“Can you teach me how to make a podcast” is the question I often get when someone finds out what I do for a living.
I don’t blame them though as podcasting has seen a massive resurgence in the last 5 years or so. And unlike the podcasts of old, some are pretty making a decent living off doing it – yours truly included.
And this got me thinking. I do podcasts, I have a blog on my site, why not create a blog post about starting a podcast and just give the link to the next person that asks me about it.
I get to help answer the question, get another unique hit to the site, and hopefully end up having a new client.
Pulling myself back from floating into the emptiness of space; allow me to impart to you my knowledge on how to create a podcast from start to finish through this article.
And I hope that the years of experience I have in podcasting is more than enough to get you started as well.
So, are you ready?
The Main Thing To Consider When Starting A Podcast
When making a podcast, the first thing you should be doing is to ask yourself “why”.
“WHY” are you starting a podcast?
What is your goal?
Is it to share information with others? Is it to voice out your opinions on certain issues? Or do you want to leverage the medium as a marketing/branding tool for your business?
Whatever that reason is will become the foundation of everything you do as a podcast producer. It will affect the topic you will be tackling, the tone in which talking points are delivered, and will help you better understand who and what your target demographic is.
So with that established, here are other things to consider when starting a podcast.
Choosing A Format You’re Comfortable With
Some people have this notion that all it takes to start a podcast is to just pick a topic and start talking.
Though that is what many podcasters do, that’s also the reason why nobody bothers listening to them.
You need to approach the idea of how to make a podcast through the eyes of a network producer. This entails choosing the right format that plays to your strengths.
Here are several podcast formats you can choose from:
Interview podcasts are typically structured as a one on one conversation about specific topics.
If you love talking to people and can carry yourself well during discussions, then this format might be the right one for you.
Non-Fiction Scripted Podcasts
Now if you are a highly opinionated person and is highly passionate about certain topics, then you might want to opt for this format.
All you need to do is to choose a specific issue to discuss, create several cue cards and you’re ready to go.
This can be both a recap type format, or one that features news worthy stories/talking points within your locality.
Keep in mind though that news can be somewhat subjective. So try to keep news stories that you are somewhat knowledgeable in to make your presentation more believable – and your arguments sound.
As the name suggests, this is all about imparting knowledge to others.
So if you’re passionate about fixing engines, then that could be something you could talk about.
Keep in mind though that there’s a huge difference between educating and voicing out your opinion – if you get my drift.
If you have a knack for storytelling, then this is the perfect format for you.
All you need to do is decide on a type of story you want to create – and then run with it.
This format is for those who specifically enjoy DJing.
Although it is absolutely ok to do a music podcast with a bit of talk involved, most listeners of the genre prefer none of the latter.
Also, you need to be mindful that copyright laws are at play when choosing this genre.
How Long Should A Podcast Episode Be?
For example, if it’s a standard talk show type podcast, then 30 minutes is more than enough for you and your guest to talk about key talking points related to the topic.
If it’s a non-fiction scripted podcast, the length is completely dependent on how passionate you are about the topic, and how many talking points you wish to touch on.
For news podcasts, I prefer listening to bite sized 10 to 15 minute chunks. But again, that depends on how much news stories you want to focus on.
In short, there really isn’t really a single rule as to how long a podcast must be.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the quality of your content, and how you present it.
When To Release A New Episode
Again, this depends on how committed you want to be in this endeavor. Some podcasters create an episode when they have time, while others follow a set time-frame.
Now if this is just a hobby for you, then you can just create a new episode whenever you feel like it.
But if you intend to use this as a marketing/branding tool, then I highly suggest publishing a new episode at least once a week.
“Why one episode per week” you ask?
It’s Habit Forming – Something to look forward to for both you and your listeners.
It Fosters A Connection Between You And Your Listeners – This is important as we know how important consistency is when it comes to marketing and branding.
