You are currently viewing Your Ultimate Guide to Starting a Podcast in 2022

Your Ultimate Guide to Starting a Podcast in 2022

You’re reading this because you want to start a podcast and that’s an excellent decision. Because podcasting is exploding right now. Influencers, journalists, celebrities, businesses, your friends – everyone has a podcast. You don’t want to be left behind.

Podcasting has spawned so many interesting conversations with extraordinary people who have shared brilliant thoughts and ideas that it has enhanced people’s lives.

Podcasting is a lovely way to express yourself creatively, share your business goals, and create deeper connections with your listeners. Some of the top forward-thinking websites are using audio in cheeky ways to fit into their content plans.

However, you should think about a few important things ahead of time before starting your podcast. There is a lot that goes into starting a podcast. Your artwork, topic, sound equipment, hosting options, editing, voice-over etc.

Sounds a lot? Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a technical person or require a lot of money to start a podcast. It’s not that tricky.

This guide will walk you through how to get started with podcasting for under just $300. Read on to learn the ABCs of podcasting.

Why Start a Podcast?

Podcasts are a great way to build a genuine connection with your listeners. There’s no better way to earn trust from people than with your voice. It’s just you and your listener. It has deeper engagement, as people tend to stay tuned in longer than other content.

According to Edison Research, 80 million Americans are now weekly podcast listeners, a 17% increase over 2020. One-third of Americans now own a smart speaker, an increase of 22% from last year and nearly five times what it was in 2017. Of those who own a smart speaker, 34% have three or more of the devices in their household.

There’s a lot of unexplored space in the podcasting industry. There are about 800 million blogs, 25 million YouTube channels, but only a million podcasts. As you can tell, we’re still in the early days of podcasting.

Compared to other content platforms, podcasts allow you to create an intimate connection with your audience. Imagine being in your target listener’s ears for 30 minutes or more. It’s powerful stuff.

Lastly, podcasts are easy to consume. People can listen to podcasts on the go, in the car, while cooking, at the gym, or just doing chores around the house.

What do you need to start a podcast?

No matter your age or technical skill set, you can easily start your podcast by following the steps outlined below:

  • Develop a podcast concept (a topic, name, format, and target length for each episode)
  • Design your artwork and write a description for your podcast
  • Purchase equipment and record your episodes
  • Edit, export and publish your episodes
  • Choose a podcast hosting platform
  • Tell everyone about your new show

Getting Started With Your Own Podcast

The very first step in the process is recording your audio, getting your voice recorded. You could use a portable audio recorder or you could use pro gear and send the file to your computer and use free recording software like Audacity or GarageBand to record your audio.

You could even use your iPhone or Android device. No biggie. There are tons of apps out there that will turn your handheld phone into an audio recorder.

The next step is to convert your recording to an MP3 file. There are many types of audio file formats but I highly recommend MP3 because it can be played practically on every media playing device known to man today.

The next step requires you to take that MP3 file and upload it to a podcast hosting platform, like Libsyn or Buzzsprout, that offer truly unlimited bandwidth.

Now that you’ve uploaded your MP3 file to a podcasting hosting platform, it’s time to give it a title, add a description, and then either schedule it or hit publish.

You can then upload your MP3 file directly to podcast directories like Apple Podcasts and Spotify so they display your new episode and anyone subscribed to you on those platforms are likely to get notified that you’ve come out with a new episode.

If all of this sounds a little too technical right now, don’t worry. The rest of this guide will make it much easier for you. Keep reading.

Choose Your Podcast Topic

Ask yourself, why do you want to start a podcast? Before you jump into research mode and start asking people for suggestions, you need to have a clear idea of why you want to begin your journey as a podcaster.

You could have a passion for a certain topic or you simply want to generate more leads to giving exposure to your business. Having crystal clear on the focus of your podcast is important if you hope to grow a loyal fan base.

