Podcasting has soared in popularity over the last few years, and with good reason. Podcasts are an entertaining, informative, and convenient format, perfect for the modern world.
According to Edison Research, over 104 million Americans (that’s more than one-third of the population) regularly consume podcasts in 2020. Why are they so popular? You can find podcasts on just about any subject readily available to download on iTunes, Spotify, and several other podcast show directories.
The variety is astounding: you can find true crime podcasts like ‘Red Handed,’ entrepreneur programs such as ‘The Tim Ferriss Show,’ and public radio shows such as ‘This American Life,’ which all have tens of thousands of avid listeners.
Feel like you might have something to add to the world of podcasting? In this article, we’ll outline everything you need to know about starting a podcast show, whether it’s right for you, and what you’ll need to do.
Part one answers some of your burning questions about the world of podcasting and whether it’s a viable option for you. Part two goes on to show you how to plan, what you’ll need, and the steps involved in creating a podcast.
Read on for our ultimate ‘podcast how to start’ guide!
- Part 1: Should You Start A Podcast?
- Part 2: How to Start a Podcast
- Bottom Line: Are Podcasts Right for You?
Part 1: Should You Start A Podcast?
Wondering if and how you should get started? Here we take a look at some of the often-asked questions by people who want to start podcasting but aren’t sure if they should.
Is starting a podcast worth it?
If you feel like you’ve got some good ideas and a real desire to share them with the world, starting a podcast show will be worth it for the sense of self-satisfaction in sharing your knowledge and passion with an audience alone.
Many people think about starting podcasts or do start them but never really get them off the ground. This often happens when the podcast host doesn’t have a real interest in the subject of their podcast and/or hasn’t put the time into planning their podcast show carefully. Simply put, no one wants to listen to a poorly organized, unclear monologue about any topic, so make sure that you’re prepared to put time and energy into producing each show episode.
Starting a podcast is not an easy way to make money fast (we’ll go into this more later) – so avoid this one if you need some quick cash. However, it can be worth it for the financial gains further down the line. Many people who make podcasts earn thousands of bucks a month in income from their podcast show, but this only comes after a lot of hard work.
At the end of the day, whether or not starting a podcast is worth it depends on your commitment to both the subject you’re going to talk about and your commitments to making the podcast.
What do I need to know before starting a podcast?
Are you thinking about starting a podcast? Perhaps you’ve got themes and topics in mind that you’re just dying to share with an audience. Starting up your own podcast is a great way to do just that. But, here a just a couple of things you should know before starting a podcast.
You should avoid diving straight in and take time to think about some key things before you get started. Even if you’re only starting podcasting as a hobby, you’ll likely want to have the best chance of actually getting some podcast listeners. For those entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small business owners out there, podcasting is a great way to build your business, and it will offer you lots of new opportunities for collaboration and promotion.
Ultimately, a small amount of careful thinking and planning before you launch may well be the difference between a show that doesn’t get any listeners at all and a show that’s sure to grow a devoted fanbase.
You should also know that podcasting will require some basic equipment, editing software, and above all, time and commitment. We’ll be going into this in more detail in part 2 – so read on to find out the finer detail of what it takes to start a podcast.
How much money do you need to start a podcast?
There’s no universal answer to this question. The basic components you’ll need to start a podcast are as follows:
- Internet connection
- Basic recording equipment (smartphone or laptop will work)
- Software for media hosting and editing software
- Music and cover art
Depending on your budget, you could spend anywhere between $80 and $1000+ on producing your podcast. It’s worth noting that there are free versions of almost everything you need to start a podcast, so long as you have some basic recording equipment. This is a good place to start if you’re strapped for cash, and you might want to upgrade your equipment, editing software, and hosting service as you begin to make money from your podcast.
Can you get rich off a podcast?
When you’re first getting started, it’s unlikely that you’ll make much money off of podcasting. In fact, some people end up with negative cash flow because they spend lots of money on equipment, don’t see immediate results, and stop producing podcasts.
This type of creative work depends on building an audience of listeners: you need people to choose to watch your show because they’ve decided you have value. This can take some time, but it’s totally worth it. So, if you’re searching ‘how to start podcast’ because you need a quick cash injection, you’ll need to find another way to earn some income.
The good news is that if you devote some time and energy to making amazing content, engaging with your audience, and publishing new episodes regularly, you’ll be able to build in a show that makes you one big sum of money with each episode.
Some of the main ways that people do make money from podcasting are as follows.
- Direct support: This is where you simply ask fans for money to support your show. If you grow a loyal following, plenty of people will be happy to throw in a few dollars to keep your podcast afloat.
- Sponsorship: Sponsorship deals are the most common money-maker for podcasters. This is when you’re paid to promote the sponsor during your podcast show. These deals usually work on a per-per-download basis, so the more your podcast show is downloaded, the more money you’ll make.
- Affiliate sales: Affiliate sales work in a similar way to podcast sponsorship deals. Rather than getting paid based on the number of downloads, you make money based on what you sell for the affiliate company.
- Product sales: Many podcast hosts make money by selling complementary products, including courses, events, and merchandise. Do note that you don’t need to do all of these things because one will suffice.
Finally, if making money is your only goal, and you don’t have a passion or interest in your subject, chances are your show won’t have much success. Conversely, you’re more likely to ‘get rich’ off a podcast that you genuinely care about.
