how to start a podcast

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Podcast

Content marketing comes in different forms. Content creators use different marketing means such as social media, blog posts, visuals, slide decks, videos, and more. Interestingly, a podcast is also part of that mix, and it is one of the most effective ways to marketing your content.

If you are a business owner, you need to learn how to start a podcast, as this will help you reach a wider audience and expand the reach of your business via content marketing.

If you are looking for how to start a podcast and launch your own show, you have come to the right place. Over the past few years, there has been a considerable increase in the listenership of podcasts. The number of people listening to podcasts in the US every week surged by 175 percent over the past five years, with about 90 million people listening to podcasts every month, according to Edison Research.

In this guide, we will walk you through all the steps of starting a podcast. We will show you how to start a podcast, all the tools and equipment you need, and all the steps involved in creating one.

What You Need to Know Before Getting Started

Before getting started with podcasting, there are some vital things that you need to know and consider. Even if the show you want to start would just be a hobby at first, chances are you want it to have the best chance of being successful. As such, you need to do some strategic planning before starting your podcast.

#1: Define Your Niche, Choose Your Topic, and Know Your Audience

When you start promoting your podcast, the first question people would ask you is “what is the podcast about?” Hence, you need to answer this question even before you create the podcast. Before you start your podcast, you need to be very clear on the focus and aim of the podcast or show.

Being clear on what your show is about will help you grow a loyal fan base. When choosing your topic, you should stick to areas you have an interest in or/and knowledge of. Chances are you are not the first person to create a podcast in your chosen topic area, which means you need to provide some unique insight into the topic in order to stand out.

Can you produce more content on the topic you choose? That is another vital question you need to answer. When it comes to starting a show, consistency is essential, which is why you need to start with a topic or niche that you can continue with.

Some topics might look exciting at first. However, you might discover that you will have some issues creating more episodes around the topic. Finally, you need to choose a topic that you can narrow down. Instead of talking about a broad topic, you should niche down to a particular thing. Niching down to something specific will make your customers feel like you are talking to them directly.

When you niche down to something specific, you will find it easier to create episodes that are great for your ideal listeners. Hence, you need to think about your topic and make sure it is specific rather than being broad. If the topic you choose has too many subtopics, it is a sign that it is broad and you would need to narrow it down.

After defining your niche and choosing a topic, the next thing you need to do is to know your audience. You need to know who your listeners will be. This is just like knowing your potential customers for a business. knowing your ideal listeners will help simplify the process of creating content.

#2: Creating Episode Subjects

After choosing a topic, the next step is to create several episode subjects. This step involves a little brainstorming, as you need to think about all you can get from the topic and make sure you have enough things to talk about. If you find it difficult to create several episodes, then your topic might be too narrow, and you might want to broaden it a little bit.

When creating your episodes, think about all the different sections of your topic. If your topic is about parenting, for instance, think about all the things that your potential listener might want to know about the topic.

#3: Choose a Podcast Format and Hosting Style

You can create your podcast in different formats. Your podcast can be conversational, storytelling, educational, or interviews. Each of these styles has its pros and cons, so you need to think about the best way to educate your ideal listeners about your topic. Here are the common podcast formats:

  • Monologue Podcast: This format involves one host talking about their experience or expertise.
  • Co-Hosted Podcast: This format involves a minimum of two hosts talking about their experiences or expertise.
  • Interview-Based Podcast: This involves a host interviewing and guiding a conversation around the expertise of the guest.
  • Panel Podcast: This is when a host controls a conversation between of group of guests on a single topic.
  • Storytelling Podcast: A storytelling podcast can be non-fiction or fiction, and it involves a host narrating a story and adding audio, sound effects sourced from multiple voice actors or real life.

Many podcasters mix one or more styles through recurring segments or over different episodes. As you begin to improve and get more creative, you will start adjusting your format and find the one that suits your topic best.