Make an inventory of what makes you unique. A deep look into your talent, experiences or your passions is the foundation for successful and sustainable projects. Feel free to explore existing podcasts for inspiration, but make sure you’re not copying them.

Remember, just because something comes easy for you, it doesn’t mean that it comes easy for the rest of us. Don’t underestimate and undervalue what you know, your experiences and who you are. You have a lot to give.

Finally, your topic should appeal to your audience and solve a problem for them. There are different tools you can use to find out what people are looking for or asking about your topic.

Keywords Everywhere is a free browser add-on for Chrome or Firefox that shows what people are searching on Google and the volume of the searches. Answer The Public is another tool you can use to see if people are actively searching or asking questions about your topic.

Name Your Podcast

One of the hardest parts of starting a new podcast is coming up with the perfect name. When you start down this rabbit hole, trying to figure out a name for your podcast, you realise there’s a lot of things to consider to make sure it’s a good name that’s going to serve you well.

You need to encapsulate what your podcast is about. It should be catchy. It should be SEO-friendly. You want it to be on-brand…. you get the gist.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure the name is accurate. Your podcast name needs to reflect what’s in the episodes. If your podcast has little or nothing to do with the title, people will drop your podcast like a bad habit and move on to another one.

In addition, you should use insider language. Use common words that your audience uses. Ask yourself, what lingo do your listeners use when they talk to each other.

If you’re able to identify a couple of keywords to include in your podcast name, it will give your podcast a nice SEO bump and signal your potential listeners that, “This is what you’re looking for.”

Lastly, make sure the name you choose isn’t already taken. If you’re famous, put your name in the title. If you have a significant following in social media or happen to be Jimmy Fallon or Graham Norton, make sure your name is in the podcast title.

But if you are not famous, do not put your name in the title because people aren’t searching for you. They are searching for certain topics with certain ideas.

Once you land on a name that resonates with your ideal listener, and that you happen to like, make the decision and keep moving forward. This is one area you can get hung up and overthink.

Write a Kick-Ass Description

According to The Podcast Host, people primarily judge new podcasts by their descriptions. This means your podcast’s description needs to explain the show’s value accurately and provide more information on what a listener can expect.

Your description will show up wherever your podcast shows up. You’d want to include some strategic keywords that are relevant to what you talk about on your show, that will help the right listeners find your podcast.

A study by Pacific Content found the average length of a podcast description is 243 characters but we recommend sticking between 250-600 to squeeze as much juice as possible out of your summary.

Choose Your Podcast Format

A podcast can have several formats. If you’re someone who loves improv and bantering with a co-host, you need to have a co-host. But if you’re someone who likes having everything planned out and scripted, then you might lean towards an audio drama or something where you have everything written out.

So, let’s talk about the five most common formats:

1. Interview Podcasts

The Interview podcast is a question-and-answer format where the host interviews people, often focusing on a particular industry. Examples: The Joe Rogan Experience, Fresh Air, and How I Built This by Guy Raz.

If you’re going to do an interview podcast, I’d recommend listening to a few episodes from the shows mentioned above. Get a feel for what you like, what you don’t, so you can figure out what you’ll do.

2. Scripted Non-Fiction

These are shows that are mostly serial podcasts. They have a single theme for the whole season. Examples: Serial by Sara Koenig, Slow Burn by Slate, and Hardcore History by Dan Carlin.

3. News Recap

These are podcasts that recap the news, and they can sometimes be focused on a specific industry. Examples: The Daily, Kickass News, or Planet Money.

4. Educational Podcasts

Educational podcasts are scripted, non-fiction shows that focus on teaching something to their audience. Some of them are ongoing while others are just a single season. Examples: Stuff You Should Know, Hidden Brain, and TED Radio Hour.

Some of these shows have interviews, they do deep dives on a single subject, while others, like Ted Radio Hour, span a lot of topics.

5. Scripted Fiction

These podcasts are similar to radio dramas and are often scripted and highly produced. I’d recommend looking into Bubble by Maximum Fun, Limetown and Everything is Alive.

