how-to-start-a-podcast2024

How to Start a Podcast

10 easy steps. Create a podcast today.

So many podcasts start out as a dream: “I’d love to … I wish I … Maybe I could … Wouldn’t it be fun? …” Well, now you’ve got a streamlined podcasting guide to start a podcast — TODAY!

These 10 steps will quickly help you learn how to start a podcast and keep podcasting.

STEP 1: Refine Your Podcast Concept

Your area of expertise or interest is a great starting point for your new podcast concept.

A clear concept ensures that your central idea attracts an audience you love and inspires numerous topics to cover for the life of your show.

Sound Advice: Your “WHY” (and ultimately your podcast) should = your expertise + your passion, + your audience.

Get clear about WHY you are starting a podcast.

When starting a podcast, think about what makes YOU want to be part of the podcast scene? Your “WHY” is your own.

Ask Yourself: WHY do I want to start a podcast?

  • Do you want to educate or inform people?
  • Are you championing a cause or an underserved community?
  • Is your podcast a lead generator or an entrepreneurial endeavor?
  • Do you and your friends have jokes the world needs to hear?
  • Are you the biggest superfan of a sports team with stats for days?
  • Are you uber-connected and want to interview exciting folks?
  • Do you feel like it? No agenda.
  • Do you want to talk to the world?

Getting clear on your WHY will help align your approach to creating your podcast.

Develop a Niche Podcast Topic that is Uniquely YOU

Pursuing a more niche topic can mean less competition and a larger audience. Below are some great examples of niche vs. more broad podcast topics.

Broad Topic → Niche Topic

I love Yoga → Yoga For the Spine

Managing ADHD → ADHD Motherhood

The Addams Family Fancast → Wednesday Addams Fancast

Consider how many people are interested in your topic AND what percent of those are listening to podcasts. For more on niche content, read Niche Content with Kate Erickson.

Sound Advice: A good place to start? Brainstorm at least 20 subtopics within your topic — was it easy? This quick test helps you see if your podcast idea can take you through a year of podcast episodes.

Start a podcast topic list with AI

Online artificial intelligence (AI) tools can help you with ideas for podcast episodes but use them only as starting points when you start a podcast. Always go back to your podcast why to help with topic ideas.

For example, we asked an AI tool for sub-topic ideas for a Wednesday Addams Fancast Podcast.

The results were the following:

  • Analysis of characters and their development throughout the series
  • Interviews with cast and crew members
  • Episode breakdowns and reviews
  • Trivia games related to the show
Some AI services provide disclaimers about how to use the tool, that answers may be incorrect, biased, and limited to providing you with knowledge or perspective of the world from a specific point in time. Proceed with caution, and don’t assume the topics are relevant to your audience.

Can I use AI to create a podcast?

While it may sound crazy, creating a podcast with only AI is totally doable. We know. We did it! Do we recommend it? The simple answer is no. Why? Because the real beauty of the podcast medium is the unique host/listener relationship. This loyal and valued relationship is what creates community, connection, and ultimately grows your podcast audience.

That said, AI IS a great tool for generating ideas and even producing a cohesive draft of a podcast, so it serves as a great launching pad for your real episode. Like in the eaxample above. It’s also ideal for handling repetitive tasks that take away from the creative process (show notes), and transforming audio files into other marketable content like blogs.

We recently covered AI for Podcasting in a live Q & A – including all the useful ways to use AI AND what to avoid.

To illustrate, the following video takes you through our experiment with creating an AI-generated podcast episode. We use AI for everything from generating a show title, first episode idea and episode script (ChatGBT), and producing cover art (Bing’s free image generation tool powered by Open AI’s Dall-E), to recording the script voices (Eleven Labs text-to-speech), generating show notes and summaries (Swell AI) and cleaning up the final audio (Adobe Podcasts). Did you know Adobe Podcasts uses AI to analyze your audio file before it does its perfecting?

The result is AMAZING, but not personal.

Video Tip: I Asked AI to Make a Podcast — The Results Are TERRIFYING! In this video, we take AI to the limits, creating a podcast episode with nothing else. Learn what’s possible and use what improves your workflow!

Get more podcasting and AI tips on our YouTube channel.

Do your podcast research — create original content

While you may think there is yet to be a podcast like your idea, as of January 2023, there are more than 5 million podcasts with over 70 million episodes between them, according to Demand Sage.
Top podcasts in general, for both men and women, include overlap of the true crime genre and news.
That said, research your idea as well as the podcast name you have in mind — it might already exist! Research your idea and what others are doing that is similar to what you envision. Search your favorite app or podcast directory for podcasts relating to your concept. Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Listen Notes, Podchaser, Overcast, and Goodpods are all good places to start.
Think about these key components while listening:
  • Did they have intro music?
  • Does the podcast format make you want to listen to the next episode?
  • Are their episode descriptions compelling?
  • What is the podcast CTA (call to action) in the content?
  • Does the host seem knowledgeable?
  • Is the first episode the same as the most recent episode?
  • What podcast categories are they listed in?

