Why Start a Podcast?
Before you make the leap into starting your own podcast, it’s a good idea to ask yourself “why” you’re doing it. There are plenty of good reasons, but knowing your answer to that question will help guide you as you develop a strategy and content for your podcast. Is it for fun? To boost awareness of your brand? Drive more traffic to your blog? Maybe all three? Whatever the case, having a goal in mind is a good first step.
Starting a Podcast
Once you’ve decided on why you’re starting a podcast, there are some fairly straightforward steps you’ll have to take to make it happen. We’ve laid them out below.
Pick a Format and Style
Not all podcasts are the same. There are a number of different formats, and it is important to pick one that is a good fit for you. Here are a few of your options.
- Read your post - This is the simplest format, but it will probably only work for certain types of blog posts. If your blog is telling a story or approaching a topic on a conversational tone, people may be interested in listening to it like an audiobook. However, many types of posts wouldn’t be particularly interesting to listen to.
- Talk about the topic - You could also use a podcast to talk about your post or the topic. Here you could dive deeper into your post, maybe giving some background about it or other details that you left out. Or, you could use your blog post as a jumping-off point for a broader (or more-specific!) talk. This could be done by yourself, or you could have a regular co-host.
- Interview - Having a conversation with a guest is one of the most popular podcast formats. Guests can add a new voice and perspective to help keep your audience engaged.
In addition to picking the format for your podcast, you will need to decide on things like your intro, possible theme music, a name (if it's different than your blog’s), and artwork.
Acquire and Test Your Equipment
You want your podcast to have a clear, professional sound. You are going to need some recording software along with a few pieces of equipment. There are also some optional items that you might want to consider.
There are a number of recording software options out there, both free and paid. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Audacity - Free, open-source software for Windows, Mac, and Linux that is suitable for both beginners and experienced audio recorders and mixers.
- GarageBand - Free, intuitive recording software for Mac.
- Pro Tools - Powerful audio recording and editing software that is popular with professionals. The full version is paid, but there is a free streamlined version as well.
- Alitu - Paid online service that can do much of the editing for you if you like.
You’ll also want to look into acquiring the following pieces of equipment:
- Microphone - You can choose between a USB or analog microphone. USB microphones are generally less expensive and plug directly into your computer. Good analog microphones can typically produce higher quality, but they are more expensive and need additional equipment. Keep in mind that you’ll probably want to have a separate microphone for each person speaking.
- Audio interface - If you get an analog microphone, you will also need an audio interface, which connects the microphone to your computer.
- Pop filter - This covers your microphone and helps reduce popping sounds. Nobody likes mouth noises...
- Headphones - Wearing headphones can help you hear yourself and any other speakers better, as well as make it easier to notice if the microphone is picking up the background noise.
Each of these items can be purchased at various price levels, but simple podcasts can usually get by with relatively basic equipment. Choose what’s best for you depending on your budget and needs. And make sure to test your software and equipment before your first episode! The last thing you want is to record your podcast and then realize after the fact that there was some sort of technical issue that made it unlistenable.
Plan the Episode
While you don’t need to script your podcast, you probably want to have at least a general idea of what you’re going to talk about (and for how long). If you’re the only one talking, you’ll probably want to be even more organized. While you can always edit later, it’s best to avoid going off on long tangents or repeating yourself a lot.
If you have a co-host or guest, have some questions or prompts in mind. Ideally, you want your podcast to sound natural, but it’s a good idea to have some things planned just in case the conversation hits a lull.
And, if your podcast has different segments (like answering listener questions, advertisements, etc.), you want to plan out where those will fit in the episode.
Record and Edit the Episode
You’ve got your equipment and learned how to use it, set it up, and planned your episode. Now it’s time to record! This is a fairly straightforward process, although you may end up recording multiples files depending on your podcast’s format.
Once you’ve recorded, you can clip together multiple files (if you have them, e.g., intro, outro, different segments) and make any audio mixing adjustments that you like with your software. Once you’ve got your podcast sounding the way you want, export it to an mp3 file.
Publish and Share
Once your file is ready, you’ll need to upload it to a podcast hosting service and promote it. There are a number of hosting services available for you to choose from, including:
You also need to get your podcast listed on directories so that people outside of your blog readers are able to actually find it.
Some of the most popular directories are:
- Google Play Music
It is also a good idea to share links to your podcasts through your social media accounts, just as you would do with your typical blog posts.
Every day, more and more people are tuning into podcasts. The format allows people to consume content while commuting, making dinner, exercising, and more. If you think your blog produces the type of content that would lend itself well to an audio format, starting a podcast could be a great way to attract new readers and connect even more with your existing ones. The good news is that the process of creating one isn’t all that complicated, as long as you follow the necessary steps and stay committed.