How to Start a Podcast: Beginner’s Guide

This article will tell you everything you need to know about how to start a podcast. We will cover a lot of topics: from recording to editing and even where to host your podcast.

What types of podcasts are there?

As you may already know, there are many types of podcasts. Various podcasts genres, subcategories and niches, from the widest to the most specific. And there are enough interested listeners for each of them.

But in addition to the categories, there are different podcast formats, ranging from monologues to interviews or even social gatherings. So here we tell you which types of podcast you can choose, considering which is the one that best suits your style and situation.

Solo podcast

You can choose a format in which you speak about a specific topic in a monologue. This means that you take a particular aspect of your theme in each episode and develop it throughout the episode. In this case, you need to have a script in which you have a guide on all the subtopics, the order in which you will address them, and the time you will spend on each issue.

Good examples of this type of podcast are Casefile and Monday Morning Podcast.

This is a very structured and very safe way to work. You can follow a line episode after episode, or you can also do make the episodes without a needed order to listen to them. A great example of this is history shows, in which episodes do not have a chronological order. An example of this is the classic Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History.

Interview podcast

This type of podcast also requires planning but in another way. You must schedule who you are going to interview and when and how you will do it. You need to know that you will have access to at least five personalities in your area or that they have something to add to your podcast for the next episodes.

It is good to have a list of confirmed guests and already recorded episodes, so you do not compromise your frequency if something unexpected happens both to you or the interviewee.

Interview podcast

You will need to do some networking and calls to establish the day and time. If you and the interviewee will be in the same room, it is necessary to arrange where you will record. If not, you must agree on which application you will make the call.

Before the interview, you must plan the lines of the talk. It is good that you discuss this with your interviewee. Have they published a book lately? In that case, it will be interesting to talk about it. Is there a question that they prefer to avoid? Well, it is also essential to be in tune.

You must be updated regarding their career, professional performance, their latest public interventions, etc. If you are going to have an interviews podcast, you must be good at preparing and performing them, and this does not only depend on having the best guests.

The most popular podcast now is an interview podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, which presents long-form interviews with the most exciting personalities of this time and the most outrageous points of view from Joe Rogan.

Other great interviews podcasts are the Lex Fridman show, oriented towards science and technology, or the On Purpose with Jay Shetty, in the self-development genre.

The panel shows

This is an excellent option if you decided to make a podcast, but you like to work in a team, and you know that your friends or colleagues also have exciting things to say. You can call them to contribute to different sections of your program.

Thus, your podcast will be more dynamic, and you will also be able to delegate part of the content generation to them, but one of the main benefits of this practice will be that they will add listeners and areas of influence among all. Surely everyone who participates or cooperates in your podcast will disseminate it among their family group, work environment, and social networks.

Some examples of panel podcasts are The Beancast, versed on marketing, and from a completely different field, the Slate produced Mom and Dad are fighting, about how to parenting.

How do I make my podcast popular?

To make your podcast popular, make sure you create great content. If your podcast is good, it will attract listeners’ attention, and if it is excellent, it will attract everyone’s attention. Great content always wins.

While one of the significant advantages of having a podcast is that the podcast world is less crowded than the blogs world. There is already quite some competition, though, so you want your podcast to stand out from all the rest.

But in addition to betting on quality (which your podcast will gain over time), you must attend to other issues related to optimisation within directories so that listeners choose it for the first time.

How do I pick a good podcast name?

To pick a good podcast name, keep in mind that the audience will read in a long list of options in any podcast app. Therefore, it is good to study and analyse the podcast names in your niche and their performance.

Your podcast name must be catchy and attractive but specific, without being too long.

Are you already a recognised personality in your professional field? Then it will be interesting that your name appears in the podcast.

Are you working on a very new and specific topic? This will surely attract a niche audience that was waiting for a podcast like yours to arrive.

Some classic, massive podcast shows have catchy, thrilling short names, such as ‘How I built this, ‘99% Invisible’, ‘Business Wars’ or ‘Startalk’.

