First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!
If you’re reading this, that means you want to start a podcast, which also means you aren’t afraid of putting yourself out there and sharing your thoughts with the world.
In my opinion, overcoming self-doubt and fear is the hardest part about starting a podcast. It can be paralyzing to most, but not for you.
You’re here, which means, you’re on the path to fulfill your podcasting dreams! And I’m so freakin’ proud of you.
So, let’s keep this momentum going, shall we? You’ve got this!
Before You Start Your Podcast
Make no mistake, podcasting is a lot of fun, but it’s also a commitment.
You owe it to yourself and your listeners to publish consistently, which requires a lot of time, effort, and creative energy.
So the first step: make sure you’re up for the challenge! If you stick with it, all of the hard work is worth it.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start your podcast:
- Why do I want to get into podcasting?
- What is the purpose of my podcast — to entertain, educate, inspire?
- Why should people listen to my show? Who should listen to my podcast?
- How often will I publish new episodes?
- How will I come up with consistent material?
Branding Your Podcast
Naming Your Podcast
Then, think about how you will promote your podcast. You’ll likely want to secure a domain name to reflect your podcast title, as well as social media handles. Do your research with a domain registrar like GoDaddy.
You may choose to promote your podcast on your personal website or channels, but it’s still a good idea to lock in these names while you can.
If the domain you want is unavailable, consider different iterations. For me, @makingthebrand was taken, so I grabbed @makingthebrandpodcast and makingthebrandpodcast.com.
Designing Cover Artwork
My personal favorite is a free graphic design website called Canva. Once you create your account, create a new file that is 3000×3000 pixels.
From there, you can browse a variety of templates that you can modify. You can change the colors, fonts, and messaging.
Remember, your cover artwork will appear as a small thumbnail at first. Make sure your text is big and bold, and that your photos are relevant to your podcast’s topic.
Also, unless your podcast is about podcasting, do not use graphics of a microphone or headphones as your artwork. This is a rookie mistake!
❗️CAUTION: A lot of podcast dreamers get stuck at this stage because they can’t settle on a perfect logo or design. Do not let this be you! You can always change your artwork later. If you’re really hung up on it, consider hiring a freelance designer.
Since this is a guide for beginners, I’m sharing the basics.
The lesson here is to use your judgment. Test your sound and ask yourself if you would be able to tolerate it for 30 minutes to over an hour. If it’s unpleasant for you, it will be unpleasant for your listeners. Don’t risk it.
Anchor.fm is a free online podcast host that not only distributes your podcast to major streaming platforms, but it also has recording and editing capabilities built-in.
Personally, I like to edit my podcast in a different program, and then upload it to Anchor. But recording and editing natively within Anchor is an option if you don’t want to invest in more software, or if you are not too savvy with audio editing.
Recording and Editing
More advanced podcasters may edit in Adobe Premiere. I’ve also heard good things about a program called Audacity, but I use ScreenFlow.
My ScreenFlow plan is $129/year and covers the basics of both video and audio editing. I purchased it so I can create my own video tutorials and record my screen (such a plus!), but it works just fine for audio-only files.
Beginners can easily navigate ScreenFlow. It has simple commands that let you split and cut clips, and options for overlaying a voice recording over music.
Most importantly, don’t forget to pack in a ton of personality! If you hook your audience early, your audience will keep on listening.
How to Promote Your Podcast
Headliner is a free online tool that helps you create audiograms. An audiogram is a customized graphic that is attached to sound. Here’s an example of one of mine that I shared on Twitter:
I was wondering how people were making those cool podcast snippet graphic thingies to promote their episodes
It turns out, they have a name: audiograms!
— Brianne Fleming (@brianne2k) May 17, 2020
Pitching Guests and Interviews
The secret to growing your podcast is simple: collaborate, collaborate, collaborate!
If you want to try your hand at monetizing sooner rather than later, Anchor has built-in sponsorship functionality. You can record ads within the platform and get paid based on the number of listens.