One way you can earn money today is to start a podcast. This is especially true if you have always wanted to be some sort of a newscaster or disc jockey. In the US alone, more than 74% of people have, at least once, listened to a podcast—so there is money in there. Other podcast statistics will also show you that it is one of the best feasible ways to make a show.
But one big problem is how do you even start a podcast? What is the best podcast format or podcast hosting service?
These are the things that I will teach you today. Ultimately, I assure you that you will be ready to start a podcast, plan your podcast episodes, and launch a successful podcast.
Here’s how you can start your podcast. I’ve tried to keep it short and simple yet effective for anyone to understand and follow:
The first thing you want to do is decide on a topic. What will you talk about? In the old days prior to the internet, radio shows had specific topics. These topics are what we call today a niche.
A niche is a particular field of interest. It is important to choose this, so you do not gear away from your main subject.
Here are some examples of niches:
- Online Marketing
- Affiliate marketing
After choosing a topic, your entire podcast should revolve around that. To select a topic when you start a podcast, you need to really ask yourself what excites you and whether or not you are expert enough to cover it.
Who is your target audience? One common mistake I see from people is that they do not have any clue who their target audience is. It is an important factor to identify your podcast listeners so you know what content to produce.
To be able to do this, you need to create a persona. Below is an example:
- Male and female
- 25 to 40 years old
- Interested in eCommerce
- Beginner level; never heard of eCommerce before
- Has a job but wants to quit the rat race
If you know your target audience, you will create content only for these people, and they will certainly like that you are catering to your needs.
The podcast format refers to the structure of your show. It is a standard by which you present your podcast episodes, so your listeners know what to expect.
Here is an example:
- Start with your audio intro
- Introduce yourself and your guest
- Greet your supporters
- Plug-in an ad
The format also includes the episode length. However, you do not have to stick to an exact length. If you have a format, your new episodes are similar, and your audiences do not get confused.
What is going to be your podcast name? I have to tell you that this is an important factor. Once you have selected a podcast name, I do not recommend that you change it. It is the thing that your audiences will remember you by.
Here are some tips about choosing a podcast name:
- Short and sweet
- Be creative
- It must reflect your topic or niche
- It must be easy to remember
When choosing a podcast name, avoid stereotypes and overly decorated names. People do not like a podcast name that they do not remember.
If your podcast is about you, then you may want to add your name to your podcast name. An excellent example of this is The Joe Rogan Experience. It is a talk show with no particular niche, but then it tells the audience that the podcast is about Joe’s experiences in his life and with his guests.
If you’re planning to take your podcast on YouTube, check out my article on the best YouTube channel Name Ideas.
Do not panic—you need many types of gear for your podcast. Some people may list as many as 20 podcast equipment, but I will only show you the most important ones.
To start a podcast, you need:
- Podcast Microphone
- External audio recording device
- Audio editor or software
- A computer
- Podcast platform
With these things at the ready, you can record your audio, edit it, save it, and then upload it to your podcast platforms. With these tools, you can start a recorded or live podcast—your choice.
You need both a podcast hosting service provider and a podcast software program. There are many podcast hosting platforms, such as Apple and Spotify, so you must review their services, limitations, and monetization programs.
The podcasting software is where you do your podcast editing process. It is also where you do the podcast recording. One good example is Camtasia, which already comes with a screen recorder and camera recorder. One advanced utility I can recommend is Audacity, which has an audio interface.
The first thing you want is to have a quiet recording space. You must dedicate a room for your podcast recording only. The last thing you want is ambient noise—a dedicated room gives you better audio quality.
If you plan to take videos of your podcast, then you must set up our podcast like a TV station. You must have good-looking desks.
You also want to add an acoustic panel in the room, especially if your walls are made of wood and concrete. Acoustic panels absorb sound, preventing sound waves from bouncing back. As you know, podcast listeners dislike podcasts with a lot of ambient noise in the background.
The setup can cost you a lot of money, so I recommend that you watch and subscribe to a DIY YouTube channel so you can set up your own podcast studio.
The next step in how to start a podcast is to plan your script. The script is the aspect that will make r break your show. A podcast is a talk show, so you must know how to talk to an audience.
At the end of the day, it is your personality that will matter the most. While some people do not write a script, some podcasters find it helpful.
If you are not used to talking incessantly, you can start with a script. Just be careful not to sound as if you are reading it.
Lastly, it would help if you learned how to speak on a mic. You must test your podcast microphone and listen to yourself. As you know, audio files do not produce exactly the same sound as what we hear in person.
A podcast microphone typically comes with a pop filter. Learn how to use it, position it, and determine how far your mouth should be from the mic.
It would also help if you knew how to control your voice, so your podcast episodes have the same voice regulation. All these you can do as you go on—then you will eventually learn how to edit the audio to make your voice sound better.
When recording, make sure that you have already checked your equipment and figured out the best way to edit your audio. Podcast editing is the most important thing in production.
Now that you are ready ensure that you have your equipment in place and do a recording check. The last thing that you want is to talk for an hour on your first podcast episode and realize that it did not record.
Pay attention to your volume levels. If you are recording, stop when there is noise, like children yelling or vehicles honking.
Before you start, create several variations of your intro and outro music. You should also listen to many types of background music and decide which ones you like.
Although you can change these things, later on, I do not recommend that you change this often. Your intro and outro are your music themes. Have you ever heard a radio show that changes themes all the time? No, right?
In addition to this, you must ensure that your music is not copyrighted. If it is, make sure you have commercial rights to it in the sense that you can use it in your podcast. Do not just get someone else’s music and publish it.