When you start a podcast, look for what isn’t being done in other podcasts — this will help you make your own unique. Take notes you can return to regarding everything from how descriptions look in Spotify to how the artwork looks in Apple Podcasts.

Sound Advice: Always respect other creators’ work. Don’t start a podcast that duplicates another podcast without permission. You could get yourself into serious legal trouble.

Focus your podcast strategy with podcast audience research

Your listeners are the people that will become your community. Some may even evolve into friends or co-hosts — it happens all the time!
Ask Yourself:

Who is my ideal audience?

  • Do you see your podcast being for all ages or just some?
  • Is your audience female, male, or non-binary?
  • Are you speaking to married people, single, or parents?
  • Where do they live? Are they local, regional, or worldwide?
  • Are you talking to individuals with higher education?
  • What kinds of hobbies or interests does your audience have?
  • What applications are your audience using to listen?

 

Deeper podcast listener questions:

  • What’s important to your audience?
  • What will they get from listening?
  • What kind of products and services might they use?
  • Do they desire a podcast like you’re creating?

Video Tip: Want the shorter video version? Check out these 6 STEPS You’ll Need to Start Your Podcast.

Extraordinary Podcasting For All

Start podcasting or move to Libsyn with code “today” for up to 2 months free.

STEP 2: Write down your podcast plan

How to start a podcast, like most things, starts with solid podcast planning. Developing structures and systems to start a podcast will help you create intentional content from that first episode to your 100th!

“Start with an outline or structure to build the system that you want — write out a set of steps, find tools and automation that can help you.” from Content Systems Before Sales with Kate Erickson.

Define your podcasting goals and budget

To start your planning process, get a realistic idea of your budget. Think about the personal time, energy, and resources you have available to invest, as well as your monetary budget. Both tend to evolve.

These three questions will help you start thinking about what is possible.

  • What level of commitment and time can I give my goals?
  • How will I measure my success — financially or emotionally?
  • What is my budget for achieving my goals?

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Podcast?

The truth is, you can start a podcast with not a cent in your pocket as long as you have a smartphone in that pocket — you’ll need it for recording your episodes. The quality won’t be great, of course, but it can be done. You’ll also need a podcast host like Libsyn to get your episodes published

Many podcast hosting companies offer a free plan, so with a smartphone and free hosting, you’re off and running. Unfortunately, it’s also true that free podcast hosting plans usually have limitations on use, storage, downloads, etc. You’ll also want to note if your content will be used as ad inventory. This is a compromise many free plans expect. 

If you want to be in control of your content (make your own decisions about ads) and not worry about limitations, a paid plan is probably your best choice. And fortunately, most hosting platforms offer a low-cost plan between $5 and $10/month to get started. 

In terms of equipment, what you need depends on your goals and budget. Your podcast gear can be as simple as a decent mic and a pair of over-the-ear headphones. And, when it comes to editing, you can use free software like Audacity. No need to mortgage the house. 

However, if your goals require a higher level of audio quality (maybe you are producing a podcast for clients), you’ll want to start with something more upscale: a good mic, a digital audio workstation, nice headphones, a boom arm, etc. If you are planning on producing a video podcast, you’ll need to include lighting and a camera. 

Regardless of which way you are leaning, the thing to remember is that your AUDIO QUALITY is what makes or breaks your show. We can’t say this enough. If you go the smartphone route, note that the audio quality of your podcast will be noticeably non-professional. Many successful podcasters have been paying attention to their audience’s listening experience from the start and it serves them well. 

Video Tip: Breakthroughs In Podcast Success is a live interview with Kate Erickson. At the 7:32 mark, she breaks down the importance of building systems to aid in achieving your podcasting goals.

Use podcast success measurement metrics

The following are some success metrics you can use to help you set realistic goals and determine what is achievable. But, of course, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

  • The total number of new episodes published.
  • The total number of downloads.
  • Growth of followers on social media
  • Increased audience feedback (sending in ideas or questions, filling out surveys)
  • Merchandise or direct sales of products & services you offer
  • Higher visibility through speaking or other industry opportunities
  • Podcast rankings within podcast directories
  • Podcast advertising and sponsorship revenue growth
  • Podcast Website traffic growth
  • Community or personal growth
Sound Advice: Break your goals into yearly quarters (3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months) and then create sub-goals within quarters focussed on more significant milestones.

Choose goals that provide you with some ROI — financially or emotionally. Podcasting takes time and commitment, and it takes at least a year to grow an audience.

Consider these expenses in your podcast budget

For most who start a podcast, it is a hobby, and where and how you begin relates closely to the means you have to get started.

Video Tip: Podcasting for under $100 — 2023. How to start a podcast with the most essential and affordable podcasting equipment.

