Creating a podcast takes hard work, dedication, and planning. Oftentimes, podcasters start out with a great idea and quickly lose steam (a phenomenon called "podfade"). Creators simply run out of time and energy.
That’s why it’s so important to be deliberate with your podcasting efforts and plan ahead. Building a roadmap for success will help you stay on track and motivated. Setting realistic goals can help ensure that your podcast stays fresh and engaging for the long haul!
In this blog, we'll break down what to know before you launch your podcast and also include tips for after-launch to help you optimize your content and get it out to the world.
Note: Don't let this list overwhelm you! When you're just starting out, follow the essential pre-launch tips and take one or two from the post-launch section. You can add more as you become more comfortable with your podcast workflow!
Essential pre-launch tips for beginner podcasters
Like with any new endeavor, it’s important to master some basics from the beginning to build a solid foundation. Follow these tips to start your podcast off strong and attract listeners from the get-go!
Tip #1. Develop a strong idea.
Before you can even think about recording or releasing a podcast, you need to come up with an idea for what your podcast will focus on – the topic, the length of episodes, and how often you’ll release them.
Once you have a general idea in place, you should do some research to develop it further. Look for podcasts and articles that focus on your topic and take notes of the most interesting points.
Look into your interests and think about topics you could explore. Pay attention to podcasts that catch your attention and ask yourself what makes them stand out from the rest. Look for common threads in successful podcasts, such as a unique perspective or an interesting format. This will help you refine your idea until it stands out from the crowd.
Tip #2. Research your target audience.
Before releasing your podcast episodes, it’s important to know who you’re creating them for – what are their interests, needs, and pain points? Take the time to research your target audience to ensure you’re creating content that will be valuable and engaging.
Tip #3. Know how to record quality audio.
Investing in quality audio equipment can make the difference between a successful podcast and one that falls flat. Good mics, recording software, editing tools, and soundproofing are all essential for creating great-sounding podcasts.
A few tips to get you started:
- Invest in a good-quality microphone to capture clear and crisp audio.
- Make sure you’re recording in an acoustically treated space – record in a room with minimal background noise and echoes.
- Use sound editing software, like Audacity, to make your audio enjoyable to listen to (don’t stress over audio quality too much).
Bonus resource: The Best DSLR Microphones for Video Podcasting
Tip #4. Establish a schedule.
Decide on an episode frequency and stick to it. Consistency is key when it comes to building an audience, so make sure you can commit to your podcast schedule before starting.
Creating a podcast content schedule is simple yet crucial to ensure that you are able to consistently deliver quality content. Begin by identifying the main topics of your show and how often you plan on releasing episodes.
Then, break down each topic into manageable sections and determine how long it should take to create an episode for each section. Once your schedule has been set, make sure you stick to it. This will help ensure that your content is consistent and that you're delivering quality material on a regular basis.
Tip #5. Pick a good recording setup.
To create a quality podcast, you need adequate recording equipment – a good microphone, an audio interface, headphones, a pop filter, etc. Research what equipment suits your budget and needs.
- Microphone: Shure SM7B, Rode NT1-A, Samson Q2U, or Audio Technica ATR 2100
- Recording software: Audacity, Hindenburg, or GarageBand
- Soundproofing materials: Acoustic Foam, Vocal Booth, or Sound Blankets
- Audio Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, PreSonus AudioBox 96, or Presonus Studio 68C
- Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M50X, Sennheiser HD280 Pro, or Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm
- Audio Cables: XLR or USB cables
Tip #6. Pick a good recording space.
It’s important to make sure the environment you’re recording in is as quiet as possible and that any external noise is reduced. Wherever you choose to record, keep these things in mind:
- A quiet environment. This could be a home office, a spare room, or even a closet. Try to pick an environment when lots of carpet and furniture to absorb noise.
- Soundproofing materials. Such as acoustic foam and sound blankets to absorb ambient noise.
- Good acoustics. Make sure your recording space is free of echoes and reverb. Choosing a small space with minimal hard surfaces can help with this.
Tip #7. Publish multiple episodes before launching
Publishing multiple episodes before launching your podcast can be an effective way to build anticipation and create a sense of momentum. It also gives you the opportunity to test out different topics, formats, and production styles to see what resonates with your audience. Releasing several episodes at once also gives your listeners more content to enjoy right away.
