Marketing, Video & Audio

Guide: Creating a Podcast

As the popularity of audio entertainment shows no sign of slowing down, we take a look at how to create, launch and promote your podcast.

Portrait for Helen Alexander By Helen Alexander
Posted 15 Apr 2020
Podcast Guide

Film reviews and sporting analysis, true-crime tales and business advice—podcast enthusiasts are tuning in to a diverse range of offerings from across the world. To help people who are thinking of starting their own, we’ve spoken to podcast experts Paul Boag, Courtney Carthy from Nearly Media, and Tommy Jackett and Josh Janssen, the duo behind The Daily Talk Show. Read on for practical podcasting tips.

01. How to Create a Podcast

How to make a podcast

From defining your concept to preparing to press record for the very first time, we look at how to take your initial idea and start turning it into a reality.

Whether you want to kickstart a personal project or are looking to add audio into your company’s marketing mix, it’s essential you have a plan in place. This means answering that all-important question: why are you starting a podcast?

What Do You Want to Achieve?

A podcast can serve many purposes. Your goal might be to:

  • Position yourself as a thought leader
  • Talk about something you are passionate about
  • Entertain and inspire people through long-form content
  • Build a connection with your audience
  • Boost awareness of your brand
  • Generate leads for your business

For Paul Boag, the goal was to fill a gap he had identified and create content aimed at designers, developers, and website owners: “Back in 2005, I was shocked to find I could subscribe to a podcast on knitting but there were no podcasts dedicated to web design. I decided to remedy this situation by starting my own.” Now, 15 years later, Boagworld just recorded its 25th season. 

Whatever your answer to the question "Why are you starting a podcast?" might be, write it down now and refer back to it as you develop your show's concept to help keep you focused.

Developing a Podcast Concept

Select a Podcast Format

What your podcast will look like?

  1. Podcast Name
    Deciding on a name often represents a balancing act between choosing something that’s memorable, something that instantly conveys what the listener can expect, and something that features keywords and will therefore help your podcast be found. Apple Podcasts makes the following fields searchable: title, author, and description. It’s worth checking for best practice tips around naming and describing your podcast with each listening app you use. 
  2. Podcast Host
    Will you present the podcast on your own, will you have a co-host, or will you call on a series of special guests? Will you follow a script, will it be entirely off the cuff, or will you conduct an interview?
  3. Podcast Segments
    Will each episode be one long conversation or story, or will it be divided into segments? Familiarity is often a listener’s friend, so decide on the structure of your podcast from the start and try to stick to it so people know what to expect. It might run something like this: intro, news and updates, interview, review, outro.
  4. Podcast Music
    A great intro can boost the listening experience and add a professional sheen to your podcast. From theme songs to royalty-free sound effects, you can browse and download audio tracks and stock music via an Envato Elements subscription, while Mixkit is another great resource when it comes to accessing a range of free musical themes and genres—from house and electronica to corporate and jazz. We've put together a handy list of royalty free music for you to consider.
  5. Podcast Length and Frequency
    There's no ideal length for a podcast, but having an idea of how long you might like each episode to run will help you stay focused during the editing process. Similarly, you can decide on a daily, weekly or monthly publishing schedule; just ensure you are consistent as this will help you (and your listeners) get into a regular habit.

Develop Your Podcast Content

What will your podcast say?

Time to scope out the ‘competition’, as this will help define your approach further. Executive producer Courtney Carthy, of Melbourne’s Nearly Media, recommends looking at what podcasts are already out there and inhabiting a similar space, before asking yourself the following questions:

  • What sort of entertainment or information can you produce that’s unique?
  • How do you hope a listener would describe your show to a friend?
  • What are some comparable shows, and how do they differ from your idea?

This background research will also help when it comes to making decisions on these potential podcast avenues:

  • Have you picked a subject that you will want to talk about for weeks, months, and years to come? Essentially, will your podcast have staying power?
  • Similarly, will your output be time-sensitive or evergreen? In other words, are you tackling topical issues that might make episodes less relevant the older they are (which is fine) or is your subject matter timeless? Your podcast might well feature a mixture of both.
  • Standalone or series? Again, there’s no right or wrong answer, but it’s something to think about. Will listeners be able to dip into episodes at random, or will there be a narrative thread running through them?

Write a Podcast Outline

No one wants to listen to a rambling recording. To keep them on track, Josh Janssen and Tommy Jackett, hosts of Big Media Company’s The Daily Talk Show podcast, use Trello to help them organize upcoming topics and define what they are going to talk about each episode: 

What drives most of our conversation and content is curiosity and asking questions. Having an idea of topics that you might want to discuss gives space and flexibility for those impromptu moments to happen while still being able to fall back on genuine curiosities and questions or things to celebrate.

Josh Janssen and Tommy Jackett

They describe this process as creating a roadmap for where they want the episode to head and what they want to touch on in order to avoid going off on a tangent.

