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Starting a Podcast

Ever tuned into a podcast and imagined hosting one of your own?

Or maybe you’ve come across stories of people earning 5-6 figures every month from this
content medium.

Whatever the case, starting a podcast is one of the best things you can do to connect with
people from around the world and improve your financial wellbeing.

Podcasting is on the rise. According to a research cited by Statista, 70 percent of U.S.
residents now have a good understanding of podcasting and 5 out of 10 have also
consumed podcast episodes.

Spanning everything from digital marketing and online journalism to extreme sports and
athletic lifestyle, both individuals and companies are utilizing podcasts as a medium to
engage audiences with enticing long-form content.

At a glance, podcasting has a bright future ahead, and it’s still a great time to get into
podcasting.

Podcasting: The Most Important Pre-requisite

Podcasting can be exciting and lucrative, but it needs one crucial thing on your part.

It needs your commitment.

You should make a full commitment to learning this art and growing your listener base, as
you need to do with all the things that are beneficial but require some effort and time.

Unless you’ve the drive to push out weekly episodes, you’re unlikely to be successful. For
reaching the top, you have to make a pact that you’re going to do this and do it well.

Enjoy recording every single episode and keep reminding yourself that you’re in it for the
long haul (and for achieving the ultimate goal).

How It Works?

Before we dive into the actual steps to starting a podcast, let’s quickly discuss of what’s
needed.

The first important thing is the audio file. We recommend using he MP3 format as it offers
the idle balance between file size and audio quality.

It’s also critical to come up with some information about the file. This is also known as
“tagging the file” or modifying its metadata.

You’ll need to enter this data along with the file so that podcast platforms can display
information like artwork, genre, and other important details for the podcast.

We’ll talk where to upload this file later in the post.

Now, let’s get down to business!

The Equipment You’ll Need to Record a Podcast

No podcast-related post is complete without a mention of the necessary tools, so let’s
quickly review the equipment you’ll need to start podcasting.

The cool part? The items in the checklist below are pretty much accessible to anyone. Sure
you can spend much more renting out a professional recording studio, but it’s just as easy
to create a high-quality podcast with nothing but a mic and software.

Let’s look at your options, shall we?

Microphone

The microphones you bought in college won’t help. Neither would the free microphones
that came with your PC.

Items like these produce low-quality sound and are known to capture background noise, so
the one step you must take is buy a good microphone.

For most aspiring podcasters, the microphones below should be more than enough for
their requirements.

Blue Yeti Microphone

This costs around $100 and is ideal for podcasting novices.

Not only does it come with multiple pattern selection, it also provides users with the option
to mute and switch signal to noise between 0-100 Db. Plus, it has a USB that’ll connect
directly to your PC for mic activation and podcast recording.

Audio-Technica ATR-2100

You can buy this for $80. The USB mic is great value for the quality of sound it captures.
Audio-Technica is a dynamic brand that doesn’t pick up a lot of echo of noise. You also get
an XLR output that connects with the traditional mic input for leverage in live sessions.

Rode Podcaster Mic

Recommended by Matthew McLean of The Podcast Host, the Rode Podcaster Mic is known
to produce broadcast quality sound. And because it’s a directional microphone, you won’t

need to worry about background noise as long as you place it on a front-facing surface.
This model, however, costs $200, which makes sense for the quality it provides.

Portable Samson Go Mic

Samson Go Mic is a great fit for digital nomads. It’s a handy portable microphone that can
clip onto your travel bag and is great for on-the-go podcasting. It’s also fairly reasonably
priced at $40. One option could be to use it for recording quick podcast episodes during
your journeys and utilize one of the previous three options as your core microphone.

Headphones

This is another must-have for aspiring podcasters.

The main reason you’d want to purchase a headset is to prevent feedback and reverbs into
your mic.

Below are some of the best podcasting headphones that should work well in tandem with
your mics.

Jabra UC VOICE 550

The manufacturer originally built this mic for calls, but its noise-cancelling ability makes it a
great choice for podcasters as well. Use Jabra UC VOICE 550 when you’re podcasting in an
unfavorable recording environment. You can get it for $45.

