This article outlines the process of creating your own podcast from scratch, including everything from ideation and topic selection to purchasing equipment and planning for the costs.
Table of Contents
- Section One: Necessities
- A Good Idea
- Recording Space
- Laptop/Computer with Recording Software
- Microphone and Headphones
- Section Two: Cost
- Section Three: Steps
- Pick a Topic
- Choose a Format
- Get Equipment
- Pick a Title
- Design Your Podcast Cover Artwork
- Record Intro and Outro
- Record and Edit Your Podcast
- Launch Your Podcast
- Extra Tips and Tricks
- Production Tips
- SEO Tricks
- Final Thoughts
With their ability to create an intimate connection between speaker and listener while on-the-go, podcasts as a medium increase in popularity with each passing day. These episodic audio series offer a space to broadcast a vast variety of content, from murder mystery stories to world conversation updates, interior design knowledge, and much more. It is easy to understand why half of all U.S. households claim to be fans of at least one podcast with 22% of all podcast fans considering themselves “avid” fans.
How does someone create their own podcast, though? We at SpeakClear have outlined some tips and tricks to starting a podcast including:
Let’s dive right in.
A Good Idea
There are thousands of podcasts out there already. So, how are you going to differentiate yours? You need a unique and original idea or perspective. Your best bet is to focus on something affiliated with your personal story or passions — an area which will motivate and excite you to continue the podcast even on those days when all you want to do is lay on the couch and watch Netflix.
Some important questions to ask yourself include:
- Who and what is your podcast for?
- Why does your podcast matter?
- How is your podcast different from the others that are out there?
- What can you bring to listeners that they can’t get anywhere else?
- Are you sharing captivating perspectives and stories that can’t be found elsewhere?
The more specific your answers, the better prepared you will be in connecting with your audience. It is best to find an explicit niche for your podcast while still leaving it open for greater elaboration so you never run out of ideas for your next episode. Storytelling, for example, is a crucial part of podcasts because it is intriguing and captivating for the audience and there is always another story you can share.
There is not one right or proper place to record your podcast. While some podcasters prefer the quiet of a sound-proof area in a basement, office, or bedroom, others opt for mobile setups in public places such as parks, restaurants, or backstage at concerts. Essentially, you can record a podcast just about anywhere.
Laptop/Computer with Recording Software
You’ll need a device for recording with enough space to hold all your recorded podcasts, i.e. a laptop or computer. Just as important, though, is the software used for recording and editing your recordings. Popular recording/editing software programs Garageband and Audacity offer free versions and allow you to record live audio, edit files, change the speed/pitch, cut and splice, and output your podcast to a digital sound file. If you’re looking for additional or expanded functionality, you can choose to use a software program such as Pro Tools, Alitu, and Adobe Audition, all of which require a paid subscription.
Microphone and Headphones
One of the most important pieces of equipment needed to record a podcast is the microphone. You can get a simple USB microphone or a more complex one with a boom arm mic stand, each of which can produce higher quality results.
Noise-canceling headphones are beneficial as well, as they allow you to hear your voice so you’ll know when to make adjustments in speed, tone, pitch, etc.
Just as each podcast varies in content, the cost of each podcast is dependent on several factors. The greatest determining factor is the equipment used to create the podcast — the computer, recording and editing software, microphone, and headphones. The cost can range from as low as $300 to as high as $3000. This does not include the extras such as a microphone stand, computer monitor, acoustic treatment, headphone amplifier, or audio interface.
In terms of a hosting site for the podcast, such as Spotify, Apple, YouTube, and Amazon, monthly service plans usually range from $5 to $100 a month to upload. Additional costs include cover art, an intro, and incorporated music. These can cost up to $700.
Essentially, it is up to you how much you wish to budget for your podcast. The initial purchase of the equipment will be quite costly, but your investment will pay off over the long term. The more you invest in the podcast’s production, the higher quality it will be, which will hopefully attract more listeners. And the more episodes you put out there, the more likely it is that you will find a devoted audience.
The process for creating a podcast can be broken down into nine different steps.
Let’s discuss each step in more detail:
Step one: Pick a topic
We touched on this subject earlier. The first step in creating a podcast is to have a good idea and develop it into something worth listening to. Focus on your personal story and passions, narrowing them down to target a specific niche. Do keep it broad enough, though, that it allows you to continue making episodes for as long as you desire.
Before you finalize your topic, do your research. If there is already one or more podcast(s) covering that same topic, you will need to focus on how to make yours different, to stand out from the others already out there.
