Need help putting together a meaningful podcast? Knowing how to set up your podcast will help you produce quality material, reaching your target audience with high-quality material.

Starting a podcast requires a host gathered the following steps, information, and tips on starting a well-produced and researched podcast providing exciting and relevant information to your target audience.

Starting a Podcast

You don’t need to be a tech wizard or have vast financial resources to start a podcast. As a hobby, business owner, or entrepreneur, learning to start a podcast is something you should consider to help you target this massive audience, expanding your brand through content and product marketing. Consider the following steps, information, and tips to get you started:

Develop a Podcast Topic and Name

You will want your podcast name derived from a particular topic or niche, always focusing on your target audience and what unique information you can provide them. Try to narrow it down to something you can speak on for multiple episodes but not so expansive that you won’t appeal to your audience. You can diversify your topics later as you gain popularity and your audience’s loyalty.

Select a name that broadly reflects your podcast’s topic and content (aligning with your brand, goals, and target audience), allowing you to expand if you decide to later. A more general name allows you to talk about all kinds of topics if you want without losing your audience entirely.

Tip: Listen to other similar podcasts and research what type of audience you are trying to attract. What questions are they asking, and which products do they need or want.

Select a Podcast Format

Your podcast format should feel sustainable. Ask yourself what excites you and gives you creative energy. Do you enjoy connecting with podcast guests or feel more secure with a fixed co-host?

If you choose to have co-hosts, keep your group small. Podcasting with more than two or three people makes scheduling a challenge and often a burden. Consider the following for your podcast format:

  • Interview Podcasts
  • Co-Hosted Podcasts
  • Scripted Non-Fiction
  • News Review
  • Educational Podcasts
  • Story-Telling Scripted Narratives

Length – Make your episodes as long as they need to be and no longer. Consider this simple structure:

  1. Start with a relevant hook and an intro 
  2. Cover your show’s content
  3. End with a conclusion followed by an outro (bait the audience for the next episode)

Publishing Schedule – Podcasting can end up as a full-time job or something you do on the side. You can publish daily, weekly, or monthly episodes depending on your availability and devotion to the project.

Pick a Co-Host – It can be much simpler to start podcasting if you work with a co-host. You will naturally have more engaging conversations if you both share your points of view on a specific topic. It will also be helpful having someone to help keep things on track.

Create Podcast Artwork

Starting a podcast requires cover art for social media

Your cover art is typically the first impression most will see as they browse through their favorite podcast app. This is also the icon or thumbnail someone sees when you share your show by text, email, or on social media. Creativity and a captivating graphic will only help capture more potential listeners.

Tip: Wait until you reach the editing phase of your first episode to create your podcast artwork. This will help your graphic designer capture the most appropriate imagery that best represents your podcast. Ideas evolve and designing artwork beforehand risks rendering the artwork useless if you decide to iterate and pivot the podcast’s direction.

Setup Recording Equipment

Your next step in learning how to start a podcast is your podcast equipment. Fortunately, you don’t need a fancy studio or heavy investments to create a professional podcast. It’s possible to do this with a quality microphone, headphones, and a computer.

If you’re producing video podcasts, you’ll need a camera. While you can use your computer’s webcam, it’s better to use an external device.

Note: Cellphone camera quality has advanced tremendously in recent years. Many phones come with high-end cameras that can record in 4K resolution. This is a feasible solution if you are podcasting on a budget. You can pair your phone with a free or paid podcasting app and an external mic.

Tip: As you settle into your podcast theme and settings, consider improving your lighting and soundproofing and invest in a mixer to help capture tracks or soundbites.

Select Podcast Software

The easiest way to create and edit a podcast is by using recording and editing software. There are many free solutions, including:

  • Zoom
  • GarageBand
  • Audacity
  • Stitcher
  • SpreakerStudio
  • Alitu

And paid solutions like:

  • Pro Tools
  • Riverside
  • Logic Pro X
  • Adobe Audition

Tip: You may already have access to Adobe Audition if you’re an Adobe Creative Suite subscriber.

Record Your First Episode

Get used to recording and listening to yourself by talking at a consistent volume in several different positions. Then, listen to the recordings to see which position(s) gave you the best audio quality.

For video podcasts, record several short videos, adjusting your lighting, sound equipment, and seating (or standing) arrangements. While this may seem time-consuming, this “testing” will help you arrive at your best recording, lighting, and sound configurations – improving your podcast quality and saving time in the long run.

Once you’ve found your optimal settings and positioning, record your episode in a single or multiple takes (you can splice them together in the editing phase).

Edit Your Audio

Starting a podcast requires audio editing

Your podcast editing is principally for cleaning up audio and making essential changes to the episode’s flow. Keep it simple, if you focus too heavily on production, you may find yourself overwhelmed.

Tip: When you cut sections of audio, you may get pops or clicks in the finished product. Use your editing software’s fade tool at the beginning and end of each clip if you run into this issue.

Get Your Podcast Listed

After making your first episodes, the next step is to publish your show on different listening platforms. To do this, you’ll need to use a podcast hosting site (see below) where you store your podcast content. You’ll then use your podcast host to distribute content to a listening directory, where your audience can access your show.

Choose a podcast hosting platform that offers you enough storage space, ensuring it’s compatible with the directories you want to use. Look into the tools your podcast host provides, as many come with analytics, SEO, and monetization features. Here are some options to explore:

  • Anchor
  • Buzzsprout
  • Libsyn‍
  • ‍‍Podbean‍
  • Spreaker‍

Each platform may require a slightly different process. However, to publish your podcast, you’ll need to:

  1. Upload your first (few) episode(s) to a podcast-hosting service
  2. Create an RSS podcast feed 
  3. Submit this RSS feed to podcast directories you’d like to publish to
  4. Once approved, new episodes you upload onto your podcast hosting site should automatically get published on your chosen directories

If you need help selecting where to publish your podcast, start off with the most popular apps like:

  • Spotify
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Google Podcasts
  • TuneIn
  • Amazon Music and Audible

You may believe that after launching your podcast, your work is done. However, if you want your podcast to be successful, you must promote it.

Promoting your Podcast

You can try many podcast promotions and marketing tactics. Here are some easy ideas:

Invest in SEO – Optimize your podcast to increase its discoverability. Use podcast descriptions, titles, and transcripts with multiple relevant keywords to improve search results.

Promote with Social Media Posts, Stories, and Reels – Create short, shareable snippets of your show and post them on multiple social media platforms. 

Create a Podcast Website – You should absolutely have a website if you are committed to podcasting and building your audience. Your website:

  • Helps generate new traffic
  • Functions as a permanent archive for back episodes
  • Establishes your brand consistency
  • Gives you the potential to link a blog to your podcast

You can also create a funnel for your audience by collecting email addresses and contact information and adding them to your email list for any current or future marketing or promotional efforts.

Podcast Promotion – If you’d rather stay on the production end of things, you can hire a promotion service to promote your podcast. 

Podcast Success or Failure

There can be multiple reasons a podcast may fail, but one of the most frequent is that beginner podcasters cannot connect with their audience or deliver valuable content in an entertaining package.

Making a Podcast

In this article, you discovered essential information, crucial steps, and pro tips on starting a successful podcast, satisfying your target audience with relevant and meaningful information.

By understanding your target audience’s questions and needs, you can structure an appealing and informative podcast that effectively communicates with your audience and beyond.

Avoid creating a podcast haphazardly, as it will result in low viewership, wasted time, and money.