Podcasts have become increasingly popular, rising in tandem with mankind’s increased self-awareness and desire to become more educated, skilled and better at life in general which means that more and more people are turning to podcasts to get their daily fix on opinions, self-improvement, news and industry related discussions than ever before.
If you have been meaning to start a podcast, but haven’t yet already, this year is the year to start a podcast around your business, brand or even your hobby.
In America alone, weekly podcast listeners have grown from just shy of 63.6 million listeners to 68 million in just one year with over 90 million monthly podcast listeners.
While it is more difficult to find similar current research for podcasts in South Africa, it would appear that South Africans are following the global trajectory. Research conducted by Reuters in 2019 indicated that 43% of South Africa’s ‘online population’ listened to a podcast “recently” and 2018 marked a 50% growth in podcast listeners.
Global and national podcast trends are predicted to continue to grow and, much like the dawn of blogging, it is better to not be last to the party.
Ready to start a podcast show but don’t know how? Take a look at the guide we have compiled below and get started.
How to Start a Podcast Step 1: Develop the Concept
Before you sign up on BuzzSprout or Apple Podcasts, take the time to plan what your podcast is going to be about and why you want to start a podcast. Creating podcasts of value takes time. A clear concept and a well thought out reason behind your podcast is invaluable and will help you to create the content you want to without being sidetracked and also motivate you when coffee just doesn’t.
- If it’s a business podcast, you might want to decide what business need you will be addressing
- Why are you creating your podcast? What’s the reason behind it?
- Take some time to do research on what has been covered
- What is your burning passion?
How to Start a Podcast Step 2: Identify your Goals
The first step to achieving a goal is to set one out. Consider what your goals for your podcast are. Do you want to podcast to:
- Share a message or skill
- Generate leads for your brand or business
- Become a leader in your industry
- Be creative
- Do you want to inspire, entertain, motivate, educate or just provoke thought?
Write your goals down because you want to keep track of whether you are achieving them. These goals will help you to create the concept of your podcast and act as your guide.
How to Start a Podcast Step 3: Research your Niche
When it comes to podcasts, market research involves more than drawing up a target market analysis. Check in with what other podcasts of similar topics are sharing. If you look up your intended topic on a platform like Apple Podcasts, a few podcasts are likely to come up. Take the time to listen to a few and take note of the aspects that you like about them and the areas that you think they could improve in.
How to Start a Podcast Step 4: Choose your Theme or the Topics
Once you have the concept for your podcast down, you will be able to craft the topics of your show. While your topic can be as broad or as narrow as you like, it is important for you to choose a topic that you are passionate about and familiar with - afterall, you will be talking A LOT about it!
- Try to identify your topics, your voice, your niche - who do you want to reach?
- What will season one be about, season two?
- In the Dylan Kohlstadt podcast show, you can see that season one is me answering questions about entrepreneurship and some digital marketing. Season two I interviewed top entrepreneurs to find out their secrets of success. Season three I interviewed top social media marketers who have mastered one channel and asked them to share their tips and secrets. And now in season four, I’m interviewing top marketing managers, for their insights.
- Create a plan for your shows, a table works well for me, something like:
|Date and Time|
How to Start a Podcast Step 5: Choose the right format for your podcast
When you pick the format for your podcast, the most important thing to remember is that there is no single, universal, ‘right’ format. You need to choose the format that is right for you.
With a myriad of formats available, you can choose from a single-hosted show, to a co-hosted show with one or more hosts, and they can range from interview-styled interviews to news recap podcasts and even scripted non-fiction.
The formats we have listed below are a few of the most popular for podcasts. Remember, you can create a completely new format, it is your own show after all!
News summary podcasts
This form of podcast offers a summary and discussion of news and current affairs and typically covers a specific industry.
Scripted fiction podcasts
Most of us might be too young to remember Squad Cars, a highly dramatised radio drama that aired in South Africa during the 60’s - 80’s, but your parents might. This podcast format is identical to radio dramas of the past and are typically scripted and then produced afterwards. An example of this format is Limetown.
Zak Fraser wasn’t kidding when he said “The key to success is consistency”. Consistency is particularly important to podcasts; your listeners will want to know that they can expect an episode every month, every week or even every day.
