How To Start a Podcast – A Step by Step Guide for Starting A Podcast in 2020
Podcasts are growing in popularity as a way to reach audiences and promote brands while entertaining listeners. It is a fantastic way to do content marketing in a more creative way. To do this, it is necessary to know how to start a podcast and make the most of the medium.
Over the past five years, the number of Americans who listen to podcasts weekly has increased by more than 170%. About 90 million of them are listening to podcasts regularly.
Brands and marketers should see podcasts as a way to expand business through content marketing. Although podcasts sound very technical, you don’t need to be a sound engineer to create interesting and engaging podcasts.
In this guide, we will discuss what’s podcasting, show you how to create a podcast and talk about everything that goes on behind the scenes.
How to Start a Podcast on YouTube
While podcasts are predominantly made only to listen, creating a podcast that can be shared on YouTube is actually a smart marketing move. To get people to listen to a podcast, they need to know about it.
Podcast sites do not get as much traffic as YouTube does, so sharing your podcast on YouTube will allow you to reach a much wider audience. In fact, YouTube is accountable for more than 45% of all music streaming globally – it’s ideal for podcasts.
However, it’s not possible to upload an MP3 to YouTube, only videos, so you will have to convert your audio files to MP4s.
You will also need a video element to upload your podcast. This can be something as simple as an image with your podcast playing in the background.
How to Upload Your Podcast on YouTube
First, you’ll have to convert the audio file into video – this is to save time in the long run. You’ll have to choose a background image. This is what people will see while they listen to your podcast.
YouTube prefers that images be 2560x2240px. This keeps them looking good on all devices.
Add your logo, your name and website URL to the image so viewers know who they’re listening to and where to find more content.
Once you’re done with the image, convert your audio file and add it to the image. This can be done with Headliner, a tool that lets users upload 60-minute audio files and add a few images that will show while the audio is played. Extra sound effects and subtitles can also be added.
When satisfied with the final product, it can be uploaded to YouTube.
How to Start a Podcast For YouTube with Video Footage
If you want to go a step further and make your podcast have a video that isn’t a static image, you can record your podcast session with a webcam.
When you’re using your webcam, you’re saving money by not purchasing any equipment. You can also test to see if people would want to watch your content. Simply plug in your mic to your computer, use the webcam and record your podcast.
Taking it Even Further
You can also use other cameras if you feel like creating a podcast that will show off your studio and any other guests who will join you.
Joe Rogan, the American comedian and podcast host, is known for creating his podcasts by recording the studio sessions.
For this kind of podcast, you need to invest in some equipment such as a high-quality camera(s) and decent microphones. Your recording room doesn’t have to look amazing though. As long as you have a neat and good-looking background you should be just fine.
As long as the area in the camera’s view is presentable, you won’t have to stress too much about the environment.
Podcast episodes like this are usually recorded in one shot, so be sure to do your best during the first try.
How to Start a Podcast on Spotify
The popular streaming site Spotify has made is very easy for people to find and listen to their favourite podcasts. Adding yours to their library is a good idea – the site has more than 250 million users, after all.
By adding your podcast to Spotify, you’ll be able to increase its discoverability. This, in turn, will drive traffic.
On top of being super popular, Spotify is also a great way to get advertisers involved in your podcast.
To get started, you should find a place to host your podcast. For that, a site such as Podcast.co is a great place to check out.
Once you have created your podcast episodes, you can create a profile/account and upload it to the site. The site can also help add your podcasts to Spotify for you, as well as other similar sites such as Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Apple Podcasts.
If you want to add your podcast to Spotify on your own, it’s not as difficult as you might think.
You must have at least one live episode that has been published and available for listeners to enjoy. If you’re not exactly ready just yet, you can make a short trailer to promote your upcoming content.
Your podcast name must be to the point and easy to understand. When scrolling through podcasts, your potential listeners have to see yours and realise it’s exactly what they’ve been looking for.
The description of your podcast is vital to its success and popularity. It needs to clearly tell everyone what your content is all about. Imagine it as a way to tell anyone who has ever listened to your podcast what it’s going to teach them or what they’ll hear.
Make sure to outline the things that make your podcast unique and special.
You need interesting and high-quality artwork for your podcast before you submit it to Spotify.
