What is podcasting, and why should you be interested? Today, I want to explain everything you need to know about it, and I am hoping that I can inspire you to start a podcast. I am sure that you have something to say, and there is always someone out there who wants to listen to you.
Podcasting is the modern equivalent of radio stations. You are essentially a radio host—the only difference is that you launch your podcast episode online on podcast hosting platforms or your podcast website.
As a radio show, you can cover a particular niche to attract people with the same interest. Another difference between podcasts and radio shows is that a podcast is almost always recorded.
You sit in your studio, record your show, and launch it. Once you publish your podcast episodes on Spotify, your audience can stream that or download your podcast digital audio file.
Another difference between a radio show and podcasting is that you cannot play someone’s content, like music. In a podcast, you only release content that you made—either your music or your own words.
The first podcast came about in 2004. These things were called audio blogs back then. It was in this year when people had access to modern digital devices like the iPod, which can carry a lot of digital audio files. Back then, people downloaded a podcast episode from a source and put that podcast episode on their iPod.
Then, companies began hosting podcasts. It is why today, we have access to a podcast app, the most prominent of which are Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, and Spotify.
Sometime in the year 2000, there was a concept of attaching sound to video files, and this was possible to be shared through an RSS feed. It is a feed on a computer browser. If a person has an RSS feed, he will get a notification if there is new content from that site.
Podcasting today is simple. As a radio show, you must talk. You want to discuss something that you want your readers to know. What topic? It depends on you.
The way it works is like this:
- You prepare your script or outline
- You sit in your podcast studio, which is likely in your home
- You record your monologue, edit it, and export the final file
- You upload your audio files to a podcast audio platform
- You release that episode and then wait for people to listen to it
It is up to you if you want to record your podcast as a video. Many people do this now, as they know that they can target two types of audiences. With a podcast video, they can upload the video podcasts on YouTube. For the audio files, they will remain dedicated to the podcast app.
Below are some of the benefits of podcasting.
- Influence – you can be an influencer by being a podcaster. Just think of Howard Stern. He made it big as a radio talk show host, and he has many followers. You can do the same and be a thought leader in your respective niche.
- Money – you can charge money from your podcasts, and there are many ways to monetize your podcast episodes. For one, you can ask people who listen to podcasts to make a donation, buy your merchandise, or give you a sponsorship.
- Traffic Source – another benefit of a podcast is being able to reach out to people. Many businesses today target podcast listeners and then redirect these listeners to their websites. From here, they can increase their traffic and, subsequently, their sales.
Podcasting is an engagement system. Here, you are looking for followers and loyalists—you want to influence lives, and you want to do this in an audio file format, not video.
Recording a podcast is simple. Below are the things that you need:
- A microphone
- An audio file editing software program
- A computer
What you want to do is to connect the microphone to your computer and then launch the audio editing tool. It is an audio editing tool that allows you to record your monologue.
Once done, you will use the same tool to edit your file. Even if your content is an audio file, you must remove background noises and make your voice sound better. From here, you download the audio file to your PC and upload it to your podcast host or podcast directories.
Some people record a podcast with their phones. However, I have to say that the quality is bad. Nothing really beats a professionally made recording.
Recording a podcast does not have to be expensive. For example, you can buy a microphone that is less than $50, and that should be enough for now. The editing you need for your audio files is free, and what I can recommend that you use is Audacity.
To be able to launch your audio content, you need podcast directories and a podcast hosting service. A podcast hosting service allows you to upload your video files and then connect them to podcasts like Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple podcasts.
So, how it works is like this:
- You upload the audio file to a podcast hosting service
- You create a podcast channel in Apple podcasts or Google podcasts and connect it to the directory
- People go to Apple podcasts and see your content
- They stream it or download it
You see, your audio files or podcast audio is not stored in Apple. The Apple podcast app only connects to the server of your podcast host. When people listen to podcasts, they are listening through your host.
Podcast listeners do this for a reason, and there are so many. At the very least, we can say that people listen to podcasts because they either want to learn or they want to be entertained.
