Podcasting 101: How to Create a Podcast in 10 Steps

Podcasting 101: How to Create a Podcast in 10 Steps

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You want to create a podcast, either you just had a brilliant idea or have been putting off starting your own show for some time, because you are just unsure on how to create a podcast from scratch. Luckily, it is not very difficult to start if you are given the right direction by creating a podcast. Sure, each step may take some work and a lot of thought. But, overall, the process is straight forward. In fact, you can create a podcast in just 10 steps.

Though the basic outline for creating a podcast is the same for everyone, each step requires you to apply your individuality, what’s unique to you. Let your knowledge and creativity shine through. And that will help make it easier for people to find you once you have launched your podcast.

But why should you even start a podcast? Since a podcast is an audio program that a listener downloads onto their smart device, it is a medium that is easily accessible and allows for listeners to multi-task. A person can listen to a podcast while at the gym, on a plane, commuting to work, or at the office. It’s a great platform for you to get your voice, your knowledge, and your opinions out into the world. And as you are speaking directly into someone’s ear, a podcast is much more personable than a blog. The best part, if you gain a large audience, you can even monetize your podcast and start to make a living off of it.

10 Steps to Creating a Podcast

1. Find your Niche

Before you begin anything with your podcast, you first need to determine what the niche of your podcast will be. And this is vital. Your niche defines what your podcast will be about. What will you be addressing? What problems will you be presenting solutions to? Or what information will you putting out in the world?

Finding your podcast niche isn’t easy especially as you want to stand out from the crowd. There are podcasts in every conceivable field out there. So, is it even possible to create something new? Yes, absolutely!

First, what is your passion? What is that topic that has you thinking about creating a podcast? Now that you have it, what are the sub-topics? For example, you want to create a podcast on business. That’s pretty broad. What exactly about business? Be specific. And then keep drilling down while still being specific.

Ultimately, you want to find that specific topic where you will become the go-to expert in that field. That’s your podcast niche. And while figuring out what it is, don’t be shy about looking at other podcasts. You want to find the best idea for what is out there, and then figure out if there are any gaps in that niche. 

2. Know your Topic

Whatever topic that you choose for your podcast, you need to be sure that it is one that you know well. It greatly helps if it’s a topic that you’re passionate about. This way, you will be able to stick to this topic for years to come.

Remember, you will be recording hundreds of hours of podcast episodes so you need plenty of podcast topics and that will come from really knowing your subject. If you want to become that go-to expert in your field, you need the knowledge to back that up.

Though you may need to do some research to stay up-to-date on your topic, you don’t want to spend hours a week doing homework for your podcast. Ideally, with your chosen podcast topic, you should be able to hit the record button and start talking.

So, don’t choose a topic just because you think there’s a need or demand for it. If it’s something that you are not passionate about, listeners will pick up on that. Who wants to listen to someone who doesn’t have the passion or the well-rounded knowledge of what they are talking about? Not a lot of people. So, stick with your passion and what you know.

3. Show Format

So, now that you know what your niche is, the next thing to consider when creating a podcast is to determine what the podcast show format will be. In what way can you best present your topic so your audience is not only engaged but gets a lot out of it?

Whichever podcast format you choose, you will need to stick with it for the long-term. Listeners like consistency. They like to know exactly how the podcast will flow. You should not be changing it up every time. So, really think about your topic and how you can best present it.

Some podcast show formats to choose from include:

Solo Podcast – Probably the easiest podcast to record is the solo podcast. And that’s because it is just you, the host, talking. Your audience gets to know you, your ideas, what you stand for, etc. If you have a lot to say, this podcast format it for you. The one downside is that it is just you. You have no one to help carry the load or converse with.

Interviews – Do you know a lot of people who are also knowledgeable in your topic? Do they have great ideas or have success in what you are talking about? Will your listeners benefit from that? If so, interviewing may be the best podcast format for you. Not only do you have someone to bounce ideas off of, but you can have ideas freely flow and have engaging dialog. The downside is that interview podcasts can be a lot of work to edit.

Multi-Host – Why not share hosting duties? Do you know someone who is also as passionate about a topic as you who you have regularly fun conversations with? If so, why not persuade them to co-host your podcast. This way, again, you are not carrying the full load yourself. And, if the conversation flows smoothly, people do enjoy listening to a good chat. But if you have multiple hosts, it can be tricky to record interviews if you go down that path.