It is also good to think about the description of your show and the keywords. Not only do they function as metadata for listeners to find you, but they also serve to constantly guide you and stay in the line of your podcast.

How often should I podcast?

You must decide the frequency and duration of the podcast. To choose the frequency, you must seriously think about how much time you can commit to the program, then you will know how often you can podcast

Do you have a whole day a week for it? Does it take you a day to prepare an episode? So you can go out weekly.

Publishing a podcast takes time for preparation, recording and editing.

listen podcast

You will get skilled while practising, and it will probably take much longer to edit your first few hours than the subsequent episodes. But you should keep in mind that it will always require work (or money, if someone else does it for you). So what matters the most is to be regular and consistent.

If you plan to go in short episodes, then a weekly release is an option.

Some super popular podcasts launch several times a week (The Joe Rogan experience), while smaller productions go live weekly or every two weeks. What matters is that you don’t lose contact with your audience.

There is an excellent example of a podcast with highly irregular episode releases, The Hardcore History. However, each release is absolutely magnificent and a complete success.

How many minutes should a podcast be?

One of the significant advantages of podcasting over the radio is that it does not have regular, previously agreed times. Therefore, everything is fine if an episode has to last more or less than another, and there is no rule about how many minutes a podcast should be.

This does not mean that we make a 5 minutes episode and next week a 120 minutes episode and so on because we have to keep in mind that the listeners get used to a certain length and have expectations about the duration of our podcast.

Some of the most successful podcasts are long-format interviews, with hours per episode (as the Joe Rogan Experience), while the average podcast duration is 43 minutes (close to this is the super famous Dr Death). News podcasts are slightly shorter, like Today in focus (The Guardian). Podcasts for children are remarkably short, designed considering their attention span.

How do I record a podcast?

You may have many practical and technical doubts about how to record a podcast. Here we tell you everything you need to know to record your podcast and publish it.

How can I record a podcast at home?

It is essential to record your podcast in a place where there is little ambient sound and echo. Assuming that you will be recording the first few episodes of your podcast at home, an isolated room with many fabrics to absorb the sound is ideal.

The best (funny) places are the bedroom (between the blankets on the bed) or the closet. A lot of podcasters choose their car to record their podcast because of the acoustics. Therefore, it is advisable to plan the recording when no one is home to ensure that there will be no unforeseen noises. If you do it in another room in the house, you can arrange towels between the furniture and walls.

record podcast at home

If you have guests in the same physical place and want to record your podcast in a workspace, you must occupy a small office, preferably with curtains and without echo, better to leave the coats inside because the fabrics are good at absorbing sound. You should also make sure that no phones will ring or conversations will be heard in the adjoining offices.

A studio is clearly the ideal space, but it is often difficult to have one, especially if it is a self-funded and low-budget show, like most podcasts in the beginning. We hope their “real life” solutions can help you to start recording.

Techniques and hardware for podcast recording

You will need a computer to record and edit your podcast.

You can start recording with an inexpensive USB microphone. Avoid getting too close to it and use it from the side, thus avoiding explosive sounds, especially words that begin with “p” or “b”. Leave five seconds of silence before starting to talk, this will help you clean the ambient sound, and you can cut it when editing.

If you are podcasting solo, the hardest part is that speaking alone into a microphone feels unnatural. However, there is a trick that you can put into practice: imagine that you are speaking with a single person, with the ideal listener (your client, the person interested in your area of ​​knowledge, a person in your audience if you are making a comedy podcast) and pick up from there to overcome the weirdness of speaking alone.

What can I use to edit a podcast?

You must choose the program to record, which is the same that you will use for editing your podcast. Below, we will tell you about different options to determine the best one for you.

We will tell you the simplest alternatives (with user-friendly interfaces for any non-technical user) and the cheapest ones. These are recommended apps to start recording your podcast.

record podcast

If you are working from a Windows computer, the most affordable option to start with is Audacity. This is a free editing program and works on all systems.

