How to Start a Podcast
1) Finding your Niche
Podcasts. You may listen to at least one, or perhaps you catch up with dozens. There are so many, and they’re great for staying informed, having entertainment at work, or background noise while you’re doing your chores. If you imagined yourself in the seat of a podcaster, telling the world all there is to know about your niche, you’ve come to the right place.
But what is a niche? Essentially, it’s a specific topic that people are going to look for when searching for a podcast to follow. Many podcasts pertain to a certain hobby or topic. Having a more free-form podcast where you discuss what’s on your mind is a niche as well.
With that said, there are many podcasts out there. Anyone with a microphone can make one. If you want to stand out, you need to come up with a topic, and imagine your topic as a body of water. If it’s too big, it may be lost. There is a vast ocean of podcasts out there, and you may want a pond instead. Of course, you want a pond filled with fish and not something so small that hardly anyone will listen.
Here are some things you can do to find your niche:
- Think about your passions. Don’t start a podcast about a topic you are not interested in just because it’s popular. You need to have charisma for your podcast, and if you clearly aren’t interested in the topic, it’ll show in your voice.
- Find the niche that has less competition, but has potential for an audience.
- Make sure to do some research on your niche before you dive into it. Google Trends can help you with this. You can look at your topic and see how it’s trending, and if it’s on the decline. Things that have a consistent or rising interest may be good. If the trend is on the decline, such as a flash in the pan fad, you may want to look elsewhere.
Podcasting is not a specific topic, so it’s hard to say what niche will work best. You can make a podcast about virtually anything, provided you have enough material to last you through many different episodes. Therefore, it may be best you pick a niche that has the potential for news and other updates so you can discuss this with your potential audience.
2) Think of a unique podcast name and where you want to host it.
Now comes the fun part, creating your podcast name. We suggest a name that’s short, sweet and is relevant to your audience. Some names for a podcast blog could be: Today’s Total Talk, Chirping About Tweets, or if you’re still stuck try using our blog name generator for some inspiration.
Once you have a podcast name in mind, it’s time to get your website set up. Your podcast will probably need its own website to attract followers. Don’t worry, this is much easier than it sounds and can be easily done in less than an hour! Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
We suggest going with BlueHost to host your website as they have an easy one-click WordPress installation tool, you can get 60% Off hosting and a free domain name here.
As for your podcast feed itself, you can host it on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or various other places. You may want to host it in as much places as possible. Most of these outlets are free.
3) Get the essentials
If you are going to start a podcast, you’ll obviously need a mic. Mics are now more affordable than ever, and you don’t have to spend thousands to get a good quality mic. At the same time, you shouldn’t spend $20 on a cheap mic that sounds bad.
Make sure you have some studio space as well. A room that is too big may create unneeded background noise. Test the audio before you begin recording.
Some podcasts have a video version as well. If you want that, get yourself a quality camera. However, don’t spend too much. Instead, you may just want to hold off on all that until your podcast is already established. Keep it simple.
You’ll need audio editing equipment to remove flubs and make the podcast flow better. Audio editing also helps balance the audio. You can hire an editor to do that, or do it yourself. There are free programs you can use that make editing much easier, such as Audacity.
Create some social media accounts for your account as well. Think about what the best places for your podcast would be. More on that in a bit.
Finally, practice on your voice as well. Even if you think you’re charismatic, find your speaking voice and practice a bit before you go on the air.
What content do podcasters create?
With a podcast, you can create content about anything. There may be a nature podcast hosted by someone who gets outdoors. It could chronicle their adventures and take calls in from people who have experience in nature as well.
With today’s political climate, there are copious amounts of political podcasts for every little shade on the political scale. You could commentate on the news, speculate about where we’re going next, or take calls in for people who have an opinion to say. These podcasts can be designed to change minds or preach to the choir.
Some podcasts will be accompanied with other content. There may be blog posts, vlogs on YouTube, or other content that tie into the podcast. Again, you may want to start simple with the podcast side and then focus on the rest later.
Some podcasts will have a video feed as well, but it’s not essential. However, many viewers like having a video feed because they feel more of a connection to the host.
Create engaging and relevant content
Your podcast has to stand out and be stimulating if you want it to succeed. With a podcast, there are many ways to do so.