Beyond equipment costs for a mic, computer, and headphones, you will want to add some line items:

Podcast host
Free → $$$
Starts at $5/mo on Libsyn

Podcast intro or outro music
Free → $$$
Free music options are included in all Libsyn plans

Podcast artwork
Free → $$$
Access to Canva template with all Libsyn plans

Podcast apps
Free → $$$
Libsyn offers FREE, continuously updated YouTube, Help Library, and Webinar content. Read this article Podcast Conferences Tips and Tricks, to find community conferences worth attending.

Conferences or education
Free → $$$
Libsyn offers FREE, continuously updated YouTube, Help Library, and Webinar content. Read this article Podcast Conferences Tips and Tricks, to find community conferences worth attending.

Podcast editing
Free → $$$
From the free tool Audacity to options like Hindenburg that integrate with Libsyn.

Define your podcast format and style

Podcasts come in many shapes and sizes, from 5-minute daily briefs to 3-hour monthly segments. Consider how your podcast budget might impact your format. Do you have the time and financial resources to create a daily video podcast with a co-host?

Determine if you're creating a solo or co-hosted podcast

Libsyn podcaster Ginger Campbell from Brain Science was asked what podcasting wisdom she would share with new podcasters upon her induction into The 2022 Podcast Hall of Fame Ceremony.

“Get a co-host if you can. Having someone to share the load with will make podfading less likely.”
Keep your format solo if you are OK with all the fame AND ALL THE WORK. If you are more of a team player, consider a co-host.
Sound Advice: Some solo or co-hosted podcasts have guest hosts step in when the original host or co-host cannot record episodes. Consider who this might be early on.

Pick a podcast format and style

Many podcast formats are available. Start a podcast with one that inspires you, works well with your topic, and provides an authentic listening experience.

Most Popular Podcast Formats:

  • Interview: Q & A with one or more guests who have special knowledge, fame, or experience
  • Panel: Discussion among a group
  • Journalism: Reporting on the news or covering a specific story
  • Storytelling: One or more short pieces in a single episode or a longer story told over several episodes
  • Narrative Nonfiction: Audio documentary, typically spread over multiple episodes
  • Narrative Fiction: A fictional story told by one person or a cast of characters
You don’t have to stay committed to your original format. Podcasting is a journey; sometimes, pivoting is just what your podcast needs.
Plan your podcast publishing schedule

How often you publish podcast, the length of your episode, and when you want to release your content will define many of the workflows you build to streamline your podcasting process.

  • Every Day
  • Once a Week
  • Bi-Weekly
  • Once a Month
  • Once a year as a bulk-season release (think Netflix).
Sound Advice: Record a few episodes before choosing your schedule. Get a feel for what it takes in real-time. Stick to your chosen schedule for a few more episodes to establish a good workflow.

Record Your Podcast Today

Create your podcast on Libsyn with code “today” for up to 2 months free.

STEP 3: Choose the best podcast hosting service

The most reliable podcast hosting platform will distribute your podcast episodes to all the popular destinations, like Apple Podcasts and Spotify via your podcast’s RSS feed every time you publish.

Look for these 10 features in your podcast host

In addition to an easy-to-use dashboard, keep an eye out for these podcasting must-haves during your podcast host quest:
  1. Unlimited bandwidth and audience reach
  2. Audio AND video podcasting
  3. Podcast websites
  4. Audio players and video players
  5. Comprehensive podcast distribution and Apple Delegated Delivery integration
  6. Built-in social media marketing
  7. Powerful podcast analytics and IAB-compliant stats
  8. Podcast monetization options for all creators
  9. YouTube Music publishing and integration
  10. Extraordinary customer support and free learning materials
Libsyn offers these features and on an all-in-one platform for beginners to experts.

Need enterprise podcasting?

For enterprise podcasting, Libsyn provides private podcasts, unlimited bandwidth, the ability to assign team member roles, a white-label podcast player, unlimited podcasts under one account, and support for podcast networks.

Look at the 24 Best Podcast Hosting Sites of 2023 for other podcast hosts and comparisons.

Take advantage of Podcast Education & Support

The best podcast hosting platforms will tell you how to start a podcast and how to grow and keep podcasting.
Extraordinary podcaster support has always been a part of the Libsyn ethos. This is what makes Libsyn a trusted platform by the most popular podcasts. It’s not enough to tell you how to start a podcast; we want you to thrive from your first episode to podcasting fame!

Experiment with audio and video podcast hosting

Audio podcasts are more common for most new podcasters. Most of the podcasts available globally are audio only. However, with the expanded availability of video podcast recording tools like Squadcast and Riverside.fm, video podcast creation continues to grow.

If you are interested in video podcasting, you’ll want to ensure that you choose a podcast host like Libsyn that supports podcast videos so when you are ready to publish, you can. 

