I’m sure you know what a podcast is; you might have even listened to loads of them already. There are so many podcasts nowadays for different things, themes and people. There’s something for everyone. So why not be part of the podcast community?
That’s what I thought several years ago. I started a tiny podcast about World of Warcraft and it grew up to be quite successful. I stepped back from it when other things started to grab my interest, but I am back into the full swing of it now!
If you’ve ever thought about starting your own podcast, but feel intimidated by the whole ‘setting it up’-thing, don’t worry. It’s honestly easier than you think!
Step 1: Choose your topic
Now this is probably the hardest part. What is it that you want to talk about? Could you invest a decent amount of time and effort into talking about that subject? You don’t want to dry up on content after ten shows.
Also make sure you find your niche. Unless you have already established yourself as a podcaster out there, getting new listeners is not an easy feat. There are a lot of podcasts and you’ll have to make yourself stand out. Once you have all of that (I suggest writing this ‘battle plan’ down for yourself), you will have to come up with a name. I found this the hardest thing. Try to find something that, again, will make it stand out of the forest of podcasts, but also will, at least, give a hint about what your podcast is all about.
Step 2: The costs
Getting a podcast out there doesn’t have to cost much. The most expensive thing to create a podcast will probably be a recording device.
Now, I’ve heard of people who just record their podcasts on their phones. Which is doable. However, you might not have an easy time editing your podcast to your desired quality.
I would suggest having a PC and a good microphone. Again, a good microphone doesn’t have to cost a lot. I got a great quality one for around 50 GBP, but there are cheaper ones out there.
You can download most audio software for free. Audacity is a great tool to edit your podcast with and quite easy to use as well. Don’t be intimidated by software. There are many YouTube tutorials out there that will teach you how to edit your podcast easily. And I’ll be honest, in my first year I never edited my podcast, ever. I even joked about it with my listeners.
Now the last thing you might have to consider when it comes to costs, is the hosting plan. Yes, you can host it for free on websites like SoundCloud, but if you want to make it a bit easier for yourself, I would go for something like Libsyn or Podbean. I used both and I am a real fan of Podbean. I spend about 10 GBP a month to get my podcast hosted there.
Step 3: Time to record (and edit)
Depending on your tools and software, the process can be a bit different for everyone. However, it is more or less the same when it comes to the following steps:
- Test the input volume of your microphone and adjust it if needed.
- Open your audio recording software and make sure that it records from your microphone.
- Start recording a tiny bit (20 seconds of talking) and listen back to it. Does your audio need any adjusting?
- If you are happy with it, start recording your podcast. Now, to safe yourself some time with awkward pauses where you forgot what you wanted to talk about, have some ‘show notes’ up on your screen/on a post-it. Remember those presentations in school? This is just like that. You are talking to an audience, even though you might not see them. It will also help you stay on track with what your talking about. Don’t worry if you sometimes divert from the subject, I’ve done that many of times, but it’s handy to have your notes there in case you forgot where you were in your ‘planned’ story.
- Listen back to your audio and edit it if you feel you need to. (again, there are many great tutorials on YouTube about editing your audio files for podcasting).
- Save your file and export the audio either as a WAV or MP3 file.
Step 4: Submitting your podcaster
If you have a host like Podbean, you can just upload your file there and fill in all the details. However, don’t leave it with your hosting website. Upload your podcast to the big podcast providers:
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Play Music (I think this is only available for certain countries as of yet)
Step 5: Spreading the Word
This is where the hard work comes in. As mentioned before, there are lots of podcasts out there. And if you’re new, you start at the bottom. You won’t get featured anywhere (yet), so it’s up to you to make people aware of your podcast.
This is my golden rule: NETWORK! I started talking to other podcasters in the World of Warcraft community. I actively participated in writing and tweeting to their show. Sometimes just talking about the game, or answering their question/topic of the week. If they needed guests to come talk on their show, I would state my interest. I even stayed awake until 4 AM some times to talk to podcasters from the USA. It all helps. Most podcasters are really decent to let you promote your own podcast on their show and I always thought it was good form, that if you have guests on your podcast to extend the invitation back to them.
Now, there is a fine balance to being a nuisance and just networking. Keep that in mind when you are out there talking to other people in the community you want to represent with your podcast.
If you feel that your friends and family would enjoy your podcast, spread the word to them. Post it on Twitter and Facebook. Promote it on Instagram and YouTube. Everything helps.
Podcast Top Tips
1. Start thinking about a logo for your podcast. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but your artwork will be needed for these podcast websites and for others to recognize your podcast. Again, you can easily create something in paint or even online on free websites like Canva. Now with this comes intro music. You don’t have to have an intro, but it can never hurt to have a tune to get the listeners sucked into your show. There are many talented people on the internet who can either create logos or intros for you. Fiverr or similar websites are a good way to connect with them.
2. Maybe you want to create a dedicated YouTube for your podcast or have a Twitter account. Again, make sure the name of your podcast is available or how you would have to tweak it.
3. Be open to criticism and negativity. There will be some people who will give you criticism and feedback. Take this on board! If they complain about your audio being bad, that’s a huge thing you can’t ignore, it could even damage your podcast. They might provide you with great tips of how to improve. Now there will also be people who will just hate what you do for no reason. Don’t let this get you down! You will always have people like that, if it makes you happy then continue what you’re doing!
4. Listen back to your podcast. I know, most of us hate hearing our own voices. I hate mine, but it did teach me a lot about where I need to improve my speech. You might have little habits you didn’t notice until you listen back to yourself. I’m not saying you should be perfect, but something that might annoy you while listening to yourself, could also annoy the listeners. If it’s something that is easily changed, then why not give it a shot.
5. Enjoy it! Make sure that you don’t see this as another job. It’s a fun hobby and don’t count yourself rich. You might be able to make money of your podcast, but if you are just starting out, I would just focus on the quality and the fun of doing a podcast.
So as it stands, I have just released the first episode of my new podcast project. It’s nowhere near the numbers I used to have in my prime days of podcasting, but I am grateful for any person who takes the time to listens to my podcast. It’s heart-warming seeing the community embracing my podcast again and giving it a shot. I am no where near a professional podcaster and I could improve in a lot of ways, but at the moment I am just enjoying what I’m doing again. It took me 12 hours to set up this podcast, but I did have a plan worked out beforehand. So as you can see, it doesn’t have to take weeks before you can start podcasting.
So what’s stopping you from creating yours?