Now that you know about different podcast formats, it’s time to pick one that is going to work for you. Feel free to experiment with styles, maybe combine two formats and find something that works for you.

How Long Should Your Podcast Be

This is a very hot topic in podcasting because there are lots of strong opinions. Some suggest an hour because that’s the standard length of most successful podcasts and some say 20 minutes because that’s how long it takes for a typical person to drive to work.

I don’t think that matters at all. I always tell people to make their podcasts as long as it needs to be. If you only have 20 minutes of content, talk for 20 minutes.

Do not have 20 minutes of content and then stretch out your show for an extra 40 minutes to meet some arbitrary length that people think podcasts should be.

Another benefit of podcasting is, unlike radio and television shows, you do not have a set time that you need to record for or a set time length that your content has to be. Give your listeners the information they need in as short a time as possible.

How Often Should You Publish Your Podcast?

This is a very common question for a lot of new podcasters. You’ll find that some podcasts are pushed out weekly, some are daily, and some come out with no real schedule whatsoever.

One of the first things you want to think about when considering your publishing frequency is what type of podcasts you have. There are different types of podcasts that lend themselves to different types of release schedules.

For instance, interview style, solo podcasts, educational or round table podcasts are more biweekly or weekly scheduled releases. For more heavily scripted podcasts, those tend to be released in seasons with longer breaks in between. If you have a current event-based podcast or a news based podcast, that tends to be a more daily release schedule.

Of course, you don’t have to do any one of these in particular, but these are the trends you’ll find, so it can help inform the decision that you make based upon your podcasting type and style.

Create a Stunning Podcast Artwork

Apple and other podcast hosting platforms require artwork for your podcast, so you need to create stunning artwork that represents your show. You want people to look at your artwork and at a glance, know what your podcast is about.

Your artwork needs to be square and I recommend it be exactly 3000 by 3000 pixels. Technically, it can be smaller than that but Apple wants it to be 3000 x 3000 so it’s best to just design for that size.

Your file type should be a PNG or JPEG. I recommend going with a PNG since they typically have better detail and they’re better at resizing. Make sure your artwork isn’t blurry, misaligned or mismatched.

Also, design for a variety of sizes because it’s going to be displayed on large monitors, and also down to really small versions on just an iPhone. Make sure it’s simple enough that if it was 55 x 55 pixels, you can still see what the artwork is depicting.

Try to avoid microphones, headsets and other overused podcasting images. Most artwork is full of these images.

If you have a design background, you already know what to do. But for the rest of us, I’d recommend hiring a graphic designer from Fiverr or UpWork for just $10.

If you’re going to design the artwork yourself, you can use Canva. Canva is a simple web-based image editor and it’s pretty easy to use.

Purchase Your Podcast Equipment

Sound quality is critical to your podcast. If there’s too much background noise or if your voice isn’t crystal clear, you’re not going to stand out. Fortunately, podcasting gear doesn’t cost a lot. You can get your show up and running without breaking the bank.

Picking the right equipment for a podcast can be confusing especially if you don’t have a background in audio recording. So to make it easy I am going to share the setup that I recommend 90% podcasters.

You need three pieces of equipment to get up and running. A microphone, an interface and headphones. Let’s start with the microphone, the most important piece of equipment that will make you sound good.

I recommend the Audio Technica 2100x. It’s a great entry-level podcast microphone and it’s my top pick for most podcasters. It comes with a stand, it’s durable and it’s easy to use because it has inputs for both USB and XLR cables.

Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

One of the most important features of a microphone, especially one that you’re going to use in unforgiving spaces, is the ability to suppress room echo and background noise, and the ATR-2100x does that well.

It captures the vocal range adequately, with nice crisp sibilance captured at the upper frequency with a clean body at the lower frequency, as expected of a dynamic microphone.

