Updated: May 22
I have an entrepreneur friend who wanted to start a podcast to grow her business. One day, she came to me and said, “I want to start a podcast but I can’t afford all that expensive equipment or rent out a recording studio.”
I smiled. “You know you already have everything you need to start a podcast…right?”
She looked at me, confused. “I do?” she asked. “But how do I sound professional?” I answered, “You can use your smartphone and earbuds. But if you want to get "fancy", you can search for microphones on Amazon and buy a perfectly suitable one for under $100.”
I continued, “Plus, I can teach you how to publish it on your own on the biggest listening platforms.”
We had her up and running within one month with a fresh new podcast. In less than a year, she’s grown her downloads to over 20,000 and growing every day!
So yes, starting a podcast can be very daunting…if you don’t talk to the right people. But like her, I’m happy you’re here reading this article because I know how I can help you. So let’s start with the first five steps to launching a successful podcast.
Choose Your Podcast Plan
Set Up Your Recording Studio
Name Your Podcast and Create a Show Description.
Create a Professional Trailer
Design your Digital Artwork
1. Choose Your Podcast Plan. Select a Topic, Cadence, and Format. Research, brainstorm and land on a podcast plan.
Topic. More than likely, you’ve thought about the topic of your podcast. You serve a community with your product or service, and now it’s time to expand that audience. I recommend you get the nitty gritty. It may feel like you’re pigeonholing yourself, but the more niche you become, the more you become the expert on the subject.
Cadence. The most common cadences are daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly. Listening platforms use an algorithm that moves the most recently published podcasts to the top of a listener’s list, so the more frequently you post, the better. But to balance that, consistency is also vital. So it’s important to choose a cadence that will work for you and your busy schedule. If you can see yourself dedicating three hours a week to your podcast, with the help of a post-production manager, you can easily manage a weekly podcast. Here’s my rule of thumb
# of Lives
Your Time with Post-Production Help
Your Time without Post-Production Help
5 Lives Per Week
9 Hours Per Week
18 Hours Per Week
1 Live Per Week
6 Hours Per Week
12 Hours Per Week
1 Live Every 2 Weeks
3 Hours Per Week
6 Hours Per Week
Format. Land on what you want the episode structure to be.
Consider the length you want the episode to be. The average length of podcasts is 43 minutes. There are highly successful podcasts that are longer than that and shorter than that. But it’s a good number to remember when planning your podcast.
What episode segments do you want to include? To keep your listeners entertained, consider how to break up your episode. Some examples could be: a personal story of the week, featured quote or excerpt, question and answer, listener comment or review, and guest interview.
Decide what content you want. Do you want to record only audio or audio plus video? A lot of video podcasts are popping up lately. Whether you start a YouTube channel like Andrew Huberman or use the visuals for socials like the hosts of Shameless and Life Uncut.
2. Set up your recording studio. You’ll need a microphone, headphones and recording tool for the most basic setup. However, if you want to make the editing portion easier, you can enhance your audio quickly and inexpensively.
Microphone. If you’re on a no-budget plan, the microphone on your smartphone will work well. Although it picks up background noise easily, a great editor like Podcastle can remove most of it in post-production.
On the other hand, if you’ve got a small budget to invest in equipment and you have a personal computer to record on for a one-person setup (or remote interview setup), we recommend a USB microphone such as the Samson Q2U. You can get it for less than $100!
Headphones. Remember your old Apple earbuds with wire? You can grab these from the bottom of your desk drawer and use them! Or splurge on wire headphones such as the Audio-Technica Headphones for under $100. Note that wired headphones are better than wireless headphones due to sound delays with a wireless setup.
Recording tool. You can find an app on your smartphone to use, yes - even Voice Memos for iPhone will work! But my #1 recommendation is Podcastle, which is a recording and editing platform all in one - for $12 a month (as of May 2023). Sign up today and record your first 3 hours for free!
3. Name Your Podcast and Create a Show Description. This may seem easier said than done! The key here is to create a title and description that is unique, SEO-driven and compelling. Ask yourself, what is your target audience searching for?
Check out Google Trends for a free, easy way to see what people are searching for. If they’re searching for it on a search engine, they may also be searching for it on a podcast listening platform. Be sure to tell the story of why you started a podcast. Use emotional words to trigger the need in your target audience. For example, Fitness Podcast becomes Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals Podcast.
4. Create a Professional Trailer. A professional trailer is usually the first thing a listener turns to when checking out your podcast for the first time. First impressions matter, so make it count! We recommend a 60-second trailer that hooks a listener from the start.
5. Design your Digital Artwork. A podcast’s imagery can help encourage a listener to press play. The image appears in a small circle block on listening platforms, so make your elements bigger rather than smaller. I highly recommend you check out Canva, which is making design accessible to all. It's easier than you think! Check it out here for free!
For a health and fitness individual, we highly recommend using a photo of yourself to draw attention to you. People listen to people, not podcasts. If you’re a brand, don’t be afraid to use your logo! Make it recognisable and stand out.
Now it’s time to dive in and go live! Here at Brave Moon Podcasts, we can help you with any of the above, plus more. We help new podcasters launch successful podcasts! If you’re curious to see what we can do for you, check out our launch package here. Reach out to us today to learn more!
We only recommend products and businesses we believe in, which is why we have become affiliates for some of the products you'll see here. So you may (or may not) come across affiliate links in these article. Thank you for your support!