How To Start A Podcast: A Complete Step-By-Step Guide

So you want to start a podcast? Awesome! You’ve come to the right place.

This detailed step-by-step guide on “How to start a podcast” will guide through every step of the process, which includes:

  • Planning
  • Preparation
  • Production
  • Publishing

Step 1 – Planning

The first step of “How to start a podcast” is planning, and its often overlooked and needs more time than you think, so you would want to spend a good amount of time here before moving on to another step.

Choosing a topic or niche

For any podcast show, you need to choose a topic or niche that you want to talk about on your show. Make sure the topic or niche you’ve selected is narrowed down to something you can talk about for many episodes (at least one episode a week). In case if you’ve not decided on the topic yet try answering the questions below, it will help you come up with a topic or niche for your show.

  1. Why are you starting your podcast?
  2. What do you want to talk about on your podcast?
  3. Who is your target audience?
  4. How will your podcast help them?
  5. What will you offer, include or bring on the table to your audience that will help your show stand out?

Deciding the format

After deciding the topic of your podcast, you need to select the format. There are few different formats that you can choose from for your show like solo, co-hosted and interview while deciding the format for your show make sure you are comfortable with the format that you want to go with for your podcast.

Planning your episodes

Once you’ve decided the format for your show, you need to decide on the length and how frequently you want to release a new episode?

Episode Length

Length of a podcast solely depend on the content of your episode, do not stress too much about the length; your focus should be the quality of the content, not the length. Never cut down good content or try to stretch your episode to add or remove extra minutes just for the sake of keeping your episode short or long.

Recommendation: Between 20-45 minutes is the recommended length for an episode.

Releasing new episodes

Just like the length of a podcast this also solely depends on the content. Publishing well researched and quality episode once a week is better than releasing a low-quality episode every day.

Recommendation: Weekly podcast show is the way to go; it gives you more time to research, plan and produce a quality episode.

Step 2 – Preparation

Choosing a name

If you go through any podcast directory like iTunes, Stitcher or Google Podcast, you will see a variety of different name, some will be descriptive and simple to understand, and some might make no sense at all. While choosing a name for your podcast whether it’s a creative or descriptive name it should reflect the topic or niche of your podcast. Choose a name which is easy to pronounce and remember as you will need to say the podcast name quite a lot when recording your podcast episodes.

Cover Art

Your cover art is the first thing that most people will see while browsing through a podcast directory (A picture is worth a thousand words), having creative and attractive cover art that stands out is important especially when your show is lined up against thousands of other shows in a podcast directory. If you’ve some budget, then try services like 99designs to get professional cover art for your podcast show. Otherwise, you can use platforms like Canva to create cover art.

Ideally, your cover art should be 1400 x 1400 pixel RGB (JPG or PNG form) and should be under 500kb in size.

Intro & Music

Intros set the tone for your show, and they let your listeners know what your show or episode is all about, a good intro can increase your listening time and also encourage your podcast listener to subscribe to your podcast.

Intro Samples:

Hi! My name is (your name) and your listening to the episode (#) of my podcast (your show name), and in this episode, I’m going to talk about (insert key points)

Hi & Welcome to (your show name) I’m your host (your name). You are listening to the episode (#), and in today’s episode I’m going to talk about (insert key points)

Tips: On average a good intro is between 20-40 seconds.

There is no rule that you should have music for your podcast but having a piece of good music added to your episode makes your podcast sound more professional. There are few good places to find royalty free podcast music.

Here are some of the sites to find royalty free music:

  1. Incompetech – Free
  2. AudioJungle – Paid
  3. Jamendo – Paid
  4. Audioblock – Paid
  5. Soundstripe – Paid

Tips: Do not go overboard with the music, use a combination of voice over and music to create intro and outro for your podcast.

NOTE: Never use copyrighted music or audio tracks. Always look for the royalty free music tracks for your podcast.

Step 3 – Production

Choosing a microphone

The bare minimum you need to get started is the built-in microphone on your smartphone, nowadays most of the smartphones come with a decent mic, but a decent microphone will give you decent audio quality NOT great audio quality. If you want great audio quality for your podcast from day one, I will suggest you get a simple USB microphone. A simple USB microphone setup can give you great audio quality without making a hole in your pocket.

Some of the best budget microphones you can buy under $100:

  1. BOYA BY-M1 – Lavalier Condenser Microphone ($19.95)
  2. Blue Snowball iCE – Condenser USB Microphone ($49)
  3. Samson Q2U – Handheld Dynamic USB Microphone ($59.99)
  4. Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB – Cardioid Dynamic Microphone ($66.95)
  5. Audio-Technica AT2005-USB – Cardioid Dynamic Microphone ($79)

Note: Do not buy expensive microphones and audio recording equipment’s like mixer or audio interface, choose any USB microphone (for Laptops & PCs) or a Lapel mic (for smartphones). Keep things simple when you’re just getting started.

Must Read: Best Budget Podcast Microphones

Recording & Editing

If you’re planning to record and edit your podcast episodes using your smartphone, then use Audio Recorder (for Android) or GarageBand (for iPhone). If you want to record your episodes using your laptop/computer then use Audacity (for Windows) or GarageBand (for Mac), all the apps that I’ve mentioned for recording and editing your podcast are free to use.

Step 4 – Publishing

Once you’ve recorded and edited your podcast the final thing that you need to do is publish and distribute your podcast. Before I jump on to explain what publishing and distribution are, I want to address a common misconception which most people have about podcasting.

Most people think that you host your podcast to places like iTunes, but this isn’t the case, you need media host to upload your podcast files and then you use services like iTunes to distribute your podcast.

Choosing a host for your podcast

To host your podcast you need a media host; there are many companies which provide podcast hosting services, choose a media host based on your budget and requirement.

Here are some of the trusted media host that you can use to host your podcast.

  1. Simplecast
  2. BuzzSprout
  3. Transistor
  4. Podbean
  5. Castos

Must Read: Where To Host Your Podcast – Best Podcast Hosting Services For 2019

Free Option: If you’re on tight on a budget try anchor.fm it’s a free podcasting platform which allows you to record, edit, host and distribute your podcast but it comes with a trade-off because it’s free, anchor.fm takes every possible opportunity to promote themselves wherever your content can be seen.

Distributing your podcast

Distributing your podcast means submitting your podcast to directories like iTunes and all the media host companies including anchor.fm allows you to distribute your podcast to top directories from their platform. Each media host has its own set of rules that you’ve to follow while submitting your podcast to directories, some podcast directories require you to create an account like iTunes, and with some, you will only need your RSS feed URL which your hosting company will provide you once you’ve signed up to their service.