Starting your own podcast doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right ideas, equipment and software, you can have a professional-level production without much overhead. And, with the right focus, attitude and dedication, you could find yourself with a successful show.
These tips can help you get started.
1. Plan Your Approach
One of the hardest steps in starting a podcast is deciding on the format. Yes, hosting one is fun, but you want people to listen to it – and tune in time after time. That means you need to focus on something that has value to a specific audience.
So, grab a piece of paper, and think about what you’re passionate about. If you’re serious about hosting a podcast, you’re going to be releasing content regularly, so it needs to be focused around something that won’t bore you after two or three recordings. It can be as general as world news or as niche as 19th-century railroads. Believe it or not, sometimes the more niche you go, the more likely you are to connect with a dedicated audience.
After deciding on your show’s focus, research the competition. Even if you don’t plan on taking yours past the hobby phase, it’s good to listen to established podcasts so you have an idea of what unique things you have to offer and what format you want your show to use. You’ll want to provide some structure for consistency over time, too, so it’s a good idea to frame a general idea of how you want to begin your show, present your content and close.
Finally, decide how often you want to record and publish. Some podcasts are daily. Others are weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly. Frequency is important because, once you build an audience, staying consistent with the pace of what you share impacts who tunes in and who keeps coming back to listen. Set and meet expectations on this front. And, before you record the first sound bite of your podcast, set a realistic schedule that you can adhere to.
2. Set Up Your Work Environment and Equipment
Where you record your podcast is crucial. Depending on your environment, editing can either be a time-consuming or an easy, automated process, depending on the tools you use. A noisy environment not a good idea – especially for recording. So, be sure to set up your studio in a room where you can control background noise. But, if you have a good pair of headphones, you can edit just about anywhere.
Thanks to the excellent software available, you don’t have to go overboard with hardware. When you’re just starting out, don’t make the mistake of over-investing because you won’t be recouping those costs for a while, if ever.
This is all the hardware you need to start a podcast and sound great:
• A decent $100 USB mic
• An adjustable mic arm (this can be inexpensive)
• A windscreen
• A pop filter
If, after a few recordings you still feel passionate about podcasting, you can look into sound-deadening material for your studio area, soundboards and mics, and more expensive equipment. But, until you’re sure you want to commit, you don’t need to invest in professional-grade equipment.
3. Choose Editing Software
So, you’ve wrapped your first recording, now what do you do with it? The software you choose for editing will be vital to your success.
There are a host of programs out there that allow you to edit audio. A quick web search will help you find the latest and greatest. Look for a tool that automates processes like leveling, De-Essing, De-Humming, and general noise reduction. This will help to simplify the process for you.
If you plan to work with remote guests or co-hosts, look for a tool that allows you to all connect over the net. When you do, I recommend that you record the full chat, ask other chat participants to record their tracks individually and edit those into your overall show. That’s a good backup if the group recording doesn’t share the same quality of audio for all guests or hosts.
4. Secure Dedicated Web Hosting
Once you have recorded your show, you need a way to deliver it to the masses. You can choose from a number of specialized services that can help make this easy. Most of these offer free tiers of service that let you try before you buy. But, if you’re going to produce a podcast for the long-term, you’ll want to upgrade to a paid service.
One big perk you gain with these hosts is automated posting to all the major platforms for listening to podcasts (all the big names you know). It’s definitely a value add. After all, the more places your podcast is available, the more likely you are to connect with people who want to hear it.
You’ll also want to make sure your internet speed is a fit for the large files you’ll be working with and hosting. While audio uploads aren’t as intense as video uploads, you’ll just want to be sure things aren’t moving too slow for your comfort. If they are, consider upgrading your internet to a faster service.
5. Market Your Show and Build Community
Once you have your show edited and hosted online, you’ll want to spread the word that it’s up and out. Do what you can to connect with and target the people who care about your focus.
Most paid tier podcast hosting services make it easy to share your podcast on social media. And, launching and managing dedicated social handles for your show is a good idea if you want to build community around your focus, topics and POV.
To make it easier to market your show, choose a strong title and format and make sure you have the right tagging for search engine optimization (SEO). With niche subjects, consider interacting with members of forums dedicated to the topic.
Research successful podcasts. Note how they format their titles, choose episode images and how they tag their content for SEO. Then, use what you learn to do the same for yours.
And, whether you have a budget for online ads or targeted, paid social media or not – be sure you focus on the followers and listeners you have. Generate value for them so they will keep coming back to listen, engage, and help spread the word about your show.
Launching and sustaining a podcast can be challenging, but with focus, hard work and perseverance, you have the opportunity to connect with others. Hopefully these tips will help you set the stage for a great experience!
This article was written by Jason Faulkner, a TechBuzz contributor. The statements in this article are his own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of AT&T.