Podcasting has become one of the most popular ways to reach new audiences, share information, and build a following. In fact, I saw a recent stat that said Joe Rogan is thought to make about $100k PER EPISODE. That’s not per year, or even per month - that is on every single episode. Say what?!
According to other recent statistics, there are currently over 2 million active podcasts and more than 48 million episodes available for download.
With numbers like these, it's no wonder that podcasting has become a crowded space. However, with the right approach, anyone can get started as a podcaster and stand out from the crowd. In this blog post, I’ll cover, in detail, how you can get started as a podcaster.
If you're ready to get started as a podcaster, here are some tips to help you along the way.
1. Determine Your Goal With Your Podcast
This may seem like an interesting place to begin, but I can confidently say it will determine the success of your podcast. Did you know that most podcasters quit after their 7th episode… why?
I believe they quit because they never figured out their primary reason for doing the podcast AND they never built-in strategies to achieve those goals. They just recorded some episodes, published them, maybe shared them on social media, and hoped for the best.
So, take time to really sit with this one. Why do you want to start a podcast? Is it to:
have a personal outlet,
connect with an audience,
create brand awareness,
address important issues,
interview stellar guests,
or something else?
What does “success” with your podcast look like to you? Is it:
Having 400 downloads in the first month?
Getting 15 great reviews in 2 months?
Or maybe it’s growing your email list by 10 subscribers a week.
It could be aiming for that 5k download threshold for advertisers to start showing interest.
Whatever success looks like to you, it’s crucial that you create measurable steps to achieve your definition of success.
For example: If one of your goals is to grow your email list so you can nurture that audience and potentially sell your other offers, you should probably think about recording a few commercials for your podcast that lead listeners to a free download of some kind. Be sure to include links to your freebies in your description and each episode's show notes.
When working with our podcast clients to launch or manage their podcasts, this is always where we start. Without this information, any strategy will be pointless.
2. Invest in Quality Equipment
While it's possible to start a podcast with just a smartphone and a pair of earbuds, investing in quality equipment will make a big difference in the quality of your show (and if listeners choose to stay).
Here are some of the things I recommend podcasters start with.
- Microphone: A good microphone will help you capture high-quality sound. A dynamic microphone, such as the Blue Yeti USB Micorphone, is ideal for podcasting. This is the one I have and I use it for Zoom meetings and more. In fact, my team noticed an immediate difference when I started using it.
- Headphones: Good headphones will help you monitor your audio while you're recording. Closed-back headphones, such as the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro or the Sony MDR-7506, are recommended for podcasting.
- Webcam: A good webcam, like the Logitech C920x HD Pro Webcam, will provide a high-quality viewing experience.
- Recording software: You'll need software to record and edit your podcast. Audacity is a free and open-source software that's easy to use for beginners. But if you are ready for something more robust, there are a lot of options.
3. Choose a Topic and Format
The topic should be something you're passionate about and that has a broad appeal to your target audience.
The format of your podcast should be a reflection of your personality and style. Do you want to host interviews, share your thoughts on a particular subject, or tell stories? There's a format that will work for you. Here are some popular podcast formats:
- Interview format: In this format, the host interviews guests who are experts in their field or who have an interesting story to tell. This format works well for informational and educational podcasts.
- Solo format: In this format, the host speaks directly to the audience about a particular subject. This format works well for opinionated and storytelling podcasts.
- Co-hosted format: In this format, two hosts discuss a particular topic or interview guests together. This format works well for conversational and comedy podcasts.
Once you've chosen a topic and format, start brainstorming ideas for your episodes.
Your first 5 minutes should be your hook. Meaning, this is where you capture your audience’s attention. Remember, we are creatures with low attention spans, so this is your chance. Lead with what this podcast is all about and what they will get from listening.
In fact, statistics show that almost a third of listeners will decide in the first 15 minutes of the episode if they will continue listening (according the The Podcast Host).
If you’ve interviewed someone, introduce that person and be sure to edify them well. What I mean is, hype them up! Show your listeners why this is such a fabulous guest and what expertise they have.
4. Plan and Record Your First Three Episodes
When you launch your podcast, you want at least 3 episodes published and ready for listeners.Start writing down thoughts for each one. I highly recommend you DO NOT write it out word for word. Otherwise, you will sound unnaturally monotone. Instead, write down key points you want to address. Try to structure each episode with a natural flow (like hook, guest intro, first question, second question etc).