It needs to stand out and easy to view even when on mobile devices. The standard size for artwork is 3000x3000px for the best results. The image should be .jpg or png. format.
The podcast needs to be assigned at least one category and they have to be related to your content.
Language selection is pretty easy to determine – it’s the language that is primarily spoken in your podcast.
Keep the file size of your podcast episodes small so it’s not a hassle to load and listen. Anything under 200MB is small enough. Generally, you’ll find that an 83-minute episode is about 200MB.
When you have all this sorted out, you are ready to submit your podcast to Spotify.
How to Start a Podcast on iTunes
Entrepreneurs that wish to broaden their audience upload their podcasts to iTunes. With iTunes, users can share their favourite podcasts with their media players, making it easy and convenient to listen whenever they want to.
For podcast creators, the software allows for automatic downloads so listeners can access their podcasts at any time and anywhere.
To get started on sharing a podcast on iTunes, you’ll need to publish it on a reliable and trusted site first.
If your podcast is shared on WordPress or Blogger, there are several podcatcher apps that will give access to the podcasts through RSS feeds.
A website dedicated to your podcasts is preferable though. Then, you’ll need to have a cover page that is made with high-quality images.
When that is taken care of, you can use FeedBurner to create convenient iTunes feeds that are compatible with your podcast’s features.
Once that is done, you can proceed to share your podcasts on the Apple website.
First, create an iTunes Connect account. Then, click on the plus sign that you will find on the top left of your screen. You will then enter the RSS feed URL of your podcast.
If you’re sharing your podcast on WordPress, you simply add ‘/feed’ to the end of your page URL.
Next, click on the ‘Validate’ button and you will be given a preview of the feed. If you’re satisfied, click on ‘Submit’ and you’re done.
Whenever you publish a new podcast, iTunes will automatically pick up on the new content.
Once you have completed these simple steps, you have to wait for your podcast to be approved. This could take anything between three and 10 days.
Upon approval, you will receive your subscribe URL that you can share with your audience.
How To Start A Podcast On An iPhone
Although most people believe that a fancy studio is necessary to create a podcast, you can actually start yours on your iPhone!
There are several iPhone apps that will help you start a podcast and publish it as well.
This is a great tool if you’re ever away from your recording area and need to make a new episode.
For professional results, we suggest that you not make it a habit of making podcasts on your iPhone. Still, if the need ever arises, it’s totally possible.
First off, you’ll want to use an external microphone to make sure your podcast’s sound quality doesn’t suffer.
If you’re looking for a good hosting service from your iPhone, Podbean is a solid choice. To make use of it, create an account and download the app.
Record your podcast and edit it as you desire. To record, click on the account button – which looks like a little person – which you will find in the top right of your screen.
Podbean offers a library of music tracks that can be added to your podcast as background music or for your intro. It also has a fade-in and fade-out option for the music to enhance the quality of your podcast.
However, you can add your own music from your iPhone. Remember that you can’t use copyrighted music.
Editing is easy with this app because you can add an image, podcast description and title.
Then, publish your podcast with the help of Podbean.
It really is that simple and easy.
How to Start a Podcast Business
If you want to know how to start podcasting as more than just a hobby, stick around. We will show you how podcasting can be a lucrative business.
Let’s look at how you can go about making a business out of podcasting.
Determine Objectives and Goals
To be successful, you need to know right from the outset why you’re starting a podcast and what it is you want to achieve.
The goals that podcasting can help you achieve include, but are not limited to, enhancing personal branding, demonstrating thought leadership, building influence, attracting new customers, building brand awareness and growing brand authority.
Make a list of what you’re hoping to do and keep track of it. This way, you can ensure that all the effort you’re putting in is paying off.
Stick to Your Concept
While it is easy to ramble on about random things that interest you, that won’t help make your podcasts popular. You have to choose a concept or theme and stick to it.
Have a content structure that you follow when you record a podcast episode. Having a specific structure will also give your audience a sense of knowing what to expect.
Your concept should be clear on who your audience is, easy to understand, interesting and entertaining.
Take your time with this step. It is better to get it right after brainstorming for a month or two than changing things once you already got started.
Choose a Name
The name of your podcast is very important and you need a great one that will stand out and lure in listeners.
