Podcasts have seen a dramatic surge in popularity over the last decade. As of 2022, 62% of people ages 12+ have listened to a podcast, and the amount of monthly listeners is expected to reach 160 million in 2023 according to Edison Research.
Podcasts are so popular in part because of the ability to multitask while listening to them. Whether you're listening to a podcast while doing chores or during your lunch break, podcasts provide an opportunity to consume content that can entertain, educate, and inform - all at once.
Now is an excellent time to start a podcast–whether you’re a solopreneur, brand, business, nonprofit, or just want to have fun. The barrier to entry is low, and there are plenty of people waiting to hear your unique message.
In this blog, we'll walk through everything you need to know to create a successful podcast, including what to do after your launch to promote growth and expand your reach!
Step #1. Make a plan
It might sound obvious, but having a solid plan for your podcast is the first step to creating consistently high-quality content. Let’s break down exactly what to ask yourself before getting started.
What topic am I passionate about?
It’s important to pick a podcast topic that won’t become stale over time and has the potential for long-term sustainability. Ask yourself these questions to see if a topic is a good fit for you:
- What topics am I knowledgeable and passionate about?
- Will this topic hold my interest?
- Is there an audience that would be interested in this subject matter?
- What unique perspective or angle can I approach this topic from?
- What format is best for my podcast (interview style, scripted, monologue, co-host, roundtable, etc.)
Being passionate about the topic, having good research skills, and being a great storyteller are all qualities that will make your podcast stand out from the rest. So even if you don’t consider yourself an expert, as long as you have a genuine interest in the topic and can back up your discussions with facts and data, it has potential!
How often do I want to make new episodes?
Once you have chosen your topic, it is important to decide on the frequency of the podcast episodes and the optimal episode length.
While there is no set rule for how often podcasts should be released, most shows release content once a week. But plenty of podcasters release bi-monthly or once a month as well. The most important thing is that you pick a consistent schedule that you can maintain so your podcast listeners know what to expect upfront.
The ideal episode length will depend on your particular show's style and topics, but most podcasts range anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour in length.
What do I want my podcast name to be and convey?
Picking the perfect name for your podcast is a crucial step in launching and marketing. Your show’s name should be catchy, memorable, and easy to spell. It should also convey the purpose of your show while distinguishing it from other podcasts.
Once you’ve decided on a name, make sure to check that the domain name isn’t taken so you can use it for a website or marketing materials. Also, double-check that the name isn’t already in use by another podcast. While there isn’t any legal implication for having the same name as another podcast, it can cause confusion, so it’s better to be unique.
What do I want my podcast artwork to communicate?
Your podcast artwork is an important part of getting your show noticed. Good artwork will help set your podcast apart from the competition and give potential listeners a visual representation of what to expect from your show.
When designing your artwork, you should keep in mind that it will appear small on streaming platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify—so make sure any important text or images are legible and recognizable even when scaled down.
Designing a unique piece of podcast artwork is easy with tools like Canva, which has templates for different sizes and devices that you can customize with your own color palette and imagery. Here are some tips that can help:
- Keep it simple and use minimal text
- Follow the guidelines outlined by Apple Podcasts
- Pay attention to balance and readability
- Choose a design that matches the tone of your show
- Make sure your artwork is consistent with other marketing materials (website, social media, etc.)
Step #2. Choose your equipment setup
Choosing the right equipment for recording and editing your podcast is essential for creating an enjoyable listening experience. At the same time, you don’t need to stress too much about this step or invest in expensive top-of-the-line products right away; there are plenty of affordable options available that will get the job done just fine.
At the very least, you will need a microphone and headphones. You can choose from a variety of different microphones at various price points depending on the audio quality you’re looking for. A good set of over-ear headphones is also recommended to monitor your audio while recording.
For editing your episodes, you can use a free, simple audio editing software such as Audacity or Garageband. These programs are free and provide all the necessary features to record and edit and export high-quality audio files.
Here are three different setups you can choose from. You can also combine elements from all three to make your own custom setup specific to your needs or use it just to get some ideas and go rogue with your own products and gear.