Story Telling – It seems people can’t get enough of real-life drama. Whether it be current about a person or event, or something out of history, people enjoy this. So, you can in one podcast or a season, tell a story. Of course, it doesn’t have to be non-fiction. If you love to write fiction, a great way to get your work out in the world is to record it as a podcast.

4. Find the Right Equipment

When creating a podcast, the most crucial step is obtaining the right podcast equipment. The podcast equipment for beginners chosen is just as important as the equipment used by pros. Initially, you may think that purchasing the cheapest equipment out there will be fine as you are just starting out. Why put in a financial investment if you don’t know if the podcast will catch on?

Trust me, you do not want to make that mistake. True, you do not want to buy the most expensive equipment on the market, but you do need reliable podcast equipment. When creating a podcast for the first time, many new podcasters think that they can use the microphone built into their laptop. The result is a grainy recording full of background noise. Listeners will not put up with that. You want to present a professional sound from your very first podcast. If people like what they hear, they will want to come back.

Among the podcast equipment that you should have at your disposal include:

  • Laptop: for downloading and editing your mP3 files
  • Microphone: for recording the dialog
  • Headphones: to hear the sound quality during recording
  • Recorder: with one, you can record your podcast from anywhere

But this is just the bare minimum of what podcast equipment a beginner should have at the start of their journey. And once you have your equipment, make sure you take time to understand how it all works before you start recording your first podcast. Play around and make mistakes, and then learn how to fix them. You never know what may happen during a recording. And there is nothing worse than having to throw away an entire recorded audio.

5. Learn to Edit

No podcast is complete after finishing one recording session. Edits will have to be made. Even if it is just you speaking, you will need to edit in the music, your podcast intro, etc., into whichever episode you are working on. Thankfully podcast editing isn’t that involved if you have the right software. Two of the best free online podcast editor tools are Audacity and Garageband.

Audacity is a free software for both Windows and MAC that allows you to record your podcast, import and export recordings, and edit with even undo and redo functions. All you need to do is download the software and off you go.

Garageband is available only to MAC users, but it is also a free tool to use that allows you to precisely time your edits, and easily combine multiple recordings into one track. And, this software comes with a set of musical loops making it easy for you to add background music to your podcast.

6. What Host to Choose

Without a hosting platform, your podcast will not be heard. And with all the work you’ve done creating a podcast, you do not want it falling on deaf ears. Hosting platforms are necessary as podcast files are extremely large. And individual servers do not have the capacity to hold all that information. This is where hosting platforms come in. They are essentially where the final product of your podcast is stored.

Though you are just starting out creating a podcast, some things that you need to keep in mind when sourcing a hosting platform is the amount of hosting hours you will need a month (how long is your podcast and how many new episodes will you release each month?), what bandwidth will I need, and how easy is it to renew or upgrade services on the hosting platform.

Popular podcast hosting platforms include podcast hosts include BuzzSprout, Libsyn, Sound Cloud, and Pod Bean.

BuzzSprout offers a free plan as well as several paid monthly service tiers, though it’s free tier is good for only 90 days and you can upload up to 2 hours each month. But on the upside, BuzzSprout will host your podcast indefinitely. It also provides easy to read statistics for your podcast as well as easily let you schedule when to release new content.

PodBean offers one of the better free plans for beginner podcasters offering 5 hours of uploads and 100GB of bandwidth monthly.

Libsyn is one of the oldest established podcast hosting platforms available making them trusted with professional podcasters. Though not free, their monthly plans start at just $5 with different storage space to choose from.

SoundCloud has a free option and a Pro option. So, it’s a great platform to use when you are starting out and then transition to the Pro plan when it makes sense for your podcast.

7. Find the Right Intro/Outro Music

Very few podcasts are just talking. When creating a podcast, you need to think about what the tone of your podcast will be. Is it serious or more light-hearted? Music plays a big role in setting any scene as we’ve all experienced at the movies. So, having intro and outro podcast music helps create the tone. It welcomes your listeners and sets the stage for your podcast. It can also help differentiate you from other podcasts in your niche.

And that is why finding the perfect podcast intro music is quintessential for creating a podcast. But don’t think that music is needed only at the beginning and end of the podcast. If you’re podcast format features different segments, then your podcast music also creates a smooth transition between the two.

So, where do you find this music? First, forget about using any of your favorite songs from the radio or your favorite band. They are all under copyright protection, and using them can get you sued or worse. What you want is royalty-free music. This is music you don’t have to pay to use every time it airs. You only pay for the license of the music once, and then you can use it as much as you want.

