Why Should You Start A Podcast?
There are many reasons why you should start a podcast, just like there are many reasons to listen to them. Maybe you’re looking for a new medium to explore. Maybe you want to take advantage of podcasting’s portability for internal podcasting. Thanks to its cost effective point of entry, podcasting is open to everyone who wants to explore this new avenue for their content creation or communication needs.
How To Start A Podcast
The “Why” Behind Your Podcast
Knowing your own personal reason for wanting to start a podcast will help you decide down the road what choices to make in regards to how you create your podcast, how you promote yourself, and more.
Here are a few points to keep in mind:
- Is your podcast an extension of something else you do (a blog, a Youtube channel), or is your podcast the central thing you’re building around?
- Is this a podcast for business purposes (be it internal podcasting or a public, branded podcast), or a personal project?
- What sort of story are you telling with your podcast?
- What is the main goal of your podcast? How will you determine success for your podcast?
These questions will help you fine-tune the different options available for your podcast, and help you make decisions on update schedules, episode length, and more.
While learning about how to start a podcast and finding your reason for wanting to do it, you should also consider who you want as your intended audience. Knowing who you want as your intended audience goes a long way in helping you develop your content for both your podcast and your choice of promotional platforms. Click here to check out our full How To Promote Your Podcast walkthrough here!
To figure out your intended audience, it helps to create a fictional version of your perfect listener, known as an audience avatar. From there, you can ask yourself how you want your audience avatar to engage with your podcast, and how you can craft a podcast that suits the engagement style. For example, your audience avatar might prefer a more laid-back style of podcast, or would prefer something more intense and energetic. The idea of creating an audience avatar is to not only create a more targeted podcast, but to take into consideration how you want to engage with your audience, and create content that fosters that sort of engagement.
By focusing on your audience avatar, you allow yourself to create content that feels more targeted with a firm sense of identity, instead of trying to create a nebulous show that appeals to everyone but falls flat.
Do you need an audience to start your podcast? Keeping your audience avatar in mind while you start your podcast is important, but you don’t need a large social media presence to start your podcast. No matter what your online presence is, there are a wide variety of resources available on how to grow your audience during your podcast launch and beyond.
The Importance of Your Podcast Description
In our Podbean 101 webinar, we tell our attendees that the most important parts of their podcast are the title, description, podcasting categories, and logo. In fact, an overwhelming majority of listeners say that a podcast description can make or break their decision to tune in.
Your description should not only give your listeners an idea of what sort of content you will produce, but also set the tone for your podcast. This is going to be their first example of you as a content creator, so it’s important to be descriptive while also staying true to the vibe that you’ve got going in your podcast.
In our recent interview with Amy Whitney, she explores another important thing to consider with your podcast description: S.E.O. By looking at the descriptions of podcasts within your genre, you can pick out phrases that are relevant to your podcast as well. In doing so, you’ll be beefing up your podcast’s S.E.R.P. (Search Engine Results Pages).
With Podbean, you have 1000 characters for your podcast’s description and 200 for your title. This is plenty of room to create a description of your podcast that entices the listener, informs them of the intended audience, and tells them how they can listen.
Naming Your Podcast
Coming up with a podcast name can be the hardest part of starting a podcast. Your podcast name has to be both descriptive of the content you’re producing, and an enticing hook for prospective listeners.
While there are no rules in naming your podcast, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- While using keywords and hashtags is acceptable, do not make your description nothing but keywords (known as keyword stuffing). This will lead to directories, like Apple Podcasts, marking your podcast as spam.
- Unless you’re already popular with a following that knows you by name, refrain from making your podcast title your name. There are some exceptions to this, of course – if you’re a name in the field and want your listeners to know, you can easily make your title something like “(Topic) with Dr. Allen Johnson.” Just use your best judgment.
- Unless your show is in reference to another show, do not name your podcast after another podcast. Once again, there are a few exceptions to this – such as THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE, which is a show that recaps The Joe Rogan Experience – but unless you’re doing something similar, you should focus on making your name unique and easily searchable.
There are extremes to both short and long form content, such as microcasts that are only 5-ish minutes long to hours-long episodes for podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience. The key thing to remember is that the episode length has to suit the topic its covering. Things to also consider when planning your podcast episode length:
- How often you want to publish your episodes (once a day, once a week, once a month)
- The number of hosts your podcast may have and how often you can record together
- How much time you have to allocate to editing (regardless of if you’re editing the podcast or if you’re paying someone else to do it for you)
Don’t be afraid to start small and grow your episode length as your podcast progresses. Starting with shorter episodes allows you to get used to the practice of editing and recording without overworking yourself. Be aware, though, that starting big and growing smaller general pushes listeners away instead of bringing them in, which is another reason to start small and grow from there.