The software is customisable, and it offers from the most basic tools to the most professional ones. It can be a bit complex at first and don’t expect to be editing in a matter of half an hour, but if you have a little patience, it is nothing that you cannot solve with the many explanatory videos and online tutorials available.

GarageBand. This option is also free, and its use is simple for first-timers, but it only works with Mac devices, where it is usually pre-installed. On the other hand, the interface of this software is more straightforward than the one of Audacity, and therefore it is easier to use from the beginning.

Alitu is a very convenient alternative and has many automated technical procedures, from cleaning the audio and regulating the volume to the direct publication of each episode. There you can edit segments and also add music. Of course, this is paid software, but it is very convenient.

When you listen to your first recordings, you will notice that it is necessary to clean up many sounds, not only the ambient sound but the explosive sounds in front of the microphone, in addition to the “ehms” and “uhms”. You may also decide to cut parts or alternate them. Finally, if you edit an interview, you should show the final result to the guest.

Can you record a virtual interview?

Yes, it´s possible to record high-quality virtual interviews. However, if you plan to include remote interviews in your podcast, you need a program to call the interviewee. There are several exciting alternatives now. We will review them in the following lines.

virtual interview

The popular Zoom platform has an option to record the conversation. This is the simplest and cheapest alternative, although it is not the best quality or safest with all the connections.

Cleanfeed allows anyone to send, receive and record live audio using just a browser. It is one of the best options for people looking to record calls for free.

Other programs guarantee higher quality and functionality, although paid. Non the less, you can use their basic plans, which are usually free. For example, Zencastr has a great free option: it allows you to record up to eight hours a month with two guests.

Squadcast is a great low-cost alternative, plus you don’t need to install anything. Audio is recorded locally while progressively uploading, and backups are saved to the cloud. In addition, it is possible to have multiple people remotely, with a host and up to three guests.

How do I make a podcast intro?

Some shows have highly developed introductions. Others prefer to start the podcast content from the first second. If you want to have an intro for your podcast, it must be very good, original and short. There are some sites to get podcast music:

If you want a free option, you can find the theme for your intro in Incompetech. The problem with this portal is that many people use it, and the content became very common.

Another option is Envato Market. There you can find royalty-free music (which will also be repeated everywhere), but you can also buy pieces for significantly reduced prices, starting at one dollar.

If you have a minimum budget, you can ensure unique content. For example, with only $ 12, you can get music at Audioblocks. Although this is a monthly service, you can cancel after paying a single subscription and obtain up to three tracks of the cheapest level with it.

How do I make a podcast cover?

When you have your first episodes ready, you can design your podcast cover. Having the audio before designing the logo and ensuring its concept, idea, and style fit is suggested. To design the cover art, avoid anything related to microphones, audio, listening.

The fact that it is audio content is taken for granted. Adding a microphone to your podcast’s logo would be like printing a screen on the symbol of a series because you watch it on television. So instead, your graphic must talk about your theme and the spirit of your show.

If the podcast is part of a larger project with its brand identity, the company brand logo and theme solve it. If you are a reference personality in your environment and your face is known, then a powerful portrait of you is the right thing to do. If none of these is your case, then it will be necessary to design from scratch.

The only rules to consider are size, format and weight: it must be a square piece, 1400 x 1400 pixels, in JPG or PNG format, and weigh less than 500kb.

The best option is always to hire a designer. If you already have one, you can continue with them, but if not, you can contact designers through 99designs, Upwork or Freelancer.

If you are going to design, Canva is the easiest free tool to use. In addition, there is a reserve of royalty free or inexpensive photos and elements that you can use in your design.

If you are good at handling slightly more complex programs, then Photopea is an excellent program to design, although the interface is not very user-friendly. You can find many free images at publicdomainvectors.com and at Free SVG and work from there.

Where can I host my podcast?