Something generic such as ‘The Marketing Podcast’ will not cut it. Your name is your brand so it has to be relevant but unique. It can take a while to get the perfect name so don’t rush yourself.
Plan Your Content Ahead
The last thing you want is to run around frantically to pull together content for your podcast when the deadline is in a few days or hours.
Planning ahead will not only save you from a lot of stress but will also help keep your content sharp. If you plan your podcast you won’t throw in something that isn’t high quality just to get finished.
It is a really good idea to have your podcasts recorded in advance so you have content should something go wrong.
Invest in Podcasting Equipment
To create a great podcast, you don’t need to have the latest recording equipment or most expensive gear. But you will need proper equipment so your podcast’s quality doesn’t suffer.
At the very least, use a good microphone and not the one that comes with your laptop or PC.
You can expect to spend between $600 and $2 000 on podcasting equipment.
You can learn to podcast just like you learn to draw or play an instrument. Everyone can be a good podcaster if they put in the effort to practice and become more confident and comfortable.
You can practice interviewing or speaking in an entertaining way until you feel you have what it takes. Listen to other podcasters and learn from them. Don’t copy them, just examine what they do.
Constantly ask for feedback from your listeners – they’re the ones you want to keep happy, right?
If you’re planning on having guests on your podcasts – which is highly recommended – you should take care to book them way ahead.
Make a list of all the industry leaders in your niche and any influencers that could add ‘spice’ to your podcast. Reach out and ask them to record an episode with you.
Do Your Research
If you want to show that you know what you’re talking about, do your research. Keep in the loop with what’s going on in your industry.
If you’re having a guest speaker, do research about what they do, who they are and what interests them. Your conversations and questions will be more interesting if you do this kind of research.
You can’t skip the editing when creating a podcast. There will be background noise, sections that don’t fit well and even ‘ums and ahs’ that will affect the quality of your podcast.
If you don’t think you have enough tech-savvy to do this, feel free to outsource this part of the process. There are many audio editors that can help you.
Choose Your Podcast Host Service
Once you’ve got all the preparation done and recorded your first episode(s), it is time to submit your podcast to a host.
Record Your Trailer
Your podcast needs to have a trailer to let people get a sneak peek at what they can expect from you. It should be between half a minute and two minutes long and show off the best bits of the episode.
Your podcast needs to have a jingle! Every good podcast has a jingle that helps listeners identify it immediately. You can purchase royalty-free music and work out a jingle. If you need help, hire an audio technician to help you out.
Like any other brand, your podcast needs a logo. If you’re making the podcast for an already established brand, the current logo can be used and edited a little bit for the podcast. Good design will attract more listeners.
Description and Notes
If you want your podcast to show up when people search for the content you offer, you need to have a clear podcast description and show notes.
A detailed and keyword-rich description will help you rank higher in the Google search results.
Publish Your Podcast
This is the step when you approach sites like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify. As we’ve already discussed, getting your content shared by these sites isn’t as complicated as it may seem at first.
How to Start a Podcast and Make Money
It can be fun to make podcasts simply because you’re passionate about something, but why not make money while at it?
If you want to start earning money from your podcast, there are few ways to go about doing so. Let’s look at these ways.
This is a popular way to earn extra money. Affiliate Marketing lets you earn a commission when you refer folks to companies and brands. You get money when someone goes on to make a purchase.
For the best results and experience, it is a good idea to refer products and services that are linked to your niche or that you are familiar with.
Make sure the product or service is as good as you want to make it sound. No one will be impressed if you referred them to something that doesn’t work as promised or isn’t as great as you said.
Create an ‘ad spot’ in your podcast that you can use to promote brands or services. You can also make use of affiliate programs through Amazon or the ShareASale network.
Plugins such as Lasso are a great idea as well – it will let you create short links that you can use for your affiliate marketing.
Advertising and Sponsors
Another great way to make money from podcasting is to get involved with sponsors and advertising.
Offering courses to your listeners is also a good way to earn money from the knowledge you have to share. Online courses are very popular and are an easy way to learn new skills.
You can promote your courses by making use of a webinar platform and show what people can learn from you.
