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How to start a podcast

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The steps involved in launching a podcast

Do you want to be a podcaster but you’re not sure how you get a show started and into podcast directories?

Starting a podcast isn’t a simple process but it’s also not super difficult.  You just need to know what to do so you can make sure you’ve got all your assets ready to go.

So what are the steps involved in launching your own podcast?

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Steps to launch a podcast

Step 1: Come up with a kick-arse podcast idea

This might seem like a no brainer but when people are thinking about starting a podcast a lot of them make the mistake coming up with an idea for their ego not their audience.

If you want to start a podcast just because you want to be in front of a microphone it might be hard to convince potential listeners there’s much value in the show for them.  And if you want to grow an audience (which I’m assuming you do) people need to see value in your podcast.

That means you need to keep your ideal audience in mind when you’re making decisions about every aspect of your podcast…the length, the format and especially the idea.

How to come up with a great podcast idea

Read

Step 2: Come up with a great podcast name

The name of your show is the first thing people will see after they’ve looked at your podcast art so it’s got to be a name that catches their attention and piques their interest.

Ideally, it also needs to give them an essence of what the show is about or at least the tone of the content.

Being creative is better than being too literal when it comes to your name but you don’t want to be so creative people don’t understand it.

If they have to think too hard they’ll probably move on.

How to come up with a great podcast name

Read

Step 3: Buy your domain name and claim your social media handles

Once you’ve decided on a name for your podcast it’s a good idea to see if you can get all the collateral around it.

If you’re planning on starting up a new social media account for your show (which isn’t essential) you want to make sure the handles are available.

You’re going to want to create a website for your podcast and if the domain name isn’t available that can sometimes send you back to the drawing board looking for a new name for your show.

If this happens and you really don’t want to change the name you can always add ‘podcast’ to the end of the domain name and see if that’s available.

Can you choose a podcast name that already exists?

Read

Step 4: Come up with the right format & length

Once you’ve come up with your killer idea you need to make sure you’re delivering it in a way that suits your audience and your content.

Your show might be best served in bite-sized chunks that are under ten minutes.

You might be interviewing people about serious subjects that need time to breathe so 45 minutes to an hour is your sweet spot.

Or you could be sitting on a story that needs to be fleshed out over a series of interviews that can be linked together with a narrative script and knocked over in a punchy 20 minutes.

There are no rules so you can be as creative as you like but you also want to be realistic.

Remember you have to deliver your show consistently if you want to grow an audience so you don’t want to create a rod for your own back.

Hour-long episodes might seem like a great idea when you’re at the starting blocks but two months in that length might be impossible to maintain.

Make your decision based on what’s best for your content and your audience but also what’s best for you in terms of workload.

What are the different types of podcast?

Read

Step 5: Choose your release schedule

Consistency is the key when it comes to podcasting so you want to pick a day and time you’ll be there for your audience and stick to it.

Weekly episodes are the most common frequency and they also work well in terms of workload.

If you can’t do episodes that often, maybe start fortnightly and increase it once you get the hang of things.

Another option, if you’re worried about being able to keep up with the workload, is to release your show in seasons so you can batch record episodes and then work on the next season while those ones are rolling out.

How to make podcasting easier with seasons

Read

Step 6: Buy your equipment

At this stage, you’ve probably done enough due diligence to know if this is an idea you’re going to commit to or if it’s just a flash in the pan.

If you’re full steam ahead, it’s time to buy your equipment so you’ve got something to record on but also so you’ve got gear to practice with.

Practising before you go live is a great idea, especially if you’re new to podcast presenting.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money or rent space in a professional recording studio but you do need to buy a good quality microphone.

You also want to think about where you’re going to record because this will have a big impact on your audio quality.

Podcast Equipment: The four things you need to start a podcast

Read

Step 7: Design your podcast logo

This can take more time than you think so you want to get started on this as soon as possible.

You can design a logo for free in a tool like Canva, or you could hire a designer on a website like 99 Designs.

Whatever way you do it it’s a good idea to look around at podcast logos you like so you’ve got reference materials for yourself or your designer.

And if you’re working with someone else make sure you’re as detailed as possible when explaining what you want.

Your designer isn’t a mind reader and the less specific you are the longer it’ll take to get a design you love and more time means more money.

How to design a great podcast logo

Read

Step 8: Select your intro and outro music

The easiest way to make your show sound professional is to add intro and outro music.

This is the audio brand of your podcast so you want the music to fit the vibe of your show.

Be warned: It can take a LONG TIME to find the right music and you can lose days trawling production websites.

So give yourself time to get the right track because you want to get something that perfectly fits your show.

Do you need a podcast intro and outro?

Read

Step 9: Start recording episodes

This could be for practice so you’re ready to go when your show goes live, or if your content won’t date it’s a great idea to start recording ahead of time so you can schedule content.

This will make it much easier to maintain consistency and it’ll also give you audio you can use to promote upcoming episodes and use in your trailer.

Why you should batch record your podcast

Read

Step 10: Sign up to a podcast host

Your podcast host is the link between you and the podcast directories and it’s where you’ll store all of your podcast MP3s.

Ideally, you want to choose a platform that’s podcast focused with a proven business model so you know they’re not going to shut down five minutes after you’ve started.

If you’ve decided to go with a free podcast host make sure you thoroughly read their Ts&Cs.

You want to make sure you own your content and that if you decide to move to another host at any time you can take your content with you.

Often with a free host, you might not be paying with money but you could be paying with something else.

Do you need a podcast host?

Read

Step 11: Create your show profile

This is where you set up your show in the back end of your chosen podcast host.

At this stage, you’ll need your show name, description and logo ready to go so you need to put some thought into coming up with a great elevator pitch (your description) that’s going to convince people to listen.

How to write great podcast descriptions

Read

Step 12: Create a show trailer

To generate an RSS feed (which is the thing you need to submit your show to podcast directories) you’ll need to upload a piece of audio to your podcast host.

Ideally, that MP3 contains evergreen content (content that doesn’t date) because at this point your show doesn’t exist in podcast apps and getting it in there can take up to two weeks (sometimes longer).

That means you don’t want to upload your first episode as your first MP3 because you won’t be able to get anyone to listen until it’s been accepted by directories.

If you’ve been doing practice records or recording episodes ahead of time, this is a great time to use that content in your trailer so people can get a taste of what’s to come.

Why you need a trailer for your podcast

Read

Step 13: Submit your podcast to the directories

This sounds difficult but it’s as simple as copying your RSS feed from the settings of your podcast host and pasting it into the submission pages for each of the directories you want your show to be found.

How to submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify

Read

Step 14: Wait

The amount of time it takes for your show to be accepted by podcast directories is the one thing you don’t have any control over.

I’ve had podcasts turn up in 24 hours, others have taken two weeks and it varies from directory to directory.

So, as a general rule, you want to make sure you’ve got a buffer of at least two weeks between submitting your podcast and episode one of your show going live.

This is important because when you launch your first episode you want people to be able to find it.

Once your podcast is in the directories every episode after that will hit people’s podcast apps as soon as you press publish so the wait is just for that first piece of audio when you’re setting up your show.

How long does it take to launch a podcast?

Read

Step 15: Start releasing episodes

The above are just the steps involved in getting your show set up and public.

Now you need to get cracking on creating, recording and releasing your episodes!

Good luck!

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

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GET MY FREE PODCAST GUIDE

Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!

SEND IT TO ME!