Now you have made the decision to start a podcast, where should you begin? What should the podcast topic be? What do I need to start a podcast? Who will listen to my podcast? Although there are some things to think about, remember not to overthink it and just take action!
I once spoke to a guy who had planned and researched the launch of his podcast for 6 months before I met him. After we had a brief conversation about what he wanted to do, he decided to push the launch back another 3 to 6 months. That is not only insane but highly unnecessarily. Please don’t be that guy.
There are 7 basic steps that you need to follow before you launch your podcast. I want to emphasize that there is a lot more to consider than the list that I am about to share with you, but we are talking about basics here.
1. Define your audience.
Who are you talking to? Who do you want to attract? Why will these people listen to you? These are some basic questions that you want to take your time answering. If you skip over this step, everything else that you do is a waste of time. I would even recommend writing this down and reflecting on it often. You may find that this changes gradually as time goes by.
2. Decide on the style of your show.
Do you want to talk to guests, talk alone, or do a combination of the two? Most of the shows that I listen to do a mix of these options. It allows you, as the host, to keep things flexible and unpredictable in a good way. If you focus on the value proposition that you are trying to create for your audience this should help you to make this decision.
3. Buy your equipment.
At a minimum, you will need a microphone, headphones, and sound deadening foam. You will also need a digital recorder or a computer to record into as well. It’s fine to start with equipment that you already have or with beginner level products. You should try podcasting for at least 20 episodes to see if you even like it before investing more money into it. I know a few people who gave up pretty early on in their podcasting journeys and this is probably better for everyone if their heart was not in it.
4. Download an audio program.
To keep it cheap and simple, you can use Adobe Audition CC, Garageband (Mac), or Audacity for this purpose. I have used all of these and Garageband is the easiest to use, especially for the person who has no prior experience with this type of program. All of these programs are very powerful and the learning curve can be steep, so I would recommend keeping it as simple as possible. Adobe Audition CC has a monthly cost, Garageband may come preinstalled on your Mac (or else it is like $12), and Audacity is free.
5. iTunes and the other audio file platforms.
When it comes to podcasting there is nothing that compares to iTunes for listing and promoting your show. If you get setup with a good host, they will get your show’s RSS feed setup with iTunes and a whole list of other important platforms. This means that every time you publish a new show the episode will automatically push to all these players. I have noticed that Google Play and Stitcher have emerged as significant platforms in the podcasting space too, over the last year too.
There are two main paths that you can explore for hosting your podcast. The first option entails you self-hosting on your WordPress site with a plugin. If you choose this option, you will manually need to push your episodes to iTunes and the rest of the other players. The remaining option is easier and it involves signing up with a host to manage all of that for you. There are a lot of options out there and Pippa is my host of choice by far. They are easy to work with, offer responsive chat support, and offer a lot for the money.
7. Determine your episode release frequency and a promotion plan.
You need to decide how many episodes you want to release every week and then develop a promotion plan that shares your episode on social media and through other channels too. I would suggest starting with one episode a week and then see what you think from there. For every 30 minute show, there may be 1 hour and 30 minutes of time into it. We write thorough show notes, set up the new links in several different places, and then a member of our team cleans up all of the audio. When I used to do all of this by myself it took hours just to create a single show.
Again, this is a simple plan to launch your first podcast. It is a high-level overview for you and I will be releasing a more detailed resource for launching a podcast very soon. Now go think about who you will be talking to!