How To Start a Podcast
Let’s start by breaking your podcasting journey down into a series of corresponding articles that will help walk you through the steps. This is the first on what makes a good podcast. Before we get into that, know this: starting a podcast is like making favorite recipes: there are the fundamental ingredients, but it’s that secret, unexpected something you bring to it that really makes it irresistible.
Also, like a recipe, the volume of ingredients vary—a little more in this one, a little less in that—and what if you have dietary needs? The whole thing needs to be re-thought out! All this to say, take what works, let go of anything that doesn’t, and let’s get started on a podcast today!
What’s YOUR Big Podcasting Idea?
Do you teach a SAT prep course?
Have you started a non-profit for wildlife rescue?
Are you the author of a robot cartoon?
Do you offer consulting services for real estate management?
Are you obsessed with Taylor Swift?
Write your ideas down. You’ll be surprised how fast an idea can go from coherent to nebulous, but don’t let this stop you from brainstorming!
Your area of expertise + your passion + your audience = your podcast
Your area of expertise or interest is a great starting point to create a show. The fuel to keep you podcasting is your passion and excitement about the subject. For some of you, this might be clear, others might spend time wisely really trying to figure it out.
Whatever your area of interest/expertise and most importantly, what you are obsessed with, is the thing that will keep you podcasting.
But it is only the starting point. You also need this important ingredient: audience. Who is your intended audience and what are they interested in? Oftentimes, your expertise, passion and audience magically line up, but that’s not always the case. There might be times when the measurement of all of those ingredients might have to be adjusted, and tweaked based on the goal of your podcast.
Consider the Purpose of Your Podcast
When starting a podcast, we think it’s easiest to break down figuring out the purpose or goal of your podcast through these 3 tiers, all which can be laddered up or down.
Level 1: Make it Quick
If you want to give podcasting a go, are looking for a no-cost to low-cost entry point, and wondering how to start a podcast from home, Level 1 is for you.
Your podcasting purpose, at least for now, is to get online as simply and inexpensively as possible, knowing you’ll be set up properly to expand your efforts in the future if you want to.
Level 2: Polished and Professional
If you want to add podcasting to your marketing and outreach plan, and/or want to make your podcast its own business check out Level 2. At Level 2, you are ready to invest money and time in podcast equipment, podcasting workflows and possibly your podcasting production team. You are looking to create a more upscale podcasting experience for your audience. This level is ideal for a small-to-medium business or nonprofit, or for someone looking to build a new venture around their podcast.
Level 3: Go Big or Go Home
When only the best will do! If you have a vision for the best podcast ever and have the resources to invest on equipment, podcasting experts, a production team and systems to market and promote your show, Level 3 tips will teach you how to start a podcast business and/or guide you to creating a world-class show.
Note that we’ll be referencing this tri-level protocol as we navigate through the podcast onboarding experience, offering tips for starting a podcast along the way. Easy as 1–2–3!
Podcast Hosting Platforms
There are so many out there, and it can be a bit overwhelming. There are only a few podcast hosting sites that can fill your needs right now and as you grow.
Here are the top things to look for when choosing your the best podcast hosting platform for you:
- RSS feed 2.0 compatibility
- A show and episode media player
Exceptional offerings (nice to have)
- Advanced stats
- Integrated multi-podcast platform distribution
- Built-in social media marketing
- Podcast website
- Dynamic ad insertion
- Team management
- Podcast network support
Technology is a dynamic thing, so you want to be sure that you choose a podcast host that can keep up with your success and grow with you.
Libsyn is one of the best podcast hosting platforms because of its nearly two decades of reliability and dedication to the independent producer from beginners to corporations to long-time audio pros.
Libsyn prides itself in creating the podcasting environment and tools you need to succeed and remains the very best podcast hosting platform available. Plans are tiered to meet your needs, making your investment an easy match with your goals and budget
Free podcasting hosting services are currently not part of Libsyn’s packages but keep an eye out for possible solutions from Libsyn in the free podcast hosting category!
Start with what you have, that is the best option for a cheap podcast setup. Here’s the absolute minimum equipment to get started: at least a smartphone or a computer with an internal mic, as well as Garageband for Macs or the dual platform free Audacity software for editing. And, of course, the internet.
A step up would include a podcast quality microphone (preferably with a mic foam cover to mute hissing and popping) and a DAW digital audio workstation for editing. Audacity, mentioned above, is a solid choice. Some other well known powerful ones are Logic Pro for Macs or the dual-platform Hindenburg.
Clearly, there are various levels of podcast equipment that can be upgraded as you go, so we’ve broken them down to coincide with our three levels of podcasting in our Podcast Recording Equipment for All Levels article.
Regardless of what podcast equipment bundle you choose to get started, know that it is not necessarily the most expensive that does the best job. The real learning happens when you podcast.
Feeling like you’re ready to make the next move? Can’t wait to get started? You’re going to want to take some time naming your podcast. This is key to the future of your success. See how a little thinking about it will go a long, long way!