#4: Choose a Podcast Name

The name of your podcast should speak to you and your ideal listeners. From the name alone, your potential listeners should know what the podcast is all about. The name of the podcast should also be descriptive, and this would help a lot. Nevertheless, it is not mandatory that you make the podcast title descriptive, as many podcast platforms include a short description or “hook” along with the podcast name.

The name of your podcast should remain extremely relevant to your topic, which means you have to make it concise. You can add a few keywords to it, but make sure you keep it short and sweet. You should consider how people look for information related to your topic and add some of the words or phrases that they might search for. This would enhance the searchability of your podcast on platforms such as Google Play and Apple Podcasts.

Remember, during the podcast, you will be saying the name aloud and frequently, and you need to be saying it as you have written it down. Hence, you want to make sure it is not a mouthful; it should come out clearly every time you say it.

If you are finding it difficult to come up with creative podcast names, here are some podcast name generator that can help you out:

#5: Podcast Description

The description of your podcast is essential, and you need to pay a lot of attention to it. This is where you need to add all the relevant keywords and phrases you can think of. You need to consider SEO when writing the description of your podcast. The description of your podcast is like the summary of the podcast, and you need to describe it accurately.

The description should show value and provide your ideal listener with more information. Hence, when writing your description, you need to write it for two types of people. The first category is those discovering your podcast and the second category is for those searching for related topics (search engine algorithms).

To attract new audiences, you should pay more attention to the value of the podcast. In your description, you should be able to tell a potential listener why they should listen to your podcast, and what makes your episodes different from that of your competitors.

When writing your podcast description, remember that most of your listeners will be reading the description on their mobile devices, and many podcast platforms truncate the description field. As such, you should write the most interesting parts first. You should also avoid repetitive information. Apple Podcasts allows you to write a description of up to 4,000 characters. However, we recommend you keep it between 250 and 600 characters.

#6: Choose Your Podcast Category

The Apple Podcasts have dozens of categories and subcategories from which to choose. They have categories ranging from comedy and religion to politics and arts. You should pick a category that best suits and describes your theme. The most common way people discover new podcasts is by searching the directory of a listening application. They do this by searching for topics or browsing the categories.

If you want to enhance the discoverability of your podcast, you should focus on appropriate category selection. The category you choose does not need to be the exact topic of your podcast. Interestingly, you can choose one parent category and two subcategories.

If you are having a hard time deciding on which category to choose, you can look at other people’s podcasts on the listening app that are similar to yours and note the category and subcategories that they used.

#7: Cover Art

Another important piece of the puzzle is the cover art. You need to create very beautiful cover art for your podcast. This is an essential part of your podcast that you should not ignore, as some listening apps such as Apple Podcasts only feature podcasts with professional-looking artwork. If you are not good at graphics design, you might need to hire a professional for the job.

Your cover art needs to look professional, and you need to use pictures and words that are large enough for your readers to see. Go through the Apple Podcasts, find some eye-catching artworks, and model yours to look like that. If you are hiring a professional, you want to make sure the person has experience in crafting podcast cover artwork. The minimum resolution of your podcast should be 1400 x 1400 while the maximum should be 2048 x 2048.

Equipment and Software Needed for Your Podcast

To create a podcast, the two major things you need are a microphone and audio recording software. However, there are a few alternatives to this, such as your mobile phone.


Can I use my iPhone to start a podcast? Yes, you can use your iPhone to start a podcast because it has a microphone. Nevertheless, you will not get the best quality audio if you use your iPhone. To get the best quality sound, you need to get a microphone for iPhones or computers:

  • Microphones for iPhones: To enhance the sound quality of your device, you need to get a microphone attachment. This will not only enhance your sound quality but will also make it easy for you to record with your phone. One of the best microphones for this job is the Zoom iQ6/iQ7.
  • Microphones for Computers: Almost all computers have a microphone, but like mobile phones, you will not get quality sound when you use the built-in microphone of a computer. As such, you would need to get a microphone for your computer. Fortunately, you can get a high-quality USB microphone for less than $50. These microphones are plug-and-play, which means you do not need to install any driver to use them.