- Microphone: Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB
- Headphones: Sony MDR7506 or Audio Technica ATH M20x
- Software: Audacity (free) or Garageband (free)
While it isn’t necessary for good audio, professional audio equipment can provide better sound quality and make it easier to record multiple people at once. Here is a list of some of the equipment you will need:
- Microphone: Shure SM7B or Rode NT1A
- Audio Interface: Rodecaster Pro
- Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO or Shure SRH840A
- Software: Adobe Audition or Logic Pro
Video podcast setup:
If you’re looking to create a video podcast, then you will need additional equipment such as cameras and lighting. Here is a list of what we recommend:
- Camera: Canon EOS M50 or Kickteck HD Video Camera Camcorder
- Lighting kit: Neewer Photography Softbox Light Kit
- Tripod: Amazon Basics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod
- Software: Filmora, Adobe Premier Pro, OpenShot (free)
How do you record a podcast with multiple people?
You will need an audio interface to record multiple people on a podcast. An audio interface allows you to connect more than one microphone to your computer in order to capture multiple voices at once. This is especially useful if you have guests or co-hosts that you want to feature in your podcast. Here are some we like:
- Focusrite Scarlett Series
- Zoom PodTrak P4
- RodeCaster Pro
Step #3. Record your first episode
Follow these tips to create consistently high-quality episodes that will lay a strong foundation for achieving your specific podcast goals.
Pick a good recording space
It’s important to ensure that your recording space is as quiet as possible. Any background noise or distractions can easily be picked up by your microphone and will detract from the quality of your podcast.
Here are some tips for getting good sound in your podcast recording space:
- Choose a quiet, smaller room away from any distractions or background noise.
- Invest in a good quality microphone and set it up properly with the right settings and distance from your mouth.
- Use acoustic foam or other sound-proofing materials to reduce background noise and reverberations.
- Use a pop filter to prevent any unwanted plosives from entering your audio recording.
- Monitor your sound closely while you record, and adjust settings or reposition the microphone if needed.
Have a plan and script for your episode.
Writing out a basic script can help make the podcast flow more naturally and reduce time spent editing after the fact. In our experience, most podcasts benefit creatively from a little bit of structure upfront.
Start by outlining what topics you want to discuss in each section of your podcast. This will give you an idea of what topics to cover and how to transition from one topic to the next. Once you have an outline, you can start filling in the details and writing out your script.
This can be as simple as a few bullet points and as intricate as a full-on, word-for-word script. But how you layout your script–or whether you make one at all–is completely up to you.
Make sure you have all the necessary equipment set up and that it’s functioning properly.
Make sure that your microphone and audio interface are connected securely, batteries are charged, headphones are plugged in correctly, and the sound levels are set properly.
It's also a good idea to test out all of the equipment before you start recording. This will help ensure that everything is working and you don't run into any issues while in the middle of recording. Additionally, it's important to be aware of the sound levels and make sure they are not too loud or too quiet.
Ask your guest a few important questions before getting started.
If you're recording an interview with a guest, make sure they have everything they need.
Ask your guest:
- What topics they are comfortable discussing, what questions they would like to be asked, and any other information that might be important for the podcast?
- To check their equipment, wifi signal, etc. This will ensure that the audio on both ends of the recording is good and that the interview runs smoothly.
- If they can stay in one place during the recording. Moving around can cause the signal to change and can affect your recording negatively.
Step #4. Pick an editing software
There are a variety of podcast editing tools available and some pretty great free options that can get you pretty far. Some popular podcast editing tools are Audacity and GarageBand. Both of these programs are great for beginners and allow you to edit and produce your podcasts without spending any money at all.
For paid podcast editing software, Hindenburg and Pro Tools are both great options. Both of these programs offer a wide range of features and allow you to get top-quality sound (for all you audiophiles!).
Ultimately, the best podcast editing software will depend on your preferences and the production requirement of your content. For instance, if you want to create a heavily-produced podcast with lots of audio elements, a more advanced digital audio workstation might be a better fit. Just keep in mind the features you need, as well as your budget and skill level when selecting the right tool for you. You don’t want to end up with a program that makes things harder than they need to be.
