These days, the word podcast is on everyone’s lips.👄 You certainly hear about it in the various types of media you follow, on social media and at your company when your boss recommended that you listen to an episode of The Daily, the podcast from the New York Times. 😉 So why not create a podcast yourself!
In other words, podcasts are everywhere! 🌎
And with good reason: you can listen to them anywhere, at any time, and there are podcasts on every subject. 🤯 Beyond simply being daily media, podcasts have truly become part of people’s daily lives.
In 2021, Apple Podcasts announced that it has passed the mark of 2 million shows on its platform.
But even though there are thousands of them, sometimes you’re looking for THE podcast that’s missing from your life, the one that doesn’t exist yet because no one but you has thought about it yet.
Steps for creating a podcast:
- What is a podcast?
- Finding the concept of your podcast
- Creating an attractive cover
- Purchasing the right equipment
- Writing the script for your podcast
- Recording your first episode
- Editing your first episode
- Hosting your podcast
- Distributing your podcast
- Promoting your podcast
- Analyzing your podcast and your communication operations
- Monetizing with your podcast
What’s a podcast?
Let’s try to explain what a podcast is to your grandmother 👩🦳 : A podcast is like a radio program, except when you close your computer or your phone, it pauses, and you can go back to it whenever you want.
Finding the concept of your podcast
Finding a topic for a podcast is not the most difficult part. By the way, if you’re reading my article, it’s probably because you already have an idea of the show you’d like to produce. But before jumping into recording your first podcast episode, make sure the theme you choose is broad enough for it to last in the long term.
You need to have enough things to talk about to fill numerous episodes. Remember that a podcast that works is a podcast that’s broadcasted on a regular basis.
It would be a shame if you launched a show with three episodes and waited several months before releasing the fourth one because you lacked inspiration…
Once the general theme of your podcast is determined, start listing a dozen or even twenty episode topics, so you can plan for the long term. Then, begin creating your universe. ✨
- Would you like to present your show alone or with another person?
- Do you prefer an interview format or more of a story or fictional account?
- How long will your episodes last? Do you prefer a long format (40 minutes to 1 hour), short format (5 to 10 minutes) or somewhere in between (15 to 20 minutes)?
- How often do you feel you’ll be able to air your episodes (monthly, weekly)?
Yes, these are a lot of questions. But it’s by taking them one by one and answering them definitively that your podcast will start to take shape. 👶
One last thing to define before you begin producing your show: the name of your podcast.
I would advise you not to lock yourself in with a podcast name that’s too reductive. Over the months and years, you’ll evolve and your podcast will too. The podcast topics can expand or deviate according to your passions or your dreams along time.
My advice: avoid wordplays in your podcast name. It’ll make it harder for your potential listeners to search for you on listening platforms, and it places stumbling blocks in your way from an SEO perspective. Google is more and more intelligent, but it doesn’t understand jokes yet… 🤡
Creating an attractive image for your first podcast
Now that you have a theme for your podcast, a non-exhaustive list of topics and a name for your show, you’ll need a great eye-catching cover.👀
A podcast’s cover is like the cover of a book. 📖 This is the first thing your target sees and what will instantly attract them to you (or not). Keep in mind that before being listened to, your podcast will be seen! 😬 It may seem a bit paradoxical to depend on an image in the hopes of having an audience, but your podcast cover art can play a very important role in the success of your content. 🚀
The cover you create must represent your world. Your future listeners should, in the blink of an eye, grasp the theme of your podcast and the topics that will be covered. For example, if you want to produce an interview podcast, it might be wise to choose an image with photos of your guests. On the other hand, for fiction, you can remain in the magical and imaginary world with an illustration.
It’s up to you how you want your podcast to feel, as well as the message you wish to convey through this image. Remember that it’ll be posted on all listening platforms once you publish your first episode. Choose wisely! 😁
My advice: Don’t choose a black or white cover. It’ll make you stand out less on listening platforms. Apple Podcasts and Spotify (which are the 2 most used listening platforms in the world by listeners) are respectively white and black. Instead, choose a contrasting color so it stands out.