Before you start a podcast, you need to learn how to edit an audio or video file. You can use software programs like Camtasia or audacity, and there are many tutorials online on how to use them.
For example, you must learn how to control your audio quality, cut some scenes, add podcast music, etc. While you can pay somebody to do it for you, I do not recommend that you do this.
Many people who learn how to start a podcast also learn how to do editing. Any additional expense for labor is something you must avoid. Pay somebody only if your podcast is already earning money.
Finally, you want a podcast cover art. Your cover art must be simple and unique. Think of this as an album art that people will see as a thumbnail. The cover art is what they see among all podcasts as they scroll down their Apple podcast apps or Spotify.
You can use free software programs for your cover art like Canva. However, if you do not want to do this, you can always hire someone from a freelance marketplace like Fiverr to do your cover art.
There are many podcast platforms that you can choose from. A podcast platform is a host where you store your media files online. Podcast distribution refers to the platforms people listen to, such as Apple and Spotify.
Here are some of the best podcast platforms:
Each platform has its unique strengths and limitations. These companies also charge different fees. Choose one that best fits your needs.
Uploading your own podcast episode depends on your platform. However, almost all of them use the same approach. All you have to do is attach the final podcast audio files, and these files will stay in your online storage.
The next thing to do now is to publish your podcast. One tip: you must choose a podcast hosting platform that supports the podcast distribution network. For example, if you will use Buzzsprout, make sure that it works with Spotify if you want to publish on Spotify.
A podcast directory is a platform where you publish your podcast and wait until people download them. Think of it as YouTube for music and radio shows (podcasts).
So far, here are the most popular podcast directories:
- Apple Podcasts
- Amazon Music and Audible
- Google Podcasts
A podcast directory has rules on what type of content is allowed and what is not allowed. Read their terms and conditions and abide by these rules. In addition, podcast directories charge fees or commissions if you make a sale. Each has a different rate, so make sure you price your podcast downloads accordingly.
Finally, do some marketing. You can publish ads or share the word with your friends. In this case, Facebook is your ally—you can share the link to your podcast and ask your friends and family to support you.
Now that you know how to start a podcast, it is time to grow it, and below are my tips.
There are several ways to make money from your podcast, and below are the most common ones:
- Sponsorship – somebody pays you money, and in exchange, you advertise or promote their products
- Direct Support – people will pay you for your content without obligations; this is voluntary, and you can do this on platforms like Patreon
- Premium – you charge money so people can access your content
- Affiliate Sales – you promote products, and if the person bought the item, you get a commission
- Advertising – it works like YouTube, where the platform will advertise on your podcast show, and you get a cut from the advertising payments
For now, making money should really be the last thing in your mind. Instead, I suggest you focus on honing your skills, marketing your podcast, and getting traffic to it. Once you have a good following, money will come to you later on.
Next, you must analyze and understand how your podcast is doing. You can do this on the first episode and on the next new episodes.
- Total Unique Downloads – refers to the number of times your sow was downloaded by different people
- Downloads per episode – refers to the number of downloads there were for one episode
- Number of Subscribers – this is the equivalent of “followers.” More subscribers mean more people are interested in your show.
- Rankings and Reviews – your status, position, or ranking among all podcast channels; the reviews are the feedback left by the people who listened to your podcast
- Episode-by-Episode Metrics – these are key performance indicators for each episode. You can check this for the new episodes and your first episode and compare how you are growing
You need to listen to your own podcast. This is the only way you will know if your podcast production quality is great. After you listen to your podcast, you can tell yourself what aspects need to change.
For example, you may observe that your audio quality needs improvement. As such, you may need to experiment with different microphones. It is also possible that you realize that your podcast music is not good enough, so you may want to change it.
Another example is that your podcast description may not be catchy. Your podcast description is what people read as they scroll through different channels—it is the equivalent of a meta description on blogs.
You must also listen to what your listeners say. If your audience said that your voice is too soft, then you may want to do something about it.
Lastly, think of ways by which you can collaborate with other podcasters. Each of these people has their contact details available. Try thinking about how you can work with them for free. In exchange, both of you will promote each other’s content.
1. How Much Does It Cost To Start A New Podcast?
There is no exact cost to start a podcast. If you do not consider your computer, I would say that you must prepare at least $200 to start a podcast. You need money to buy equipment and gear. Most tools for podcast hosting, podcast recording, and editing your audio files are free.
2. Can I Start A Podcast For Free?
Yes, you can start a podcast for free. There are many free recording tools out there like Audacity. Podcast hosting is also free.
What you must understand is that free service has limitations. I can guarantee you that your first podcast is free for as long as you keep it within the target episode length of the podcast hosting provider. The free first episode is your testing ground.
3. How Can I Grow My Podcast Audience?
Well, your content is the key. Suppose you have content that is not interesting and not professionally done. In that case, you will eventually realize that people are not following you or subscribing to you even if you offer your podcast for free.
You must understand that you are competing against the world. There are more than 2 million active podcasts out there, all trying to get the ears and money of the audience.
4. How Much Money Do Podcasters Make?
No one really knows, as this is a personal matter. But, on average, a good podcast host who can generate 10,000 downloads per episode can make between $500 and $900 per episode, which comes from their affiliate sales.
It is easy to learn how to start a podcast, how to record a podcast, and all the technicalities of it. It is also easy to find decent podcast software. The challenging part is creating a podcast that is interesting enough for people to follow.
What is a podcast anyway? My ultimate advice is that you must think of a podcast as a radio show with specialization. You are the specialist, and you must provide your audience with exciting things they either do not know or want to hear.