Starting a Podcast Checklist for the Perfect Summer Refresh

Graphic showing a Phone with a checklist amidst a glowing beach setting

Picture yourself lounging on a sun-soaked beach as you gaze out at the sparkling water stretching into the horizon. The breeze. The waves. The quiet. But even in this idyllic paradise, the same nagging questions linger: “What am I missing? What else should I be doing for my podcast to grow?”

Whether you’re a seasoned podcaster or a first-time visitor to the island of podcast “what-ifs,” these questions are as common as sand on the shoreline.

But fear not. Starting a podcast checklist is the best way to ensure you dive into summer with refreshed enthusiasm, renewed goals, and intentional purpose. Even better? Our podcast checklist includes a boatload of hidden treasures to help you reassess workflows, tools, and your podcast community. 

So slip on your flip-flops and grab your sunscreen because we’re going to set sail with some fresh ways to ensure you meet your podcasting goals.

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Graphic of a happy podcaster next to a note from a fan that reads, "One of my favorite podcasts ever. I listen every day on my way to work!"

1 - Reconnect with Your Podcast Audience

Your first step in starting a podcast checklist will be to do what comes naturally during those “lazy” months of summer: gathering with family and friends. And this, of course, includes your most loved podcasting peeps — your audience!

Your podcast listeners have likely provided some of the most important feedback you have received to date, but as podcast episodes accrue, it can be easy to overlook this input, good and bad.

So, go back and visit! Remember when you first formulated a hypothesis about your target audience as part of your podcast planning? Think about it. Is your audience still who you once thought they were? How have they changed? Do you need to adjust your insights? Re-target? Maybe take a look at how some other projections have evolved.

Our beginners’ guide, How to Start a Podcast in 10 Easy Steps is always available and a great resource to return to periodically throughout your podcasting career, especially if you are looking for a gentle reminder of some podcasting basics.

Next, take a look at past podcast episodes that sparked feedback from podcast listeners that you meant to implement at the time but somehow missed. Is it still a good idea? You can still do it!

And, while you’re at it, be sure to revisit those feel-good comments, suggestions, emails, and encouragement; they may be just the recharge you need. Want a little extra motivation? Print out some of your favorites and post them somewhere you’ll see them often. Let the positive thoughts do their work! 

Better yet, reach out directly to your audience and ask for new feedback or insights. Commentary on everything from sound quality to show notes is worthy of reflection.

Simple Ways to Gather Feedback and Connect

Every good podcast launch checklist includes envisioning your potential audience. Continuing to drive that connection is often what sustains a podcaster beyond starting a podcast and keeps them podcasting. A successful podcast is always one that really knows who’s listening!

Graphic showing a computer screen with podcast stats and graphs.

2 - Dive Deeper into Podcast Stats

You may already have a solid grasp of your podcast’s growth, but have you explored broader podcasting industry metrics? They might surprise you. 

Industry and podcast platform data can offer valuable insights into how your podcast stacks up to the competition. By understanding your podcast’s performance and industry trends, you might uncover new ways to evolve your show, if not now, in the months ahead. Maybe your podcast format or topic could use a little refinement.

Podcast Stats — Industry Resources

Podcast Stats — Podcaster Resources

Podcast hosts like Libsyn offer stats that aggregate data from podcast platforms like the ones below, but you can also look at individual platform data to compare behaviors and see where your podcast is most popular.

Libsyn will combine the overall downloads from these channels into your downloads per destination reporting, but it is worth going into the platform to get a more detailed view of listener behavior.

For instance, your podcast topic might be more popular on some directories and apps than others. This might indicate where your potential listeners are coming from and what channels you might want to optimize further. 

Cartoon speech bubble that asks "What's New?"

3 - Check For Podcast Hosting Service Updates

Your podcast hosting service might be one of the most overlooked opportunities to lighten your podcast publishing workflow. Streamlining your workload will leave more room for creativity and fresh content ideas — the stuff podcasters thrive on!

Podcast hosting platforms are always improving both front-end features (the ones you see) and back-end infrastructure (the things you don’t see). Together, they work to support your podcast publishing needs, ensuring your RSS feed delivers episodes with speed and reliability. 

Before you purchase a third-party subscription or seek a solution outside of your hosting provider, check to be sure your current platform doesn’t already provide a solution. 

Save that money and time for the beach!

Areas of Innovation to Consider:

Find Your Podcast Hosting Platform Updates

Podcast hosts have many ways of keeping their podcasters aware of improvements. You’ll want to pay attention to how your host communicates the addition of tools or features and take time to engage with the information that they publish. They are here to help!

Live Webinars & Q&A: Join the next onboarding or educational webinar that they offer — Libsyn offers two a month on YouTube.

Social Media: Follow your podcast host on social media platforms — pick your preferred channel. Libsyn’s favorites are Instagram and LinkedIn.

Blog: If you have never read a single blog post from your podcast host, this might be a great spot to start your summer reading. New product announcements and podcasting tips are always being added. 