Step two: Choose a format
There is no specific “perfect” length for a podcast. The “sweet spot” for episode length is twenty to forty-five minutes, but some podcasts are five minutes while others are six hours long. It all depends on the topic, what you have to say, and the quality of what you are saying. There are, however, a couple of statistics that you may want to take into consideration: the average commute is twenty-eight minutes, and the average attention span is less than an hour.
With regard to style, the same rule applies. While interview shows are quite popular, there is no need to strictly focus on doing interviews if they do not apply to your topic or the content you want to share. If you want to do a solo show, then do it. If you would rather have a co-host, then have a co-host. This is your show, so it is yours to format and style as you wish.
Step three: Get equipment
Earlier, we discussed the equipment necessary for creating a podcast as well as the affiliated costs. Now is the time to get the basics you’ll need, including purchasing equipment, setting it up, and getting acquainted with it before starting to record your podcast.
Step four: Pick a title
Naming your podcast can seem like an intimidating task. When scrolling through the list of podcasts already in creation, you’ll see some which are descriptive of the podcast content, while others may be more whimsical. The key is to pick a name which provides searchers with a hint on what your podcast is about while also allowing you the option to expand on your topic. Keep in mind that incorporating certain keywords within your title will help it appear higher in searches on the site where it is posted.
Step five: Design your podcast cover artwork
Your cover art provides the first impression of your podcast and is often the image featured on social media. It should convey your brand and message in a positive way. While you can create it yourself, if you aren’t a graphic artist you may want to consider outsourcing to a professional for the best results.
Step six: Record an intro and outro
Every podcast episode needs a brief introduction. This includes the name of the show and what listeners can expect to hear. An outro is needed for each episode as well, to act as a call to action for your listeners — a way to keep them engaged and interested in listening to future episodes.
Make sure to save both the intro and the outro as a template in your audio editing software so they are easily accessible when you upload a new episode.
Step seven: Record and edit the podcast
There are several options for recording. You may want to record a video on an application such as Zoom or with a video camera and then extract the audio. Or, you could record audio-only on your phone or your computer. For the best sound quality, we recommend using software like Garageband, Audacity, etc. as mentioned earlier. Using these programs also typically means you won’t need to do as much editing.
Step eight: Launch the podcast
The first thing to do when preparing to launch your podcast is to set up a hosting account. You can do this through RSS.com, Buzzsprout, Transistor, or many others. You can use this account to monitor statistics, create an uploading schedule, and add your feed to other podcasting platforms, such as Apple, Spotify, YouTube, and Google Podcasts.
Creating a website to support your podcast during its launch and onward can be very beneficial. Some hosting sites actually give you a free website when you register. This is an excellent place to put your show notes, and will help you establish your brand, further supporting your podcast and boosting your SEO.
The process of uploading differs for each hosting site, but the majority are pretty easy and self-explanatory.
Step nine: Marketing
In order for you to reach a wider audience, you will need to market your podcast. This is not much different than marketing a blog, video, or other forms of content. The more effort (and money) put into promotion, the more you are likely to get a higher number of listeners.
Extra Tips and Tricks
Some tips on how to get the best sound quality:
Never sit down to record without a plan. It is best to have an outline or script to guide you through the recording. It is best to record in a quiet room until you get comfortable with the equipment and monitoring the recording — after that you can branch out. Headphones make it easier to monitor your recording, as you can play back the audio to test the quality and then adjust as needed.
Many podcasters recommend keeping the microphone three to five inches away from your mouth for the best sound. If you are hosting interviews, make sure each guest has their own microphone.
Tips for speaking include talking slowly. Many podcasters get nervous while recording and end up speaking ten times faster than they realize, making it hard for listeners to keep up. Be cognizant of popping sounds as well, such as those in words beginning with “p” or “b.” But don’t fret if you have long pauses or excessive use of “um”s or “like”s when you’re getting started. If they really bother you, you can edit them out. The more you podcast, the more comfortable you will become, and the better you will sound.
In addition to a title incorporating relevant keywords to boost search appearances, it is also important to sprinkle keywords throughout your podcast. This gets those keywords into transcripts to help further optimize searches in your favor.
In terms of website show notes, embed videos and images within the post, adding relevant keywords to your meta description. And be sure to add a description at the top of your show notes which includes a summary and overview of the podcast, once again mentioning relevant keywords.
Podcasts are a brilliant way of developing and sharing a great idea on multiple platforms. The industry is growing quickly, so if you want to start recording, now is the time to do it. If you need help getting started, contact our experts, and subscribe to our newsletter to read more blog posts discussing similar topics in the future.