Breaking your podcast into segments helps you keep your thoughts organized as you record, so you don’t meander while discussing the main topic. Keeping your thoughts focused will create a more enjoyable and dependable experience for your listeners.
The segments also help create natural breaks for ads if you choose to monetize your podcast through advertisements. Dynamic ad insertion inserts at an exact timestamp of your choosing, and you ensure that ads don’t cut your audio in an awkward place by utilizing segments.
Your Posting Schedule
Your episode length will help you configure your posting schedule when starting a podcast. For example, if your episodes are fifteen, twenty, or thirty minutes, you could benefit from posting once a week or more. But if your episodes are an hour (or multiple hours) long, you may want to space the episodes out to biweekly or once a month.
This does multiple things. First it gives your audience an opportunity to listen to your episodes with being under a content deluge, or losing interest in a poorly-spaced podcast schedule. It also gives you a good timeframe to work with for recording and editing your episodes so you’re not overwhelmed or burnt out.
Much like with episode length, feel free to start with a more sparse schedule and grow from there. Increasing your episodes throughout the month shows that your podcast is growing, and lets you explore to find the best times for publishing your content. Once again, be careful with starting with rapid-fire episodes and pulling back.
Recording Your Podcast
Regardless of how you record your podcast, here are some best practices to keep in mind that don’t have to do with your gear:
- While it’s your decision to script out your podcast or not, a set of notes is recommended to help you stay on track while recording.
- Remember that your voice is part of a podcaster’s toolbox, and requires care. Take care to hydrate and warm up before recording.
- You don’t need soundproofing, but be smart about choosing your recording location. Large rooms with high ceilings and blank walls will echo, so try propping up pillows around your mic or hanging blankets on the walls to minimize echo.
- Make sure that you’re in an optimal seating position while recording, and try to minimize moving around while recording.
You don’t need anything more than your phone to start recording your podcast. With the Podbean app, you can record and edit your content directly in the podcast app and upload it directly to your podcast feed. It’s a great way to start a podcast and get it out to the world, and there are even microphones on the market made specifically for mobile devices.
When it comes to the hardware and software keep in mind your budget, space, and the technical specs of your chosen computer.
- Your chosen computer/laptop
- A microphone (which can be either USB or XLR, with USB mics plugging directly into your USB port on your computer, and an XLR mic needing an external interface to plug into, which then gets plugged into your computer)
- An interface (this is for XLR mics only – this provides further power for mics, and allows you to utilize multiple microphones at the same time if you’re recording a group)
Your software is going to be whatever program you use for recording and editing. This can be anything from programs like Audacity and Garageband to Adobe Audition and Ableton Live. The key thing to look for is maneuverability within the interface. If you’re going to be spending time in the program recording and editing your podcast, you want to make sure that it’s a software that allows you to work smoothly.
Publishing And Distribution
Once you’re recorded your episode, the next step is to prepare to publish it. This is where your podcast description will come into play, but there are a few other details to handle as well, such as your podcast cover.
There are a few regulations for podcast covers:
- They must be at least 1400 x 1400 pixels, and no larger than 3000 x 3000 pixels.
- The file has to be in a JPEG or PNG format
- The file can’t exceed 1MB in size
Beyond that, get creative! Much like your title, your podcast cover should match the tone of your podcast. Your cover is going to be one of the first things that listeners see when they see your podcast in directories, so ensuring your podcast does the work in drawing them in is something important to take into consideration.
Once you have your podcast cover, you can find a podcast host. A podcast host is where your audio will live so it can be sent out to different directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and the like. A good podcast host can help you:
- Attract more listeners
- Highlight where your audiences are come from
- Highlight any particular content/topics to attract more listeners
- Help you figure out when your best release time is
Your podcast host will also give you good monetization options, as well as different tiers that you can expand to as your podcast grows.
Most importantly, your host is where you’ll find your RSS feed. This is the unique URL that every podcast has that you will submit to podcast directories so your podcast can be listed and found. It will contain specific information like your email address, your name/the name of your business as the owner/author, if your podcast is explicit or not, and more.
What To Do Once You’ve Published Your Podcast
- Submit your podcast feed to these directories so others can find your content.
- Utilize different social media platforms and post things like audio excerpts in the form of audiograms.
- Reach out to podcasting communities in the form of subreddit groups on Reddit and Podbean’s Facebook group Podcasting Smarter.
- Try different monetization methods such as starting a patron page or hosting a podcast livestream.
Want to learn more about starting your podcast? Check out our full walkthrough on how to start a podcast here!