What to start with if you want to create your own podcast, deliver what you have to say to various audiences, but have no experience of what’s under the hood? Here the 4K Download team shares a comprehensive guide for beginners who want to start podcasting, reveal some hints on naming, equipment, and all other podcasting stuff you’ve wanted to google about.
Why Podcasting: Reason to Start a Podcast Now
59% of people spend more time on podcasts than social media, and 66% prefer podcasts over TV. Podcasting is gaining traction not only among regular users for entertainment or education but also by businesses to increase brand awareness and market the HR brand.
You don’t have to dispose of large budgets to start podcasting. All you need is to find your perfect niche, buy some necessary equipment, find a quiet place to record podcasts and convey what you have to say.
The largest market for podcasting is the USA. According to Edison Research, more than a half of Americans listen to podcasts on a regular basis. The general audience of podcast listeners in the US is more than 104 million people a month.
Some podcasters are proper celebrities in the US, listened to by millions of people and making serious money on their shows. One such example is Joe Rogan (The Joe Rogan Experience creator), who once got paid by Spotify 100 million dollars for his podcast placement on the platform.
The large podcast market might be the reason to join the game. Another motivation is that, unlike videos and texts, podcasts don’t require visual engagement and thus are easier to be consumed.
Tip: Download audio and video content, including your favourite podcasts, from a plethora of sites with 4K Video Downloader. Simply copy and paste the link of a video/audio you want to save, and the tool will save it on your device (desktop or Android) in just a few minutes.
So you’ve found your reason to start. But what to start with?
Start a Podcast: Step by Step for Beginners
Selecting the Podcast Niche & Topic
The podcast niche and theme depend on why you want to start podcasting in the first place. What do you want or love to talk about? What are you expert or passionate about? Why would people want to listen to you? Find the answers to these questions before you start and make a list of potential topics. Research what other people have already said on these topics: find other podcasts, blogs, YouTube channels, and social media pages dedicated to the subjects.
Think how you can differentiate yourself from others: if there is a narrow subject of your expertise, some exclusive details you can share, or a unique way of delivering these details. Speaking the language of marketers, find your unique selling point.
Think of something you can talk about on and on. Note that there’s no need to launch a podcast only because some particular topic isn’t presented enough yet, and you’ll have no competitors within it. Listeners will see if you’re passionate about the subject and will catch this passion from you.
Is the Podcast Script Necessary?
You don’t have to document each line you’re going to pronounce in the podcast if you don’t want to, but having a well-thought-out outline won’t hurt. For instance, you can include these elements in your outline: greeting, a brief intro for those who joined you just now, the main speaking point/subject, answers to your listeners’ questions, and quotes or interesting stuff you wanted to comment on in your podcast.
Picking the Podcast Format
After you’ve come up with your niche and idea, it’s time to think about how you want to deliver it. There are multiple formats you can choose to make your podcast: a solo-host monologue, co-hosted show, interviews, story-telling narrative, reality show, or documentary.
Based on your idea, think about which format is most suitable for implementing it.
Then think how often you’d like your episodes to come out. Depending on the format, the preparation time will differ. For instance, interviews sometimes may go unexpectedly long: finding guests, preparing interview questions, and interviewing the guests take more time than creating a solo-hosted monologue.
Coming Up with a Structure
Structure in podcasting implies the episode’s length and the general order in which the episode is going to unfold. The length depends on how much information you can provide in a single episode. Podcasters tailor the episodes’ length to their publishing schedule. For instance, if you publish podcasts every day, then the length of each episode should be short. The format of the podcast also plays a role.
Start your podcast with a hook and an intro, then cover the main content of your podcast (interview, monologue, story, etc.), and finally, end off with a conclusion.
Picking a Podcast Name
Ideally, keep the name short and easy to remember; no more than three words would be sufficient. If your podcast name is longer, then there’s a risk it’ll be cut on some podcast platforms.
If you struggle with coming up with a catchy name, make a list with potential names and play with words, using idioms, memes, and rhymes. Don’t forget to check if the names you’ve made up aren’t taken by other podcasters.
Here are some other tips to help you find the perfect name:
The name is short and clear and briefly explains what the show is about.
It has keywords that help listeners find your show in the search.
It makes you stand out from the competitors.
It can be easily pronounced. In your show, you'll be more likely to pronounce its name in the intro, so make sure you can actually pronounce it without stumbles.
Creating a Podcast Thumbnail
The next step and struggle after the podcast idea, format, and name is to create a thumbnail and a jingle.
A thumbnail gives your audience the first impression of your show. It has to be unique, draw attention to the podcast, and convey the vibe of your show.
Here are some design tips when creating a thumbnail:
Don’t use more than two fonts and colours. Make sure the shades are contrast and captions are easy to read.
Place a logo if your podcast is bound to your company or product.
Don’t use small elements – they can hardly be noticed on smartphone screens in podcasting apps.
Don’t forget about the specs that podcast platforms require for publishing. For example, Apple Podcasts and Spotify only allow square thumbnails max 3,000x3,000px in JPEG or PNG.
You can create a thumbnail on your own in tools like Canva or Figma or hire a professional designer to help you out.