Sony MDRZX110

If the main theme of your podcast are interviews, you’ll want to ensure that no echoing is
heard by your listeners. This is where the Sony MDRZX110 (also known as Sony ZX) can be a
blessing in disguise. It features 30 mm drivers that deliver a full frequency response. The
last time we checked, it was retailing for $16.

Sennheiser PC 7

Priced in the $30-$35 range, the Sennheiser PC 7 offers industry-leading noise cancellation
clarity. Combine this with a mic of the same nature and your podcast can be easily
understood without you needing to adopt a high pitch.

Other Essentials

You don’t necessarily need any of the following items to record a podcast, but they’d
certainly make a nice addition to your podcast equipment arsenal.

Bee-life pop filter

Pop filters prevent the clicking noises that come out when your mouth is close to the mic
from mixing with the audio. This pop filter from Bee-life retails for $40 and works with all
sorts of microphones.

Zoom ZH1 H1 digital recorder

Want to record your voice to n independent device before importing it to your PC for
editing? If you answered “yes,” then you’d love the Zoom ZH1 H1. It’s especially built for this
purpose, and you can also use it to make podcasts on-the-go.

Recommended Podcast Audio Recording & Editing Software

If you’re going to conducting interviews for your podcast, you’ll need an audio recording
software for your sessions. The most recommended options are as follows:

 

UberConference: This is a free software that enables participants to join through the phone
or the desktop. It even allows the moderator to record the session. You can use it on both
Mac and Windows to record your calls.

eCamm Call Recorder: This can be your ideal podcast audio recorder if you plan on
conducting interviews via Skype. It, however, is specific to the Mac OS. You can buy it for
$39.95 or give it a trial run to see if it fits your requirements.

Callnote: Callnote can record Viber, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, GoToMeeting,
WebEx and Zoom conversations on both PC and Mac. The premium version that consists of
30 recordings in a month retails for $9.95/year. For unlimited recordings, you can buy
Callnote’s pro version for $39.95/year.

What about audio editing? Well, if you have the budget to hire an independent editor, go
for it! If you don’t, there are several tools available that enable you to do it on your own.
Good options include:

Garageband: Garageband features on all MacBooks and allows you to perform most types
of edits on your podcast. You can also save the recording as .MP3 and capture the audio
directly from your mic. The software is free to install and use.

Adobe Audition: If you want something more powerful than Garageband, download Adobe
Audition. It has all the bells and whistles and is resourceful enough to support the use of
high-end equipment and mixer. You can access it for $20.99 a month.

Audacity: Audacity works on both Mac and Windows and is a great alternative to premium
audio tools. It also provides users with a vast range of tutorials to help them learn how to
utilize it effectively. Plus, you can use a microphone to record directly into the software.

Auphonic: If you don’t feel like editing the recordings yourself then you can utilize Auphonic
or another post-production platform. It’ll take care of everything from volume
normalization to audio leveling on your behalf. Prices vary based on the length of the
recordings.

Additional Tips for Recording & Editing Your Podcasts

Downloading the necessary tools is just one aspect of starting a podcast. The other
essential part is knowing how to record and edit well.

When it comes to recording, it’s always smart to record on two different software
simultaneously, just in case your primary recording malfunctions. Another good idea is to
store the secondary recording on a digital recorder in case your PC gets stuck mid-way.

Also, while you don’t have to set up a professional recording studio, it’s good to record in a

quiet place where your voice can be clearly heard. No listener likes to hear podcasts with
heaps of noise in the background. One good idea is to place a carpet in the recording room
so that it becomes echo-proof.

In case of editing, make sure to edit your ID3 tags. These are a way to provide .MP3 players
with more details about the audio file as we previously discussed. Other than that, make
sure you’re exporting audio files at a fixed bitrate (128kpbs is ideal) in the .MP3 format as
this offers a low file size without compromising the audio quality. Most editing software
comes with features that enable you to do this.

Picking and Validating Your Podcasting Niche

Now that you’ve access to the necessary tools and equipment, it’s time to move onto the
next step of podcast creation: determining your podcasting niche.

This might look easy as you probably have dozens of episodes planned in your mind. But
it’s important to consider whether people would be actually interested in your shows.

This is where niche validation comes into play.

Assuming you want to create a podcast in a general category or a specific niche, look at the
top trending podcasts for that category in Stitcher or iTunes. Now click on the category
that’s most relevant to your business. You’d find several options including Arts, Education,
Health and more.