Another option is to offer services that are associated with the content you share in your podcast. For example, if your podcast is on home renovation, you can offer tips and advice to your listeners. You can evaluate their ideas and plans and help them make it a reality.
Consider consulting and coaching as one of your services if you have something good to offer. Industries that are great for this are teaching, fitness and diets.
Premium and Exclusive Content
If you have enough listeners, you can entice them to pay a fee for some premium and exclusive content. This can be anything from an ad-free experience to behind-the-scenes and additional content. You can have fun with this and give your audience entertaining extras.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for donations from your listeners if you’re providing them with a quality podcast. Patreon is a nice route to take that lets your fans give you kudos for your hard work.
How Do People Listen To Podcasts?
In general, there are two ways that a podcast can be played. The first way is pretty simple and is done through streaming or downloading the podcast. This can be done from the RSS feed with a reader like Feedly. The website or blog of the podcast will also have the option to download it.
The second way to listen to a podcast is to use a player such as Pocket Casts or Apple Podcasts. Users can subscribe to the podcast of their choice and play episodes on a smartphone or tablet.
As a marketer, you must always ask yourself why you’re using the tools you’ve got lined up. It isn’t wise to use something just because it’s popular. Fortunately, podcasts come with many benefits.
Firstly, podcasts are easy to use, meaning people can easily access your content and enjoy the hard work you put into them.
Compatibility is also a great perk – podcasts can be listened to on just about any device. They’re mobile, so can be consumed on the way to and from work, at the gym, home and anywhere else.
Unlike radio, podcasts can be listened to whenever suits a listener and this is one of the reasons they’re so popular.
There is a sense of intimacy that is created with podcast content that no other form of content can reproduce.
Listening to your voice (or the voice actor used for your content) for half an hour or more creates a sense of togetherness.
This way, relationships are more personal for your listeners. Knowing how to start a podcast will help your brand create this intimacy with your audience.
A great perk of this kind of content is that listeners are more likely to pay attention to ads because of the intimacy.
Last but certainly not least, podcasts save a lot of money. They are free to make and free to listen and you can actually earn money from them, as we’ve learnt in this guide.
How To Set Up Your Podcast Recording Environment
We’ve discussed that you don’t need a fancy studio to record your podcast, but if you want to feel accomplished and focused, having an environment dedicated to your podcast will go a long way.
This can be any room in your home that can offer you some privacy and let you do your podcast recording in peace.
Have as little distraction as possible so you can focus solely on your podcast. If you want, you can buy a foam windscreen. They’re affordable and will make your recording process a little more professional.
Switch off your phone and other devices so you won’t be bothered by texts, emails or calls (unless you need to be available for emergencies).
Close the doors and windows and turn off your AC. This will prevent any unnecessary noise from being recorded.
Make sure your camera battery is full and that you have a stable internet connection. Your microphone must be connected and working.
If you’re working on your laptop, close any apps that could be running in the background.
Take a deep breath and remember to have fun while you record your podcast.
The Best Recording Software For Podcasts
Depending on where you’re recording, you’ll likely need to use some software for your recording. We’ve mentioned Audacity before and it is a widely-used and respected software tool for podcasters that works great on Windows, Linux and Mac.
If you want to buy software, Adobe Audition is a popular choice. It has many great features to enhance the quality of your podcast. But if you want to use this software, you should expect advanced settings and abilities.
Pro Tools and Hindenburg are good choices as well. Check out all the options on offer and test them out if you can. Then you can settle on the software that suits your style and needs the most.
What is the Most Successful Podcast?
The most popular and successful podcast is widely considered to be The Joe Rogan Experience. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and might not agree on this. Most podcasters look up to Joe and his exceptional conversational skills. He is able to keep listeners entertained and is continuously hosting a wide variety of guests.
How Do I Start a Budget Podcast?
To start a podcast that won’t cost a fortune, you can follow the basic outline of the ideas we shared here on starting a podcast business.
A few changes are called for, mostly only with the kind of gear you’ll use and the space you’ll record in. If you’ve got a really tight budget, you can get started with just a USB mic that records well.
The software we mentioned, such as Podbean, is great for a budget podcaster and if you can keep sounds out while recording, you’ll do just fine.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure things at least feel professional when inviting guests to enrich your podcast episodes.