Post-launch tips to help you optimize you grow your podcast
After you launch your podcast, it's important to market your content and optimize it, so it reaches its full potential. Here are some tips for marketing, monetizing, repurposing, and generally leveraging your podcast for all its worth!
Tip #8. Create a podcast website.
A podcast website acts as a home for your podcast where people can easily access your podcast episodes, engage with other listeners and hosts, and discover additional resources you offer. Having a podcast website is an essential part of getting your content noticed, drawing in listeners, and turning them into loyal subscribers.
Podpage makes it easy to host a full-featured podcast website, no matter what your technical skills are. With Podpage, you can create a beautiful, feature-packed website in minutes and configure everything from the audio players to RSS feeds with just a few clicks.
Try Podpage for free to get a feel for the features and see if it’s the right fit for you!
Tip #9. Leverage your network.
Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth promotion! Take the time to reach out to your existing contacts and let them know about your podcast, and ask them to share it with their networks too.
Tip #10. Optimize for search engines.
Utilizing SEO (search engine optimization) can help people find your podcast in search results. A lot of new podcast listeners consult Google for new podcast content, so it's important to make your show easy to find.
Here are a few ways you can optimize your podcast's SEO:
- Use keywords related to your topic and include them in your descriptions, titles, and tags.
- Use tags to categorize episodes, so they are easier for search engines to find.
- Utilize anchor text within transcripts or show notes to link back to past episodes.
Tip #11. Monetize your podcast wisely.
Podcasting is an intimate medium, and listeners can be put off by advertising or monetization that doesn’t feel authentic or valuable.
When you choose to monetize, make sure that it always adds value to your listeners. For instance, if you get a brand deal, make sure it’s a product or service that could benefit your target audience. If you offer premium subscriptions, make sure the bonus content you create is packed full of value.
Tip #12. Repurpose your content.
Don’t limit yourself to just creating a podcast! consider repurposing your content into other formats like blog posts, ebooks, and videos. These can then be shared across different channels to further extend your reach.
Tip #13. Learn how to promote your podcast.
Once you have a few podcast episodes ready to go, it’s time to think about how you can promote them. Create social media accounts on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and post regularly to help build an audience.
Ways to promote your podcast content:
- Create social media accounts and post regularly.
- Leverage your connections and reach out to them about your podcast.
- Utilize SEO to help people find your podcast in search engines.
- Make use of advertising platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and YouTube Ads.
- Collaborate with other podcasters.
Tip #14. Evaluate and refine your strategy as you learn.
After releasing a few episodes, it’s important to evaluate the performance of your podcast. Which topics resonated with your audience? What were they talking about in the comments? What worked and what didn’t? Use this feedback to refine and improve your content going forward.
Here are some ways you can fine-tune your strategy as you go along:
- Monitor the performance of your podcast episodes. Track what works and what doesn’t. Listen time metrics are an important data point to look at to determine the engagement and listening behaviors of your audience.
- Re-evaluate your content plan regularly. Your goals will probably shift, even if it's subtly, over the course of your sure. Reevaluate every now and then to ensure your content still aligns with your goals and make adjustments where needed.
Tip #15. Set goals for your podcast.
Setting goals for your podcast is key to its success. It gives you a clear roadmap and helps you stay focused while creating content. Goals also help keep you motivated and give you something to measure against as the podcast progresses. Here are a few tips:
- Set time-based goals. Break down your bigger goals into smaller, more achievable objectives, with deadlines for each. For example, you could set a goal to have 10 podcast episodes published in three months.
- Establish measurable goals. Think about what metrics and data you should track to measure your success. This will help you understand how far you’ve come and where you need to improve.
- Track progress and adjust accordingly. Once you’ve set goals, keep track of your progress by regularly checking in on your metrics and adjusting your strategy if needed. This will help ensure that you stay on the right path to success.
It can be easy and tempting to start a podcast without a solid plan or strategy behind it. But, to achieve your goals, it's essential to be intentional and at least somewhat structured in your approach.
Taking the time to think about the practicalities, goals, and how you plan to achieve your goals can pay you back in dividends later and ensure you're putting your time to good use now!