For the niche you have in mind, see how many podcasts appear for that particular
category. If you only see a few, it’s a clear indication that there’s not much demand for that
topic.

Another way to verify your topic is to cross-check its search popularity in Google’s Keyword
Planner. To do this, choose a particular topic you want to talk about, then categorize it into
sub-niches. For example, if you want to talk about digital marketing, you can use niches
such as:

🎧 Email marketing
🎧 Dropshipping
🎧 Social media

Now, put the niches into the Google Ads’ Keyword Planner tool and put the keyword
“podcast” at the end.

As you can see, people conduct monthly searches for all three topics, but dropshipping and
social media podcasts are more popular than the email marketing one.

Does that mean you should entirely skip low-demand podcasts? No. If you have a big email
list, you can still launch a podcast in your niche. But if your list comprises of just a few
hundred subscribers, it’d be better to go after a high-demand podcast niche.

Podcast Format: Types of Podcasts You Can Record

Based on your podcast niche, some formats will work better than others. Below is a brief
summary of the various types you can record.

Interview podcast

This format doesn’t require a lot of effort on your part except being a good interviewer and
having someone to host. Some examples of interview podcasts include Hey, Cool Job!,
Entrepreneur on Fire and Smart Passive Income.

Storytelling podcast

This is one of the easiest formats to adopt for a podcast episode. Based on your niche, the
podcast can be nonfiction or fiction. Radiotopia’s The Truth and The Writer’s Voice are
some real-life examples of storytelling podcasts.

Instructional podcast

If your primary goal is to educate your visitors, whether it’s by hosting a trivia or offering
quick tips, then this podcast format is for you. How you opt to make the audience learn,
however, is up to you. Popular examples of instructional podcasts include HBR Ideacast
and TED Talks Daily. Lengths here vary from 10-minute episodes to shows that can last
between 30-60 minutes.

News podcast

This format was craved out of new radio, as the initially produced podcasts were “radio
stations” that broadcasted their news service in audio. This American Life is one popular
example of the News podcast. However, conducting research and staying on top of stories
isn’t always a one-man show. You’re more likely to be successful with a news podcast if you
have a team of journalists.

Things To Prepare Before You Start Recording

You need to fulfill a lot of pre-requisites before you can begin recording. Performing the
tasks outlined below will set you up for success.

Finalize your podcast title/name

If your podcast title doesn’t make sense, no one will tune in. Don’t be overconfident, and
choose a name that you think will sound relatable to your audience.

If you’re a thought leader in your industry, feel free to put your name in the title. Examples
include The Time Ferris Show and DarrenDaily On-Demand.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, it will make more sense to include the keyword that
clearly describes your target niche in your podcast title. For example, The Startup Grind
podcast includes the keyword “startup,” which implies that the podcast is targeted towards
entrepreneurs running a startup.

Write a compelling description

When a prospective listener clicks on your podcast title, they can see your podcast
description and the list of available episodes. A compelling description would get you
more listeners.

Make the description compelling by using copywriting best practices. Also,
incorporate your primary keyword, and other relevant ones to boost your
chances of occupying a good rank in search engines for podcast searches.

Arrange Intro and Outro & Cover Art

Because you have just a few seconds to capture a person’s attention, it’s crucial to ensure
your podcast covert art is catching and well-designed.

The good news is that you can hire someone from PeoplePerHour or Upwork to create the
cover art for you at a reasonable cost.

Make sure the final file is in PNG or JPEG format as these are the file extensions supported
by most podcast directories.

Inside a directory, the cover art will display somewhere in between 50-150 pixels wide. And
if you’re going to use text, optimize it for a low-resolution to see how it appears. If it
appears well at that size, it’ll look nice in all other places.

Successful podcasts also have catchy intro and outro music. For those who aren’t familiar,
this refers to the tune that plays at the beginning and end of every podcast, setting the
tone and mood for listeners.

You can find music to use as your podcast intro and outro on sites like the Free Music
Archive. Professional-grade tracks are available at Audio Jungle and cost $15-$20 on
average.

 

Recording Your Podcast

When it comes to the actual recording, you just need to plugin a USB mic, launch the
recording software and talk away!

