Ready to broaden and broadcast your message to a whole new audience with a podcast but feeling stuck at the starting line? It’s time to finally make it happen and harness the power of podcasting for your business! As a strategic podcast producer, I help coaches launch and maintain their podcasts. I’ve gotten the podcast creation process down to a science, and in this post, we’ll cover the 10 essential steps to launching a podcast. I’ll cover everything from the planning phases, to the art of episode recording, to the strategies behind podcast promotion.
Let’s dive in!
Fun fact: the word “podcast” is a combination of “iPod” and “broadcast.” As of 2022, 50% of Americans aged 12 or older said they’d listened to one in the last month – and if you’re one of them, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with podcasting and have subscribed to a few favorites in your listening app of choice.
In strictly technical terms, a podcast is any digital audio file that people can listen to via downloading or streaming, and any individual, organization, or business can produce and launch one. Though there’s no hard and fast rule for how to structure a podcast, they typically consist of a series of episodes on a broad topic or theme that are released on a regular schedule.
Wayyy back in the pre-internet era, if you wanted to produce long-form original audio content, you’d need access to a studio or radio station. By comparison, podcasts are relatively inexpensive and more accessible to create, and they’ve opened up a huge opportunity for individual creators and small businesses to build broad listening audiences, expand their reach, and build up brand recognition and authority. Thousands of podcast listeners search for topics that interest them every day, and they’re ready to hear from someone like you!
Knowing how to get started with podcasting can be daunting, so let’s break it down into approachable steps.
Having a well-defined podcast topic will give you a cohesive, creative direction for episodes, which in turn helps draw audiences and prevents pod fade (that’s podcasting-speak for burning out and not consistently releasing new episodes.) When deciding on a topic, keep two things in mind: which niche you want to serve and who will make up your ideal audience. If you need clarification on your target audience, consider who your business already serves and which people already follow you on social media. Chances are, they’d love the idea of you creating a podcast. When you’ve found a subject that lights you up and appeals to your dream audience, that’s when the magic happens.
3 Questions to Help You Brainstorm Topics:
Now that you know the general niche and who you want to serve, it’s time to create a content calendar of episode topics that your audience will love, research relevant keywords, and organize the thoughts you’d like to share in each episode. After all, amazing content is where your expertise will shine and what will keep listeners coming back episode after episode. It might sound like overkill, but I like to plan 6-12 months of content at one time – when you know where you’re going, it’s easier to stay motivated to sit down and record episodes!
Choosing your podcast name is an important part of the process! It gives listeners a first impression of what you’re all about and will become a core part of your brand. Aim for a name that’s clear, concise, and unique. Once you’ve narrowed down the list, use namecheckr.com to see if the corresponding handles are available for your website URL and social media handles, and run a search with The Patent and Trademark Office to confirm it’s not already trademarked by someone else.
There’s no limit or across-the-board industry standard for podcast episode length or format, but I recommend keeping episodes around 20-30 minutes long. It just so happens that that’s the exact amount of time it takes most people to commute, exercise, or walk the dog, so it’s the perfect length for covering a topic while keeping listeners’ attention.
When it comes to format, consider what feels logistically doable right now. For example, recording solo is convenient, but filling up 20 minutes of airtime on your own might feel overwhelming. It takes more front-end work to line up guests for interview-based podcasts, but they draw a lot of listeners and can be a fantastic way to reach new audiences. Covering current events in your industry keeps you relevant, but you might need shorter production cycles and quicker turnaround times to stay up-to-date. Podcasting is a long game, so remember that a podcast you can consistently produce is a wiser pick than a really cool idea that you can’t keep up with!
These small but mighty details can set the tone for your podcast before people hear you say a single word. Cover art should be simple, eye-catching, and align with your existing brand colors and visuals. Remember that it will almost always be viewed on a phone, so steer clear of teeny-tiny visual details that might look confusing on the smaller screen.
Intro music is the first thing people will hear, so go with something that appeals to your audience and fits your theme. It could be anything from classical to hard rock, as long as it matches your audience and vibe. Whatever you do, resist the urge to use your personal Taylor Swift anthem for your podcast intro. Using copyrighted music without permission can get you in big trouble, so stick with stock or royalty-free music services like Pond5 and Audiojungle. Alternatively, partner with a musician to get a custom-made theme (that’s what I do for my clients!)
I am the last person to tell you to go all out and spend a zillion dollars on a setup. Still, a few quality items can make a big difference in your podcast’s overall sound quality and professional polish. To get started, I suggest three essential pieces of equipment:
While you might think you need an at-home studio to record a podcast, that’s not the case. Just do what you can to minimize background noise, interruptions, and echoes. A quiet room with plenty of furniture (or even a closet!) goes a long way toward improving overall recording quality.
You’ll also want to use dedicated recording software to record each vocal track separately, making post-production much smoother. I like to use Riverside for myself and my clients, but
Every podcast recording will need at least a little cleaning up to eliminate ums and uhs, awkward pauses, and loud noises. That said, my pro tip is that it’s better to leave in a few pauses and mistakes! Nobody’s perfect, and your podcast will sound more natural and relatable to human ears when you leave them in.
If you’re an Apple user, you can edit using GarageBand for free. If you want more tools and options, Hindenburg is the service I personally use.
Even after you’ve technically “made” each episode, there are still a couple more steps to get it out into the world! People will find and listen to your podcast through services like Spotify and Apple Podcasts, but each episode must be uploaded to a separate hosting platform – Buzzsprout and Hello Audio are my go-to’s.
After officially publishing each episode, promote them on social media wherever you’ve built up an existing audience. If you don’t already have profiles, Instagram and Pinterest are great places to start out and learn your way around hashtags, algorithms, and listener engagement. Post interesting sound bites in Instagram reels and stories and eye-catching images with SEO-friendly descriptions on Pinterest to drive traffic to full episodes.
Once you’ve established a good publishing rhythm and built up an audience, you can use podcast stats and listener feedback to pinpoint what’s working, which content engages listeners, and gather ideas for moving forward. Check out reviews from listening platforms and in-depth analytics in your hosting service to understand what’s working and tap into listener feedback.
Then, you can make improvements to your format and episodes and start recording more content that your listeners will love.
It definitely takes work, but it’s not as intimidating as it initially seems! With these 10 steps, you’ll be on track to launch your podcast before you know it:
With persistence, consistency, and a good plan, your podcast will grow and thrive. I’ve also created a free downloadable Podcast Launch Strategy + Roadmap to guide you through my step-by-step process for launching a podcast – be sure to grab it from my website. Happy podcasting!
This featured article is brought to you by Leah Bryant, Podcast Producer + Strategist For Coaches & Consultants.
Leah Bryant is the founder and head podcast ninja of Leah Bryant Co., a full-service podcast production boutique that empowers coaches, online course creators, and consultants to launch and sustain successful podcasts. She’s produced and helped launch 700+ episodes for over 25 podcasts and grown a team of a dozen women who effortlessly manage every facet of podcast production and promotion for clients. Stay up to date with Leah’s latest podcasting tips by checking out her website, following her on Instagram, and tuning into The Podcast Effect.
>>>>> Interested in diving deeper into podcasting? Leah offers Monthly Production & Management of Your Podcast and a container to help you Strategically Launch Your Podcast. All packages come with virtual private recording studios. For more information, connect with Leah on Instagram here or submit a comment below and we will get you connected with her!