Podcasting is an extremely popular platform and a highly effective way to convey your message to a massive audience. Another great benefit of podcasting is that it’s much less competitive than blogging. To put this in perspective, there are millions of blog, but under 100,000 podcasts. Have you always wanted to start your own podcast, but haven’t taken the necessary steps to get it off the ground? Well, you’re in the right place because I’m going to walk you through how to launch a podcast in 2020.
Steps To Start Your Own Podcast
Follow this step-by-step strategy to start podcasting this year.
1. Commitment And Vision
Before beginning any endeavor, it’s always wise to ask yourself what your motive and vision are behind starting something new. Why do you want to start a podcast? What is the primary purpose? Outline the reasons and discuss each one with a trusted mentor or adviser to gain clarity and conviction.
Including this step in your strategy will help you moving forward. Are you looking to connect with like-minded people, do you want to establish yourself as an authority in your field, or perhaps podcasting is a great way to build your brand? Whatever your reasons, dial them down…
2. What Do You Want Your Podcast To Be About?
This may seem obvious, but then again, maybe it’s not. Are you definitive in what you want your podcast to be about? Are you debating between more than one subject? Your best bet is to pick a topic you’re passionate about – your enthusiasm will come across to your listeners. If you’re passionate about your subject, you’ll be able to gather a lot of conversation around it, while talking intelligently and with first-hand experience. Plus, your motivation won’t wax and wane if you enjoy talking about your subject.
Another thing to consider is whether the topic you’ve chosen is broad enough to be able to develop future podcasts around it. Subjects that are too narrow could prove to be difficult when trying to come up with fresh subject material, and you will want to stay on topic with your podcast. After all, your audience subscribed based on your subject matter and the goal is to retain loyal listeners. A great strategy is to ask your listeners for their input regarding topics they’d like covered in future podcasts.
3. Choosing A Name
Once you’ve decided on a topic, you’ll want to choose a descriptive name that reflects what your podcast is about. Pick a name that you love saying every time it rolls off your tongue. Catchy titles are the easiest to remember. Once you’ve narrowed down your choice, you’ll need to buy a domain name.
Another matter of course is to reserve the name you’ve chosen so you can use it as your social media handles. Also, ask yourself if the reason for starting a podcast (see step #1) lines up with the name and topic for your show. The experience you’re offering to your potential subscribers should be first and foremost in your mind.
4. Decide On Formatting For Your Episode
How long do you want your podcast to be? Do you want to offer your subscribers quick information in sound bites of 15-20 minutes? Or perhaps, you’d like a question and answer format, or an interview-style program, or a combination of the two. You can also opt for lengthy episodes lasting an hour or more. There are some podcasts out there that last for several hours. I personally like podcasts in the hour range.
The format you choose will depend on both the content you’re covering, your personality, and what works best in terms of your schedule. Do make sure that you choose a podcast length that will support your content. You don’t want to set the timer at 60 minutes with subject matter that only supports a 30-minute podcast, leaving you floundering on the air for material to fill the time.
Another factor to consider is if you’re going to be a solo host or have a co-host. There are pros and cons to both options. Flying solo is convenient in that you don’t have to go around anyone else’s schedule, but having a partner in crime can be less stressful because you’re not solely responsible for all the podcast material. Opt for a length, schedule, and format that best suits your lifestyle.
5. Branding Elements
What particular style and personality do you want your podcast to represent? Get creative and think outside the box when considering this question. Ultimately, your brand is the entire podcasting experience you offer your listeners. How do you provide a cohesive experience or voice for them? Branding related to your podcast should always align with the branding of your website, any products you sell, and how your brand is represented on social media.
Your individual brand should be immediately apparent and consistent across all platforms. Branding includes colors, fonts, cover art, logos, taglines, and even figures of speech, encompassing all aspects of your business. Your podcast artwork will be the most important and impressionable branding element because it’s the first aspect people will judge your podcast off of.
Assure that your artwork reflects the nature of your podcast, and that it’s supported across all devices. Intro and outro music are additional elements that will be key to branding your podcast. Be discriminate in your choices as your tribe will come to associate the music you’ve chosen with your brand. Intros and outros, especially intros, that are longer than 10-15 seconds are super annoying so keep it short. Oh, and don’t forget to include a call-to-action in each of your episodes.
6. What About Equipment?
The most important piece of equipment you’ll need to get started podcasting is high-quality recording equipment. Besides a microphone, you’ll also need a computer, which I’m sure you already have if you’re considering dipping your toes into podcasting. A surefire way to brand your podcast as unprofessional is poor audio.
After all, podcasts are audio programs so if the sound is subpar, you show will follow suit. I like the Blue Yeti mics. They’re affordable, are made of sturdy metal, and they produce quality sound. I use one for recording YouTube videos and have been pleased with the results.
Essentially, in terms of equipment, you can get started podcasting with a computer and a professional microphone. However, there are other accessories that are useful that you’ll want to consider purchasing down the road. USB mics, such as the Yeti work well if you’re a one man show. However, if you have a co-host or others on your show, you’ll want to opt for an interface that supports multiple XLR mics.
Headphones And Other Accessories
An audio interface, used with multiple mics, is a necessary piece of equipment for converting microphone signals into usable computer signals. XLR mics, like the Rode, provide good sound quality when more than one mic is being used. Pop filters improve sound quality and are useful for reducing exaggerate sounds – called plosives – made by the consonants T, G, S, and T. A pop filter, made of mesh, is placed in front of a microphone via a clamp that hooks to a boom or stand.