More advanced DAW suggestions:
Step #5. Select a podcast hosting service
Choosing a podcast host is an important step in creating your podcast, as it will determine where and how you store and publish your audio files.
Thankfully, this part is pretty simple. Most podcast hosts are set up for everything you could need as a podcaster, and which one you choose ultimately comes down to price and preferences about features.
For example, some hosts offer special tools that allow you to submit your podcast to various podcast directories and platforms, while others may offer more advanced analytics tools that allow you to track more data about your listeners.
Here are some popular choices that have everything most podcasters need. Check them out and see which one best meets your needs! Many of them let you start a podcast for free to try out their services.
Step #6. Promote your podcast episodes
Once your podcast is up and running, you'll want to start promoting it in order to get more listeners. Here are some strategies to help you spread the word.
Share on social media
One of the best ways to do this is through social media. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube can all be great places to spread the word about your podcast. You can share snippets of your podcast in the form of audiograms, post about upcoming episodes, and create content related to the topics you discuss on your show.
Create quality show notes for each episode
Creating quality show notes for each episode is an important part of marketing because it can boost your SEO and visibility. Show notes are also a great way to provide your listeners with more information about the episode, as well as give potential new listeners a preview of what they can expect from your podcast.
Here are five tips for creating high-quality show notes:
- Include a brief introduction. Include an introduction and overview of the episode in your show notes so that readers have an idea of what topics are discussed.
- Link to resources mentioned in the podcast. Include links to all websites, books, or any other resources mentioned in the podcast episode.
- List topics discussed. Include a list of the topics discussed in order to give readers an overview of what the episode is about.
- Include time stamps. Include time stamps of when certain topics are discussed so that your listeners can skip to the relevant section if they prefer.
- Include a call to action. Finally, be sure to include a call to action for your listeners, such as subscribing and leaving reviews on the podcast platform.
Make a podcast website with Podpage
Having a website can ultimately help you reach more listeners and grow your podcast. Your site serves as a central hub for all your podcasting content and gives people an easy way to access your latest episodes, archives, show notes, and other important information about your show.
It can also be used to monetize your podcast by offering exclusive premium content or ad space. It also helps to increase your visibility by providing an SEO-friendly platform for search engines to index.
Podpage gives you everything you need to build a beautiful podcast website in minutes. You’ll get access to a suite of features like analytics, monetization, built-in blog functionality, episode pages, integrations, monetization tools, and much more.
Try a free Podpage trial to see what you think!
Step #7. Market your podcast to expand your reach
Here are some effective ways you can market your podcast pre and post-launch that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Pre-launch Podcast Marketing Strategies:
Pre-launch podcast marketing strategies are important to get the word out about it and build anticipation. It can help you create hype and generate interest from potential listeners before you even launch. Here are some pre-launch podcast marketing strategies that you can use:
- Start a blog. Use blogs to build an audience before you launch your podcast. You can use the blog as a platform to talk about topics related to your show and engage with potential listeners.
- Create a teaser trailer. Make a short teaser video to get listeners excited about the upcoming launch of your podcast.
- Leverage social media. Create accounts on relevant social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Engage with your followers and promote the launch of your podcast.
Post-launch podcast marketing strategies:
These strategies will help you to build and grow a loyal audience, increase downloads, and generate more listeners.
Here are some post-launch strategies:
- Build relationships with influencers and other podcasters. Try to build relationships with influencers and other podcasters to cross-promote each other’s podcasts.
- Leverage email marketing. Create an email list of subscribers that you can communicate your podcast episodes with.
- Utilize paid advertising. Utilize paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, or Google Ads to reach more potential listeners.
Starting a podcast in 2023 is a good move for solopreneurs, businesses, and organizations looking to reach more people and build their brands (or just for fun!). Podcasting is an effective way to deliver content that can help promote products or services, educate your audience, and increase visibility and credibility. We hope this guide helps the process feel less overwhelming!