How to start a podcast

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Getting started

How to start a podcast

For the first time in history, the number of people who have listened to a podcast in the U.S. (ages 12 and up) has reached more than 50%. These new stats from Edison Research show that podcasts are increasing in popularity. With more and more people turning to podcasts as their source of news, education, and entertainment, starting a podcast could be a great business decision or creative outlet. 

There are absolutely no limits to what kinds of content you can create when you start a podcast. Sports, video games, pop culture, world news, education, comedy, true crime and more all have their place on the platform. With that in mind, there’s really only one thing to ask: should you start a podcast?

The First Question: “Should you start a podcast?”

Of course we’re biased, but we wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t believe that everyone has something worth podcasting about. Here are three main reasons why you might start a podcast.

You Have a Story to Tell 

The story could be yours, or one from history. It might be real, or a fictional story that’s perfect for audio. A good story told on a podcast reminds us of the good old days when we’d tell tales around a campfire. If you’re killer a crafting powerful narratives, podcasting a great way to tell your stories. 

 

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You Have a Story to Tell 

The story could be yours, or one from history. It might be real, or a fictional story that’s perfect for audio. A good story told on a podcast reminds us of the good old days when we’d tell tales around a campfire. If you’re killer a crafting powerful narratives, podcasting a great way to tell your stories. 

 

You Like to Learn, and Want to Share Things You (and others) Know 

Some podcasts, like Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness are literally built around intrigue and a desire to learn. Maybe you’re playing the teacher role and you already have all the info you need to educate listeners in your field. Alternatively, you can be the Jonathan and ask great questions to people who know things about the topics you want to cover. 

You Want Employees and Potential Customers to Understand the Culture and Capacity of Your Business 

Podcasting can be a great way to build brand awareness or internal team morale. Interview staff members. Discuss new product releases. Interview clients about their experience with your company. 

There are dozens of reasons why people are starting podcasts. 

However, as a company that has helped everyday people and Fortune 500 companies get their podcasts of the ground, we know many people have concerns about getting started. Unfortunately, some worries have kept people from podcasting altogether. But the truth is, podcasting is one of the most flexible, accessible platforms to break into. If you have concerns about starting a podcast, don’t worry. We’ve worked with people like you before and helped all kinds of clients navigate a variety of concerns.  

You Want Employees and Potential Customers to Understand the Culture and Capacity of Your Business 

Podcasting can be a great way to build brand awareness or internal team morale. Interview staff members. Discuss new product releases. Interview clients about their experience with your company. 

There are dozens of reasons why people are starting podcasts. 

However, as a company that has helped everyday people and Fortune 500 companies get their podcasts of the ground, we know many people have concerns about getting started. Unfortunately, some worries have kept people from podcasting altogether. But the truth is, podcasting is one of the most flexible, accessible platforms to break into. If you have concerns about starting a podcast, don’t worry. We’ve worked with people like you before and helped all kinds of clients navigate a variety of concerns.  

5 things that stop people from starting podcasts – and why they shouldn’t stop you.

1. "I don't know what to podcast about."

If you have the desire to start a podcast, but don’t think you have the content for a good show, don’t worry. And definitely don’t quit! There are a number of solutions to this problem. Start with a simple brainstorming session. Write down a list of your hobbies. Then create a list of topics you like. If you’re stumped, walk over to your bookshelf or video game collection (or browse the “watched” lists on your streaming accounts) to get a sense of what genres and topics you keep coming back to. 
If you have interests, you have content to work with. But at this point we have to address a follow up concern that is frequently paired with the “I don’t know what to podcast about” worry. It comes up a lot, and it sounds like this. 
I like all these things, but I’m not an expert in any of them. 
This statement is hyper connected to imposter syndrome. Here’s the thing. You don’t need to be an expert in anything to start a podcast. So how do you get away with starting a podcast when you’re not a pro at your topic? There are a few options. 
First, passion will take you far. Lots of people enjoy hearing someone else geek out about common interests. Genuine curiosity and enthusiasm for books, tv shows, games, culture, or whatever else you’re discussing can build a real audience base (see the Joe Rogan podcast, which features 2-3 hour conversations with a variety of guests).  
Second, you can bring in experts and have a conversation. There’s no shame in admitting what you don’t know. In fact, that can help you build trust. Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert is a great example. 
It is true that if you’re not comfortable covering a topic or creating content on your own, you will likely need to look outward for help. But no – you don’t need to know famous people to get started. First, leverage your own connections. You probably know some people who are quite good at or knowledgeable about some things. Maybe you even have connections with, well, other connections. Another option is to add a co-host to your podcast to bring some additional expertise to your show. Maybe you’re the enthusiast who asks the questions your listeners will be asking, while your guest or co-host brings the detailed expertise. 
You can find and create content for your podcast. Spend some time exploring these options, and if you’re still stuck, let us know

2. "I'm too busy."

This reason stems from some misconceptions about what you have to do to have a podcast. Namely, that you need to podcast weekly (or more) for an indefinite amount of time. 

Good news. It’s not true. 

Remember S-town? One of the most famous podcasts created by This American Life? The one season show achieved its cultural impact with just seven episodes. 

Your show doesn’t have to go on forever. Your decision to dedicate a couple months to planning and recording all your podcast episodes or spread out your creative process doesn’t change the validity of your show. 

 

3. "No one will listen to my show."

Admittedly, building a podcast audience is a task. However, there are multiple ways for you to market your podcast. Our number one tip for building a podcast audience is simple: make them a part of the show. You can do this by giving your listeners a way to communicate with you via an email account. Or, go a step further by creating an exclusive slack channel for subscribers. Read reviews and listener questions on the air, or invite a lucky listener to join in on an episode! This connectedness between listener and host is one thing that makes podcasts so popular, and it naturally builds a word-of-mouth reputation. 

4. "It’s too expensive."

Yes, podcasting equipment can be pricey. If you’re worried about how much it costs to start a podcast, we understand. You may feel pressured to buy the best equipment on the market. But that’s not a necessity. There are tons of options when it comes to podcast equipment. Quality microphones do exist for people who are starting out on a budget. Plus, there are free editing platforms. Additionally, you may be able to find a place where you can rent equipment before buying to save money while you decide what equipment you want in your studio.

5. "I don’t know how to record or edit a podcast."

For those who are intimidated by the learning curve of podcast editing, learning platforms like Youtube and Skillshare are great options. Great tutorials are out there, but if you don’t want to deal with the technicalities of podcast editing, you can hire a podcast editor to take care of the audio stitching, mixing, mastering, show notes, etc.

Getting started

Where should I start?

1. Remember your “why”

First of all, if you haven’t read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why, we definitely recommend it. Spoiler alert: Sinek recommends starting every project with your why in mind. Why are you starting a podcast? To educate? To entertain? To release some creative energy? Write down your why and keep it close. Your motivation should stick with you throughout the podcasting process.

 

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1. Remember your “why”

First of all, if you haven’t read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why, we definitely recommend it. Spoiler alert: Sinek recommends starting every project with your why in mind. Why are you starting a podcast? To educate? To entertain? To release some creative energy? Write down your why and keep it close. Your motivation should stick with you throughout the podcasting process.

 

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2. Choose a Topic

Research and choose your topic. Make sure it’s something you like enough to stick with for at least one season. 

 

3. Assemble your team

Find people who care about your subject matter as much as you do. If you want a co-host, share your vision and bring them on board. You might also have a producer, a podcast editor, or a communications and advertising specialist. 

3. Assemble your team

Find people who care about your subject matter as much as you do. If you want a co-host, share your vision and bring them on board. You might also have a producer, a podcast editor, or a communications and advertising specialist. 

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4. Name Your Show

Naming is important. Make sure your title is interesting enough to catch attention or clear enough to indicate what your show is about. Your name probably won’t change, so spend some time on this one! 

 

5. Plan your season and episodes

Doing some advanced planning can help you track your progress while you create your podcast. You don’t have to firmly establish your episode number at the get-go, but have a range in mind. This can help you and your team visualize how many months you’ll spend working on your first season. 

 

5. Plan your season and episodes

Doing some advanced planning can help you track your progress while you create your podcast. You don’t have to firmly establish your episode number at the get-go, but have a range in mind. This can help you and your team visualize how many months you’ll spend working on your first season. 

 

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6. Dive into the details

Research information. Write questions. Contact guests. Get cover art. Create some intro and outro music. Pick your podcast host. Podcasting is a creative endeavor, but it includes a lot of minute details. If these are overwhelming, make sure you’re delegating the work to your team. You’re in this together!

 

Getting started

How to know when you’re ready to launch your podcast

Most creators struggle with feeling “done” with their work. There are always more questions to ask, more edits to make, or better ways to word things. This perfectionism can slow or stop the process. 

You may never be comfortable with the quality of your work, but if you never stop editing, no one will ever hear your work. 

That’s where goals come in. If your podcast does what you intended for it to do – educate, entertain, market, etc, it’s time to release your podcast. 

Not sure if you’re hitting your marks? Bring in a focus group of friends and family who can give feedback on if your podcast is ready for an audience. 

If you’re releasing content on a weekly basis, make sure you have a review day in place for revising your content. Then, when it’s time, let your podcast episode get published and start focusing on the next thing. Take the mistakes or “I wish(es)” from the past and implement them in your future episodes. 

You’ll probably never think your podcast is perfect — but don’t let perfection keep you from production. The world needs more true, beautiful, helpful, funny, inspiring, curious content. Get creating! 

Need Help?

How Truthworkmedia can help

As podcast lovers, we want to help everyone who wants to create a podcast achieve their goal. We have three primary services for podcasters: podcast coaching, editing, and equipment rentals.

Our podcast coaching is for people who can do most of the podcasting work on their own or with their team, but want some consulting when they have questions. You can choose between 30 and 60 minute calls with our podcasting expert, Michael, who has helped dozens of podcasters start and maintain their shows.

Podcast editing services are ideal for creators who don’t want to podcast alone. We can become part of your team by offering stitching, mixing, mastering, show notes, and more.

If you’re interested in any of our podcast offerings, fill out our podcast questionnaire. We’ll ask you a few simple questions about your goals, then reach out to you to discuss your needs in depth.

We can’t wait to meet you!

Podcast hosts also distribute your podcast to podcast apps – where listeners actually access and download your show. 
We use podbean for our podcast hosting needs. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and they offer ways to help you monetize your podcast through platforms like patreon. Podbean is our host-of-choice, but there are dozens of other free and paid podcast hosts for you to choose from

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How to Start a Podcast