Part 2: How to Start a Podcast
Now your burning questions have been answered, it’s time to find out how to start a podcast show. This section provides a step-by-step guide to getting your new podcast planned, created, and out there.
Plan Your Podcasts
Ask yourself: what is your podcast for, and who is it for? Are you a business? A researcher? A freelancer? Or are you a hobbyist who wants to share your ideas and perspective? Determining what you’re actually making your podcast for will guide what you actually include in it.
Further, you need to have a clear sense of what your podcast is about. Try to start a podcast on a topic in which you have some interest, knowledge, or ideally both! This will help you find a niche, so you can do relevant research on topics tu8y’o cover in each episode, find suitable interviewees, and market to the right people – the key really is in the preparation!
You then need to identify your target audience. If you’re a business person, you’ll be aiming for your podcasts at people who may be interested in your brand or company. If you’re creating a podcast show based on a hobby, your audience is likely to be simply people who share the same passion.
Once you’ve answered these key questions, the podcasting fun really starts. You can begin to plan what you’ll talk about in your podcast shows, how the information will be broken down across each podcast show, and which people you want to talk to. In planning your series, think about:
- What you will title your podcast series.
- How long you want each episode to be.
- How often you will release each episode.
- How many podcast episodes will make up a series.
- Titles for each podcast episode.
In thinking about this ahead of time, you’ll be able to work out what you need to include in each episode and how much you’ve got time for. This will prevent you from cramming too much information into one podcast episode or finding yourself drawing it out.
Record Your Podcast With Quality Equipment
The most important technical aspect of starting a podcast show is ensuring that you have an excellent level of audio quality. People will quickly tune out even when the content is great if your voice is not crisp, clear, and with no interference.
To record your podcast, you can use the internal microphone on your iPhone, tablet, or laptop. You may wish to invest in a good quality headset with a microphone to ensure clear sound and cancel out any background noise. Remember, a simple microphone is fine to get started, and you can always upgrade at a later point in your podcasting journey.
One thing to research straight away is experts and/or influencers in your podcasting area. Collaborate with these people, or invite them the feature as a co-host on your podcast. This allows you to procure more listeners from the following of your guest, and you get to start some important networking and establish yourself within your niche.
Almost every successful podcast show host doesn’t go it alone – they use interviewees or co-hosts to create a more engaging experience for the audience. To start a podcast that will be successful, you should plan interviews and co-hosting dialogue carefully to avoid it being one-sided and make for interesting listening. Avoid asking yes/no questions, and seek narratives. Questions that start with ‘tell me about a time…’ are sure to provoke unique, interesting responses.
When podcasting, always keep the audience in mind: think about what your topic is and what your audience wants to hear about it. Each episode can address your topic differently, so make sure you consider your subject matter from all angles and invite a range of guests accordingly.
Edit with the Right Editing Software
Once you’ve recorded your podcast episode, you then need to edit it to increase the audio file’s sound quality for your podcast listeners. Because there’s so much choice out there already, people want high-quality listening experiences and will only select the best.
Editing software such as Audacity or Adobe will be sufficient to cancel out background noise and enhance audio. Another good option if you’re using a Mac is Garageband. At this stage, you’ll need to consider which hosting service you’ll use. Soundcloud and Libsyn are popular choices.
Publish Your Podcast
When you start a podcast show, the most exciting part is going live. Once you’re happy with the quality and content of your new podcast, you can submit it to directories. This will enable people to find your podcasts and listen, subscribe, and download. Some platforms charge you a monthly fee for listing your podcasts with them, so double-check this before you enlist.
Podcasting is a competitive world, so draw people to you by providing as much information as possible. Make sure you write your show notes. Show notes are, simply put, a written overview of the content of each episode. They’re like an episode description (which you’ll need for your hosting platform) but provide more detail. They are a great way of pulling in more traffic, so it’s definitely worth doing some research on this area.
Websites and Social Media for Your Podcast
While it’s not essential to have your own website when you start a podcast show, this can be a useful addition and give legitimacy to yourself as a podcast host.
When you start a podcast show, you want to get your name out there, so social media is a great platform for engaging with your audience, promoting new episodes, and networking with other podcasters and people interested in your area.
One thing to think about if you do create a website is complimenting your podcast episodes with corresponding blog posts. These can offer people further information on the content of the episode, or you can use a blog post to promote your upcoming podcast show episode.
Remember to mention the social media handles for your show when wrapping up podcasts, and include your website where people more about you and your podcasts.
Bottom Line: Are Podcasts Right for You?
Do you often find yourself Googling ‘should I start a podcast,’ ‘are podcasts easy,’ ‘how start podcast production,’ and ‘is podcasting a good idea for me’? Hopefully, this article has helped you find the answers to these questions. If you want to start a podcast and have the time and passion to do so, it’s definitely something you should do.
Be ready to do some intense prep work, and always focus on producing quality podcasts rather than the money – the cash is sure to follow if you’re dedicated and passionate! Also, think about the people who will be listening to your podcast to make sure you’re always providing content people want to listen to.
Podcasting is an intense but rewarding endeavor, so don’t be put off by the work required. There’s no one right way to make a podcast, and remember that confidence is key.
With just a little planning, you could be on your way to producing successful podcasts in no time!