Steps to Starting a Podcast

Podcasting is now where blogging was in the early 2000s – booming and being discovered by the masses as a relatively easy way to both consume and create content of all sorts. This post is for the creators, or rather the prospective creators – those considering launching a podcast. I have been part of launching three in the past 5 years, so this stems from what I have learned in those experiences as well as conferring with other podcasters. This list was compiled with he help of Jonathan Howe who helped launch and co-hosts Rainer on Leadership. It is not a comprehensive list or a detailed plan exactly, but if you use this list as you plan It will help you over many podcasting speed bumps.

Listen to lots of podcasts
  • Familiarize yourself with the medium.
  • Learn what you love and hate.
  • Find styles with which you resonate.
  • Discover what’s already out there.
Define your specialty or focus
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are you good at?
  • What do you bring to the table to benefit a specific audience?
    • Do you know who that target audience is?
Define your target audience
  • Based on your focus, who do you most need to reach?
  • Who will be the people you are speaking to/for each episode?
  • Who do you already reach that will likely tune in?
    • Would they be interested in your focus?
Determine the best format and style for your topic and audience
  • Conversational among set hosts – features the hosts thoughts and repartee
  • Conversational with guests – could have a single host or multiple hosts
  • Interview/Q&A – More formal interview with the guest as the feature.
  • Monologue/Teaching – One person speaks at length (think sermon podcasts)
  • Tightly prepared and scripted – think NPR’s podcasts that are highly produced and tightly woven together
  • Off-the-Cuff – Get some topics and go
  • Ask yourself “what kind of podcast would I want to listen to?”
Determine the ideal length for your selected format and focus
  • Leadership/Business – 20-35 minutes
  • Entertainment/Conversation – 40-90 minutes
  • Education/Teaching – 20-30 minutes
  • This is the loosest guideline and you’ll discover a comfort zone as you go.
Determine your release schedule
  • Ideally release weekly or more frequently – More frequent releases lead to more downloads, more sharing, and more regular listenership.
  • Decide what days you will release.
  • Determine what pace you can keep up over time.
    • Part of this has to do with how often you can come up with good content. Part of it has to do with energy, motivation, and schedule.
Confirm the basic recording and preparation logistics
  • Where and when will you record?
  • How much prep time do you need?
    • This really depends on format. The tighter the format or rigorous the interview the more prep time will be needed.
  • How much time for editing/preparation after recording?
Finalize the technical, web, and design support you need
  • Who will edit the audio?
  • Who will post the file?
  • Who will manage any blog and social media presence?
  • Who will track metrics, downloads, and listener data?
  • Who will design your logo and brand image?
Put together a launch plan
  • How will people find out about the podcast?
  • Do you have influencers and friends who will share on your behalf if you ask? Well then ask!
    • Give them specific links and wording to tweet or share to Facebook so they can just copy and paste.
    • Stagger these requests so that all the social media buzz does not happen on the same day.
  • Consider releasing multiple episodes at once at launch to give yourself a download boost and give prospective listeners enough to get them hooked.
  • Lead with strong content – top guests, topics with some hook, etc. Content is king and if you offer something awesome people will listen and share over time.
Get good equipment