Today I did one of the most Millenial things possible. I started a podcast. To be honest, I always saw myself starting one, but I just didn’t know when. There’s a lot you have to figure out. What software do you use, what equipment, hosting site, what’s it even going to be about? Will it just be you on the podcast talking into the ether or will you have a guest? How often will you post? Will people even listen?
Luckily I just went through all of this so let's talk about this.
1. Is This Podcast Going to Bring Value to Those Who Listen?
I’d say the number one reason most podcasts don’t gain any traction is that whoever started it didn’t ask themselves this question initially. Value can come in many ways, shapes, and forms. It can be in the form of news, giving people advice on a topic you’re knowledgeable about, or even in the form of a laugh, giving people entertainment on their way home from work. This is something you have to ask yourself right off the bat or you'll lose focus on why you started.
2. How long and how frequent will your podcast be?
Your podcast can be anywhere from 5 minutes (such as Mike Rowe's) to half an hour (such as 99% invisible) to over an hour (such as The School of Greatness). Pick a time and be consistent. People like familiarity. Don’t hop around from a 5-minute podcast to an hour and 20-minute podcast, or going from posting weekly to posting monthly. Your listener will wonder where you are and your podcast will just move down their list of stuff to listen to.
3. Who is this Podcast Going to Consist of?
Once you have the first question down, your next step is to figure out who will be on the podcast. Is it going to be just you or will you have more than one person on it? I’ve seen both done really well (Malcolm Gladwell's and Joe Rogan's). If your goal is to give advice or educate the listener on a certain topic, do you know anyone who is knowledgeable on that topic? If not, are you prepared to fill up the entire episode?
4. Equipment, Software, and Web Hosting.
Congrats if you've made it to step 4. You have the hard stuff figured out!
Equipment: Don’t worry too much about this when you’re first getting started. The key is to just start it. It doesn't need to be perfect. The substance of your podcast trumps any of the equipment you have. If your podcast sucks, no amount of good technology can save it. So don’t worry about spending top dollar at this point. I use the Blue Yeti mic, but that’s only because I was able to borrow it.
Software: I record and edit in Audacity because it’s free, but Garageband can work as well. Audacity does have a learning curve and looks like it's from the early 2000s, but it has a lot of great tools. Another tool I’ll link is Levelator.
Website Hosting: Once you have your first episode recorded, iTunes needs an RSS feed to pull from. You may be able to start off by using Soundcloud, but the more episodes you record the more you’ll need to look for a host to store all of them. I'd suggest a paid Soundcloud account or Patreon. Luckily for this, I already use Squarespace for my personal website and it was a breeze to start a podcast on.
5. Obligatory “Have Fun With It”
But really, no one wants to listen to an extremely uptight podcast unless it’s for educational purposes, and even then. If you have more than one person on your podcast, there should be a nice flow of conversation and you should be prepared for any lack of things to say. Lastly, this should be fun and enjoyable for you because if it’s not you will easily get bored and tired of it after the fourth or fifth episode. Get excited!
Shameless plug time:
Rogero Rants is a podcast on anything and everything that can be ranted about. Typically I'll have a guest or two on and we'll try to throw in some advice and stories from personal experience. For example, if you've ever gone garage sailing or thought about going, the first episode is about tips and tricks and things to look out for when going. We also share stories that are really entertaining. Check it out here!
More useful links: