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So you want to podcast…congratulations! Podcasting takes a lot of time, but it’s also a LOT of fun and an be very rewarding. I have produced and hosted three podcasts, two of which are still live. Many friends have asked how to get a podcast off the ground, so I’ve put together a simple step-by-step guide for anyone interested in starting a podcast.
1. Record Your First Episode.
You have a great idea for a topic for your podcast. Great! I recommend you actually write out a script – or at least an outline – and put it in front of you while you record.
First, you have to have some kind of recording device and software where it records your voice and then saves the file as an audio file. I started very simply with the Voice Recorder app on my iPhone in my closet. Why the closet? Because all of the clothes will muffle extraneous echoes, similar to a recording booth. Also, it’s less likely you’ll pick up the sounds of the rest of your house: kids, television, pets, etc.
That being said, podcast listeners like good quality audio. So if you’re serious about podcasting, eventually you’ll want to invest in a good microphone, headphones, and create a dedicated, echo-free space to record. There are many YouTube videos on how to set up a home studio, so start there. I have listed the equipment I use at the bottom of this article.
2. Edit Your Episode
Chances are, you’re not perfect. You flubbed a little and need to cut that out. Or your stomach rumbled. Or your dog barked. Or maybe you want to add some music to the beginning and end of the show. To edit your podcast file, you will use a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software program. I started with Garage Band, which comes free with Macs. Audacity is also free and widely used. When I learned the basics of audio editing, I eventually upgraded to Reaper. It was $60 when I bought it, and I love it. The company creates easy “how to use” tutorial videos which are easy to follow and understand.
Pond5.com is my favorite site to find and license music for intros, outros, and stingers. Just a warning, though, you can spend hours on this site!
3. Find a Podcast Host (not a person, a service)
Once you have at least one episode, you’ll want to find a podcast host (not a person, a web service). A podcast host will host your audio files and format your show information for iTunes and other providers. I recommend Podbean for new podcasters. It has a simple interface and is currently $9/month for their starter package.
4. Create your Show and get your RSS Feed URL.
Once you’ve created your show on your podcast host, you’ll upload your episodes one by one. Once you have at least one episode uploaded, your host will give you an RSS FEED address. This is important! This is the url you will give to all the podcast networks. A podcast network is like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher – they are basically apps where people go to find and listen to podcasts.
5. Submit your show to Podcast Providers (apps)
Now you are ready to start submitting to providers! The first one you’ll want to submit to is Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes). It takes a couple of days to get approved and be found on the Apple Podcasts lineup.
- Apple Podcasts – Create an apple account if you don’t already have one. Then go to: https://podcastsconnect.apple.com/my-podcasts/new-feed
- Enter your RSS FEED url that your host gave you. It will take a couple of days for Apple Podcasts to check out your show and approve you. It might take several weeks to actually show up in the podcast search. Be patient!
- Spotify – Signup as a podcaster on Spotify (even if you host your files elsewhere) by going to: podcasters.spotify.com/. Register as a podcaster, upload your cover art, describe your show and input your RSS Feed link. Spotify is the one of the top places where people listen to podcasts, so make sure to utilize this free service! They also give you stats on your podcast, as played on Spotify.
- Stitcher – Sign up for a content provider account on Stitcher. Once you’re logged in, click on Add Shows on the top menu.
- TuneIn Radio – TuneIn is important because it’s what Amazon Alexa uses to distribute podcasts. So if you say, “Alexa, play The Baby Names Podcast!” she will play it from TuneIn. For TuneIn, you have to sign up for an account, then submit this form: https://help.tunein.com/contact/add-podcast-S19TR3Sdf
- Blubrry – Even though BluBrry is a podcast host, they allow you to list your podcast, even if you’re not hosted with them. Create an account, then submit your RSS FEED from this form: https://www.blubrry.com/addpodcast.php
- Acast – Go to: https://www.acast.com/podcasters and choose Non-Hosted Show. Follow the prompts.
- Player.FM – Sign up for an account. Then go to Submit a Feed URL: https://player.fm/importer/feed
- iHeartRadio – This provider requires you to be live for at least one month. Go here to submit: https://www.iheart.com/content/submit-your-podcast/
- ListenNotes.com – in addition to the podcast providers, you also want to get listed in ListenNotes.com – a directory of podcasts. ListenNotes requires your iTunes (Apple Podcasts) URL, not your RSS feed url. So once you are approved by Apple Podcasts and are live, submit to listen notes here: https://www.listennotes.com/submit/
And don’t forget YouTube! Some providers can automatically upload to YouTube using a static image. You might also want to upload a video of you creating your podcast episode. YouTube (owned by Google) is great for SEO and for getting discovered. http://youtube.com
Bonus Tip: Recording with someone else? Maybe you have a co-host or want to interview a guest. Make sure each of you records your tracks locally (on your own audio software) and then use Zoom or Skype to communicate while you do so. Then each person will send their audio track to the person who will be editing the show. Make sure you don’t talk over each other – that makes it so much easier for the editor! If you’re interviewing someone who doesn’t have audio software, ask them to record the interview locally on their phone. Even that file will be better than the Zoom recording. Trust me.
So as you might have gathered by now, podcasting is not as simple as just recording it and asking people to listen. There are a lot of technical details you have to plan out first if you want the show to exist, and then you can concentrate on marketing to make it successful. If you are embarking on a new podcast project, and need some consulting help, contact me!
The Baby Names Podcast – over 100 episodes
The Peaceful Life Podcast – over 70 episodes