Choosing your equipment to launch your podcast
First of all, know that there are two types of podcasters ✌️: those who bet everything on the quality of their podcasts through professional level equipment, and those who choose to focus on their audio content first and record their first episodes with less sophisticated equipment and podcast tools. I don’t think there are any good or bad approaches. It’s up to you based on your preference, budget and aspirations. Just know that either way, you can produce a quality podcast. 🎙️
And above all, whatever your equipment, set yourself up in a furnished, soundproof room so the sound doesn’t bounce off the walls. 🔊 You know, that little annoying echo. If you’re lucky enough to record your episodes in a real recording studio, you won’t have any problem with echos, but if you record your show at home or in a random room, be aware of any echos you might end up capturing. ⚠️
At Ausha, we love asking podcasters who host their podcasts on our platform to send us pictures of their home studio. They’re often rather funny scenes. Some record in their dressing rooms or closets, others under a blanket or in a room with lots of pillows to absorb the echo. Choosing a well-soundproofed room that prevents reverberations is one of the most important things for having a quality sound.
Now let’s move on to equipment. 🎙️ 🎧
These days, cell phone microphones have sufficient quality for attempting your first recordings. You can even connect a headset with a microphone to your phone or computer and, in a perfectly soundproof room, record your episode.
But if you want to take your podcast to the next level and invest a little more in sound quality, purchasing a real professional podcast microphone might be a good idea. There are different types and different price points, and each type meets a specific need:
- If you want a fixed microphone for recording indoor interviews, go for the Bird UM1 ($50) or the Blue Yeti ($129) mics. They’re perfect for getting started without spending huge amounts of money.
- If you prefer investing in portable equipment to record sounds outdoors, the Zoom H5 microphone ($270) is a great alternative.
- There’s also a wide array of lapel microphones that have the major advantage of connecting directly to your smartphone and can work with very small budgets.
Also consider getting some podcast headphones.
My advice: You can always invest in more equipment later. A good microphone, a computer and even a new generation smartphone as well as a room with no echos is the perfect way to produce a high quality sound.
Preparing the script for your first episode
At this point, you might be tempted to jump into recording right away. But before hitting the red button, 🔴 it’s really important that you already have the structure of your episode in mind.
Whether you opt for a story format or an interview, for example, I strongly suggest writing a script for your podcast. I’m not talking about writing down every single sentence you’re going to say but, rather, having at least a clear idea of the subjects you wish to discuss or where and how you want to take your podcast guests during the interview. This will avoid your awkward silent pauses and stammering. 🤪
You can think of it a bit like the outline of an essay. For example, for an interview, which is one of the most popular formats for podcasters, we might imagine a structure like this:
1) Your podcast intro (you introduce yourself to your listeners, introduce your guest in the context of the interview and quickly remind listeners of your podcast’s concept)
2) The 1st part of your podcast
3) The 2nd part of your podcast (then third, fourth and so on…depending on its length)
4) A quick summary of the episode
5) Your podcast outro where you thank your guest(s) and your listeners for having listened to your podcast.
6) Encouragements to leave positive feedback on listening platforms
Of course, this example does not need to be followed 100%. You’ll instead need to adapt it to your concept to make your episodes as clear as possible.
My advice: Don’t skip this step; it’s too important. 🙏 Simply because, if you don’t prepare your episodes properly, it’ll be obvious. There may be some lengthiness, awkward hesitations and, most importantly, you may miss a really important topic that you may have forgotten about if you don’t prepare your script in advance.
Recording your first episode
Once you’ve written the script (or a portion of the script) for your first episode, you can finally begin recording it. To do so, you’ll need to install a recording software on your computer. 💻
- The most well known and most used by podcasters is, no doubt, Audacity. It’s free and easy to use, and it’s available for Windows, Linux and Mac.
- If you work in an Apple environment, you can also use Garage Band (which is also free).
- At Ausha, our favorite is Reaper. With Reaper, you have a free trial period that you can renew as many times as you’d like, and it’s also quite easy to use.
- If you choose to record on your phone, the recording apps that are already on your device should do the trick.
My advice: Be sure to check all the connections before you start recording your episode. We all know the frustration of starting an interview and then realizing in the middle of it that the microphone has been off…right from the start…yeah, that reeks of experience!
Editing your first episode
Again, depending on the type of podcast you’re looking to create and how much pizzazz 🐾 you’d like to add to it, you’ll need to spend more or less time on editing.