Make sure that you know the niche of your podcast so you can start creating content and find affiliate marketing programs to help keep you going financially.
How Much Do Podcasters Make?
The amount of money that a podcaster makes greatly depends on how much work he or she is willing to put in.
There are many factors to weigh in when looking at the average income of a podcaster but hard work and consistency are the most important influences.
The cost of creating the podcast is also an important factor to remember. The cost per thousand downloads, as well as the number of actual downloads, have an effect on how much the podcaster will take to the bank.
Other factors that should be kept in mind are whether the podcaster offers additional services, uses ads to earn extra money and whether their podcast is available on multiple platforms.
On average, the cost per download is anything between $18 to $25. That means if an episode is able to get 10 000 downloads, they could be earning between $180 to $250 a month for that episode.
Obviously, the more downloads a podcast has, the higher the income. If more episodes a month are released, this also boosts the possible income.
For example, if four episodes a month are downloaded as per the above example, the podcaster could earn between $720 and $1 000 a month.
Podcasts that focus on popular niches will get more downloads and help the podcaster earn more money.
Another thing to remember is that sponsorship ad lengths affect how much is earned. A podcast with a one-minute ad will earn more money than one with a 30-second ad. For the best results, podcasters try to have more than one sponsorship.
This increases their income and helps that listeners don’t get bored by hearing one same ad all the time.
If a podcaster is more popular and reaches over 100 000 downloads per episode, their cost per 1 000 downloads will be higher. When a podcast is successful, it is possible to earn up to $10 000 and more per month.
Can You Start a Podcast For Free?
We’ve shown you the way to start a podcast business without needing to fork out thousands.
It is very possible to start a podcast without any money if you have a laptop, PC or quality phone. The software that will help you create your podcast can be used for free and it doesn’t cost anything to get your content out there in front of your audience.
But it is recommended that you go professional as soon as possible.
While a podcast made without money won’t be necessarily ‘bad’, investing in good equipment will only make your podcast better. And a better podcast will get more listeners and more sponsorships.
What Equipment Do You Need to Start a Podcast?
There are several things you must have to ensure that your podcast is as great as it is meant to be. Here’s a look at the most important things you’ll need:
Podcasts are all about audio, so this is the one thing you want to give extra attention to. Your listeners will likely give you some slack if there are little problems or issues with your podcast but the audio isn’t one of them.
People listen to podcasts for the audio experience and if the quality of your podcast’s audio is bad, you’ll lose your audience really fast.
For the most part, it is not recommended that you use the microphone that comes with your laptop or PC.
There are computers with good microphones but they’re rare. The price of a good microphone doesn’t have to make you bankrupt. Just shop around and find the best one for you and your budget.
Although it’s not necessary to have the very best headphones available, you do want to have at least proper headphones. You need to clearly hear what you’re saying so you know if you sound strange or funny.
If you’re doing interviews via Skype or Zoom, you’ll need to hear your guests clearly as well.
In-ear headphones aren’t popular with podcasters and you’ll notices that podcasters prefer on-ear headphones. These are usually much more comfortable, especially if you’re going to wear them for long periods.
If you can, don’t go for a headphone and microphone combination. In most cases, the sound quality of combos is not up to scratch.
Microphones tend to amplify the sound of a speaker’s p’s and b’s so you’ll need a pop filter. This will help you sound like you normally do without this amplification that happens when talking into a microphone.
Although you can try to avoid this problem by speaking into the side of the microphone instead of directly onto it, a pop filter is more convenient. They’re generally very affordable and will make your podcasting much easier.
This is the kind of equipment you don’t need when starting out but a boom will elevate the professionalism of your podcast as soon as you can invest in one.
Booms are made to improve sound quality and help you worry less about the mic drifting away while you’re speaking into it.
Skype or Zoom
If you want to interview people or get guest speakers on your podcast, you’ll have to use something like Skype or Zoom at one point.
Fortunately, these two are cheap and offer good sound quality. Setting up an account is easy and quick so there’s really no excuse for not having one these days.
There is no way that you could share the podcast you recorded as it is. Although you may feel it’s good enough, there may be background sounds that need to be cut out.
