“Create a podcast,” they said. “It’s fun,” they said. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but, while fun, creating a podcast is by no means easy.
Don’t get me wrong, podcasting is an absolute blast once you work out the technicalities and sink your teeth into consistent habits – but the struggle getting there is real. People seriously underestimate the dedication, determination, and planning needed to start – and maintain – a podcast.
“You’re just joking around with your friends. How hard can it be?” HA. Did I scare you off yet? No? Great! Let’s jump into some tips for starting a podcast to start your 2020 with motivation and a detailed plan.
I recommend committing to one of these tips for starting a podcast each month. (Trust me, you’ll definitely want the full month to work through each of these.)
If you can do that, you’ll have your first real episode published and a solid foundation for success within the first half of the year!
1. Research, Research, and Then Research Some More!
- Educate or teach?
- Guide or support?
A third of Americans listen to podcasts each month and that figure constantly grows. As a result, you have plenty of room to carve out your own space.
Once you have an idea, I recommend listening to similar podcasts – as many as you can find. The more the better. Then, ask yourself how you can consistently set yourself apart with a unique angle or perspective.
2. Get All the Necessary Equipment and Set Up Your Studio
I won’t dig too deep into recommendations here because we recently published a holiday gift guide. I WILL say that you shouldn’t invest your life’s savings into a studio. To get started, you’ll need:
- A mixer
- Podcast hosting (Where your podcast will live on the internet like Podcave, Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud, etc.)
Honestly, having a dedicated recording space is way more important than spending a fortune on the best equipment. A quiet space without echo or background noise from washing machines, stomping neighbors, chewing, or barking dogs is gold.
3. Learn How to Start a Podcast Business
If you hope to eventually monetize, I suggest thinking about that goal as you’re creating a podcast so you can lay the groundwork. To simplify, consider the “3 P’s”.
- Patreon: It’s great for collecting monthly supporters and sharing premium content.
- Programmatic: Generate revenue without needing to interact with either an agency or individual advertisers. Podcave offers this option to customers free-of-charge.
- Pound the Pavement: Have an agency represent you or go old-school and sell the show yourself.
Even if you aren’t ready for that just yet, have it in the back of your mind as the show settles into a groove. It’ll literally and figuratively pay off for you down the line.
Once you build a following, advertisements are always a possibility but keep in mind that if your content is NSFW or controversial, it might scare brands away. I’m not saying you should self-censor. I’m saying that there will be some people that won’t advertise with you because of NSFW content. It’s your call.
Next, consider securing the legal naming rights because it’s absolutely worth the $200 to $400. Podcasting is a new industry, so it’s still the “Wild West”. Make no mistake about it, the lawyers will eventually get involved. Make sure you are ready for them.
I also see too many newbies neglect other business formalities like music licensing and website building – but Podcave can help. Along with unlimited audio storage and hosting, these and other show-planning and audience growth tools are available at no extra charge to Podcave customers.
4. Loosely Plan Your Format, Episode Topics, and Guest Schedule
I’ll warn you upfront: Things WILL go wrong and run off schedule. Still, nailing down a format and loosely planning your episodes are critical to creating a podcast and keeping things in the balance.
- Format: Like intro/outro and length (the most popular podcasts run between 30 and 120 minutes)
- Schedule: How often will you publish a new episode? Weekly? Monthly? Your fans expect consistency.
- Topics: What will you talk about in each episode? Will episodes be more fluid, covering trending topics?
- Guests: Which key figures, industry leaders, fellow podcasters should you invite?
5. Start Creating Demand with Some Marketing Material
It’s a smart idea to start the promoting as you’re creating a podcast so you can get people excited before you even publish an episode! For example, start with:
- Website: A website is necessary to build credibility, branding, and authority. Furthermore, websites that let you optimize your search engine ranking and build a broader audience drive discovery and pull in new ears.
- Social media: Facebook is essential, as is YouTube. Consider where your target audience hangs out online (Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). For instance, I like Twitter because you can easily jump into hot conversations as the page persona.
6. Learn How to Record a Podcast by Dry Firing
I recommend test running your podcast first with a dress rehearsal: set everything up to record, run through your intro, spit your game, kiss them goodbye with the outro.
Now, listen to the whole thing (yes, listening to your own voice is cringey for a while) and complete your edits, add music, and share the recording with some close friends or other podcasters. You’ll definitely have a few “ah-ha” moments where you realize you had something set up wrong, annoying background noise, or just could have done things better.
Creating a Podcast Takes Time and Planning
Sure, you could roll through most of these tips for starting a podcast (and skip a few) over a few weekends, but you’ll be selling yourself short.
We want to help you lay the foundation for podcast success. Once again, creating a podcast is fun, but planning is essential for creating awesome content and keeping fans happy.