If you want to keep the spontaneity and authenticity of your guests, perhaps you just need to add some music, a short intro to kick off your episode and a conclusion to thank your listeners. After all, the podcast is the medium of authenticity. No one will ever hold your verbal idiosyncrasies or hesitations against you. 🥰
On the other hand, some podcasts are obviously extensively edited. This is not to say that these programs have lost their authenticity. They have just been worked on more extensively in post production and therefore are a bit more dynamic due to editing. By cutting out the less interesting parts of your recording, you’re offering your audience only the best moments. 😘
If you want to improve your recording through editing, you can use one of the recording softwares we mentioned earlier, like Audacity, Garage Band and Reaper. You can also use Adobe Audition, for example. 📶
This is also where you’ll be able to add music at the beginning, end, and even in the middle of your podcast. 🎶🎵 For smaller budgets, there are plenty of online libraries of free music, such as YouTube Audio Library and Fugue. If you want to invest in more original music, you can use platforms like AudioJungle and Universal Music Library.
My advice: If you’re already hosted on Ausha, remember that you have access to a library of over 500 royalty-free pieces of music for improving your podcast episodes. It’s another good reason to host your podcast on Ausha 💜
By contrast, whether you spend a lot of time on editing or very little, you’ll inevitably end up going through the “mixing” stage. 🎛️ This step allows you to equalize the various layers and give your audience an even more pleasant listening experience.
If you record an episode with three guests speaking into three different microphones, in post production, you can make sure that the sound of the three microphones is equally distributed and that one of your three guests isn’t speaking louder than the other two. It can also be of value to play on the spatialization of the sound by putting the first guest a little more to the right and the second one more to the left to give the impression of an actual conversation.
Hosting your podcast on a specialized platform
Your first podcast episode is now complete. 🥳 And you’re ready to share it with the rest of the world! But before broadcasting it, you’ll need to host your audio file on a specialized podcast platform, called a host.
A podcast host? What’s that for? Good question, John!
For a podcast to be broadcast on all listening platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Deezer, your audio file needs to be stored online by a host. It serves as a bridge between the audio files you’ve recorded on your phone or computer… and the rest of the world. 🌎 The idea behind it is simple. You upload your audio files to your host, and it automatically creates a special page called an RSS feed, which is communicated to listening platforms.
This RSS feed serves as your podcast’s identity card. 📸 It contains all the information related to your show: for example, the name of your podcast, its episode titles, your descriptions, images, audio files, your name or the name of the host, your email address, website, etc. This is what we refer to as metadata. 🤓 And it’s this metadata that’s communicated via the podcast RSS feed to the listening platforms.
Distributing your podcast on all listening platforms
Hosting and broadcasting are two complementary steps, and both depend on the hosting platform you have chosen. 😁
While the primary mission of a hosting company is to host your audio file and store it, its secondary mission is to distribute it on all listening platforms through, as we mentioned earlier, an RSS feed.
With this technology, your episodes are automatically published as soon as you upload them to your hosting platform, and your program updates almost immediately on all apps. 💪
And the more apps referenced on the hosting platform, the better! 🔥
To summarize on the hosting and distribution elements, keep in mind that a host is sort of like a facilitator. At Ausha, for example, we like to say that our main mission is to make the lives of our podcasters easier by:
- Offering unlimited storage of their audio files
- Offering them the simplest and fastest distribution process in the world
- Providing them with numerous features for automating publication and promotion of their episodes
- Offering an extremely easy-to-use platform so that they don’t waste unnecessary time, and they can focus on their content.
My advice: Depending on the devices your listeners are using to listen to their podcasts, the platform may be different. For example, if they have an iPhone, they are probably automatically using Apple Podcasts. If, on the other hand, they have an Android, they won’t have an app installed by default. Don’t put all your eggs🥚 in the same basket!
To settle for a single listening platform would mean depriving yourself of a portion of your audience. And that’s the opposite of what we want here.
Organizing the communication and promotion of your podcast
Today, the challenge isn’t only creating a podcast but making it visible everywhere. If you limit yourself to simply produce audio content and publish it on listening platforms, you’ll never develop a true audience. 😟
At Ausha, we like to say that you can’t make a well-known podcast without making it well known. 😎 That may appear logical, but sometimes people have a tendency to forget it. It must be said that creating a podcast takes time, so coming up with an entire communication plan for the release of each new episode often falls by the wayside. 😩
Defining your listener persona 👩🦰👨
Even before beginning to communicate about your podcast, you’ll need to understand your audience extremely well. A podcast is a bit like a product or service. And, in marketing, it would never occur to us to communicate about a product or a service without a deep understanding of its core target. 🎯
At Ausha, it’s what we call a listener persona.