Here are some tips for planning and recording your first episodes:
- Plan out your episodes in advance. Decide on a structure, such as an introduction, a main segment, and a conclusion.
Create an outline
Write out any scripts or notes you will need
Find a quiet space with minimal background noise to record
Don’t be afraid to do multiple takes until you are happy with the final product
- Record your podcast while on video so you can repurpose your content on YouTube, as reels, and so much more.
HOT TIP: I once worked with a professional voiceover artist and she suggested I print a picture of my target audience and stick it near my webcam. That way, while I am recording, I can look at that photo and imagine a real person I am speaking to. This makes it feel more conversational and enjoyable for the listener.
5. Write a Click-Worthy Podcast Description
According to firstsiteguide.com, a podcast's description is the number one deciding factor for listeners choosing a podcast. So spend some quality time with this step.
Your description should be short, catchy, and include your podcast's name, your name, and a brief description of what listeners can expect.Think of the SOLUTIONS your podcast addresses so listeners want to tune in.
Examples: If they struggle in their marriage, what support will a marriage podcast give them? If your audience is craving easy-to-implement business strategies for their coaching business, what solutions can they expect as an active listener?
When you frame your content in this way, listeners start to think, “Oh, this person really gets me! I need to tune in.”
6. Create a Podcast Cover Art
Your podcast cover art is the first thing that potential listeners will see so it's important to make it stand out. Your cover art should be clean and easy to read. Here are just a few examples I created to give you an idea of what a good cover could look like:
Here are some tips for creating a great podcast cover art:
7. Create an Intro/Outro
To really uplevel the quality of your podcast, I suggest having a quick jingle at the beginning and end of your podcast. You can hire someone for as low as $20 to create this for you on Fiverr
. Just type in “Podcast Intro” and start browsing the freelancers listed.
To avoid a bad hire for your podcast intro/outro:
- Listen to the examples each freelancer includes in their listing to get an idea for their style. Preferably, search for Top Rated Sellers.
- Read their prices closely. They usually have several different packages.
- Message a few to get to know their process. Ensure they can communicate well in your spoken language so there’s not miscommunication.
- Read reviews!
8. Publish Your Podcast
Once your episodes are recorded, you'll need to choose a hosting platform. This is where your podcast will live online and be available for download. There are many hosting platforms to choose from, such as Buzzsprout, Podbean, and Anchor. Research each platform to see which one fits your needs and budget.
When you're ready to launch your podcast, it’s time to publish! Make sure to also promote your podcast on social media, your website, newsletters/email, and any other platforms where your target audience is likely to be. Encourage your listeners to leave reviews and ratings on your podcast, as this will help to boost your visibility and attract new listeners.
9. Have a Solid WHY
When things start to get difficult and you wonder why you are even doing this anymore, fall back on your primary reason for starting a podcast in the first place. You will eventually move past the “honeymoon period” of your podcast where everything is exciting and new.
When things get real, the back-end administrative tasks may weigh you down. The commitment to releasing regular episodes may become stressful. So lean on your overall mission and purpose when things get difficult.
10. Decide if You Want to Monetize
If one of your goals is to make money with your podcast, my biggest advice is to be patient. It takes dozens and sometimes hundreds of episodes to finally earn income with it. In fact, only 1% of the 2 million podcasts available actually make a profit.
You need at least an average 5k downloads per episode for most advertisers to show an interest in your show. To give you an idea of how long it may take to get to 5k downloads per episode, roughly 3% of podcasters get 5k downloads per episode within the first 30 days. So podcasting is a long strategy, not a “get rich quick” plan.
11. Hire Help
You can achieve your goals a lot quicker and with more clarity when you hire help with your podcast. If your passion is recording and all of the back-end work, this may be one of your best assets. Some of the things a Podcast Manager can help you with are:
Editing (removing ums, filler words, and background noise)
Adding your intro/outro to your audio
Creating show notes
Writing episode descriptions
Scheduling/RSS feed management
Full episode transcriptions
And so much more.
Our team has an incredible Podcast Manager that can help you with all of the above things and more. In fact, if you only want a strategy session to help you launch or maximize your podcast, we do that too.
In the meantime, happy podcasting!