For Paul Boag, this ideation stage focuses on a number of episodes: “These days we plan seasons lasting between 12 and 15 episodes. Each season has a topic, and we plan content around those seasons. For example, we recently did a season on encouraging conversion with episodes on designing calls to action and writing compelling copy. However, we have a lot of listener content too in the form of questions, guests and even listener-submitted recordings.”

Find a Place to Record Your Podcast

If you don’t have access to a recording studio (and it’s unlikely you will if you're just starting out), look for a small space that’s filled with material that can absorb sound and help reduce excessive reverb or echo—think furniture, carpets, and curtains. Look for ways to soundproof the space to keep out unwanted external noises, and remember, the cleaner the audio recording, the easier it will be to manage the technical aspects of editing and mixing.

02. How to Launch a Podcast

How to launch a podcast

Time for a few practical considerations, like finding the right tech and uploading your recording to hosting sites and directories.

Podcasting Tools

Podcast Recording Tools

“We place a big emphasis on technology and how it can help us to better communicate with our audience,” say Josh and Tommy. And while they like to keep on top of new protocols, products, and software that can assist them in producing the best possible podcast, it’s certainly not the end of the world if you haven't got heaps of technical experience.

With just a few basic online tools, you can get started on your podcast journey. However, if you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed, remember that people will listen because they love your show and not because they want to analyze the sound quality or your editing skills.

Really, you could start recording your podcast armed only with your phone and a pair of headphones, but to give yourself the best possible start, it’s worth investing in a USB microphone. Once you've plugged this into the port on your computer, go into the settings of your audio recording and editing software and select the microphone as your audio input.

Podcast Editing Tools

The editing process is where you split your podcast into sections, cut unwanted material, remove audible distractions, and insert intros and outros. When selecting editing software, look out for apps that make life as easy as possible by offering:

  • An uncluttered interface so that you don’t have to deal with a host of unnecessary features getting in the way of the basics.
  • The ability to handle audio levels for you or carry out one-click repairs in order to remove hissing sounds and pops from your recording.
  • A multitrack editor, especially if you want to put sound effects or background music underneath your main audio track.
  • Tools that can repair and enhance your audio, such as an equalizer, which can smooth out recordings that vary in volume and reduce or boost particular frequencies.

While Courtney recommends Reaper, the popular editing applications Audacity and Adobe Audition CC also tick all the above boxes.

Podcast Hosting Tools

The first thing to be aware of, explains Courtney, is the difference between hosting sites and directories.

One common misconception when starting out is that Apple Podcasts (previously known as iTunes) hosts audio, when it is actually just a directory and doesn’t host any audio.

Courtney Carthy from Nearly Media

So remember:

  • Hosting site: where you can upload your podcast.
  • Directory or listening apps: where you can list your podcast to help people find it.

Once you’ve finished recording and editing your podcast, export the audio as an MP3 file and upload it to a hosting site such as Acast, Anchor, Libsyn, Luminary, or Transistor. They will generate what’s known as an RSS feed, which is what you can then submit to directories like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and TuneIn.

The directory will pull your podcast’s feed details (things like the title, author, artwork, and description), so it’s important to ensure you have filled in these fields correctly. The time it takes for a directory to review, approve, and list a podcast varies between platforms, so familiarize yourself with how the one you are submitting your podcast to operates.

Whether you plan to mark your launch date with a fanfare or minimal fuss, many experienced podcasters recommend having at least three episodes recorded and ready to go before your release. As Courtney notes, you want to avoid falling victim to the dreaded ‘podfade’ at all costs. 

There are thousands of podcasts with only one episode and plenty suffer from ‘podfade’. People start out enthusiastic then lose interest after a few episodes.

COURTNEY CARTHY FROM NEARLY MEDIA

By releasing a few episodes from the outset, you not only give listeners the opportunity to become invested in your audio offering, you begin to get into a recording and publishing routine that you can commit to. 

Building a Podcast Website

As you prepare to launch your podcast, now’s the time to complement it by creating a well-crafted website. Here's why:

  1. It makes it easier for potential listeners to find your content via a search engine.
  2. It can serve as a podcast archive that showcases all of your past episodes and seasons.
  3. It adds value by giving you the opportunity to share extra content, whether that’s images from an interview, a blog post that follows up on a topic you discussed in a previous episode, or resources like ebooks and how-to guides.
  4. It gives you ownership and therefore full control of your podcast, so if you were to change your hosting site or directory, people would always be able to find you.

Start building yours now by searching for podcast website templates online, and take a look at podcast hosting and management tools, where you will find players and plugins that can be embedded in your website or blog. 

Available onEnvato Elements

Other useful online tools you might want to consider using, according to Courtney, are Chartable to track your podcast’s analytics on an easy-to-use dashboard (which can help you understand who is downloading your content and when) and PodLink (which does what the name suggests—generating a link you can send to people that allows them to listen and subscribe straightaway). 

03. How to Promote a Podcast

How to promote a podcast

If you record it, they will listen. Well, not quite. In this chapter, we explore how you can market your podcast to ensure it’s ringing in as many people’s ears as possible.