Although the additional equipment/technology/work/time required to produce a video podcast may seem intimidating, relax. We have some great resources to help you overcome that challenge and begin adding video podcasting to your workflow. 

Where would you begin? How do you cut costs? Tips for making video podcasting easier. It’s all here!

VIDEO TIP:
OBS Studio Podcast Setup — Free & Easy Video Podcasting. In this video, our video designer and podcasting pro Brian Cottington explains how he uses free OBS software to create and edit his video podcast, all the while striving for a streamlined workflow complete with gotta-have, time-saving hacks.

As Brian notes, if you’re not the kind of creator who wants to tinker a bit and “get under the hood,” OBS might not be for you. BUT, what could be a great solve would be renting a video studio for a recording session. It’s not as far out as you might think. By using a boutique studio you:

  • Avoid expensive equipment costs
  • Avoid costs to build a video recording studio with lighting
  • Have experts on hand to professionally record and edit 

 

If nothing else, renting is a great way to try out video podcasting to see if you feel it is a good fit for your show

Ways Creators are Using Video Podcasts

  • Publishing a second live recording via podcast subscriptions
  • Creating YouTube Podcasts as exclusive video content
  • Recording short video segments for social marketing
  • Using Libsyn’s YouTube integration that automatically converts audio to video
Choose a podcast host that can evolve with your vision, meet you where you are today, and a year from now when you are ready to make money podcasting or launch your video format podcast.
Libsyn offers video podcast plans starting at $40/mo.

We make it easy. Start podcasting.

Start podcasting or move to Libsyn with code “today” for up to 2 months free.

Step 4: Podcast artwork and title creation

Your title and description will be the first things you enter in Libsyn and will be seen in directories like Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts once you begin publishing episodes.

We have an entire podcast help section on setting up and managing your podcast, but these three sub-steps require the most thought as you begin the process.

Create a memorable podcast title

Your title or podcast name should be informed by best practices but also feature your identity as a creator and attract your ideal podcast listeners. You likely have a solid title idea if you’ve done your podcast research.

6 Title Best Practices Include

Keep it brief and intriguing → Stick to 20-26 characters with spaces.

Don’t keyword stuff → Include ONE key search word or phrase. Apple podcasts may reject stuffed titles.

Reveal a little personality → Will your podcast be funny, serious, or professional?

Avoid risky language → Like, is it 2,000 or Two Thousand? Is it Allowed or Aloud?

Avoid explicit language → This may limit what countries and apps will accept your podcast.

Avoid the word podcast → Why? Because everyone already knows what it is.

VIDEO TIP:
Can you update things later? Yes, you can! Elsie Escobar explains in the video Podcast Branding: Feel Free To Change!

Once you have come up with some titles you like, you must ensure you are not infringing on anyone’s trademark. Search for your proposed title on:

The Internet
Podchaser.com
Apple Podcasts
Your favorite podcast app
Social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter handles, and hashtags
And finally, on the Copyright Public Records Portal.

Wondering if you can use AI to generate a title?

Below are the results of asking AI to generate a podcast title for a podcast about The Mandalorian. Notice some have the word “Podcast,” and others exceed the recommended character length.

“Beyond the Beskar: A Mandalorian Podcast”

“The Child’s Play: A Mandalorian Fan Podcast”

“Mando Missions: A Podcast Exploring The Mandalorian”

Don’t take AI recommendations at face value without layering on best practices. AI has limits.

Writing podcast descriptions

Your podcast description is a brief synopsis of what people will get when they listen to your show — what they can expect. It should draw listeners in — an invitation they can’t resist — making them want to follow you and your podcast.
Sound Advice: The maximum length for a podcast description is 4,000 characters, but most apps display only the first two lines. This makes it essential to communicate the “elevator” pitch for your podcast mission upfront.

Do

Include some keywords that will help search engines discover you.

Hook your audience right from the start.

Share your description with a friend — what do they think?

Don’t

Include your show name again in the first few lines of your description.

State where people can listen or list your social media accounts.

Write it in a hurry and forget to spell-check — no typos, please.

Create your podcast cover art

Think of your podcast artwork as your podcast brand. It’s the first thing audiences see and often what compels them to listen. Apple Podcasts for Creators has a great list to keep in mind when designing podcast artwork. See below.

Visual showing how the information you enter in your Libsyn settings (show description, cover art, etc.) then appears in directories via your RSS feed.

