Ten Essential Items You Need To Start a Podcast

starting a podcast May 16, 2019

Podcasting continues to grow in popularity with over 51% of the US population saying they've listened to a podcast. However, the more good news to this is that there is still a lot of room for growth when it comes to podcast audiences. 

With the explosion of podcasting popularity, more and more businesses are wondering how they can jump into this medium as a part of their content strategy. It may feel like an overwhelming task on where to begin, so here's an easy 10-step process of what you need.

1. A Strategy - Before you hit record, the most important thing you'll need to do is create a strategy that aligns with your business. Just because you can easily start a podcast, doesn't jump in quite yet. 

Make sure you understand what you'll want your listeners to take away from your podcast, how exactly this aligns with your business, and exactly whom you want listening. Yes, this is a part of content marketing, so make sure you're going back to Marketing 101 before you work on everything else.

2. Microphone - Once you have a great plan for your podcast, it's time to start digging into the logistics. The most important thing you'll need is a great microphone. Don't use the headphones that Apple provides you with when you buy a phone. 

One of the best mics you can get for the money is the ATR 2100. This has a USB port, so you can easily plug it into your computer to begin recording. If you want something fancier, the Heil PR 40 is a great option, and there are a ton of great options in-between.

However, don't let picking out a microphone be what holds you back from launching your podcast. Invest in something and begin. You can always upgrade later.

3. Headphones - So this is where if you're just recording solo shows or doing interviews over Skype, your Apple generic headphones will be just fine. Headphones can serve several purposes when you're recording a podcast. First, if you're recording via software like Skype, etc, you'll want the headphones to cancel any feedback that could bounce back on your recording.

If you're using a soundboard and recording in-person, you can use the headphones to have immediate feedback while you're recording. I love using this for guests because they can hear if they're getting too far away from the mic, etc. 

4. Recording Software - Just like everything else listed so far, recording software comes in many different shapes and sizes. 

If you're going to do in-person recording, an easy plug and play option is the Zoom H6 Recorder. You can plug up to four microphones, and it has truly been a no-fail option for us when we're doing on-location interviews.

If you're looking for software to be able to do interviews on your computer, you can use tools like Skype and Zoom. Personally, I've done both, and I know many who have had issues with Skype, but it's been my favorite and one I went back to after having several issues with the sound quality on Zoom (and yes, this Zoom is a different Zoom than the recorder).

If you're plugging a mixer into your computer and want to record, you can use Garage Band (Mac Users) and Goldwave (PC Users). 

5. Editing Software - Once your episode is recorded, you'll want to clean up the episode. My personal pick is Audacity, but the recommendations of Garage Band and Goldwave will also work.

One of my absolute favorite tools is Auphonic.  You can set-up presets for your podcast where it will add your intro and outro right on to your episode and help level it out for you. I wouldn't use this as a replacement for your initial run through of your editing. However, I always use this as a secondary piece to my editing.

6. ID3 Tagging Software - Once your episode is about ready to publish, you'll want to make sure it's properly tagged. This helps directories know that your audio file is a podcast, and it also helps get your podcast discovered. 

This is the last thing you'll need to do before sending it to your hosting site. Software that I like to use is: http://www.pa-software.com/id3editor/

7. Intro/Outro - These are items that you'll record when you're setting up your podcast.  Do you need music for it? Not necessarily. What should you say? Well, it's an intro for your podcast, so what do you want them to hear every single time they press play?

My suggestion is to write something out, but then find someone to record it over on Fiverr or Upwork. They'll also be able to provide you with music. If you want to have your own music, there are several sites where you can download music for a fee (Audio Jungle being one of them).

8. Cover Art - You can either create one or two different types of cover art. The first is your podcast show cover art, so the overarching art that is displayed in relation to your podcast. The other is art for every episode. It's up to you if you want to create a separate file for each episode, or if your show art will be what is displayed for every episode.

The requirements of these files are simple, they have to be 3000 x 3000 pixels and either in a .png or .jpeg format. You can use some of the suggest graphic sites below to make these or you can hire someone to also create this. However, whichever you route you take, this is a must to launching your podcast.

9. Hosting Site - Once your first episode is completed, you'll need an RSS feed for your podcast. The best and easiest way to create this is by putting your podcast on a podcast hosting site. Libsyn is one of the more common ones, but there are many options out there. 

Some of the things you'll want to consider are cost, other options like apps and websites, along with statistics. As you gain more experience, the more detailed statistics will become important in helping you grow your podcast, so although you may not need them now, they will be a factor.

10. Marketing Software - For many of you, you'll want your podcast to be hard by others. So it's important that you create some great graphics and clips for your social channels, outside of just promoting the full episode.

Waveforms are the social videos that show sound wave movement while someone is talking. You can create these right from Auphonic (listed above), but there are also websites that allow you to create them.  Wavve.co  is another option to make these videos. 

I would also suggest making images highlighting quotes or topics discussed on your podcast. Share these along with a link to your entire episode throughout your social channels. (Also remember your content shouldn't be just one and done. Re-use these images to continue to highlight your episodes.)

You can use software like Canva, Adobe Spark, and Retype to create these.

Starting a podcast is like anything else, just start is one step at a time. 

If you need any help in creating this, we are here to help!



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