Starting a podcast can be exciting, interesting, and profitable. Depending on your objectives, you may start a podcast as a pleasant hobby, a side job, or a company straight away. In this article, we’ll go through how to start a podcast, including what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, and how to make money.
How to Establish a Podcast in 5 Easy Steps
If you want to start a podcast but don’t know where to start, the following steps will help you get started.
1. Establish Your Niche or Topic
Narrowing down a topic or specialty may appear restricting at first, but it will help you focus your material and grow a following in the long run. It will also assist you in developing trust and firmly establishing yourself as a subject matter expert.
Choose a topic that is wide enough to warrant numerous episodes, seasons, etc., yet narrow enough to attract a specific sort of person or demographic.
Investigate Existing Podcasts
Before you start recording your first episode, do some research to discover if there are any existing podcasts that are similar.
You may discover that your chosen topic has few to no podcasts, or that your niche is already quite crowded. Even if it’s the latter, conducting research can assist you in determining how to position your podcast in a way that distinguishes you.
Select a Format and a Cadence
It is entirely up to you whether your podcast will be a single or communal effort. If you wish to co-host your podcast with someone else, you’ll need to figure out how to do so efficiently. Similarly, if you want to interview guests for your show, you might need to do some preliminary outreach.
Your cadence is your publishing timetable, or how frequently you will release new episodes. Some podcasts produce new episodes every day, while others do so every two weeks. You’ll need to figure out what tempo works best for your schedule. Following the cadence you’ve established will aid in the development of trust and familiarity with your potential audience.
Identify Your Target Audience
The most critical question to answer before starting your podcast is, “Who is this podcast for?” Having an ideal listener in mind will assist you in creating valuable and relevant material. Try to elicit basic information about your prospective listener, such as:
- What is their age?
- Where do they live?
- What do they do for a living?
- What types of media do they currently consume?
- Do they already consume podcasts?
- In their spare time, what do they do?
- What are the most common issues they face?
- What would they like to know more about?
2. Establish Your Online Presence and Brand
Naming your podcast is a critical step. You want your podcast’s name to be clever, distinctive, and related to your topic matter or likeness. Avoid including the word “Podcast” in the title of your show; it’s redundant and takes up valuable character space.
In terms of character space, keep the whole length of your title in mind. Longer does not always imply better. According to Pacific Content research, most podcast titles are 29 characters or less.
Aside from a title, you’ll need to invest time developing your branding elements. Cover art, colour palette, and any special design or audio work are all examples of branding components for your broadcast.
You may create your own cover art using a free design tool like Canva, or you can engage a professional graphic designer to help you capture exactly what you’re looking for.
You can collaborate with a professional artist or studio to create custom audio sounds such as intro or outro music. Alternatively, you can use a royalty-free music library to select sounds that match your style and vibe.
Create a Podcast Website or RSS Feed
Now that you’ve recorded an episode or two of your program, you’ll need to make it available. One method is to construct a website for your podcast. You can design a website using either free or premium tools, although we recommend paying for them if you want more customization choices and a more professional look. You can post download links or embed your episodes on your website so that others can listen and enjoy them.
Another approach is to use a podcast-specific hosting site (such as Anchor or Buzzsprout) rather than a standard web host (such as WordPress or Wix) to generate an RSS feed. If you blogged in the early days of the Internet, the term “RSS feed” may be familiar to you. Although modern podcast distribution software still relies entirely on RSS feeds, you don’t need a full-fledged website to submit your podcast to Apple, Spotify, or other directories.
Many businesses will host your podcast and generate an RSS feed for you for free or at a modest cost. After uploading your episodes and basic information, you’ll have an RSS feed that you may use to submit to podcast directories.
Create Social Media Accounts
If you’re beginning a podcast, you should create social media profiles with the name of your show. While it may be tempting to build a profile on multiple platforms, examine which ones your target audience utilizes the most and focus on them. This is because social media can provide a tremendous marketing opportunity, but only if you use it correctly.
Create an Account on a Podcast Platform (such as Spotify)
This stage is optional, but strongly suggested if you want to reach the greatest number of people. You can submit your podcast to a directory to increase its visibility. Most large directories rely on your podcast’s RSS feed to validate its legality and ownership, so be sure you have one set up ahead of time.
The following are some of the most popular podcast directories worth submitting to:
- Apple (formerly iTunes)
- Google Podcasts
After successfully uploading your podcast to a directory, anyone who utilizes the directory will be able to find it if they search for it by title or keywords.
3. Recording Equipment and Editing Software
It’s extremely likely that you can record audio on your existing computer, tablet, or phone. Most podcasters, however, recommend investing in a separate podcast microphone for a better, clearer sound. Podcast microphones can range in price from $20 to $10,000.
If you don’t want to or are unable to pay for podcast editing software, you don’t have to. If you have an Apple device, GarageBand is an excellent free choice, as is Audacity, which is free on any platform. Alternatively, you can purchase more complex, premium tools such as Adobe Audition, Logic Pro X, or Hindenburg Journalist.
