Your 2024 guide to starting a podcast
Starting a podcast can feel overwhelming, but with the right plan in place and tools by your side, it’s a whole lot easier.
After reading this blog, we highly recommend you check out our blog Is it Easy to Start a Podcast: 10 things to consider before you take the leap! That blog will give you questions to consider before starting so you can be sure you’re taking a strategic approach to starting a podcast.
We also encourage you to subscribe to Listeners to Leads, a podcast for podcasters looking to grow their business through podcasting. On the show, we provide you with tons of resources and episodes specifically focused on launching and starting your podcast, so you have the tools you need to make it a success.
Step-by-Step: How to Start a Podcast
This blog will break down step by step of how to start a podcast and guide you towards helpful resources every leg of the journey! Consider this blog your official checklist to getting started and on your way.
1. Pick a Name for Your Podcast
The name of your podcast will be the first thing potential listeners see and hear and it’s important to make it easy for them to find. When choosing a podcast name, pick one that’s catchy, memorable, and relevant to your topic and area of expertise.
We recommend keeping it simple, clear, and descriptive and avoiding words that are hard to spell or difficult to pronounce.
Look to see if your podcast’s name is already taken or trademarked by someone, and look into podcast directories to see what else comes up when you type in the name. Getting feedback on the name can be helpful (from people you trust) but ultimately, it’s your show and you have to feel good about what the name is and why you’ve chosen it.
Be creative and be YOU to make your name stand out!
Choose a Hosting Platform
How on earth is one to choose from the many many many podcast hosting platforms that are out there? Before you just choose the cheapest podcast host or the one your friend told you they use, read our blog on the Eight Top Podcast Hosting Platforms and why we chose them!
Your podcast hosting platform is what will be pushing your show out to podcast players (think Spotify, Apple, Stitcher, etc.) as well as where you’ll upload audio, show notes, and get data and analytics to help you in the creation of your show.
We often refer people to Buzzsprout, thanks to it’s ease of use, great user interface, reasonable pricing, and dynamic ad insertion options.
What we think makes Buzzsprout the Best Podcast Hosting Platform:
- You can customize your podcast site with a unique domain name and your branding
- Buzzsprout automatically uploads your podcast to podcast directories
- They offer a transcription service (for an additional fee) and can help ensure better audio quality as well!
- They provide advanced analytics
- They have affordable pricing tiers
One of our favorite features of Buzzsprout is the ability to promote your business and offerings with dynamic ad insertions, which are ads anywhere in the show (pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll).
Buzzsprout is very easy to use and allows you to pay monthly without commitment, so it’s a great way to get started and still have access to in-depth analytics.
3. Design the Artwork for Your Show
If you’re not a graphic designer, or a super Canva genius, we recommend hiring someone to design the artwork for your show. Your artwork is really important and not to be overlooked! Like the name of the show, it’s the first thing people will see when they discover your show (usually before even pressing PLAY to listen!).
Unless it’s a hobby podcast, your branding and artwork for your podcast should align with your current business branding. Your podcast is an extension of your brand, so it’s important for the two to be cohesive and work together.
In addition to your cover art, your podcast may also need individual episode graphics, graphics for your podcast website, and other social media graphics for things like quotes and audiograms.
Want more visual and artwork tips? Listen to Episode 96 of Listeners to Leads: How to Design Eye-Catching Podcast Graphics with Lauren Felter
4. Write Your Show Description
A podcast description (also called a show description) summarizes the who, what, and why of your podcast to potential audience members. It explains the topic of your show, and a simple but concise description that lets them know if they’re in the right spot as a listener.
We have a blog (complete with examples and a template!) for you on How to Write a Podcast Show Description here!
Example of the Listeners to Leads podcast description.
5. Choose Your Music
It’s the little things that make a huge difference in setting your show apart from all the noise from other podcasts. It’s also the little things – like your music – that help you to welcome your listeners in with the vibe they can expect from the show and show off your personality too!
Choose music that’s a reflection of you, your brand, will appeal to your listeners and that you plan to consistently use each and every episode.
Our top two recommendations for affordable, royalty-free, and unique music you can purchase for your intro, outro, or transition podcast music:
You can also have someone record your music for you, such as a friend or family member who’s a musician which will also help to prevent copyright issues (as long as they’ve given you proper licenses and permission to use it)!
It’s also optional to look for free music, but remember that it won’t be nearly as unique as buying your music from the sites noted above. You’ll also need to make sure that you are following the requirements for the free licenses.
