Although it may seem intimidating and tricky to the casual observer, anyone can start a podcast. It doesn’t matter what level of technical ability or experience you have. If you have an idea for a podcast and have been reluctant to give it a try or just don’t know where to start, this guide is for you.
In it, I’ll show you how to start your own podcast.
Choosing a Theme and Name
One of the very first things you need to think about when setting up a podcast is what it’s going to be about. While you may be tempted to talk about everything and anything you can think of, that’s not the best way to get an established listener base. You need to narrow down your options to something you feel you’ll be able to speak about over a large number of episodes. Balance is crucial because you also don’t want to choose too general or non-specific a subject that won’t appeal to your target audience.
Don’t try to run before you walk – you can always expand the topic when your podcast has a bigger audience.
When it comes to names, if you take a look at the top podcasts on Apple, Spotify, Amazon or any other type of platform, you’ll see that names vary wildly. While some have descriptive names that highlight what the podcasts are about, some others to the uninitiated could seem strange and not mean anything.
Interestingly, my suggestion for naming your podcast is to choose something that covers a broader range of topics than your main content. For instance, if you have a podcast about hiking, it might not be a good idea to choose something too specific to that topic. After all, what if you naturally gravitate and expand to include camping, backpacking and other connected topics?
Choose a name that will allow you to grow and expand your podcast further down the line, if necessary.
Choosing a Format
Once you have the content and name of your podcast decided upon, you need to consider its format.
Length – first, you need to think about how long your podcast is going to be, as you will need to write up a general script or have an idea of how many items you are going to cover per episode. Although there are plenty of people out there that claim to have a secret length of time, this should be taken with the greatest pinch of salt. Don’t bother trying to take a scientific approach to it or match it to the average drive time of your listener.
Instead, you should choose the length of time that works best for your podcast content.
Style – style is another aspect of the podcast format you need to consider. While some choose the interview style, others take a different approach. Some are solo runs, whereas others have two or even three hosts.
One good reason for choosing to do interviews is that they are easy to get new listeners, particularly if you are clever and make it as easy as possible for your guests with pre-written scripts etc.
Episode Format – Finally in terms of format, you need to think about how you are going to pace and build up the structure of your podcast. As is the case with many things, there are no right or wrong choices.
Creating the Artwork
When you go to any podcast platform, what do you see when you look at the library of options available? Lots of little thumbnails. The cover art on each thumbnail is what draws listeners to those podcasts, so for complete newcomers to yours, this is what they will first see.
As is the case when coming up with a name, you need to think about your theme and what the name is when choosing the imagery associated with your podcast. If the podcast is all about you as an individual, you may want to use a picture with a nice background to really make it stand out or you could go for something that relates to the theme, such as a picture of a plate with food if it’s a culinary podcast, a backpack if it’s a hiking podcast or a football if it’s a sports podcast.
One great option for creating images for podcast artwork is Canva.com. Even with the free option, you get the benefit of a piece of software that is easier to work with than Photoshop and less expensive.
Basic Equipment You Need
The most basic equipment you need for recording a podcast is a good quality microphone and a reasonable quality computer. You do need to have editing software too, but we will cover that in the next section. In my opinion, the Samson Q2U microphone is a great starter option – it’s low-priced, reliable and offers high-quality sound.
Recording and Editing Your Podcast
When it comes to recording and editing your podcast, there are plenty of options out there. One of the best, and most affordable, if you are a beginner is Alitu. This piece of software basically automates many of the more complicated and technical parts of making a podcast so that you can concentrate more on the actual content itself. As this is a web browser platform, you also don’t need to download separate software.
With it, you can:
- Clean up the audio so it sounds professional, crisp and clear
- Add music, when necessary
- Piece the different segments of your podcast together easily.
Hosting for Your Podcast
Last but by no means least, once everything is more or less in place, you need to make sure people can actually hear your podcast. That means getting yourself a podcast hosting account, which is often referred to with the alternative name of media host. There are plenty of great platforms out there, but we recommend you use Captivate.fm. It has a very clean interface that is easy to navigate around and their support is second to none.