Outsource your podcast editing to a freelancer if you don’t feel comfortable or have no interest in doing it. You may discover a freelance podcast editor on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, or Facebook.
4. Create Your First Podcast
You’re ready to record once you’ve nailed down your equipment. Some podcasters develop scripts ahead of time so they know what to say, while others wing it. It is entirely up to you to make your decision.
Even if you compose a script, you’ll almost certainly have to pause, re-record, and/or edit your audio to obtain a final, polished version. As with anything else, the more you practice, the better you will become. Podcasting is a skill in and of itself that requires time and practice to master.
Name Your Episodes
Each episode you record should be given a distinct name. Your episode titles should accurately indicate what the episode discusses and, if relevant, who the episode’s guest speaker is.
It is strategic to name your episodes appropriately and precisely. This will help your podcast’s SEO, making it easier for listeners to find it in search engines or podcast directories.
Create an Eye-Catching Show Description and Episode Description
You’ll need to compose a broad synopsis as well as descriptions for each of your episodes to tell potential listeners what your program is about. Be as clear and brief as possible while answering the following basic questions in your general synopsis:
- What is the topic of your podcast?
- Who is your podcast intended for?
- What may listeners anticipate hearing?
- Why should people pay attention to your podcast?
- What will they get out of listening?
- When and how often do you release new episodes?
- Other than listening to your podcast, how/where can people connect with you?
Your episode descriptions should be similarly brief, but you will have the option of including pertinent links to resources, products, or anything else you discuss.
Make Your Episode Available in Directories
Once you’ve completed your podcast, the following step is to submit (or upload) it to your preferred podcast platforms.
5. Advertise Your Podcast
It’s time to spread the word about your podcast once it’s been discovered and downloaded. You can adopt a grassroots approach, such as emailing direct links to close friends and family, or you can create a sponsored social media ad campaign—the choice is yours.
Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok are popular ways to promote your podcast. If you already have a social media following, you can use those accounts to advertise your podcast. If not, you can create additional accounts to advertise the podcast and communicate with your community.
How to Earn Money from a Podcast
There are numerous ways to monetize a podcast. Some approaches can be used successfully without a significant following, while others require demand and audience to work. As a podcaster, you should have more than one cash stream, regardless of which avenues you choose. Having only one source of income increases your financial risk.
Advertisements that are Sponsored
If you’ve ever listened to a popular podcast, you’ve probably heard the podcaster read a sponsored ad. Some firms will pay you to read a quick script about their product on your podcast.
Ads can be a very simple way to earn money, but they frequently necessitate a larger listenership and detailed demographic data. Companies will want to ensure that your podcast is a good fit for their ad by looking at how many listeners or downloads you have, as well as demographic information about your audience.
Affiliate Links or Codes
As an extension of sponsored adverts, brands for which you run advertisements may provide you with a special discount code for your listeners to use. You might then earn a small commission every time someone uses your discount code at the checkout when making a purchase. To promote increased use, include affiliate codes in your show notes and on social media.
Similarly, you can earn money by using affiliate links. You’ll earn a modest sales commission each time someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, just like the discount codes. Amazon Associates, LTK, and Skillshare are some notable affiliate networks that you can join.
Promoting Your Service or Products
You can increase sales of any existing services or products by discussing them on your podcast. Hearing you describe what you have to offer and how it will benefit your audience is an excellent method to educate them and move them closer to completing a purchase.
Coaching vs. Consulting
Your industry experience as a subject matter expert may be in demand in addition to the free material you provide on your podcast. You can utilize your podcast to book consulting or coaching clients, which are folks who want to learn from you in a more personalized setting.
Accepting Donations or Gratuities
It takes time and work to run a podcast. You can simply ask your listeners to tip you or donate money to you to help cover the costs of producing each episode. Donations can be collected through sites such as Venmo, Patreon, or GoFundMe.
When soliciting tips or donations, try to be as explicit as possible about where the money will be spent, such as purchasing a new microphone for better sound, employing an intern to ramp up production, and so on.
Memberships or Restricted Content
Podcasts are normally free to listen to or download, but creating more episodes that are behind a paywall is one way to earn money. In this case, a listener must either pay a one-time fee or subscribe to a premium membership to gain access to the additional content.
Patreon and Buy Me a Coffee are two well-known sites for offering subscriber-only content.
Networks of Advertising
A podcast advertising network serves as your show’s agency. Advertising networks have relationships with brands and can help you find possibilities you might not have found otherwise. Some networks allow you to contact advertisers directly after joining, while other more premium networks can pitch to advertisers on your behalf.
AdvertiseCast, PodcastOne, and Megaphone are a few examples of podcast advertising networks. Keep in mind that to join an advertising network, you may need to meet specific standards, such as a minimum subscriber count.
You might sell branded goods featuring your podcast’s logo, iconography, or signature lines, depending on your branding and audience. Selling a calendar with your logo or phrase on it, for example, if you have a podcast about getting organized, might be a substantial method to create cash.
Starting a podcast may be quite gratifying, but it does require some early hard work and setup. With the correct objectives and expectations, your podcast may be as financially and emotionally rewarding as you make it out to be.