Getting Your Podcast Branding Right

Aside from your intro music and theme song, there are several visual cues that will help aid recognition of your podcast—like your artwork. Make sure it stands out by:

  1. Picking a Podcast Logo
    Pick a logo, graphic, or image that visually communicates your podcast’s subject—you want potential listeners to instantly understand what your podcast is about.
  2. Designing Podcast Artwork
    Before listeners hear what you have to say, chances are they will see your artwork, so it needs to be enticing and engaging. Our guide to personal branding contains tips and templates that can ensure your imagery packs a punch.
  3. Adapting by Podcast Platform
    Design for a variety of sizes—check the technical specifications of where you are uploading to or where your podcast is being hosted, and ensure your artwork works across several social media channels and platforms.
  4. Optimizing Your Podcast Descriptions
    Don't include too many words as the title and whatever text you include needs to be easy to read, even at small sizes.
  5. Striving for Consistency
    Your artwork is a key part of your branding and should tie in with everything else associated with your podcast—like your website and social media accounts.

Podcast Marketing

Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Here are some tactics and strategies that can help put your podcast on people’s radar and guarantee it stays there:

Sharing is caring:
During the intro and outro of every episode, ask listeners to subscribe, share, rate, and review your podcast. It doesn’t have to sound like a sales pitch—simply explain that if they like what they hear, they can support the podcast and help it grow by doing one or all of these things. 

Get social:
Social media is a great way to interact with and grow your audience, so think about which channels the people you want to connect with are using, and start posting. We aren’t talking about whole episodes—instead, share audio clips and video teasers, and add value with ‘behind-the-scenes’ insights and information that’s relevant to your followers. Make it a two-way conversation by asking followers what topics or guests they would like to see featured in future episodes. 

Go the extra mile:
Make a bigger splash on social by putting some marketing budget behind posts that link to your podcast’s landing page and to individual episodes. Paid ads are a great way of targeting specific audiences and ensuring your podcast pops up in their feeds. However, if you want to keep costs to a minimum, leverage other people’s social media accounts—for example, create a podcast press kit for guests to easily share the episode. 

Find your audience:
A podcast is nothing without its audience, but there’s no guaranteed formula for finding them, as Josh and Tommy know: “There’s no easy way to find an audience, there’s no hack, we're still finding ours. You just need to show up consistently, and if you do that in a way that’s true to who you are, and celebrate those doing fantastic stuff around you, you’ll find your tribe.”

As for the channels and platforms, their aim is to be anywhere that can serve their audience.

At the moment, podcasting, YouTube and platforms like Instagram and Facebook Groups excite us as they’re a great way to share what we’re doing, tell stories, and be able to facilitate conversations.

JOSH JANSSEN AND TOMMY JACKETT

Contact the administrators of Facebook Groups and the owners of blogs that resonate most with your audience, and ask them to share your podcast. 

Network with other podcasters:
Working with other podcasters and engaging in cross-promotional activities can be a great way of getting your name out there, as Courtney suggests:

  1. Be a Guest on Another Podcast
    Not the easiest but it can pay off. Find suitable shows in online groups, your networks, and sites like PodcastGuests.com.
  2. Get Featured on a Podcast App
    Contact podcast apps to see if you can get your show featured. But be prepared when they ask why they should and how you’ll return the favor.
  3. Get Coverage in Other Media
    When you’ve got a story or information that another media outlet would cover, let them know. If they quote you in the article, ask them to credit your show and include a link.

Start by reaching out to shows that have a similar size audience to yours and are within your podcast’s niche, industry, or genre.

Podcast Marketing Channels

When it comes to distributing your podcast, here are a few promotional channels you could consider:

Twitter
Upload the MP3 file to SoundCloud, and people will be able to play the audio from their Twitter feed. In fact, you could use SoundCloud as a platform in its own right.

YouTube
Convert your podcast into a YouTube video by either:

  1. Converting the MP3 audio file into an MP4 format and adding your branding to appear for the duration of the video.
  2. Filming your podcast episode. Yes, recording both video and audio content requires more equipment, but it means you’ll have the opportunity to replace a static image with you talking to a co-host and interviewing guests.

Remember to add links to your podcast website and social channels, as well as details outlining how people can subscribe to your podcast, in the description. And because YouTube’s algorithm will suggest your other videos, it’s easy for users to find and watch more of your content.

Instagram and Facebook
If you have made a video, then create a few short clips and share these soundbites on Instagram and Facebook. They should only be a couple of minutes each, and they should encourage the viewer to watch or listen to the whole episode and share the snippet with friends on social media.

So there you have it. Thanks to Courtney, Paul, and Tommy and Josh for all their insights. We hope that this gives you some tips and inspiration to get started with your podcast. For more podcast marketing ideas, check out our social media marketing guide, and for unlimited creative and digital assets to create, launch, and promote your podcast, sign up for Envato Elements.