Podcast Startup Guide

The following guide will help you start an entry-level podcast that’s also scalable once you find success. The idea here is to try different things until you achieve a proof of concept, all without having to spend large amounts of time and energy each time you start over. 

Entry-Level Content Recipe

1. Expert Knowledge

Identify what the business world refers to as your “unfair advantage,” something that is not easily copied or bought. You don’t need to be a PhD on the topic, just more knowledgeable than the average joe. What topic could you easily jump into at a party and talk for hours on without preparation?

2. Sustainable Content Pool

For now, avoid creating original content from scratch. Base your program around a content source that can provide you with a steady stream of material to work with (i.e. Bible Verse of the Day).  It’s even better if it’s something that stays current like gaming news or a specific Twitter feed.

3. Do What You Know

Minimize the amount of new things you’ll need to do. You’ll already be learning how to record, edit, and publish for the first time. Make it easy for yourself by leveraging things you’re already doing (i.e. you and a friend already get together to break down the Golden State Warriors’ performance each week; start there).

4. Bite-sized Episodes

Plan for brief and concise episodes, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Not only will this be more accessible to new listeners, it also forces you to distill your content down to the good stuff and only the good stuff. It’s also quick and cheap to produce.

Tips + Next Steps

Choose your area of interest.

Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find a good rhythm. This recipe is very forgiving. It will allow you to try different themes and formats without having to invest a ton of time and energy.

Be mindful of your target audience but don’t use Follows/Subscriptions as a metric…yet. A successful podcast at this stage will be about finding your niche and specialty more than hits and follows.

Start with two dedicated hosts. This allows for flexibility and agility as well as backup.

Your co-host could be the one that’s the expert. You simply draw content out of them and facilitate the conversation. Example: Your co-host is a chemist and each episode is on an element on the periodic table – “What You Don’t Know About Element X”

Keep it unscripted. As tempting as it might be to write out questions ahead of time and jot down notes for how you might respond, the best moments in podcasting are not rehearsed sound bites but in-the-moment, as-you’re speaking discovery. It’s intimacy and authenticity that make podcasts great, not polish. A response with “ums” and pauses could be gold if it makes your thought process transparent.

Start with one segment. Once you find something that works for you, you can explore extending your segments, adding new segments, bringing in guests, etc. Your core content will be there to support the new additions.

Aim for consistency not just in the cadence of releasing each episode, but in the content itself. If someone likes your podcast and comes back for me, they should continue to get what they came for. 

Publishing your podcast

Practical details:

  • Headphones - While recording, just use any pair. 
    • Recording without headphones runs the risk of feedback from your computer’s speakers.
    • When you’re editing, then it might worth getting a better set of headphones to isolate the sound of your recording.
  • Microphone - This is the most important tool for good audio.
    • At home? Try the Blue Yeti - https://amzn.com/B002VA464S 
    • On the go? Try the Zoom iOS mic -  https://amzn.com/B00MZCEY9O 
  • Creative Commons Music.
    • We highly recommend browsing http://dig.ccmixter.org/ or http://freemusicarchive.org/ (just pay attention to the CC licensing and be sure to give proper attribution)

Hosting

  • Soundcloud
    • See https://soundcloud.com/samplershow for a basic, well-done example.
    • Soundcloud has a great guide for getting started: https://on.soundcloud.com/creator-guide/podcasting 
  • Your own website
    • As an example, see https://gimletmedia.com/show/sampler/ 

RSS feed

  • iTunes
    • https://itunespartner.apple.com/en/podcasts/overview 
  • Stitcher
  • Overcast

Promotion

Social media - have a plan!

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