Hey there! A little bird told me you want to Start A Successful Podcast, but you don’t know how to put this idea in motion.

How To Start A Successful Podcast
How To Start A Successful Podcast

Well, in this post, together, we are going to create your roadmap to a podcast people will talk about.

I’m going to share my best tips for planning, creating, distributing, and promoting a podcast. Oh, and by the way, that little bird also told me YOU ARE READY!

Podcasting is Exciting – But Don’t Start Recording Yet!

I know! Podcasting is so exciting that you just want to grab that microphone and record what you’ve had on your chest or ideas you’ve had in your brain for years, and shout it out to the world! I get it!

But slow down, because the key to having a podcast that performs well is to spend some time in the planning stage.

This is where you develop your podcast idea, choose your audience, and design your podcast on paper.

And we’re going right into it!

Develop A Podcast Concept

Choosing the right podcast concept for your new podcast is a big part of attracting the right listeners and staying committed to your show.

Use these tips to narrow your niche and clarify your message:

Define your goals.

Why do you want to start a podcast? It’s important to know your why, even if it’s to have fun with friends.

Some good reasons for starting a podcast are:

  • To generate leads for a business
  • To be recognized as an industry leader
  • To share an important message

Podcasting has a lot of benefits for brands and businesses, but it’s important to be realistic about your goals.

While some podcasters shoot to fame, most have a small target audience that they build over time.

Pick A Podcast Theme or Topic.

You should feel excited to regularly discuss and research your podcast topic. The more you enjoy your topic, the less likely you’ll experience pod fades.

Once you have some ideas, do some market research to survey the competition in your genre.

Search your show’s topic on Google. Listen to a few episodes and ask yourself what you could do differently.

There’s always a unique angle or perspective to offer.

Make It Specific.

When you zero in on a niche, you attract a more specific and engaged audience. Podcasts that appeal to a broad audience can end up reaching fewer people.

People are also more likely to recommend a niche podcast to a friend than a generic one.

To make your podcast niche, focus on a sub-category or sub-demographic.

Drill down on what makes your podcast different. What unique perspective can you bring to your podcast’s topic?

Name Your Podcast.

Your podcast name is a core part of your brand. It makes a strong first impression on listeners and sets the tone for your podcast.

Podcast names should be specific and succinct, available, memorable, and similar to your business name or brand.

Once you have a title in mind, run it through a podcast name checker to ensure the social media accounts and domains are available. You also don’t want to use someone else’s podcast name.

CHOOSE YOUR PODCAST FORMAT.

Your format should complement your podcast and feel sustainable.

Ask yourself what gives you energy. Do you love connecting with podcast guests, or do you feel your best-going solo?

If you choose to have cohosts, try to keep your group small. Podcasting with more than two or three people makes scheduling a challenge.

Keep in mind that some shows require more production than others. For instance, fiction podcasts usually require more editing than interview podcasts.

These are some common podcast formats:

  • Interview podcasts
  • Cohosted podcasts
  • Scripted non-fiction
  • Scripted fiction
  • News Recap
  • Educational podcasts

make your episodes as long as they need to be and no longer.

Some podcasts are less than five minutes long, and others have episodes the length of a short audiobook.

Podcasting can be a full-time job or something you do on the side. You might decide to publish daily or every two years like Serial.

We recommend publishing once a week to develop a connection with listeners and create the habit of producing consistent content.

SET UP PODCAST RECORDING EQUIPMENT.

You don’t have to buy expensive equipment to have good audio. Lots of popular podcasts have a basic setup.

A good podcast mic enhances your audio quality and makes editing easier. Less background noise in your recording means less editing on the backend.

Here are a few to consider before getting your first podcast mic:

Dynamic or condenser.

Dynamic microphones work best for podcasting. They pick up lower frequencies and have less sensitivity. This means you’ll have less background noise to edit out later.

Condenser mics have more sensitivity and pick up a wider range of frequencies. Sensitivity is good for recording music but isn’t ideal for spoken word.

XLR or USB.

Podcast mics have two types of connections: XLR or USB.

XLR mics give you maximum flexibility. There are a lot of XLR mics to choose from, and they usually have a long life. But XLR mics require an interface or mixer to hook up. This can get expensive for beginners.

USB microphones are less expensive and plug directly into your computer. You can also run it through an interface if you record with multiple people.

USB mics are affordable, practical, and sound great. This mic is the best option for the majority of podcasters.

CHOOSE YOUR PODCAST SOFTWARE.