Introduce yourself at the start, then share the core information with your listeners. Avoid
reading from a script as the audio should sound natural. While it’s okay to read off a few
bullet points, it’s always good to practice delivery of speech off the top of your head.

After the audio is recorded, import the ID3 tag-filled file into your editing software. You
might have several clips of podcast content. See each clip’s profile and edit them side-by-
side or separately. Highlighting a clip’s portion allows you to move parts around at your
will. With so much flexibility, it won’t take much time to produce an episode.

The last step is to export the file. This will save the file as .MP3. Also, you may get another
popup that enables you to tag the .MP3. These are the same ID3 tags. Enter these and
you’re ready to go!

Best Podcast Hosting Platforms

If your objective is to scale your podcast, then it would be in your best interest to leverage a
podcast hosting website.

These sites are created on media severs that have the bandwidth and ability to
accommodate large media files like podcast episodes. The main reason for using them is
that most web hosts don’t have the resources to handle the stream or download requests
that most MP3s create.

While there are several podcast hosting sites in existence, we recommend using the
following ones:

Podbean: This website offers a free feature for hosting podcasts, but advanced options like
analytics require a payment. Users can also get in touch with advertisers to monetize their
podcasts at a later date. Pricing is around $9 a month.

Libsyn: This is one of the oldest podcast hosting platforms around. With Libsyn, you can
track everything from the demographic of your listeners to the amount of downloads per
recording. Pricing starts at $5 a month for 50mb space and goes up to $75 for 1,500mb.

SoundCloud: For podcast beginners, this platform might be the ideal option as it offers
cost-free podcasting and allows uses to distribute their episodes through RSS. However,
analytics and other features cost $16 a month to access.

 

Submitting Your Podcast to Top Directories

After you’ve picked your desired hosting platform, you can list your podcast on a directory.
The podcast just needs to be added once, after which the RSS feed and the directory will
update automatically as you upload episodes (your host will provide you with your RSS
feed).

Several directories require that you upload at least a single episode on RSS, but we
recommend you to have a minimum of five to make it look populated. Top directories
include Stitcher, iTunes, Blubrry and Google Play Music.

Marketing Your Podcast

Now that your podcast is live, you need to promote it to the world. Below are some quick
ways to get the word out.

Repurpose On Social Channels

Try re-purposing some part of your episodes on social. Putting your content on a range of
channels can work wonders to boost your podcast’s discoverability. An easy way to do this
is to upload your recording on YouTube.

Another option is to create a blog post and highlight some of the things you discussed in
your episodes. Generate traffic by adding link references to your podcast throughout the
piece.

Email The Interviewee

If you’re creating an interview podcast, you should certainly follow-up with the guest after
your podcast goes live. This may look simple on paper, but the reality is that not many
experts endorse the podcast they were mentioned in.

The secret to getting influencers to tweet about or endorse your podcast is to send follow-
up emails. You can even create a sample copy for the endorsement like “I suggest posting
the image on LinkedIn and writing in the link: Mynamepodcast.com.”

Offer Show Notes for Your Episodes

If you have a site where you can offer show notes or transcripts for your podcast, you’re
already in the driving seat. The most common solution is a WordPress website. Many
podcasters use the PowerPress WordPress plugin to input their podcasts’ RSS feed inside
the CMS, and then attach show notes to the episodes.

You can create show notes manually by writing out your podcasts or use a service such as
Speechpad to get a professional show note done. Overall, show notes give your audience a
much better idea of the podcast’s content, enabling them to decide whether or not they
want to tune in and stick around.

Post in Groups

Rather than waiting for an audience to tune into your podcast, get active and take your
episodes to them. See what online groups your target audience participates in and become
an active contributor yourself.

Look for relevant groups on social media websites like Reddit, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but
don’t immediately talk about your podcast. Develop a reputation first, then begin to
introduce your content by giving occasional references to your podcast show or episodes.

Conclusion

By now, you should have a complete understanding of what it takes to launch a podcast. As
a first step, start thinking about the niche you’re going to target and begin listening to
podcasts that are similar to your objective.

And if you already have access to a mic, why not record a test podcast today? It’ll give you
an idea of how you sound and enable you to get comfortable.

The internet age and low-cost equipment has made it possible for anyone with good
internet and $100 to start a podcast. So get your podcast out there quick!

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