Granted, starting a podcast is all about that bigger-than-life podcast idea. But, maintaining a podcast is all about discovering new ways to stay inspired and minimize the more menial work. Podcast hosts work hard to keep their podcasters ready for the next thing. 

And, of course, different podcast hosting platforms offer different options. If one has a feature you like but you are already committed to another, send an email to your current podcast hosting service and see if they plan to add the same feature soon. 

Remember, a new feature on a different platform may need a few months to work out all the bugs, so jumping to another platform quickly can sometimes not be the best move. 

Example of how episode artwork looks in an app on a phone

4 - Consider Adding Podcast Episode Artwork

Your podcast artwork (aka show cover art) is often a potential listener’s first impression of your show. Podcast directories feature your show artwork, but because of character limits, they often clip longer titles and/or your podcast description when displayed on preview screens. 

If you haven’t given much thought to your podcast artwork, now might be the perfect time to optimize and improve it. But rather than overhauling your entire podcast brand (show artwork), consider adding episode artwork (distinct, intriguing artwork unique to each episode) to promote more engagement with your podcast and strengthen your podcast theme. 

The best part? You can get started right now with new podcast episodes and then go back to add artwork to older episodes over time. 

At Libsyn, episode artwork is uploaded and published with your episode audio files through your RSS feed. 

Here are Spotify’s guidelines for podcast episode artwork. You may have to choose between optimizing for one platform over the other. If you need some additional inspiration, Canva also offers some great podcast artwork templates

Not all podcast hosting services support uploading episode artwork, so be sure yours does. Libsyn supports episode artwork in two sizes: one for publishing a podcast to YouTube and the other, the standard square size. 

How episode artwork appears in Apple Podcasts.

Episode artwork for "What Secrets Do Pets Tell a Psychic" podcast
Episode artwork for "Lore" podcast
Episode artwork for "The Feed" podcast

Show artwork moves to the lower left corner and the episode artwork is featured when both are published in Apple Podcasts.

All summer long, people will be scrolling through their favorite podcast apps and podcast directories looking for content to keep them entertained. Have you taken the time to see what your podcast listing looks like in these apps? If you have completed checklist item number 2 above, you should have a good idea of where your audience is concentrated.

5 - See What Your Potential Listeners See

Now, put yourself in your listeners’ shoes. How are they finding your podcast? What do they perceive? With that knowledge in hand, take a look at the items below:

Search: Is your podcast showing up with searches relating to your podcast topic? How many other shows are covering your same niche? What does the competition look like?

Podcast Title and Description: How does yours look, and is it being clipped at a critical point?

Featured Content Sections: Are there new opportunites for your podcast to be featured? Did you know you can submit your podcast to be showcased on Amazon Podcasts and Apple Podcasts?

New Features and Functionality: Apple Podcasts released podcast transcripts for all podcasts in Spring 2023; this is a great asset to share with your audience as it helps with accessibility. 

What your show looked like in a podcast directory when you published your first podcast episode may look entirely different now. If you need to make changes, most can be made on your podcast hosting service; podcasting directories are automatically updated.

It can take up to 24 to 48 hours for the directory to update, so don’t expect any corrections to appear immediately.  

6 - Expand Your Podcast Horizons

Happy podcaster surrounded with a variety of colorful podcast formats like long-form, short-form, storytelling, etc.

One of the best ways to find inspiration in the ever-evolving world of podcasts is to listen to other podcasts. We often fall in love with a podcast and new episodes just keep coming, so we’re entertained and look no further. But why?

Your first episode should not be the point where you stop evolving. Creators are constantly experimenting and you can, too. Explore podcasts from a different point of view, looking for a podcast format and publishing schedule that is different from your own.

Some Podcast Concepts to Explore:

This summer, we encourage you to head to uncharted waters and listen purposefully to learn something new. Remember, finding out what you don’t want to do is just as important as discovering what you do want to do. 

Collage of many podcast conferences from Podfest to SXSW

7 - Go Where the Podcasters Go

Beyond your audience, the podcasting community should be an important source of inspiration and learning. Connecting with your fellow podcasters can mean anything from attending a national podcasting conference (travel, hotels, registration, etc.) to participating in an online webinar or local meetup. 

Most podcast hosts offer sessions to help their podcasters stay up-to-date and honing their podcast skills. These are a great way to meet other podcasters as well as to learn.  At Libsyn, we offer two live events each month designed so that our podcasters have an opportunity to interact with one another as well as get their questions answered!

Whether attended in person or virtually, these gatherings offer valuable opportunities for growth and collaboration. Make it a priority to attend at least one conference or in-person event and maybe a few live events or webinars (topics are always changing) now through the end of the year. 

Annual Podcast Conferences

Some of these have already taken place for 2024, but it’s worth keeping them on the list for future planning.

If you are looking for local meetups to help you form a closer community of resources, check out the Podnews Events page. You can also submit your own event. So many life-long friendships and even co-hosts have been found through personal interactions. You never know who you will meet and how they might impact your podcast.