Your best websites for finding royalty-free music include Foximusic, AudioJungle, Epidemic Sound, and Neo Sounds.

8. Create your Cover Art

Now that you have the audio portion of your podcast thought out, time to think about the cover art for your podcast. What is your logo going to look like? Is it a photo of you, a graphic, or a combination of the above? What colors will you use?

Without hearing your podcast, your cover art will help attract listeners as they browse podcasts on iTunes or Spotify. If you are stuck on what your cover art will be, take a look and browse other podcasts. Which ones catch your eye and why? Perhaps even listen to one of those podcasts. Does their cover art mirror the tone and topic of the podcast?

And this is what you want – an eye-catching logo and graphic that sums up what you and your podcast is all about. Remember, that your logo defines your podcast and will be used everywhere in association with you. So, you need it to capture your message and tone perfectly. Do not rush thinking about your logo.

Once you have your logo in mind, there are several ways to go about creating it. If you are up to it, you can create your podcast cover art in a free online app like Bannersnack. Or, you can hire a graphic designer to create something specifically for you through freelance websites like Fiverr. The artwork should be a minimum resolution of 1400 x 1400 and a maximum resolution of 3000 x 3000 in either JPG or PNG. And don’t forget that whatever graphic you decide upon, make sure that you can easily scale it to fit different sized banners for promotion purposes.

9. Submitting to iTunes

So now you have at least one recorded and fully edited podcast with awesome looking cover art, now what? Now it’s time to get the podcast out there and be heard! And the two best places where people go to in order to find podcasts are iTunes and Spotify.

It’s relatively easy to submit your podcast to iTunes. If you don’t already have one, first create an account with iTunes. Then with your one podcast episode (at the very least), go to iTunes Podcast Connect to start the process.

To add a new show, you will need to gather the RSS feed information for your podcast from your hosting service. Input the RSS feed address into iTunes, and the program will validate the it. If it passes, make sure you have inputted all your show information into iTunes (including title, description, and category) and press submit. Unfortunately, it can take up to two weeks for iTunes to fully approve your podcast. But once approved, your podcast is active!

Thankfully, to submit your podcast to Spotify is just like submitting to iTunes. But this time you go to Spotify for Podcasters. Once you have your account, follow the prompts to add your podcast, having your RSS feed address handy. And you should know within five days if you have been accepted.

10. Launching Your Podcast

You’ve created your podcast and now it’s out in the public realm on iTunes and Spotify. Great! But your work has just begun. Just because your podcast is now available online, it does not mean that people will automatically come. They need to know about your podcast. So, you need to get the word out.

And the best way to get people to your podcast is word of mouth. There’s no denying the power of social media these days. And, you’re probably on one or more platforms like Facebook and Twitter. So, use it to your advantage.

While you’re working on your first podcast, start building excitement for it. Send out little teasers for it like the name of the podcast, what it is about and what they can expect to get from it. And use your network of friends and family. They’re on social media, too. Ask them to help spread the word! But you need to be sure that your message is coordinated. You want all messages to accurately reflect you, your podcast and brand.

More importantly, be clear as to the exact date that your podcast will be available. Keep this date in mind as your goal and do not veer from it. If you can, work backward from that date and decide when you need to start putting out word. And how you get the buzz around your podcast growing is to change up what you put out there.

First, it can be just the news that you’re creating a new podcast and here’s what your listeners will get from it. Ask on social media for feedback on different graphic artwork options for your cover art. Release snippets from the podcast. Intensify your media blintz the closer you get to your launch date.

But while all this is going on, you should be working on more episodes of your podcast. Though you only need one episode to get onto iTunes or Spotify, you will want several episodes available to your listeners right away. You want them to hear more at first. Get them to like the podcast. The more they can hear, the more likely that they will.

So now you know how to create a podcast. Though the steps themselves seem simple, there is a lot of work involved in creating and launching a podcast. That is why your podcast should be something that you are passionate about. Let that passion drive the work, and you will see the results. And, at times, it may not even seem like work.

It is important not to rush into a podcast with the first idea you have. Every step involved with creating a podcast takes time and requires thought. And the more thought you put into each step, the easier the next task will be. It’s always easier to build when you have a solid framework to work with.

So, get busy on your podcast. The world is waiting to hear from you!




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