Adding the ads of your sponsors and your unique jingles can be done with the software we’ve mentioned earlier in this guide. Most of them are free and offer all the editing you’ll need to create a good and polished podcast.
You may not think you need this but it is a good idea to also get design software. This will help you create a really good-looking image to go with your podcast. On streaming services such as iTunes, it will help your podcast stand out.
The image that people see when browsing podcasts can attract or drive them away so it is really important.
It is important for a podcaster to have ID3 tags for their podcast episodes. This is a metadata container that will store information such as the artist, title, track number, album and more.
While most recording software will allow you to tag your podcast with this data, you should get an ID3 editor. It will also help album art show up when people have downloaded your podcast.
It is totally possible for you to host your podcast on your website if you have the bandwidth to handle it. If not, you can approach a media host such as the ones we’ve discussed.
You could even turn to Soundcloud if you don’t like the options we have listed for you Captivate, Transistor and Buzzsprout).
Finding the Right Podcast Music
There are many podcasts out there that have many fans but don’t have any music in them. It isn’t a necessity for success in the podcast world. With that said, many podcasters do add music to brighten up or add some colour to their podcasts.
It will also help you stand out a little bit more. Adding a theme song/tune to your podcast gives it an extra dash of personality and professionalism.
Finding music for your podcast is not as easy as deciding which songs you like best though. In fact, it can be a little tricky and even get you into legal trouble.
Using copyrighted music is out of the question unless you can buy the right to do so.
If you’re lucky enough to be friends with a band, you may be able to get their permission for much less than it would cost to get to add a few seconds from that Bruce Springsteen song you like so much.
Let’s look at some of your other options:
This kind of music can be easier to afford. You can buy the licence for the music and use it as you desire. Most of this music gives you a lifetime license. You don’t have to pay for every time that you use it.
However, the terms and conditions vary from one music licence provider to the next. You have to make sure you understand before moving forward.
AudioJungle is a good option for royalty-free music ideal for podcasters.
Creative Commons Music
With this music, you will find different types of licenses. On average, you should be able to use the music free of charge and without asking for permission. You just have to credit the creator.
However, some licenses let you use music for commercial use and others don’t. Make sure you know where you stand before you use the music in your podcast. SoundCloud has a massive library with creative commons music.
Music becomes public domain after a certain amount of years following the death of the artist or copyright owner. The exact number of years vary from one country to the next but in general, it is around 70 years.
Note that for public domain music, there is a difference between the recording/performance of the song and the song itself. If an artist performed or recorded a very old public domain song, they would now be the copyright owner of their version.
You won’t be able to use it without permission.
The Most Popular Podcast Directories
When you’ve created your first podcast episode, you’re going to want to get it listed in the most popular podcast directories. That way, you’ll get your content in front of your audience and start growing your fanbase.
There are many options to choose from and it is up to you as the creator to decide which directories are best for your podcast.
It is highly recommended that you have your podcast available on many directories so you can reach as many people as possible. If you want many listeners, you have to make sure they can find you anywhere.
It is vital to the success of your podcast that you at least have it on one of the directories that people visit the most.
Here are the top podcast directories you should consider for your podcast:
This is the most well-known podcast directory in 2020. Many iPhone users find new content through it. On top of that, users can leave reviews of podcasts which boost their popularity.
Your podcast will also show up in other directories and apps such as Overcast, Castro, Podcruncher, iCatcher and AntennaPod.
Many podcast listeners use Google Podcasts to find their favourite shows so being listed on this directory will only do you good.
You don’t even have to do anything to get your podcast on Google Podcasts – it uses search technology to find shows and add them to their catalogue.
You just have to make sure your podcast follows Google’s guidelines in order for it to be picked up.
This is yet another very popular podcast directory but is mainly a music-streaming app so you should make sure it’s the right directory for your podcast.
If your audience loves music and your podcast is in this niche, you can benefit from being on Spotify.
Final Thoughts on How to Start a Podcast
We have discussed how you can get started with your podcast, how to share on the different platforms and how to make money from your podcast. Use the advice and tips shared here to create an awesome podcast that you can be proud of.
And to make sure that you share your awesome podcast in a timely manner, use SocialPlanner.io to schedule your uploads.
With our social media marketing software, you can also share social media posts to help you create hype around your new episodes.