First, think about the length of your podcast. Some podcasts only need ten minutes to get their job done. Other podcasts can last for hours. Starting a little shorter may be a good idea to test the waters.
One of the best ways you can create content to your podcast is to consume other podcasts. With podcasts, you can consume them anywhere. On a commute, while you’re cleaning house, while working out, and so on. There is no excuse. Listen to some podcasts pertaining to your niche. Are there elements you could implement in your podcast? Are there elements they could improve on?
Another good idea is to make a few test podcasts to see how good they are, give them to a test audience, and then improve until you launch the first official episode.
One element of a good podcast is audience engagement. The audience will love it if they feel like the host listens to them. You can do this by answering comments/email, taking in calls, or hosting fan art. There are quite a few ways to get audience engagement.
With a good podcast, you’ll want a structure. While it can be a little more free-form, a basic structure can help you make sure your podcast isn’t all over the place.
How to grow your traffic
If you’re podcasting alone, that’s no fun. Here are some ways you can create an audience:
- Make sure your content is good. While “good” is subjective, there are some rules you can follow to improve it. Have a unique voice. Try to make your podcast free of audio errors. Have a unique take on a subject. Ask some people for feedback.
- Engage with your audience. Earlier, we explained how you can do that, so check that out.
- Talk with similar podcasts that have a similar audience size. You can be a guest on their podcast and contribute to theirs, all while shouting out your own podcast. You can put other podcasters as guests on your podcast as well, as they’ll tell their audience about it.
- Good SEO for your podcast’s website is ideal. The right keywords can help bring up your podcast to the top of Google if you know what you’re doing. You can do this yourself or pay a professional to tweak your website.
- Put your podcast on as many hosting sites as you can. YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, you name it. This can help you reach as many audiences as possible. Many people stick to one website primarily, so put your hooks in different ponds if you want to get the most fish.
How to make money with your podcast
While money shouldn’t be the main motivator for your podcast, a podcast as a side gig, or possibly a full-time job, is good. There are many ways you can monetize your podcast if you want to do so. These include:
- Patreon. When you have a big enough audience, there will be some people who would gladly give you some money every month to support their favorite podcaster. You can reward patrons with premium content, such as behind the scenes videos, bonus episodes of your podcast, and other perks. The more someone pays, the more content you can give them.
- Sponsored ads. When you get big enough, some companies will want to pay you to promote their product. Usually, this means advertising their product in the beginning, middle, or end of the podcast.
- YouTube money. If you host your podcasts on YouTube and they get enough views, you can monetize them with ads, provided your content doesn’t break any guidelines.
- Putting ads on your website is another way you can make some money with your podcast. Using Google AdSense or other websites may be able to help with that.
If you become an expert in your niche, some companies may pay you to travel. If your podcast is on comics, for example, you may be invited as a guest at a comic con. This can help promote your podcast even more.
You probably won’t make money overnight, but if you keep at it, you can slowly turn your podcast into a full time job, then work to improve it even further! Just make sure you love what you do, and you’ll be in the right place.
Top #3 Podcasters
This was a podcast that aired from 2014-2016, starring crass satirists Maddox and Dick Masterson. As the name implies, they discussed different problems in the world. These ranged from legitimate issues to first-world problems, and the audience voted on which problem was the biggest. The discussions would often be heated, and because of the two personalities, it was a fun podcast to listen to. If you have a friend you’re casting with, a discussion based podcast is always fun.
This podcast has been around since 2009, and it’s hosted by comedian Joe Rogan. The appeal of the podcast is that Rogan has conversations with many different public figures, ranging from well-known celebrities to YouTube personalities. This keeps the podcast fresh and having guests on your podcasts is always good for promotion.
While you probably don’t have access to celebrities, you can interview local figures or smaller podcasters. If you’ve considered a career in journalism, all the better.
If a podcast is boring, that is usually their downfall. However, Sleep With Me is an exception. The podcast is hosted by a man with a rambling, boring voice who goes on digressions and reads stories. Listening to it is so boring it’ll put you to sleep. And that’s the point. Many people who have problems sleeping have been helped thanks to Sleep With Me. Consider starting a podcast designed to help people who have problems.