To define your listener persona, you’ll need to focus on your main target.
- What does your audience have in common?
- What’s a typical day in the life of your most loyal listeners?
- What are their motivations and barriers for listening to your podcast?
- Also consider what other types of content they may be consuming.
You’ll see that as you answer all these questions, you’ll begin to build a fictional character who will serve as a foundation for creating your communication plan. And for each new communication blitz you’re looking to launch, you can refer to it to be sure that you’re on the right track. 🛣️
Taking care of your podcast’s brand identity 🌈
To communicate effectively about your podcast, you’ll need to construct a brand identity for your show. Once again, remember that a podcast is like a product or service. You’ll need to market it. ✨
When creating a podcast identity, there are four characteristics to consider:
- The target audience for your podcast: what you’ve just defined as your listener persona
- The vision: the general idea that guides you in the construction of your episodes
- The mission: the reason your podcast exists
- The values: what you’d like to convey through your content
And, same as for the listener persona, as you answer these questions, you’ll see that you will naturally define the atmosphere of your podcast. And this is what you’ll then use to define the tone of your communication, the image that you want to portray, and the type of additional content you’d like to share with your audience. The answers to these questions will be your compass 🧭 for remaining consistent in your communication.
Once you’ve defined your podcast’s brand identity, you’ll need to clearly display it on all your communication channels through the many marketing levers you will activate. 🚀
Among these levers, there are a few essential ones. For example, there’s social media. So having a strong presence on these platforms is essential for podcasters. 📣
My advice: Plan in advance and automate your communication on your social media pages, automatically posting on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn whenever you publish a new episode. This will save you precious time, and you’ll be able to focus more on your content. To do so, there are many tools, and Ausha especially allows you to automate all your communication on your social networks with the Social Media Manager.
The second essential lever to keep in mind is Google. 💻 Don’t underestimate its power in promoting your podcast. I suggest writing blog articles or creating an actual podcast website that’s entirely dedicated to your podcast in order to optimize its SEO. If you don’t have the time or the knowledge to create a website yourself, it’s okay. Once again, tools like Ausha can help podcasters automatically display a website dedicated to their show that’s 100% SEO-optimized.
You can also notify your community by sending a newsletter to your subscribers or by preparing a podcast press release that you can share with specialized media outlets who are likely to relay your podcast.
Analyzing your podcast 🧮
Once you have reached this step, take a step back and look at everything you’ve accomplished. Which communication initiative has brought you the most listeners? How many monthly listenings do you have? Which application do they come from the most? All this information can be found directly on your hosting service.
I know…I know…when you create a podcast, data isn’t the first thing on your mind. However, keeping an eye 👀 on your statistics allows you to measure the success of your podcast…and to stay motivated!
You can also use these statistics to learn more about your audience through the use of demographic data (age, sex and geographic location) and completion rates (average listening times). This way, you can adapt the format of your podcast as well as the topics covered to make them more appealing to your audience.
My advice: Don’t just look at your total number of listenings. Yes, it’s an important metric, but it’s not the only one! Comparing your numbers to other podcasts whose themes have nothing to do with yours or whose frequency is not the same does no good. It’s even counter-productive. 😬 It’s a thousand times better to look at your own data to measure your evolution over time! 🚀
Monetize your podcast 💸
If you have a high number of listens for your podcast (and on a regular basis), it might be worth thinking about monetizing it in order to start making money from your content.
Don’t expect to be able to make a living from it right away though! Think of it more as additional income or a way to keep your project going. Generating money from your podcasts takes time, creativity and a lot of discipline. 💪
The most common ways to monetize your podcast are often through crowdfunding or an advertising network.
Crowdfunding (or participatory financing) is widely used by podcasters. This method allows your listeners to support you financially via a one-time or recurring financial donation. 🥰
Regarding the monetization via an advertising network, with various platforms, you can insert advertising into your show. There are three different advertising formats:
- The pre-roll (introduction to your episode)
- The mid-roll (the middle of your episode)
- The host read (it’s you as the host who is advertising the product/service, like a product placement)
Woo hoo! You’ve reached the end of this article (which is certainly the longest one I’ve ever written!). I hope I’ve given you everything you need to get started. Now’s the time! I can’t wait to listen to your podcast! 🥰
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