Investing in a microphone stand is another useful accessory. A stand will allow you to conveniently position your mic as you’re speaking into it, while freeing up space on your work surface in the process. Headphones are imperative for monitoring and troubleshooting any potential issues you may have with your audio. Wearing them makes it easier to tweak the volume and tone of your voice because they allow you to hear what your voice sounds like to others.
Spoiler alert – you will most definitely cringe the first time you hear your voice with headphones on. Persevere, you’ll get used to it. Buy the type of headphones that go over your head and cover your ears, rather than earbuds that go in your ears. Headphones will also shorten the editing process because you can adjust for your mistakes while you’re recording.
7. Choose Recording Software
Okay then, it’s time to get to the nitty gritty and start recording. An easy and accessible recording software for Mac users is GarageBand. Audacity is a recording software that works on both PC and Mac. Adobe Audition, SquadCast, Ringr, Zoom, Zencastr, and Skype are other recording options.
If you’re using a USB mic, like the Blue Yeti, plug it into your computer. You should see the option to select the mic you’re using in the drop down menu of your software. Most recording software is fairly intuitive to use, but each one has its own learning curve.
Don’t speak too fast and enunciate your words clearly when speaking. Your mouth should be about six inches away from the mic. Take a deep breath, press record and start talking.
Plan on making mistakes, because you will, which is perfectly fine as you’ll be able to edit them out later. When you’re finished recording, press the stop button.
Now it’s time to start editing. I shot wedding videos for years, and let me tell you, editing audio is a lot simpler and quicker than editing video. I use iMovie on my Mac to edit both. Start by importing your audio clips into your chosen software. It’s then just a matter of listening to the audio and selecting the portions you want to edit out. Don’t forget to include your intro and outro clips. If you’re never edited audio before, just plan on it taking awhile to figure out the program. When your audio is edited, export it as an MP3.
8. Submitting Your Podcast To iTunes
Just like websites need a hosting platform to get them online, podcasts require hosting platforms to upload and broadcast them. There are a number of hosting platforms to choose from, among which are Libsyn, Buzzsprout, PodBean, and Blubrry, SoundCloud, and of course Apple Podcasts or iTunes, the number one podcast streaming service worldwide. Having your podcast on iTunes, will not only allow people to find it there, but will also make it easier to be found in third party apps that use iTunes API in their catalog.
Once your audio is recorded and edited, the next step is to validate your RSS feed on iTunes Connect, Apple’s uploading service. An RSS feed, also called a podcast feed, is a consolidated source of information for syndicating content online. Apple recommends using Podbase, their podcast validator. Copy and paste your RSS feed into the box on the Podbase website to validate your feed.
You’ll either be alerted to any issues regarding your feed or receive a series of green checkmarks, meaning your RSS feed is in the clear. Fix any problematic issues if there are any, then resubmit your feed until you’re good to go. You’ll also need to check that your feed includes all the necessary fields that iTunes requires. Aside from needing an Apple ID and password, your podcast will need to have a title, description, and artwork in specific dimensions.
Titles and descriptions should be keyword-rich. Choose a category that best describes your podcast, along with the preferred language, metadata, and tags, before submitting your show. You’ll be notified via email that your podcast is under review, and another email once it’s approved. You can stay apprised of your status in iTunes Connect. Once approved, your podcast will be available for viewing in iTunes.
9. Decide On A Publishing Schedule And Stick To It
Planning and managing your podcast is the next step in your podcasting journey. How often will you be publishing – daily, weekly, twice a month? How about the day of the week and the time of day? Once you’ve determined how often you’ll be publishing new episodes, you’ll want to be consistent and stick with the plan you’ve formulated. The closer you adhere to your plan, the more convenient it will be for your listeners to plan their schedules around your publishing times.
I would suggest airing a new show at least weekly. This demonstrates to your listeners that you’re dedicated to your podcast and they’ll come to anticipate each new episode. The logistics will be more complicated if you have a co-host or multiple presenters, as you’ll need to coordinate your schedule around theirs.
Furthermore, planning episode content is also vital. Map out and schedule the topics you’ll be covering for at least a month in advance so you’re not scrambling for content last minute or talking mindlessly about nothing to fill the time. Create an outline of the topics you want to cover for an entire year. Then further break down those topics into weekly and monthly categories. Organization and structure are great methods for preventing brain damage and keeping you on task.
10. Marketing Your Podcast
Now that you’ve gone to all the hard work of publishing your podcast, you’ll want to get the word out. There a variety of ways to market your show. Add your podcast to podcast directories, there are many out there to choose from, and it’s free to add your RSS feed. Or consider being a guest interviewer on a fellow podcaster’s show. A really great idea is to create a YouTube channel for your podcast. This is a tremendous way to get exposure for your show.
Place the pre-recorded audio into iMovie, or any screencasting software, then add images to make your audio recording a visual presentation. Be sure and place a link to your podcast in the video description so your tribe can easily subscribe to it. And, of course, you’ll want to leverage social media to share the exciting news about your podcast. Also, don’t forget to share it on your website, as well.
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[Read More: Is Wealthy Affiliate The Real Deal?]
Podcasting is a brilliant way to build your brand, position yourself as an expert in your field, create connections, and deliver your message to a broad audience. Start by asking yourself why you want to start a podcast in the first place. Then decide on a topic and name for your show, while choosing a format that supports your content, personality, and schedule.
Pay attention to branding elements so they’re cohesive across all aspects of your business. Buy a high-quality microphone, and software to record and edit your episodes. One you’re done recording, submit your podcast to iTunes. Then it’s just a matter of rinsing and repeating, and marketing your podcast.
Have you thought about starting a podcast? Let me know in the comments:)