Artwork must be original and can’t contain any of the following:

Blurry, misaligned, mismatched, or pixelated images

Explicit language

Placeholder images

Apple or iTunes Store logos

The terms Apple Inc., Apple Podcasts, Apple Music, iTunes Store, or iTunes

Visual representation of Apple hardware

References to illegal drugs, profanity, or violence

Ads, sponsor logos, or marketing copy

Podcast cover art specs

1400 by 1400 px (minimum)

3000 by 3000 px (maximum)

Must be square

Under 500 kb

Use sRGB color space

JPG or PNG files only

Must measure 1920 by 1080 px

At least 72 dpi

Resources for creating podcast cover art

Canva Podcast Templates — Design with Canva is available in Libsyn

AI Artwork Generators like Midjourney — Proceed with caution; never generate a copyrighted image

Hire an artist from a place like Fiverr

No matter where you request or get your podcast artwork, you will want to ask for the original hi-res layered files in a PSD or Vector format. You will need these if you would like to print swag or stickers for your podcast at a later date!

VIDEO TIP: How to Think about Your Podcast Cover Art Design. Does yours stand out? Brian talks with two top designers, Doris Short and Prescott Perez-Fox, about how to approach cover art.

Step 5: Choose the best podcast equipment for YOU

When it comes to podcast equipment, there are a ton of options. But in most cases, the basics you need for recording your new podcast include:

Podcast microphones & pop filters

Podcast headphones

Something to record into — desktop, tablet, laptop, or phone

Get started podcasting for less than $100

If you are like a lot of new podcasters, you don’t want to start by making a large financial investment in podcast gear. The idea is to get decent, reliable recording equipment to start, allowing room for upgrades from there.

That’s where these videos come in as a great resource for new podcasters who might not know alot about the gear they need and/or what they can “get away with.” Our podcasting pros show you what they recommend — and why — while keeping your $100 budget in mind.

Dave Jackson’s podcast equipment recs

Dave, Head of Podcaster Education here at Libsyn, shares his expert thoughts and recommendations in his blog, Podcast Recording Equipment List of Must-Haves. He goes into mics, headphones, pop filters, windscreens, digital audio workstations and more. You’ll come away with some important basic gear knowledge as well as some options you’re going to want to try!

Podcast microphone basics

You can save editing time by addressing a few common mistakes creators make and purchasing a good podcast mic ideal for your recording setup. When creating podcast content, your audience’s listening experience should be your primary concern.

USB vs. XLR

  • A USB mic is most common and will plug into your computer; a great and perfectly acceptable plug ‘n play option. An XLR mic requires an audio interface, but will also plug into more sophisticated gear as you upgrade.

Dynamic vs. condenser mics

  • Dynamic mics are more durable and ideal for most podcasters. They work for a host and co-host set-up when recording in the same space and tend to pick up less ambient noise.
  • Condenser mics are very sensitive; they provide detailed audio recording and require a soundproof recording space. Generally not great for new podcasters.

Polar patterns

  • Most podcasters should look for a mic with a Cardioid Polar Pattern. A mic with this polar pattern will pick up audio primarily from the front of the mic, which will limit the background noise recorded.

Gain

  • Gain is the strength of the audio going into the mic. It is not volume. Increasing the gain will increase what the mic is picking up. You should test sitting closer to your mic before turning up the gain.

Avoid these three microphone mishaps

  • Poppin’ Ps and plosives → Back up from your mic a bit and maybe purchase a windscreen and/or pop filter.
  • Your audio is too quiet → Get closer to your mic. You want the microphone somewhere around three finger widths to your mouth.
  • Nothing recorded? → You likely had the wrong mic selected on your recording software or forgot to press “record.”

VIDEO TIP: Mic Basics — How To Make Your Voice Sound Amazing! Michelle Levitt from @HeilSound & our own Elsie Escobar will give you all the terminology you need to understand the capabilities of your mic!

STEP 6: Record your podcast

The recording process can look very different depending on location and if you have a co-host or podcast guest/s. The platform you use and your podcast recording equipment will also impact the recording of your first episode.

Ask Yourself: Take a look at this podcast studio tour video to see how 4 professional podcasters record in 4 very different locations. They’ll take you on a tour spotlighting everything from mics and mixers to audio editing, video, and location.

Create a podcast script or outline

Your script outlines the flow of your new episodes. These outlines can often be used to create show notes after recording quickly. The following is an example of how you might segment your own podcast. Use it as a checklist or a loose guide for recording.
  • Podcast Intro: Sound/Music/Branding
  • Intro of guests/themes
  • Commercial/promo/CTA (call to action)
  • Interview questions that set up the end solve (let listeners know what’s coming)
  • Discussion about questions
  • Commercial/promo/CTA
  • The big solution/resolution
  • Thank guests and set up what’s up for next time
  • Any additional self/other promo with CTA
  • Podcast Outro: sound/music/branding
As you create your script and outline, keep in mind a consistent episode length. Your potential listeners will grow to love the predictability of your podcast segments, intro music, and episode length. You may prefer actually scripting your episode or simply jotting down bullet points to remind you and keep you moving.

Use this podcast recording checklist

Interview & show notes
  • Make sure you’re prepared for your podcast interview with a list of questions.
  • Put all paper notes on a device to avoid paper rustling and avoid pens that click..