Making a Podcast Jingle
A jingle is a short music sound at the beginning and the end of your podcast. The jingle is super important because your listeners will recognise your show when they hear it. Especially if they have a line of shows and listen to them without looking at the phone screen.
Just like with the thumbnail, you can ask a professional musician to create a jingle for the show or make it yourself with tools like GarabeBand or LALAL.AI.
How to Record a Podcast
When all is set up, you can go straight to actually recording your first episode. Based on whether you’re recording the podcast remotely or not, the setup might be different. But here’s what you need to remember before you start:
Test your equipment before recording.
Record in a quiet room or studio.
Speak clearly and confidently.
Use pop filters to avoid any noises when speaking.
Place your mic so that your voice is captured correctly.
Set Up a Podcasting Studio
As an aspiring podcaster, you’ll probably start recording at home. Don’t let this discourage you: your room can be quite a place for recording a podcast. Any fully furnished and quiet room where furniture, clothes, carpet, and curtains absorb the reflection of sound will do.
You shouldn’t choose the kitchen because the fridge sound may ruin the whole process. To check if the room is suitable for recording in terms of its sound reflection ability, clap your hands and see if there’s an echo after the clap. If there is none, the room is suitable for making podcasts.
If you choose a room with poor sound absorption, your listeners will feel like you’re speaking from a tube.
How to Record a Podcast with Remote Guests
If you need to interview someone living in a distant place, you can use tools like Zoom, Google Meet, or Waveroom. Another option is to ask your guest to record themselves on their own and then send the track to you.
Recording a Podcast: Equipment You’ll Need
This point is basically a topic for a different piece, but we’ll briefly touch on this. At the start, all you need is a mic, a quiet room, and software for editing your recording. Considering that you’re just starting out, here’s the minimum but the necessary setup you’ll need:
A USB mic.
A lavalier mic to record your voice right on it.
A mixing console + mic.
All these tools are connected to a computer or smartphone. You can replace the mixing console with an external sound card.
The mixing console with a mic allows you to use multiple microphones for the host, guests, and even musical instruments.
Additional Equipment for Podcasting
Other equipment that’ll streamline your recording experience is:
A mic holder allows you not to hold the mic in your hands and make additional noise.
Pop filters to block unwanted sounds.
XLR cables to connect a mic to a mixing console.
A sound card.
A recorder that allows you to record without a computer.
Software to record your voice like Audacity and to cancel noise from your voice recordings like LALAL.AI.
Note that it’s better to avoid recording voice right on wireless headphones as they don’t provide quality sound.
To record a podcast, do it in a quiet room and place the mic 10–15 cm from your head. Make sure you have the pop filter on to avoid any unwanted noise when speaking. Don’t change the distance between you and the microphone; otherwise, it will change the resulting sound.
If you create a podcast with co-hosts or guests, it’s better that every one of them record only their own voice. Then just merge the tracks into one when editing. In addition, you’ll probably need to clear your recording from any unwanted noise, pauses, interjections, and repetitions.
Recording a Podcast
When you have all the equipment you need to record a podcast and set up a studio, start making your first episode. Open the recording application, connect the mic, and set up the sound settings. During the recording, start talking into the mic and check that the sound amplitude doesn’t change too much. Otherwise, there will be sharp differences in the sound volume in your podcast.
Start recording short pieces and check if the quality is high enough.
Editing a Podcast
All audio recording tools – advanced ones and those with only necessary settings – allow you to edit the track right in-app after the recording. You can string the tracks together, add background music, jingles, trim out pauses and bad parts, stabilise the volume, and cancel background noise.
Depending on the tool, you can also do these:
Select the desired bitrate to control the sound quality.
Set up LUFS – the level of volume of a single mono or stereo track.
Save the file in many different formats – WAV, MP3, OGG, MP4, and others.
Some software allows you to enhance the sound, but it’s better to ensure the recording quality beforehand.
Distributing a Podcast
There are many streaming platforms which you can distribute your podcasts to. Luckily, you don’t need to upload a show to every platform separately. If you want your podcast to appear on several different streaming platforms, you need an RSS feed – a link with all the info about your podcast. You can create the link only once and insert it on many platforms. Anchor and Castbox are the most popular free services where you can upload your show and get the RSS links.
With an RSS feed, you can add a podcast to Apple Podcasts by signing in to iTunes Connect -> Podcasts.
Here are some other platforms where you can upload your podcasts:
Don’t forget to share a link to your podcast on your social media, tell your friends about the show, ask your listeners to rate and comment on the podcast, invite guests to be promoted on their channels too, and make collaborations with other podcasters.
Monetising a Podcast
If you’re among those creators who want to make money from their show, there are a few ways how you can do that:
Sponsorships and advertisements
Subscriptions and donations
Merchandise or paid content
Live events and public speaking
So here’s the guide for beginners on how to start your podcast show. We hoped to gather all the necessary information you might need at the very start without digging deeper into advanced details.
And the last piece of advice: just do! Record, publish and collect feedback. Don’t worry if there’s negative feedback; just do what you love, hear what your listeners say, and your content will get better with every new episode.