Next, you’ll need an audio interface. If you’re going to record with a co-host and you want to use two microphones, you’ll need an audio interface. It can lead to a bunch of issues when you have two USB microphones on one computer and it will make editing your podcast a lot more difficult.

Also, you don’t want to have two people talking into the same microphone. That means you only ever have one track, which gets difficult. For example, if one person is louder and the other is a little bit quieter, it would be really hard to edit if you have one microphone.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools

So I’d recommend routing both microphones through an audio interface with the XLR cables. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd generation) is the ideal interface for beginners. You take it out of the box, connect it to your computer via the supplied USB-C cable and it directs you step-by-step from that point on.

Its high-performance converters enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz.

Last but not least is headphones. A good pair of headphones is a critical part of capturing consistently quality podcast audio. Wearing headphones prevents audio echo and bleed, preserving the integrity of your recording.

Headphones also let you hear your podcast’s audio exactly how your audience will, keeping you in the driver’s seat the entire time you record.

Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

I like the Sony MDR 7506. The closed-ear design is comfortable for long wear and the set has a nine-foot cord so you have plenty of room to build your optimal podcast setup. They don’t artificially boost your frequencies so what you’re hearing is exactly how you sound.

Audio Recording Software

You need software for a range of tasks in podcasting, and the choice of applications is huge. Don’t worry, though, choosing your podcast software doesn’t have to be hard. That’s what I’m here for.

Consider podcasting software with decent editing capabilities, the level of technical support you need, and the ability to save files locally. Your podcast is only as good as the tools you use to make it. Bad audio recording software will lead to bad podcasts.

Below are three of the best podcast software based on key features, pricing, voice-over functionality, support, and more.

Audacity

Audacity is an easy-to-use and cross-platform audio editor and recording software for both beginners and experts. Its digital audio workstation is compatible with numerous operating systems, including Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux, and more. It’s an open-source platform with a free version built by many volunteers.

You no longer need a full recording studio or expensive digital audio workstations to record audio – just a computer and a few simple pieces of podcast software like Audacity.

Adobe Audition

If you want really powerful audio editing software with all the bells and whistles, Adobe has it with Audition. It might be more than what you’ll need to edit your podcast, but if you’re using a mixer and high-end equipment, it could be a good idea to look at Adobe Audition as well.

GarageBand

GarageBand is one of the best podcast recording software for Mac users to arrange and combine multiple audios into a single podcast. This affordable digital audio workstation offers an easy learning curve and comes with a user-friendly interface. It also offers pre-recorded loops and synths to help you create background music and jingles for your podcast.

Call Recording Software

If your podcast will feature call-in guest interviews or your co-host lives on the opposite side of the country, you’ll need recording software that supports remote recordings.

Here are some recommended call recording tools:

Zencastr (PC/Mac; free to start)

Record remote interviews in studio quality by sending a link and receiving a track for each guest.

Ecamm Call Recorder (Mac; $39.95 USD)

Record Skype calls on your Mac.

UberConference (PC/Mac/iOS/Android; free)

The free conference call software allows participants to join the call via desktop or phone, and the moderator can record the calls.

Callnote (PC/Mac; free to $9.95 USD per year)

Callnote records Skype, Google Hangouts, Viber, FaceTime, Facebook, GoToMeeting and WebEx conversations.

SquadCast (PC/MAC; $10 per month)

SquadCast is another web-based tool built specifically for podcasters. It offers interview scheduling capabilities, records a separate track for each guest, and like Zencastr, requires minimal setup. SquadCast also includes video functions so you can capture video content during the interview.

Record Your First Episode

With the foundational elements of your podcast figured out, it’s now time to record your episodes. Talk about yourself! Introduce yourself and the podcast to the world. This is your opportunity to let everyone know what your podcast is about and where it’s going.

Speak naturally. When you listen back, don’t cringe. Everyone hates the sound of their voice at first and, eventually, you’ll get used to hearing it. Also, remember that you can always clean up and edit the audio after you’re done recording.

