Been dreaming of starting your own podcast?
But I somehow started one anyway.
Back in May 2020, I told a friend, “hey, we talk about our websites and hustles, how about we just record our conversations and do a podcast?” To which he said, “let’s do it.”
The next day or so, we came up with a title: Side Hustles & Stuff.
We made a bullet point outline of episode one — what we’d talk about in the intro, in the middle, and at the end. Yeah, kind of like planning your college essay.
Then, with the outline, we hopped on a Zoom call, hit record, and blurted out the first episode. It wasn’t fancy. We had shoddy microphones. Zoom reduced our audio quality. My chair was creaking. But, we got it done.
Afterwards, we took both recordings – his side and mine – edited them, removed the tons of “umm,” “uhh,” and other mistakes, and published our very first podcast.
Then, we shared it on Facebook where all of our friends liked the post, and commented “omg awesome,” “congratulations,” and “I’m totally going to listen to it.” And then…
Box office records broken?
If you want to know, as of November 2020, episode #1 has just around 44 plays. And based on the geo-stats, I’m pretty sure the person that said they are totally going listen is not listening!
Here is episode #1, by the way.
Okay, what’s the point of this story?
Well, for me at least, it shows how dead simple it is to start a podcast.
So, if you’ve been wanting to start your own podcast, you may as well jump in now. You can do it for free. You can also buy some equipment to sound better. Either way, I’ll tell you what we did… so you can do the same and start your own podcast this weekend.
Things Needed to Make a Podcast
So, what do you need?
#1 Tools Needed to Start a Podcast
Let’s talk tools first.
For Beginners & People That Want to Start Now (and Improve Later)
If you’re itching to start right now… honestly, all you need is…
- Your smartphone. It has a microphone.
- And a podcast distribution service. Where you can make an account, name your podcast, upload your artwork, upload your first audio file that you recorded on your phone, and publish it out into the world.
- I recommend Anchor.fm. It’s a free platform. Good for beginners. Upload your audio and Anchor will help you appear on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other Podcast places.
That’s really all the gear you need. If you want to start your own podcast for free, this is the way to do it.
But you’re thinking…
“Wahh, but I want it to sound good…”
Then, keep on reading.
For Anyone That Wants a “Good Enough” Podcast Setup
1) A microphone.
A good microphone really makes a difference in the audio quality. I use the Yeti microphone.
- You can browse around on Amazon, check out the reviews and choose one for yourself.
2) A pop filter for your microphone.
What’s this for? Well, when recording, the P and B sounds tend to be quite loud. So, pop filters are placed between you and the mic in order to soften them up.
- You can also get a pop filter on Amazon. Note: some microphones may come with pop filters.
3) Editing software.
This is where you listen to the recorded audio and delete out all the “uhhh,” “umm” and noises that don’t belong there. You can use Garageband which is free on the Mac. However, I highly recommend Audacity which is also free and available for both PC and Mac. I found it to be much easier to use than Garageband.
- You can get Audacity or Garageband for free.
4) A podcast distribution service.
This is where you set up your podcast, set your name, branding, and upload your audio. Again, I recommend Anchor.fm. It’s free and it distributes your podcast onto the most popular podcast platforms.
- Sign up on Anchor.fm. It’s all free.
#2 “Things” Needed to Start a Podcast
Now, that we covered tools… what else?
I’ll assume you already have a topic in mind for your podcast. Like, books, tv-shows, news, sports, investment, gossip, or Pokemon. If not, you should probably get a topic first before you do anything.
If you know what you want to talk about, here are some other things you’ll need.
- A name for your podcast.
- Your publication schedule. Setting one makes it easy to stick with it. For example, we publish one every Wednesday.
- A list of topics to talk about. Just sit down and write a list of topics you want to talk about.
- Ideal length of each episode. So you know when to stop.
- An outline for each episode. Coming up with an outline makes it easy to talk and deliver it an organized manner. First, you have your music, then your introduction, then you have your main topic, and then you have your outro. Otherwise, you’ll ramble into all directions and get stuck over what to talk about next.
- A promotion plan. You’ll want listeners, right? How will you get them? Well, think about all the places you can promote your new podcasts on. And think about where else you can promote your podcast on.
As a final note, some of you might think that “ah, I don’t need an outline, I’m too clever and can think on the spot.”
Trust me, it’s basic but it makes a world of a difference.
An outline makes it easy for you to know what to say next. It makes it easy for your partner, if there is one, to stay on track and say their part. And it makes it easy for the listener to know how the podcast is progressing and what they can expect in the future. Otherwise, it’s like listening to someone who can’t stay on topic and goes off tangent into something else.
How to Start a Successful Podcast
Clearly, I’m by no means successful nor am I really trying. But, as an “unsuccessful” podcaster, I too have some insights.
Look, if we’re talking about how to start a successful podcast…
…unless you’re famous or have a big audience from the start, you won’t “start” a successful podcast. You may eventually make it successful. But, it likely won’t happen at the start without some luck.
So, how do you make it successful?
Well, here’s a question back at you… What is your metric of success? If you want to have a successful podcast, you need to pick some key metrics and focus on them. In other words, define what success is. Is it…
- the number of podcasts you release on a timely basis?
- the number of listeners/size of audience?
- the growth rate of your audience?
- the number of plays on a weekly or monthly basis?
- the amount of money you earn from the podcast?
Then, do whatever it takes to boost the numbers.
But, if you’re not tracking some number (or numbers) — whether it’s subscribers, downloads, plays, growth, or whatever — then you won’t know what success is, how to grow it, and when you’ll “reach” it.
So, track your stats.
Ultimately, your success will depend on the amount of listeners you have – your audience. The more the better. The more you have, advertisers will start taking interest in you. As will other podcasters who want to have you on their podcast and perhaps go on yours — at which point you’re exposed to their audience — and some of their audience starts following you — and you grow some more.
As you can see, it comes down to…
- “How do I get more listeners”
Or as every single business and marketer wonders every day…
- “How do I get people to care?”
So, that’s the million dollar question. How do you get more listeners? Put out more content. Improve the content. And of course, promote the content.
Promotion is what’ll get you more listeners.
But how? Well… again, that’s the million dollar question that all marketers and businesses wonder about every day. So, that’s on you to find out.