As a podcaster, your main purpose should also be either of these two: you want to entertain, or you want to educate. For entertainment, think of a comedy podcast or a music podcast where you sing your compositions. For educational podcast audio content, think of politics, religion, etc.
There are many types of podcasts, and I will explain the most common and most popular formats.
- Interview – this is a podcast where you interview a guest; the best example is The Joe Rogan Experience, where he interviews people like Brian Cox, Mike Tyson, Elon Musk, etc.
- Monologue – a podcast where you talk alone, and there is no one else; an example of this is a story-telling podcast like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History.
- Co-Hosted – this podcast has two speakers or two hosts or more. The idea is to have a discussion about something. The other version of this is a panel podcast. A good example is the ErrthangShow!
Of course, there is a music podcast where an artist would publish a song. You are not limited to choosing only one type. You can mix these types and then create a hybrid to make your show more engaging and less predictable.
How to Listen to a Podcast
To listen to a podcast, you must register to a podcast directory. It is free. It is like accessing YouTube. You must download the app if you are using a mobile device, but you can access the website if you are using a desktop or laptop.
After logging in, you can see the podcasts available for you to listen to. Not all these episodes are free, but a vast majority of them are. Most podcasters upload free podcasts audio, and then they earn from ads. Some offer a few free episodes; then you must subscribe to their premium channel.
To start a podcast, you need the following things:
- Recording set-up
- Podcast host
- Podcast directory
You do not have to spend a lot of money to start a podcast. You need to be able to talk, and that is what matters. The most important thing is that you have a quiet room and a good microphone that can capture your voice.
It is also equally important that you have an audio editing tool like Audacity. This tool is free. You need it so you can make changes to your audio and remove ambient noise.
The podcast directory is free, but podcast hosting can incur some costs. Many podcast directories like Anchor are free. However, there are several limitations. For example, you can only upload a few files per month, and each file has a limitation regarding the file size.
Podcast websites are like blogs. However, they do not have audio. It is rare for a website hosting company to offer this type of service. If anything, you could probably add a small clip of your audio content. Then, you will redirect the site traffic or site visitor to your podcast directory, like Spotify.
Building a podcast website is not different from building a blog. You can use website creators like WordPress, Wix, and Elementor. Then, you publish texts, images, and a little bit of audio to let site visitors hear the highlight of the podcast.
It is up to you if you want to add a transcript of your podcast to your website, but I do not recommend it. What you want is to add a transcript only for the highlight. The transcript is a text—your dialogue with your guest or your monologue. You can get a podcast transcript from people who offer podcast transcription services.
1. Do I need to pay to get podcasts?
Yes and no. Many podcasts are free. Some are paid. If you create your own podcast, you will certainly find yourself paying a fee to the podcast hosting platform.
2. Do I need to download podcast episodes?
Not all the time. Some podcast distribution channels allow streaming. It is like Netflix if you think about it. With Netflix, you can choose to download the movie on your device so you can watch it later, even if you are online. But, you do not have to. You can watch the movie without downloading it and do the same with a podcast.
3. Are Podcasts Audio or Video?
Technically, a podcast is an audio file or audio streaming system. Some podcasters, however, record their podcast episodes, and then they launch the podcast episode as a video on YouTube. It is necessary, especially if they have a celebrity guest.
4. Do I need a podcast host?
Yes, you need a podcast host in the same way you need YouTube to upload your videos. The host has the hardware and software to make its podcast universe work. You can create a podcast website, but you will be hard-pressed to find an audience, and it is also expensive.
5. What’s the Difference Between a Podcast and an Audio File?
A podcast refers to the channel. Audio files are digital data. You upload a digital audio file to your podcast channel so people can listen to podcasts. In the same way, your YouTube channel is a channel, but you must upload a digital video file to have content.
If you are interested, my website has a lot of content about podcasting—I will guide you each step of the way. Now that you know what is podcasting, the next step is to ensure that you identify which podcast topics have an audience.