Choose music that’s catchy and helps your listeners remember your podcast and recommend it to others.
6) Record Your Intro / Outro
Things should start to be feeling much more real to you by this point! You have the podcast art, the music, you’ve chosen a name, and a content theme, and now you’re ready to hit RECORD for the first time and create the introduction and “See ya’ next time!” for each show.
The intro does exactly that – it introduces your show, you, and any co-hosts, acknowledges your audience however you like (Welcome, friends!, etc.) and sets the tone for the show by briefly (we do mean briefly) sharing who the show is for and what it’s about.
The outro is where you thank listeners for enjoying your content, and often invite them to take next steps, whether that be:
- Working with you or visiting your website
- Finding you on social media
- Sharing the episode with someone else
- Writing a review
- Subscribing to the show to make sure they don’t miss an episode
- Signing up for your freebie
Just remember not to give them too many things to do at the end. One or two options to connect with you further is plenty!
7) Plan Your Content Strategy
Current stats show that 50% of podcasters don’t make it past the first seven episodes. After they hit that point, they do what we call in our industry “podfade”.
We don’t want you to podfade! It’s important to remember that podcasting is a long game and your topic should, ideally, be something you can keep on talking about for as long as you intend to play it! One way to avoid the podfade is to map out your content strategy.
What does your audience need to know first?
How can each episode build off of the other to give them everything they need?
We recommend mapping out at least your first 10 episodes before getting started.
Here are our four top Listeners to Leads Episodes on planning your podcast content and how to make it easier:
8) Develop Your Podcast Launch Strategy
We don’t recommend you go this alone! We repeat: we don’t recommend you go this alone! A strategic podcast launch is key to helping you attract maximum listeners right away with your show and share it with the world when it airs. With a whole lot of launches under our belt, we know what goes into a successful podcast launch and can guide you every step of the way.
We offer full-service podcast launch management, which takes the pressure off you to know exactly what is involved in launching a successful podcast. We’re the experts in podcast launching so you don’t have to be. All you need to do is play an active role in making crucial decisions along the way, and show up with your unique brilliance and expertise!
If you do decide to do it by yourself or you’re on a budget and DIY-ing while starting your podcast, we recommend listening to Episode 23 of Listeners to Leads: How to Create a Podcast Launch Plan
The more intentional you are at the beginning, the better. When you launch in a thoughtful, strategic way, it can help your show be more successful from the start, and save you a lot of frustration!
9) Record and Upload Your Episodes
And you thought the intro/outro was exciting! Now, it’s time to sit down and record your first episodes and upload them to your podcast hosting platform.
You need to do this with your trailer/welcome episode (some call it Episode 0) PRIOR to launch day because it takes time for podcast hosting platforms to get your show in podcast directories so people can listen on their app of choice.
We recommend giving yourself two weeks (minimum) from date of launch to date of uploading your first episode to ensure that everything goes smoothly in getting them into all the podcast directories and everyone can find your podcast on launch day.
Your first official episode (Episode #1) will be scheduled for launch day (we’ll get to that in a minute) and ideally, you’ll have two more behind it for people to listen to and discover!
10) Launch Your Podcast!
You want to start telling people about your podcast weeks prior to launch day!
Don’t keep it a secret! We recommend you assemble a launch team, people who will support you by listening to your show, as well as help you market and share when the episodes go live! This launch team will be by your side, helping you get your initial first downloads and writing ratings and review that will help podcast directories recommend your show to like-minded listeners.
On launch day, your first official episode drops and you’ll want to market it far and wide, letting your community know that your episodes are LIVE and guiding them to listen and share. You can do a Facebook LIVE or Instagram LIVE to promote it on social media and in your newsletter.
Recommended Listeners to Leads episodes on launching strategy:
You need to continue marketing and promoting your show with regular social media posts for about a solid week after launch.
Launching can feel overwhelming and daunting, and it’s crucial to take a strategic approach in this step to ensure the most successful podcast possible right out of the gate.
Using this step-by-step guide in starting your podcast, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying all the many benefits of podcasting and sharing your content and thought leadership with your listeners!
Launch Your Podcast With Support
If you’re looking for support, book a chat with us. We handle these steps (and more) soup-to-nuts and take it entirely off you’re plate! We’re able to get some incredible launch results for our clients and we’d love to do the same for you!
*Buzzsprout affiliate link: www.alesiagalati.com/buzzsprout
This blog post contains affiliate links. That means we may make a small commission on items purchased through links in this post at no extra cost to you!