How To Make A Podcast Sound Professional
If you choose to, you technically don’t have to spend anything to get into podcasting. In fact, you can go and record yourself on your phone’s audio recorder if you want to.
Just think of an interesting topic, and you’re good to go.
But then again, if you want to publish a podcast episode that sounds decent and professional, then you need:
This is completely dependent on the amount of money you’re willing to spend. A microphone priced around $90 to $100 is more than enough for the job.
As the name suggests, they remove that popping sound when you speak on the mic. If those pops are not omitted, you’ll hear annoying pops on the recorded audio when you say certain words.
The main purpose of using headphones is for you to be able to hear yourself as you record. This is especially important when you are interviewing someone.
A DAW or Digital Audio Workstation
This will be your primary recording tool, with the added benefit that you can edit and master your audio files later.
What DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) To Use
- Garage Band
- Tracktion Waveform
- Pro Tools
- Roland Zenbeats
- Magix Music Maker
- Presonus Studio One Prime
- Ableton Live
If you’re completely new to using DAWs, I suggest you pick Audacity as it is the easiest to operate.
Further down the road, you can jump to using Pro Tools, or my personal choice, Ableton.
How To Make A Podcast: Recording Your First Episode
Ok, now we come to the most important part of the article for newbie podcasters; getting started.
Now if I were to give you a single piece of advice, it would be “soldier on” – and please allow me to explain.
A new endeavor entails trial and error. Regardless of how much in-depth information I give you on how to make a podcast, there will be some speed bumps along the way.
Now this won’t be noticeable at first. But when you start to compare your first episode to others, that’s when you get to see those subtle errors brought about by inexperience.
Don’t be disheartened and soldier on! These things are common, and should be taken positively – ensuring that you won’t repeat the same mistakes on the next episode.
With that out of the way, let’s get started on the things you need to do.
Create An Outline
Even if you have the gift of gab, you won’t be able to adlib your way throughout an episode and think that it will turn out great.
Though you might hit on some interesting talking points, there is a chance that listeners will just see it as you blabbering on about things – which could get tiring.
To avoid this, you need to come out with an outline of what talking points you wish to tackle.
This will not only keep conversations on topic, but would make transition from one talking to the next much smoother – thus making your podcast sound more professional.
Where To Record
For most people, a good place to record would be somewhere that’s quiet. And true, it is a prime requirement. But you also need to consider the acoustics of a place.
Roughly explained, acoustics is how sound vibrates and bounces off surfaces. For example, a cathedral typically has an echoing sound, while a small room produces little to no echo at all.
Technicalities aside, you can record using both spaces and just tweak the audio file during mastering.
But for those that are not that familiar on how to master audio files, it’s better to find a space that is not only quiet, but provides a little bit of echo. This is to ensure that your voice will not sound flat when recorded.
Creating Your Intro
Your intro can either keep a listener glued or drive them away.
There is no real template on how to create an intro. But if we base it on marketing principles and common sense, it needs to have these elements.
- Greet your listeners using a tone that resonates with them
- Detail the key talking points of the podcast
- Ease them into the main part of the podcast through a good segue
When it comes to using music on your podcast intro, that completely depends on you.
Personally, I like to have music play as the podcast starts, and then have it slowly fade out as I ease into my introduction.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you use royalty free music, or risk having your podcast sanctioned, or taken down.
Using Music On Your Podcast
As mentioned earlier, you need to make sure that you’re using royalty free music, or have the owner of said music give you “documented” permission to use it.
Now using royalty free music is ok, but the problem is that there’s a huge chance that other podcasters are using it as well.
A common example is how some YouTubers use the same piece of royalty free music on their vlogs. It’s not bad, but it makes you say “ah, that’s the same music on (enter name of vlog)”.
In order for your podcast to stand out, you should at least have a background music that is completely unique to your podcast.
With that said, here are a couple of sites that you can use to get your own unique background music.