Once you’ve recorded your podcast, it’s time to make edits. This is where you can structure your episode and optimize audio.

Fortunately, podcast editing software is often affordable. There are even some high-quality, free podcast editing tools.

If you frequently do remote interviews, you’ll need software specifically for long-distance recordings. A few examples are Riverside.fm, SquadCast, and Zoom.

RECORD YOUR FIRST EPISODE.

Recording your episode requires a little preparation on the front end. Please follow these three steps to set yourself up for success:

Write a podcast outline.

Rambling is one of the most common mistakes new podcasters make, and the best way to fight this tendency is by writing a podcast script or outline.

Even taking a few minutes to jot down a list of bullet points will dramatically improve the flow of your episode.

If you’re working with a cohost, share the outline with them so you can work on it together.

Pick a good place to record.

If possible, record in a quiet room with lots of furniture, curtains, rugs, or carpet.

Noise bounces off of hard, flat surfaces, so eliminate these where you can. You can also sound treat your space with foam panels on the walls.

Set up your recording equipment and software.

Connect your mic to your computer or audio recording device.

If you have a USB mic, plug the cable into your computer’s USB port. However, you have multiple hosts, run each mic through an audio interface and plug the interface into the computer.

If you have an XLR mic, connect its cable to a USB interface or an external audio recording device like the Podtrak P4.

Once plugged in, go to your audio editing software settings and select your audio input.

Try recording yourself talking at a consistent volume at several different positions. Then, listen to the recording to see which position gave you the best audio quality.

Don’t worry about mistakes, stammers, or silence. You can make your edits in the next step.

EDIT YOUR AUDIO.

Podcast editing is primarily for cleaning up the audio and making basic changes to the structure. Try to keep the process simple. If you focus too much on production, you’ll get overwhelmed.

These tips can help you streamline your editing workflow:

Create an engaging intro and outro.

Your podcast intro tells your audience what you’re about, and the value your podcast brings. When done well, your intro hooks listeners and convinces them to stick around for the whole episode.

You can get royalty-free music for no cost or purchase your show’s intro music through Sound stripe, Audio Jungle, or Story Blocks.

Edit for content, then distractions.

Edit for content on your first pass and work on noise issues or other distractions on your second go-around.

If you focus on noise issues too early, you might polish sections you remove later on. Focus on getting the content right first, then double back to fix audio issues.

Fade between tracks to remove unwanted noise.

When you cut sections of audio, you can sometimes get little pops or clicks in the finished product.

Use the fade tool at the beginning and end of clips if you run into those issues.

CREATE PODCAST ARTWORK.

Your podcast cover art is the first thing potential listeners see.

Good artwork implies quality content, and 62% of new listeners are more likely to listen to a podcast if they like its cover art.

The 5 main tips to make your podcast artwork stand out are:

Visually communicate the subject of the podcast.

Potential listeners should know what your podcast is about just by looking at your artwork. Too much symbolism or ambiguity can turn people away.

Design for a variety of sizes.

You will use your artwork across several mediums and platforms, so it must look good even at 55 x 55 pixels.

Don’t use too many words or fonts.

Don’t use more than four words on your cover art, and make sure it’s legible even in small sizes. You should also limit yourself to two complementary fonts.

Avoid podcast imagery.

Just as movie covers don’t have pictures of DVDs and TV sets, your podcast cover art shouldn’t show podcasting equipment. You don’t need to remind people that they’re listening to a podcast

Use consistent branding.

Your podcast artwork is a part of your overall branding. Feel free to make subtle changes to artwork to fit various layouts and pages, but the imagery should stay consistent.

LAUNCH AND GROW YOUR SHOW.

When it’s time to launch your podcast, you have two options. Choose whichever one feels best to you.

Strategy #1: The grand opening.

A grand opening is when you build hype for your show before its launch. This is the approach used by most podcasters with an existing following.

Pick a launch date a few weeks away and reach out to people who might be interested.

You can pay for ads, submit to Apple Podcasts’ New and Noteworthy, or reach out to publications.

Strategy #2: The soft open.

A soft open is more discreet. With this method, you publish episodes as if people are listening, but wait to promote your episodes.

This strategy lets you get comfortable, iron out kinks, and overcome imposter syndrome.

When you see your podcast succeed in a lower-pressure environment, promoting it more confidently is easier.

A lot of podcasters feel like a fraud when they first start. Maybe you dislike your voice or feel inadequate to speak on your topic.

It’s easy to sideline yourself, but you have a valuable perspective to offer. Know that this is a normal phase of podcasting that gets easier.

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