If you lose your spot or forget your next point, don’t be afraid to sit in silence until you can regain your composure and continue. You can edit those gaps and mistakes out later.

Edit, Export and Publish Your Episodes

Editing your podcasts allows you to add your intro and outro, stabilize the volume, and remove gaps of dead air and any mistakes you might have made. Any of the software recommended above should do the trick.

In your audio editor of choice, look for settings that stabilize the volume automatically so there aren’t spikes of high volume and eliminate background noises and pops.

If you struggle to learn the software or simply find the process too time-consuming, you can hire someone to edit your episodes for you. There are freelancers on Fiverr and Upwork.

Also, if you haven’t signed up with a host yet, now would be the time to do it. After you edit your episodes, you’re going to upload them to Buzzsprout, Libsyn or Blubrry, fill out all the details about your podcast, and then all the episodes you publish and get your podcast ready for the world.

Exciting times ahead. Woohoo!

Submitting Your Podcast to the Right Channels

There are many directories where you can list your podcast. I’m going to recommend the most popular, but you can distribute your podcast across as many channels as you’d like. You’re going to be asked for your podcast’s name, description, category, artwork, etc.

Market Your Podcast

Market your podcast as new episodes are released or promote your back catalogue. For each new episode, consider doing a handful of these marketing activities to steadily increase a listenership over time and generate more subscribers:

Audiograms: create short video clips of buzz-worthy quotes within an episode to tease a newly released episode. Audiograms are perfect for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram promotions.

Contact brands and people you mention: Tell them if you give a glowing review for a product or person. Brands and people encourage the organic promotion of their services and love to show the “social proof” of someone else endorsing them. Tag them on social media or send a quick email about the mention, you may get a retweet out of it.

Go from host to guest: promote yourself to podcast listeners by being a guest on another show. You get to show you’re an authority in your topic and introduce your podcast to a new set of ears. Try subreddits like r/PodcastGuest Exchange and Facebook groups like Podcasters’ Support Group to pitch your expertise.

Advertise on podcast apps: Apps like Overcast and Listen Notes offer pay-per-ad placements within their apps. This is a great way to attract current podcast listeners and they can easily tap on your ad and immediately start listening to the show. Just make sure to submit your podcast to their platforms before purchasing an ad.

You’ll likely hit a little frustration when marketing your podcast. It feels awkward to self-promote and sometimes the needle won’t move much despite your efforts. But stick with it!

To build a following, you need to consistently publish new content. It can feel like a thankless job when only 15 people are listening but it’s the key to your success. Too many podcasters never see hundreds of downloads because they didn’t give themselves enough time to be successful.

You’ll need to play the long game instead. The average podcast sees 129 downloads per episode. Most podcasters reach their first 100 subscribers and struggle to find the momentum to keep growing.

My advice is to continue publishing high-quality content. There’s a huge appetite for podcasts but people want to listen to great shows, not average ones. As you promote new episodes, continue keeping an eye on the quality and commit to a publishing schedule you can stick to.

Make Money With Your Podcast

Whether you want to become a full-time podcaster and have your show replace your income, or you just want to do it on the side, I think it’s really important to consider how to make money with your podcast. You should be rewarded for your hard work.

The most common way podcasts make money is through advertising or sponsorships. Companies may pay you money to have you read off a script or talk about their company in different parts of your podcast episodes.

This can be very rewarding, but at the same time, it’s hard to find sponsors when your show is just starting out. They want to know people are going to listen before they pay you.

I’d recommend starting with affiliate marketing. That means you can generate an income by talking about and recommending various products that you use, similar to how I’ve provided helpful content here, but also mention various microphones and podcast hosting platforms. You can start with this kind of income generation from day 1, and even if you don’t have many listeners, a year from now when you do, you can see the clicks coming in.

You could potentially promote software you use, programs you’ve joined, services you use, or even physical products by joining Amazon’s associate’s program.

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