Now that you have all the content, it’s time to upload it. For this, you need a hosting platform for your podcast. This is where your podcast will “live.” Buzzsprout is the most popular and cheapest option: you can host your podcast there for just $ 12 a month. If you plan to go big with your podcast, you should hire a more extensive service from the beginning.

listen to podcast

Captivate (an Adobe program) is an excellent option for multiple shows and growth functions, with a $ 19 monthly subscription of $ 19 (this is useful if, for example, you work in marketing and you are carrying podcasts from different clients).

Transistor will be your best option if your podcast is private, also for $ 19 a month. This is an excellent option for a corporate podcast or for those available with a paid subscription only.

When you have chosen the hosting service, then you must upload the files. Each platform will guide you in a different way to do it. The hosting server will store all your audio files and will also distribute them between the different directories.

All the episodes are compiled into a podcast feed that people can subscribe to and listen to on-demand. Therefore, it is worth making sure that you are on the main sites so that all listeners can find you.

This is an action that you will perform only once because then the hosting service takes care of doing it subsequently. If you have your own website, you want to embed the player for each episode there.

What should I put on my podcast website?

If you want to add notes to your show in addition to the audio, you want to have a website. In these notes, you can write an extensive description of the episode and notes about what has been discussed. Did you quote books? There you can indicate them or even market them with the Amazon affiliate program.

You can also refer to online material, and movies discussed or indicate the music heard during the show. It is possible to include a full podcast transcript and illustrative images per episode.

If you want to receive donations, you can link the different platforms that enable them, such as Patreon or Ko-fi.

Can I host a podcast on my website?

You can add your podcast to your website if you already have one. If you don’t have a website yet, several podcast hosting services also offer you to build decent websites. You can also make one with WordPress; navigation is optimal, looks good, and is easy and inexpensive to make.

We hope this article helps you to start your podcast. In the following articles, we will specifically work on some of the steps outlined here and other issues that will guide you to make your podcast.

Now you can start your podcast!

FAQ

How to make a podcast?

To make a podcast, you need basic recording and editing audio tools to make a podcast: a program that allows you to record and edit audio, a microphone and headphones. For a quick start, you can use all of them on your mobile phone. Once you have your audio clip, you need an internet connection to upload the podcast and host it on a podcast platform.

How do I record a podcast?

To record a podcast, you can start with the built-in microphone on your smartphone or laptop. You can later invest in a professional microphone and headphones for more audio quality. You can use different types of recording software, from the basic one of your device to the one you will use to edit the audio later.

How much does it cost to start a podcast?

The cost to start a podcast depends on how much you want to invest, the type of podcast you have in mind and the quality you want it to have. The investment can go from zero to buying software or hardware or even paying another person to help you out.
You can also pay a producer to develop your whole show (this is very common in the case of corporate podcasts).

How much should I charge to do a podcast?

The amount you should charge to make a podcast partly depends on the technical level involved. Keep into account that when you get paid to make a podcast, you are also charging for your knowledge about audio content creation.
You could also imagine how much you would pay someone to do the same job. Finally, calculate the time it takes you to make the product and your experience with the content. Both elements have value.

Can you make money with a podcast?

It can take time and patience, but the answer is yes. With sponsorships, donations, advertising, or affiliate marketing, you can make money with your podcast.
You can use sponsorship to monetise your podcast. There are several fundraising platforms where diverse patrons can donate (such as Patreon or Kofi). Another option is the sponsorship systems built into the playback platforms. You can also use other ways, such as affiliate marketing or commissions for mentioning a brand in your show.

What platform do podcasters use?

The most popular podcast platforms are Spreaker, Podbean and Anchor. If you are looking for a platform for your show, consider that it is essential to use a host that generates an RSS feed to place your podcast in the most popular directories and helps you with its distribution.

Where can I upload a podcast for free?

You can record and upload your podcast to the internet for free with Anchor. You can record, edit and upload the audio with your phone and distribute it on different audio platforms. However, this is a basic platform; if you want an advanced option, try Buzzsprout or Spreaker.

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