This is a premium service that requires you to pay $15 per month. In return, it gives you full access to its music library of around 100,000 tracks, loops and sound effects.
You’ll be able to purchase tracks and loops for as low as $1.
How To Make A Podcast: Communicating and Recording Guests
But if you want a no frills suggestion from me, then there are only two platforms that you should be using.
We are all familiar with this messaging platform In fact, it’s a common tool used by businesses to communicate with team members and clients practically anywhere around the globe.
- Everyone is familiar with it
- Easy to operate
- Audio quality is not that good
- Very sensitive to internet speed fluctuations
- Free version does not have a record option
NOTE: If you want to use Skype to record interviews, and want to know how you can record calls without paying Skype Business, please read our article Recording Skype Calls: The Whats, The Hows and The Whys
The rise of Zoom can be credited to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t mean that the platform is just a novelty. It actually is quite powerful and has all the features that any user may need to get in touch with his/her contacts.
- Stable communications platform
- Easy to operate
- Great audio/video quality
- No lossless audio recording format
If I were to choose between the two, I’d go for Zoom.
Don’t get me wrong, Skype is a great platform. In fact, I have been using it for years.
But when it comes to podcasting, I find the built in record option on Zoom more practical.
And though it would have been better if the audio quality was much higher, it’s something that’s easy to fix when mastering your podcast.
How To Make A Podcast Artwork That Best Represents Your Brand
This is one of those things that taste and preference comes into play. So my suggestion is, go get a professional to do the job for you.
But hey, if you want to do it yourself, then at least try to follow these.
Keep The Artwork Stunning But Simple
I know that many will see this as a contradiction, but it actually isn’t.
The problem you see is that most people would try to cram in as much text on their podcast logo/artwork. No, that’s the wrong way of doing things.
Instead, try to keep things clean and simple, while at the same time communicating the main vibe of your podcast.
So that’s just the podcast name, maybe throw in the logo if you have one, and the day that you usually release a new episode.
That’s all the information people want to know, and need.
Make A Design That Can Be Used Anywhere
What I’m trying to say is that you need to create a design that looks great on any size and layout – be it a 3000 X 3000 pixels for Apple or for a 55 x 55 pixel favicon.
Please Don’t Use Headphones And Microphones
At least as on your artwork!
Why? Because everybody has been using those since the birth of podcasting.
It’s overused and makes your logo/artwork look completely generic.
Keep Everything Consistent
Especially when it comes to color!
Pick a color that you think best represents the vibe of your podcast and stick with it.
It may not be a huge deal now that you’re starting, but from a branding point of view, it definitely is.
Now if you want to try making your own podcast artwork, you can use:
- Glorify App
Both apps are easy and free to use. They also come with premium versions that gives your additional features.
Is That All There Is To It?
Well yes, and then there’s:
- Directory Submission/Syndication
- Creating a branding/marketing campaign
- Social media campaign creation and maintenance
Too much work?
Well of course you have the option to just upload your podcast to Soundcloud and hope that people stumble across it. But wouldn’t that be a waste of your time and effort?
Wouldn’t it be better if people actually got to hear your work?
That’s where Podblade comes in.
Not only do we specialize in editing podcasts to make it sound better, we also make sure that your podcast gets seen and heard by your target audience.
As podcasters ourselves, we have years of tested and proven podcasting experience working for you.
And that is why I’m inviting you to schedule a FREE consultation call with us!
To date, we have helped more than 200 plus podcasters, in 25 plus podcast categories, get their episodes heard and downloaded.
How to make a podcast is the easy part – what you do after you’ve finished your first episode is where the real work begins.
Get in touch with us now and ask us how we can help.
Rom is a podcasting specialist, ranking his show in the top 100 for all business podcasts in only his first 6 months since launching. He is also the co-founder of Podblade, creating an affordable yet professional editing solution for podcasters. When he isn’t working, you can find him watching his favorite soccer team (Tottenham Hotspur) in action.