Updated: 25 May 2017
You want to start a podcast but you're fairly tech savvy and you don't want to trawl through millions of online resources that start with "what is a podcast?" Am I right?
OK, here's your quick and dirty guide to starting a podcast. It just covers the actions you need to take to start podcasting with signposts to things like editing, submitting etc.
This article applies to audio podcasting and is based on my own experience of launching the Creative Me podcast.
Before we start, I am assuming the following:
- You know what you'd like to podcast about.
- You've decided on a name for your podcast.
- You have some techie skills.
- You've listened to podcast before.
How to Start a Podcast
Rough out your podcast plan by answering these questions:
- What is your podcast about? (Try and come up with one sentence as this will be useful for marketing your podcast later on).
- Roughly how long will episodes last?
- How frequently will you release episodes?
Assemble your kit, this probably includes:
- A microphone - I use the Blue Yeti, mounted on the Blue Microphones Radius II Shock Mount, attached to RØDE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm.
- A pop shield to stop the "P" and "B" sounds popping in your audio. I use Blue Microphones The Pop Adjustable Universal Windscreen.
- A computer - I work off a Mac.
- Audio editing software - I use Hindenburg Journalist. Other options include Garageband and Audacity.
- A hosting solution (not exactly "kit" but essential - you need somewhere to put your audio files. The back of your own website is likely to be a bad idea). Libsyn is the only hosting company I'd ever use. Podcast hosting is what they do. Their cheapest package starts at US$ 5 per month - it's worth every penny. Libsyn creates an RSS feed for your podcast - this is the thing you need to get your podcast registered with podcast directories and it allows people to subscribe to the show.
Outline your first couple of episodes
I don't recommend scripting podcasts - it just won't sound natural. However, a structure is important, particularly if you are planning to have reoccurring feature segments. I outline my episodes in Workflowy. It's worth getting 3 episodes planned and recorded before you submit your podcast to various directories (more on that later).
I don't recommend spending too much time editing otherwise your whole podcast production process will become too time consuming.
However, do listen through to the episode (on headphones) and concentrate on the breaks between audio clips. Smooth those out and get rid of any unpleasant noises.
I've mentioned audio editing software options above.
Upload to your host
Upload your episode/s to your host (Libsyn) and complete the necessary information. Libsyn has a great knowledge base if you get stuck. With your Libsyn hosting package you get a free web page which you can include your show notes on if you like.
Submit to podcast directories
Next, you need to get your show on various podcast directories. This article from The Podcasters' Studio features a great list. The first place you should submit to is iTunes. The process has changed a bit since I published my first show a number of years ago (iMake). Here are the basic steps I went through to submit my new podcast, Creative Me, to iTunes.
- Step 1: work out what your RSS feed address is. Mine is http://creativeme.libsyn.com/rss (yours will be http://podcast_name.libsyn.com/rss if you host with Libsyn).
- Step 2: go to Podcasts Connect, sign in with your Apple ID and submit your show (details on how to do that here).
- Step 3: submit your podcast. You will get an email telling you when it is approved. You then need to revisit Podcasts Connect and "unhide" your show.
After that, submit your podcast's RSS feed to as many directories as you like.
Spread the word
You are now a podcaster. The next stage is to start spreading the word about your show and establishing a community. Social media can be a really useful tool, as can email marketing (great article here).
Good luck with your podcast.