Alerts/interference
  • Turn off alerts or sounds on your computer, Alexa, your watch, and smartphone.
  • Keep your cell phone away from your computer; it might interfere with transmission.

Computer
  • Are all cords connected/plugged in?
  • Is your computer sluggish? Do you need to reboot or update?
  • Is EVERYTHING fully charged with enough memory or space for your recording?
  • Close all programs except the one you are using to record.

Headphones
  • Use a wired connection for mics, headphones, etc., to avoid wi-fi cut-outs or lapses.
  • If wireless is all you have available, it’s not the end of the world.

Microphone
  • If you have an external microphone, use it!
  • If you have a mic connected, make sure it is selected rather than the built-in mic.

Internet Connection
  • Make sure that your bandwidth is at least 1.5Mbps up / 1.5Mbps down.
  • You can do a bandwidth test for speed here.

Personal
  • Keep gestures to a minimum if you are recording audio only — focus on your voice!
  • Do you need water? Chapstick?

Co-host checks
  • Check with your co-host — are they prepared also? Have they reviewed this list?
  • Are they recording locally as a backup?

Quick Tips For How to Record a Podcast Trailer

When a big movie is coming out, they release a trailer to get you excited. It’s a great tactic and one that is totally transferable to podcasts.. 

At Libsyn, we think of a podcast trailer as a powerful marketing tool to use throughout the life of your podcast, not just to introduce its launch. Maybe you are teasing a special episode or event. A trailer can generate tangible interest and boost attendance.

In this blog, Podcast Trailers: What to Include + Examples and a Free Template, we give you everything you need to start exploring and implementing the podcast trailer as part of your marketing strategy. 

Feel like you are ready to record a trailer? Watch the following video to get some tips from our own Brian Cottington.

VIDEO TIP:
Why You Need a Podcast Trailer and How to Create One. In this video, Brian shows you how easy and effective it can be to use trailers as a marketing tool. The perfect podcast trailer, indeed!

STEP 7: Edit your podcast with podcast software

When it comes to podcast editing, there is one simple rule: more planning = less editing. If you’ve been spending too much time editing, it’s time to spend more time planning your podcast.

When editing, hear through the ears of the listener. Choose the podcast software that bet suits your needs — free or paid.

VIDEO TIP: In this LIVE Podcast Audio Rescue video, Mike Russell from Music Radio Collective and Brian Cottington from Libsyn show how to prevent audio problems, clean up audio, enhance your voice & more!

Explore free editing services

GarageBand — A music creation studio pre-installed on all Apple computers that’s easy to learn.

Audacity — With a slightly steeper learning curve than Garageband, Audacity is an open-source, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.

Consider paid editing services

Reaper — REAPER is a complete digital audio podcast production tool offering full multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing, and mastering capabilities.

Hindenburg Pro 2 — Hindenburg is an easy-to-learn, yet robust, field-tested audio editing platform designed to simplify and automate your spoken-word workflow.

Adobe Audition – Comprehensive editing software that includes multitrack, waveform, and spectral display for creating, mixing, editing, and restoring audio content.
Epidemic Sound – A complete library of royalty-free music and sound effects at your disposal for $15/month.

STEP 8: Publish your podcast episode

Once you have your episode recorded, edited, and ready to go, the next step is to publish. Publishing 3-5 episodes to the most popular platforms before your official launch will increase your chances of being featured.

Podcast publishing takes place within your podcasting platform. Your podcast service will take all the episode information you enter, combine it with your audio or video file, and publish it via your podcast RSS Feed.

Image showing the difference between overall podcast show art and podcast episode art that is specific to each release published. The podcast “The Feed” is used as an example.

Enter your podcast episode details

You learned about creating your podcast title, description, and podcast artwork above, but when it comes time to publish, each episode also has a unique title, description, and optional artwork. These are the elements your potential listeners will see in a podcast directory episode listing.

We provide a library of podcast publishing support and free start podcasting webinars starring Libsyn’s Head of Podcaster Education, Dave Jackson. Below are the basics for publishing, but you will find more optional fields in your podcast episode details form on Libsyn.

Employ best practices for your episode title

Try to keep your episode title character count between 20 and 26 and use one unique SEO term.

Do not duplicate your show title in the episode title.

Do not list your episode number in the Apple title.

Do the same for your podcast episode description

Super-charged copy — Start with 2 to 5 lines describing the episode content; make it compelling.

Podcast CTAs — Any links to show-related requests, i.e. newsletter signup.

Sponsor CTAs — Links to sponsor landing pages or products.

Links to access — List of your links on the most popular apps.

Source/reference links — Important when referencing data from a study or another podcaster.

Topic timestamps — Help listeners control their listening experience, especially if your content is long and covers many topics.

Sound Advice: Take time to ensure that your podcast titles and descriptions look their best on the most popular apps and directories. Revise as necessary.

