Let’s Start A Podcast – The Basics of Getting Started

This past January (2015) I officially launched the Why I Social podcast. From the outside looking in, this may have seemed like a simple process. At least, that’s the impression I’ve gotten from most people who are new or lack an understanding of podcast creation. A common statement I’ll hear is something along the lines I heard early on went something like this.

“Oh, that’s awesome. I think I might start a podcast one day. Seems easy enough”.

Now, I’m not saying starting a podcast is difficult. The word easy, however, is completely inaccurate. One does not simply start a podcast.

It’s true.

Step 1: Have a A Plan

There’s nothing worse to me than going into any major project (yes, a podcast is a major project) without a plan. As I’ve shared before, the Why I Social podcast was not something I started overnight. There was a lot of thought and planning that went into it which included everything from listening to a wide array of podcasts to documenting my thoughts and ideas down in Google Documents.

A few things you’ll want to do:

  • Determine the format of your show
  • There’s a big difference in a show with guests as opposed to a show that has multiple hosts every week.
  • Write your ideas down
  • Allow yourself to go back and look at your ideas. Determine how you can take those ideas and improve them.
  • Figure out your target audience
  • But be flexible enough to realize if your audience changes.
  • Be open to feedback
  • Feedback will allow you to ensure your final product is always improving. If you aren’t willing to take feedback, it’s likely your podcast will suffer and will lack longevity.
  • Create a podcast description and image. These will be required when submitting your information for iTunes and using services mentioned later.

Step 2: Use (and Understand) the Right Tools

If you’re going to be podcasting, you’re going to want top quality audio. It does make a difference. First, start by getting a good microphone. I’m not telling you to break the bank but do not cheap out either.

Personally, I’m a fan of Blue Yeti microphones — but you have a lot of options out there these days.

Once you’ve got a quality microphone, you’ll need to determine what tools you’re going to use to record. Options include (but are not limited to):

  • Utilizing Google Hangouts On-Air to interview and record your audio
  • Skype combined with Call Recorder to capture/convert audio

There’s a wealth of ways to record your audio — picking the one that works best for you is important. Do your research and go with what makes the most sense.

Lastly, you’ll need some means to edit your podcast. I’m going to assume you want to add some sort of professional edge to it. You’ll want to fix audio issues, add music or perhaps an intro/outro.

Some tools to help you edit your audio include but are not limited to:

Step 3: Schedule and Record Your Podcast

At this point, you’ve got a few things going for you.

  • You’ve determined your format.
  • You’ve got the right tools.

Now, you need content! Whether it’s booking guests or simply recording with your co-host(s), plan to be consistent. The first 6 to 8 weeks on iTunes are important. You want to have the potential opportunity to show up in New and Noteworthy so you can pull in a few extra ears.

If you’re going to have guests, make sure you provide them with a clear description of the show and it’s format. Make them feel comfortable. And this part is important.

Make sure they have the proper equipment to record. This doesn’t mean a professional microphone, but if they’re using their laptop — they must be in a quiet space and use headphones. If no headphones are used, there’s a good chance you’ll get some feedback. Additionally, I recommend if you do decide to use a tool that has video on it (even if you’re just taking the audio), use it. Seeing if someone is going to say something is going to limit the amount of talking over one another.

Step 4: Submit Your RSS Feed to iTunes/Stitcher

Now that you’ve got content, you need to have an RSS feed. I recommend going with a service (over your own web space) simply because for me it was easier and didn’t clog my page up. There’s a wealth of services that you can upload your content to and will produce an RSS feed.

Some services, to name a few, include:

Full disclosure: I utilize Libsyn for Why I Social.

Of course, this isn’t every service, but it’s a good starting point for your research in picking the perfect tool. Once you’ve got your RSS feed submitted, it’s a waiting game. It may take a day or two (or more) before you hear back. A few places you’ll submit your podcast should include:

Step 5: Promote Your Podcast

Your podcast is live and out there — but does anyone know? Promoting your podcast MUST be part of your plan. Ideally, you’ll have social media accounts active to share from. The first few weeks your podcast is on iTunes, you’ll also want to get people subscribing and reviewing your podcast. Reviews will provide new listeners a look at just what your podcast is about from another listeners perspective.

So, how are you going to promote the podcast? Image is everything. My recommendation is to use Adobe Photoshop or Canva. I know many people who use Canva simply because of the ease of use it offers in a timely manner — but if you’re a fan of Photoshop or Illustrator, I don’t blame you either.

A template for all your social network needs!

If you do use Canva, you’ll be happy to know there’s some templates already in place to help you get to a quick start as well a design school to help you get accustomed to the product.

By creating a Twitter template, the process of creating promotional graphics for the podcast becomes easy.

Additionally, take the time to build out a place on your webpage (this is assuming you have one — in which case — you should). This give you a place to post your episodes and allows you to engage with your listeners outside of social media. With plugins and embed codes, your podcast can be played right from your webpage.

It’s important to note that in your first 6 to 8 weeks, you’ll want your plays to take part on iTunes. This will afford you the opportunity to be on the “New and Notable” section to help you gain some additional attention.

Questions?

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email me at WhyISocial@gmail.com.

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