
Speaker: Their platform is free, but it has ads. You have to pay to have the ads removed.
Paid plans are definitely worth the money if you are planning on getting a significant audience.
PICK A METHOD:
Alright, at this point you have all you need and now you are ready to go. You need to have a method by which your podcast would look like.
Writing a script can set you off on a good path. Now, this does not mean that you have to write everything down word for word. However, having a general timeline and outline, in general, will help keep you on track.
You should not be reading this word for word, because then you’ll sound robotic and unattached which does not bode well for podcasts.
When it comes to the actual podcasts there are three main methods
Knowing your method would put you in the proper headspace.
Once you have your script and method in the proper environment you can start recording.
Make sure that your equipment is all plugged in and working. Make sure the computer recognizes the mic. The last thing that you need is to record a whole episode and then realize the microphone was not working or was not connected to the laptop etc.
You do not need to be perfect the first time, just make sure you are saying what needs to be said even if there is a mistake. You can always re-record.
EDIT YOUR AUDIO
In this portion you are ensuring that you are creating the best product that is free of errors, has no background noise, and is easy for people to understand.
You can edit it yourself or have someone else do it. Audacity can also be used for this.
On audacity click file, then export, then export to MP3.
Give your recording name (make sure it is easy to find it later.)
These instructions are just for Audacity. Different hosting platforms have different ways of uploading content to their sites.
When you have completed all these previous steps it is time to publish. This is one of the easiest parts of having a podcast.
I’ll discuss the most popular directories here:
- Sign in to iTunes Connect
- Click the podcast button
- Insert your RSS feed URL (your host will provide this)
- Submit and Apple will review it and let you know if you are good to go.
- Sign in to Spotify for Podcasters
- Go to add your podcasts and click on get started
- Enter the RSS feed and then next
- You can add podcast info if you want. When you are done, submit it.
- Go to Google Play Music and click Publish
- Use your email to sign in, and add your podcast URL
- Google will let you know if you are approved.
These are the most popular platforms. However, there are also other platforms out there that you can use.
GO TO MARKET AND PROMOTE:
Now, that you have uploaded the podcast to the platforms your job is not over yet. There are more than 800,000 podcasts that are available out there and you have to stand out.
OPTIONS AND TIPS:
- Share the information with your friends, family, loved ones, email lists, and social media followers. Essentially tell everyone you know and those that you don’t.
- Release a few episodes on launch day so that people can get hooked.
- Create snippets of your podcast and share them on your social media (make sure this snippet is attention-grabbing)
- Use your website to promote what you do and get your name out there on a stable foundation. It could be well integrated into a blog.
- Invite guests to your show, especially other podcasters that are already established. Networking will get you really far! You will get brand new audience members coming to your podcast. You can also be a guest on someone else’s podcast.
- If you have a budget (no matter how small) you can run ad campaigns as a means of gaining an audience and promoting your brand.
- Create great content. If you are creating great content, word of mouth will take you so far and your podcast can also grow organically.
BONUS: WAYS TO MAKE MONEY
Sponsorship: This is the most common way of making money from podcasting. This usually comes in the form of ads slots on your podcast episodes.
Affiliate Marketing: You can use your show notes or mention the name of the web page on the show, you can receive a commission from those sales.
Product Sales: Podcasts can act as great advertisements and promotions for your physical or digital products.
Here are some more ways!