VIDEO TIP:
In this video, we explain Libsyn’s text snippets that allow you to store the most frequently used elements of your description and use them repeatedly.

Podcast episode artwork specs

The requirements for episode artwork are the same as for your podcast cover art. Libsyn provides integration with Canva, so you can easily use one of their templates to create your own.

Episode artwork is not required, so if you don’t enter it, your podcast will still publish, and the default artwork for each episode will be your show art.

Publish to your podcast website

As mentioned above, all Libsyn plans come with a website and podcast players. They are important tools for growing a successful podcast.

Website basics

Your website makes your podcast accessible to all. Not everyone uses the most popular apps like Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Does your grandfather? How would he listen to your podcast? This is why a website is super helpful.

Podcast websites typically include:

Your podcast player with your current episode

Where to subscribe to your podcast (directories and apps where it lives)

Show description, about the show and hosts

Links to your social accounts or featured content

Links to any additional offerings or courses or ways you make money podcasting.

Upcoming events, live shows, or a CTA for audience feedback.

If you feel you need more robust website support, consider a website host. Pair offers templates designed especially for podcasting. It takes just a minute to create a branded website with your RSS feed. And, Pair Networks offers a free month’s trial.

Publish to Apple Podcasts, apps, & directories

Hundreds of podcast directories exist, with Apple Podcasts and Spotify responsible for most podcast downloads. Prioritize placement on them and expand from there.

Libsyn is one of the first podcast hosting services to support Apple Podcasts Delegated Delivery. This means that Libsyn podcasters can simply submit their podcast to Apple Podcasts from the Libsyn platform.

Libsyn streamlines this process for Apple Podcasts and many others, so you can set them up in Libsyn once under settings → destinations.

Note that once you are an Apple Podcast, you can also take app-specific promotional steps. See this blog detailing How to Get Featured on Apple Podcasts.

Image featuring the Show Destinations button surrounded by icons of all of the many podcast directories you can reach with your RSS feed on Libsyn.

Quick Links to Podcaster Favorites
Set up your Libsyn podcast to automatically publish to the most popular podcast apps and directories below. Follow the instructions in the Connect Your Show to Publish Episodes to a Destination Feed help article to ensure your podcast is available everywhere.

iHeartRadio
Audacy
Deezer
Amazon Music/Audible
Gaana
Player FM
Samsung
JioSaavn
Boomplay
Resso
Customize Your Spotify Feed

Being on every possible app is an important way to reach new audiences. Note that some international destinations will not accept explicit content.

Sound Advice: Take time to ensure that your podcast titles and descriptions look their best on the most popular apps and directories. Revise as necessary.

STEP 9: Focus on podcast growth and analytics

While the industry’s common metric for podcast audience growth is downloads, there is a lot more nuance to growth and success tied to your podcast goals AND your podcast WHY. If you are interested in podcast monetization, you will want to focus on downloads.

Use these FREE podcast marketing growth strategies

Following are free, easy, but not-so-obvious ways to promote the growth of your own podcast.
  • Collect audience feedback and share it on your podcast. Listeners love to hear their names mentioned on-air and are likely to share on their personal accounts.
  • Pitch your show to a podcast newsletter or publication (they are always looking for content).
  • Apply to be featured on apps like Overcast, Castro, or Castbox. Head to their websites to find contact information or how to advertise with them.
  • Show notes are also perfect for leveraging SEO (search engine optimization). Be sure to include keywords in the titles and headers of your copy so when people search, search engines find you!
  • Be a guest on another podcast — promo swaps are the best!

VIDEO TIP:
Don’t Plateau! Keep Increasing Your Podcast Audience. Panelists Chris Krimitsos, CEO of Podfest Expo and Hala Taha, creator, and CEO of YAP Media join Bryan Green to highlight strategies they have used to grow new podcasts with no downloads, and break free from the “download plateau” with larger, more established podcasts.

Take advantage of social podcast marketing

We recommend creating accounts on top platforms (Twitter, Instagram (IG), YouTube, and Facebook) to ensure that no one else takes your preferred handle/account/podcast name.

VIDEO TIP:
Learn the best practices to market your podcast through social media — and common practices to avoid.

Sound Advice: Being present on one platform is better than being barely there on several.
Libsyn $20/month+ plans include a cool social media scheduler that allows you to schedule channel-unique posts upon the release of each episode.
podcast-statistics

Measure podcast growth with podcast analytics

Podcasting growth is a long game; stats won’t tell you the full story of your success. However, they shed light on where your audience might be concentrated and assist in validating marketing efforts. The stats that measure the health of your podcast can also help you form and follow a podcast growth plan.

Libsyn Advanced Stats Include:

User-Agent — The channels used to listen to your podcast; can include browser & app data.

Geographic — A heat map of the countries where your podcast is most popular by episode.