Audio Recording Software

You need professional audio recording software to record from your microphone and save it in any format you want, preferably MP3. Here are some software that you can use for recording and editing:

  • Adobe Audition: This software is available for both Windows and Mac. It is one of the best audio recording and editing software out there, and it comes with many great features. However, this software is not free of charge.
  • Audacity: Audacity is also available for both Windows and Mac, and the beautiful thing about this software is that it is free. It is a great alternative to premium, paid audio recording and editing software. This software is also very easy to use.
  • GarageBand: GarageBand is also free recording and editing software and it comes with all MacBooks.

How to Record a Podcast

Recording a podcast is not a difficult task. To start recording, all you have to do is to connect the microphone to the computer and open the audio recording software. Make sure you connect the microphone very well and turn it on. If the external microphone is not set as the default input, change the settings and make it the default.

When you open the audio recording software, you will see a red button (for most software), click on it to start recording. When recording, there is no need to pause or stop the recording until you are done, even if you make mistakes during the process. You can use the same software to edit it and remove those parts later.

At the end of the podcast, you will have to save it. The best format to save the file is MP3 since it is compatible with almost any device. If the software asks you for a bitrate, you can use 128kbps, as it is the best option. It is best you use a fixed bitrate rather than a variable bitrate.

How to Record Your First Episode

Now that you know how to record a podcast, let us move forward to recording your first episode. In the first episode of your podcast, there are certain things you need to talk about. Your first episode can be your “Episode Zero,” and it is where you have to introduce yourself. This is where you need to tell your listeners what the podcast is about, why they need to listen to it, what they will benefit from it, and more.

Being your first time, it is normal to be nervous. Not being conscious of your voice is one of the best ways to battle this nervousness. What you have to offer is more important than how your voice sounds. You do not need to sound like a professional OAP for people to listen to you. Speak normally into the microphone without fears or any drawbacks. Most people do not like the sound of their voice when they hear it at first, but you will get to love it eventually.

You cannot improve your confidence on the microphone in just one day; it is a process that takes time. If you cannot remember your next line or lose your spot while recording, it is okay to sit in silence until you remember what next to say and move on. You can edit and cut the unnecessary parts and mistakes later.

You should avoid reading off a script. You need to sound as natural as possible on your podcasts. People want to hear what you have to share coming from you; they do not want to hear an audiobook. Hence, you should avoid reading a script when recording.

Hosting Your Podcast

Even if you have a website or web host, you would need a separate host for your podcasts. It is not a good idea to host your MP3 files on the same server as your website. Shared web hosts do not have the speed or bandwidth required to stream or download MP3 files. Hence, you should opt for media hosts. Some of the affordable media hosts you can use include Blubrry and Libsyn.

Online Podcast Library to Sync Your Podcast to

From your hosting platform, look for the RSS FEED Link of your podcast. The link is what you would need to submit to online podcast libraries Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and others. After submitting it, the platform would take some time to approve your show. After the approval, your podcast will be up and running. Here are some of the platforms you can submit your podcast to:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I start a podcast?

To start a podcast, you need to come up with a topic, name, choose a format, design cover art, write a description, get a microphone and audio recording software, record the podcast, edit it, and upload it to an online podcast platform.

How much does it cost to start a podcast?

Generally, you can spend from $200 to $500 to make a high-quality podcast. However, some professionals spend a few thousand dollars when creating podcasts.

What equipment do you need to start a podcast?

The two basic tools you need are a good podcast microphone and audio recording software.

How much do podcasters make?

Top podcasters make between $25 and $40 per 1,000 listeners from advertisers.

Final Thoughts

Creating a professional podcast is not as difficult as many people seem it to be, and you can create yours today with ease. All you need is the right equipment and follow the instructions on this guide to create your podcast.

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