A basic guide to starting a podcast
A question we are getting asked a lot at the moment is How do I start and record a podcast? The answer to these questions is relatively straight forward however, there are several things you should ask yourself before you consider making a podcast. In this post we give you a basic introduction to starting a podcast.
Why are you making a podcast?
A lot of people start a podcast just because everyone else is and therefore they think they should too. There is no doubt that publishing a podcast is a great way to grow an audience or fan base. Maybe you want to promote your business and have heard that a podcast is a great way to do this.
The podcast world today is more buoyant than it has ever been, which is great because this means there are more people looking for podcasts to listen to. But this also means that competition is more significant than ever before.
So what are you going to do to make people want to listen to your podcast and how are they going to find it? Simply publishing it on the popular Podcast platforms will not be enough, this isn’t “Field of Dreams”.
One of your considerations must be how are you going to get people to listen to it, or watch it if it’s a video podcast. If you already have an audience or a customer base that you want to help, inform or entertain then you have a great head start. If you don’t then the journey to mass listenership may take a little longer.
Who is your podcast for and what is about?
Now you’ve decided to produce a podcast there’s a good chance you have an idea what it’s going to be about and who it’s for. However, you should still go through the process of building a profile of exactly who your podcast is going to be aimed at.
Do you want to inform listeners or viewers about something they’re passionate about or interested in? Or maybe you want to share stories or experiences that may help people going through the same thing as you? Maybe you want to talk about something that nobody else is talking about or it could be as simple as you just want to have fun and entertain people.
Whichever your subject matter, it’s essential to do your research. Search the podcast platforms for anything similar to your idea or topic. Don’t take a broad subject approach either, there are 1000’s of podcasts on many different subjects such as sport, business or personal health.
What is going to make you stand out? Whatever your subject, make sure that you niche-down and get laser targeted. For example, if you want to do a podcast on Yoga, make it for a particular type of person, such as Yoga for the 40 something Dads. This will help build loyalty if you are able to talk about the challenges that they have and how they could fit in quick Yoga routines etc.
If you already have a fan base or customer base, survey and ask them what they would like from you and make it all about them.
Naming Your Podcast and Episodes
A good name for your podcast can help you get listeners, especially if the name identifies what it is about. If however you already have an audience you may wish to use a generic name or brand name and then name your episodes according to what they are about or who the guest is.
Do your research and look at what other people are doing. You need to make it easy for people to find you, but also you want to be able to pique people’s interest and get discovered.
What equipment do I need to make a podcast?
A simple way to record a podcast is with a smartphone. There are plenty of apps for both Android and iOS when it comes to podcasting. One of my favourites has to be the Anchor App which not only allows you to record and edit, but it also makes it incredibly easy to add in guests as well.
It comes with a host of sound effects and jingles. Once you’ve put everything together, it allows you to publish it directly to Spotify, Apple Podcasts and many more. It is an all in one solution. If you can connect up 3rd party microphones to your iPad or Smartphone, the results can be near professional.
For the best results, it is recommended that you consider using a combination of professional quality hardware and software.
The better the mic, the better the sound and these come in all shapes and sizes. If you plan to have guests on your podcast and you’re recording in the same room, you will probably want to opt for a dynamic mic such as a Rode Podmic.
Condenser Microphones are the professional choice and will, as a rule, give you the best result. The sensitivity and the frequency response are greater and sonically, will offer you a full and “broadcast” sounding result. And you don’t have to spend a fortune, the Studiospares S1005 comes in just £49 as I write this.
If you’re going to use a computer to record and edit your podcast, an audio interface is a good choice. It can give you multiple inputs, better quality audio recordings and also provides top quality mic preamps & outputs allowing you to monitor through speakers or headphones. For the purpose of recording voice overs and podcasts you shouldn’t need more than a couple of inputs.
If you don’t want to use a computer for recording a dedicated digital recorder is a great alternative. Some come with built in mics for recording in the field and can also be compact and portable. Editing on these is a little trickier, and often you’ll find yourself transferring the files to a computer for editing and transfer.
To take control of your mix quality, you should invest in some form of monitoring, whether it be speakers, headphones or both. Headphones are also useful when recording so you can monitor the quality of the recording.
In my opinion, software gives you superpowers when it comes to editing and mixing. GarageBand (iOS and Mac OS) is a great starting point and comes free with Mac OS. Its big brother, Logic Pro X provides more professional options, but it does cost £139 (Mac OS). Adobe Audition which is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud service, is available on both Mac and PC and has established itself as a market leader when it comes to podcast production. (Mac OS & Windows)
Check out our post “Tips for Getting Great Sounding Voiceovers & Podcasts at Home” for some more detailed information on the equipment you might need or speak to one of our specialists at Studiospares on 020 8208 9930.
Creating your podcast
So now you’ve got all the equipment setup, you know who your podcast is for and you’ve got your topic, so what’s next? We recommend you have a plan, map out the episode or depending on the type of podcast you may want to script your episodes.
If you intend to have guests or co-hosts, it’s important to structure your talking points. It can be very easy to drift off-topic which, in turn, can make it challenging to get back on topic, so plan as much as you can without making it sound unnatural.
If you are able to, try and record more than one episode at a time. It’s a widespread practice to have several episodes already recorded before you launch your podcast and eases the pressure when it comes to producing additional episodes.
The more preparation you do the quicker it will be to record edit and publish your podcast.
Publishing Your Podcast
Once you’ve got your podcast recorded, it’s time to let your listeners hear it or see it if it’s a video podcast. So where should you publish your podcast? There are many places and tools you can use for this.
If you’re doing this just for fun or are only going to publish a couple of hours worth of episodes each month, Buzzsprout has an excellent free plan and should you wish to do more you can progress to their paid plans.
Anchor is another excellent service that is free to use, and both these services publish to the more popular platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. Like Buzzsprout there is excellent analytics to help you monitor how your podcasts perform.
Youtube has become a popular place for video podcasts and Apple Podcasts also supports video podcasts. Also, don’t forget about sharing it on your website if you have one and use any social media or email lists to promote your podcast as soon as it’s published.