Graphic checklist for Brand Alignment, including Audio, Website, and Social branding.

8 - Review Your Podcast Listener Touchpoints

When you first decided to start a podcast, you likely had a podcast launch checklist. It included your goals, vision, graphics, a brilliant podcast concept, who your future audience would be, and maybe even an ideal publishing schedule. Did it all work out the way you planned? It’s ok if things change. Now is a good time to consider what adjustments, if any, could be made to re-align. 

A successful podcast regularly examines and refines these primary podcast listener touchpoints. Reviewing your progress will keep your podcast fresh. Plan and set a calendar reminder to review your podcast at least twice a year; quarterly would be even better! 

Audio Branding

Review your audio branding elements, such as podcast intro music, sound effects, and podcast trailer. These audio cues help to create a memorable and immersive listening experience for your audience and reinforce your podcast’s identity.

Now might be a great time to consider updating or improving your intro or outro music or having Bunny Studio create custom intros and outros with podcast music that is unique to your show. 

You can also consider creating a podcast trailer. Brian from Libsyn shares how to do this in the video below. Don’t stress if you didn’t think of any of these things when you were starting a podcast; it’s not too late to do them now!

Website and Landing Pages

Your podcast website may be provided by your podcast host, you may have your own website, or perhaps you have purchased a site designed specifically for podcasters by a company like Pair Networks.

In all cases, your site should include the basic elements below to ensure visitors can quickly listen to your content and further interact with you and your podcast. 

  1. Links to your podcast on the top podcast app directories.
  2. Show notes or episode descriptions full of links and resources from your latest episode. Time-coded show notes are a bonus! 
  3. A podcast player with all your episodes or individual players for each episode, depending on your need for page load speed. 
  4. A page about YOU and your co-host (if you have one) that shares why you created the show.
  5. Your contact information so listeners and others can connect with you.
  6. Your social media accounts. 

These are the bare minimum requirements that should be included and optimized from time to time. Is your podcast description outdated? Have you updated your bio with new achievements, milestones, and noteworthy guests you have interviewed? Get to work on shining everything up and ask a helpful friend to look it over for mistakes. 

Social Media Profiles

Review and optimize your social media profiles to consistently reflect your podcast’s brand identity. Update profile pictures, cover photos, and bio sections with branded imagery and messaging. Use consistent branding elements across all social media platforms to reinforce brand recognition.

Graphic entitled Gear and Production Check listing Microphone, Headphones, and Software

9 - Listen to Audio Quality & Check Gear

This may “sound” like a no-brainer, but it is never a bad time to listen to your own podcast and consider how your production choices impact the experience of the podcast listener. In fact, any maintenance podcast checklist should include reviewing your episode audio files for improvement. It should also include consideration of podcast equipment to see if it’s time for an upgrade or replacement. 

Production can evolve over time. Investing in new podcast equipment, editing software, or a podcast microphone could improve your audio recording and help keep your audience engaged. 

Audio Editing and Production Quality Tips

Podcast Equipment Recommendations

Consider your budget and consult other podcasters before purchasing. Your audio podcast may need new recording software or podcasting equipment in order to deliver the polished vision you have for your content. But then again, there is nothing wrong with the basics.

Libsyn Ads logo in Black & Teal

10 - Make Money Podcasting — Explore!

When was the last time you looked at monetization opportunities for your podcast? Have you grown since then? Take some time to explore options like Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and podcast ads, but don’t stop there. Consider ALL the ways that what you create can be of worth to someone who wants to reach your demographics. 

Start by reading this blog outlining How to Make Money Podcasting | 10 Monetization Strategies. You may get some ideas you hadn’t thought of before!


Apple Podcasts introduced subscriptions for podcasts so creators could offer premium content to subscribers. Consider creating exclusive bonus episodes or ad-free versions of your podcast to attract listeners willing to pay a little extra for access to special content.

We make it easy to create an Apple Podcasts Subscription with Libsyn.

Podcast Ads

If you’re considering podcast advertising, an ad network like Libsyn Ads connects podcasters and advertisers for programmatic advertising opportunities and dynamic and host-read campaigns

Check out the Libsyn Blog for monthly podcast advertising rates so you know what is reasonable to expect as a creator.

If making money from your podcast or at least covering your podcast expenses is one of your goals, why not pick one or two new ways to monetize and give yourself an end-of-year deadline? You’d be surprised what you can learn and accomplish in six months!

Soak Up Progress & Sunshine This Summer

Trying to complete every task on this podcast checklist at once is like trying to surf every wave in the ocean. Instead, pick the wave that feels just right. Select a few actionable items and work on them with patience and perseverance. And don’t forget to have a little fun along the way. 

Whether you’re sprucing up your show artwork with a splashy makeover or fearlessly discarding your least promising idea, each step you take brings you closer to podcasting success. 

Let this summer be the season your podcast shines brightest!

Extraordinary Podcasting For All

Use code “creator” for up to 2 months free when you start podcasting or move to Libsyn.

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