Destination — Breakouts of all destinations created in your Libsyn account.

Social Media Marketing — Performance reports from connected social media accounts.

Day, Week, and Month — Daily, weekly, or monthly stats for quick trend analysis.

Date Range Selector — Specific historic date ranges and downloads across all reporting.

Episode Stats & Breakdowns — Details of exactly what content is most popular.

Downloadable Stats Reporting — Exportable stats for analysis or sharing.

Advanced Stats Codes — Track your podcast player performance. Learn more here..

Get Advanced Stats – Learn More About Your Audience

Choose a $20/mo plan and use “today” to learn more about your audience.

Step 10: Plan to make money podcasting

Podcast monetization typically falls into three categories: podcast subscriptions, podcast advertising, and the sale of podcaster services or products. Note that very few podcasters are able to monetize when just starting up, even if it’s part of their podcasting goals.

Explore podcast subscription services

At Libsyn, we support monetization options for all creators and provide the services you need to make money podcasting. These services offer podcast subscription options that create more opportunities for you to thrive with listener support. Both work with Libsyn and are built with podcasters in mind.

Apple Podcasts subscriptions

In Apple’s words, “Apple Podcasts Subscriptions offer your fans an enhanced experience for their favorite shows.”

Libsyn is among the first podcast platforms to integrate with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions is designed for creators to offer audiences monthly or annual subscription plans. Plans can include access to exclusive content, early access, ad-free listening, etc. A subscription is also a great place to make your services and products available. You set the price and plan that work for you and your audience.

Ready to launch a subscription? Start here: How to Set Up Apple Podcasts Subscriptions.

Libsyn’s Glow

Libsyn’s Glow also allows you to offer premium bonus content, products, and services to loyal listeners with no minimum download requirement. Glow runs your subscription; you concentrate on creating content that loyal fans WANT to pay for.

Need exclusive content for your subscription?

VIDEO TIP: Libsyn’s Elsie Escobar shares easy ways to create bonus material by repurposing content you already have in your workflow.

Are you ready for podcast advertising?

If you’re considering podcast advertising, you should be in a place where you have built up an audience and stepped up your promotional pace. Libsyn Ads is an advertising network that allows podcasters to list their shows for advertisers to browse and select.

Podcasters can also search for and contact peer podcasts about cross-promotion or promo swaps. Another option? Advertise on podcasts yourself. Promoting YOUR podcast, products, and services on another podcast can be targeted and profitable. Libsyn publishes current podcast advertising rates, so you know what is reasonable to charge and expect as a creator.

Read more about making podcast advertising partnerships work with Erica Mandy who knows the podcast advertising industry well and makes a living podcasting!

Host-read podcast ads

Host-read ads are personal endorsements for a product/service read by the host of a podcast. They are recorded and become PART of the episode — not easily cut or changed. But, they hold weight because they are personal recommendations from a podcaster about a product or service they love. Fans listen.

Dynamic/programmatic/auto Ads

Automatic Ads allow you to monetize your Libsyn podcast by dynamically inserting ads within your podcast. Unlike live reads, automatic ads are just that — automatic! Nothing for you to record, and because they are not baked into your episodes, you have the ability to monetize your back catalog.

Campaigns can be run for one brand, completed, and a new campaign can start without any action needed from the podcaster! Different types of campaigns pay differently, and average podcast advertising rates are available on the Libsyn blog.

See if your podcast qualifies for the Libsyn Auto-Ads program now!

VIDEO TIP: Check out this video that compares the pros and cons of dynamic and baked-in ads.

Because Libsyn is creator-focused, we offer one of the most generous advertising revenue splits in the industry.  Plus, our podcast monetization platform is tapped into both U.S. and international advertisers, allowing you to maximize revenue. 

Enjoy more Libsyn podcast community resources

You will find that most podcasters are helpful, collaborative, and excited to share what they’ve done and how they did it. Following podcast hosts like Libsyn on Instagram @libsyn, Twitter @libsyn, YouTube, Crowdcast, Facebook, and LinkedIn will connect you to communities and offer a constant source of learning materials and interaction. Enjoy:

Great resources for additional research and free podcast education

Popular industry publications: Podcasting Business Journal, Inside Podcasting, Podnews

Niche or community facebook groups: Podcast Movement and She Podcasts

Industry Conferences: Podcast Movement, Podfest, Afros and Audio & She Podcasts Live

Podcast advertising events: Xfronts and IAB Newfronts

All-in-one Easy & Extraordinary Podcasting for All

Start podcasting or move to Libsyn with code “today” for up to 2 months free.

Get podcasting!

Libsyn is so very proud to help you realize your podcasting dream and hope this How to Start a Podcast guide has proved to be a valuable resource. Feel free to engage with us on social media, call our Support Team, and avail yourself of all our educational tools. Our dream for you? KEEP PODCASTING!