They will also want to know that they can expect to finish listening to your newest episode on their commute to work or their walk with their dog. We’re not talking about length here. Well, we are in a way, but we’re not saying that your episode needs to be short, it just needs to be as long (or as short) as the other episodes on you show.
How to Start a Podcast Step 6: The Optimal Length for your new Podcast
Just as you have learnt that there is no universal format for podcasts, there is also no optimal length for podcasts either. Podcast episodes can range from a few minutes to the length of a complete audio book and are completely dependent on you, your subject and format.
Once you have created content, it is also important to feel comfortable with editing out certain segments that might not add value to your show. Your audience will respond well to engaging content; if there is a part of the show that you feel doesn’t contribute to your message, cut it out.
How to Start a Podcast Step 7: Create your publishing schedule
People love consistency. Set up a publishing schedule for you and your audience. You will need to track, plan and create quality content. If your show is on the side rather than a full-time job, you will naturally have less time to work on your podcast, and that is okay. Some podcasts, like Serial, only release a main segment every 2 years!
BuzzSprout recommends that hosts publish podcasts once a week in order to:
- Establish a relationship with your audience
- Enable your listeners and subscribers to schedule in your podcast so that they can listen to it as soon as it comes out
Establish a habit and a routine for yourself - there might be some days where you won’t feel motivated or inspired to produce content. Having a plan and developing a habit will give you the discipline to create even when you don’t feel like it.
Now that you have established your name, topic, format, length and publishing schedule, you are ready to take a look at the equipment and software that you can use.
How to Start a Podcast Step 8: Give your Podcast a Name
One of the most important things to consider when developing a name for your podcast show is the keywords in the title. While sharing your podcast link on social media can get you listeners and subscribers, the majority of the listeners will find your show through searching for keywords relating to your show’s topic.
If you are well known in your field, it is also a good idea to include your own name in the name of your show too. Take a look at the PodcastHost’s advice on choosing a title for your show.
I just went with the Dylan Kohlstadt Show but you might want to name it something related to the show topic.
How to Start a Podcast Step 9: Your Podcast Artwork
Although it is tempting to develop the design for your show now, it is often better to wait until after a few episodes before putting up your artwork. The concept of your show is most likely to change a bit as you create the content for your show and while it is easy to make smaller changes such changing the title of your show or its description, it can be expensive and time-consuming to change the design of your podcast artwork too, especially if you had a graphic designer do it for you.
Once you’re ready, BuzzSprout’s tips on podcast cover design will help and inspire you.
Canva has podcast artwork you can use.
Check out my artwork below, you can see I’ve built on the overall brand design for the Dylan Kohlstadt brand, that matches all my other social platforms.
How to Start a Podcast Step 10: The Right Equipment and Platform for your Podcast
When it comes to podcasts, you don’t need to spend a fortune on setup equipment.
The rule I use is: just get started and refine it from there.
You can literally start recording a podcast with your own iPhone and a pair of headphones.
Quality content is more important than the quality of your sound. If you have a great topic, people won’t mind poor sound quality. That being said, great sound really does help!
Zoom is also great for recording a podcast, you can simply use the audio track. Quicktime player on your Mac will also work for your podcast.
While you can also purchase sound recording equipment for your show from places like Takealot and Incredible Connection, it is also usually possible to rent out a studio in your area for each episode.
When looking at what platform to use to upload your podcast onto, sites like BuzzSprout and PodBean are usually the most popular. Both sites also offer free as well as other pricing options to suit your requirements. Once your podcast is up, you can use Podlink to create a link that enables your listeners to access your podcast from any podcast app.
There are also podcast studios out there that will help you get started, or companies like Shift ONE digital that will manage all of this for you!
Now that you are all set, you are ready to record your first episode.
We can’t wait to hear it!
Once you’ve recorded your podcast, you will need to promote it - send it out on your social media channels, email it to your database and add it to your email signature - you need to promote it to get it noticed!
You can watch my podcast interview with Gavin Kennedy below where he discusses: How to get into podcasting and the tools you need to get started.
Give us a shout if you need help!