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So You Want to Start a Podcast?

By Natalie Daniels

Podcasts now lead as a popular platform with over 103 million Americans listening to podcasts each week according to Music Oomph! Platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Stitcher and others provide podcasts with a variety of topics that allow you to multitask while soaking up information. If you’ve ever had any interest starting one of your own or are in the process of starting one, here are some tips.

There are multiple ways one can go about beginning a podcast. As I take inspiration from my college podcasting class this semester and tips from an article by The Podcast Host, below is a step-by-step process of starting your own.

1. Brainstorm an Idea

Find a topic you’re passionate about. Do you love music? Films? Pop culture? Politics? News? Social Issues? Science? Write down topics you have an interest in that you could talk about for hours.

When thinking of a topic, make sure you find something that “has legs.” This means that your podcast could go on forever. If you decide on a podcast that is based on one single event, it could be difficult to continue the topic for future episodes. I recommend writing down your topic and outlining 10 possible episode ideas to know whether your idea has enough substance to last.

2. Answer these Specific Questions Regarding Your Podcast

Will your podcast be co-hosted, solo, interview-based, etc.? What will the name of your podcast be?

When thinking of a name, make sure it is catchy and on the shorter side. This will make your podcast easier to find and more attractive to possible listeners.

3. Create Your Listener Avatar

What is the age, demographic and interests of your audience? Find reasons why this podcast would be of interest to them. What value are you providing to these listeners? How will this podcast be different than others in a similar genre?

4. Plan Out Your Episodes

Begin to create a layout for how you want each episode to go. What content do you want for each episode? Organize your first couple episodes by creating an outline.

This will help you figure out how long you want each episode to be. An average podcast ranges from 25-45 minutes, but the length for your own depends on the amount of content you want to include. Here, you can determine how often you want to release new episodes. Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?

5. Create a Script

While putting together an outline for each episode, add what you’ll be saying so when you get to the point of recording, it’ll be easier and faster to get your podcast done!

6. Record!

Once you feel confident with your outline and script, record your podcast! How you decide to record depends on the structure and type of podcast you have.

For recording equipment, you’ll need your computer, a USB device and a USB microphone. From my experience recording a podcast, the Samson Q2U microphone provides great quality. There are many good microphones out there that are less expensive; you just have to research. I also recommend using a pop filter, which helps prevent popping sounds when saying the letter “p.”

In order to record your podcast, you will need a recording and editing software. Here are some examples.

Audacity: Easy and free application, great for first time podcasters!

GarageBand: Another great and free application for first time podcasters! The only downside is that it is only for Macs.

Adobe Audition: A paid subscription software for more experienced podcasters

7. Edit Your Podcast

Once you have your episode recorded to your liking, use the editing software of your choice to edit your podcast.

You can add sound effects and music to your liking. While GarageBand offers their own music and sound effects, there are also multiple websites online and playlists on youtube that offer royalty-free music. There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube on how to properly edit podcasts

*Note that if you decide to upload your podcast to a streaming platform, make sure you are not using copyrighted music to prevent your episodes from being removed.

8. Cover Art

Now you have your first episode recorded. Here is where you can be creative by creating cover art of your choice for social media. You can use designing platforms like Photoshop (paid subscription) or Canva (free). I recommend a simple design for your cover art that includes an image that encapsulates the theme of your podcast, your title and your name.

9. Upload Your Podcast

Now it’s time to upload it! There are numerous places to upload your podcast: Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, etc.

If you want to upload it to places like Spotify or Itunes/Apple Music, you need to upload it to a podcasting hosting website which will upload your episode for you. I’ve used the platform Audioboom. This is a paid subscription but it allows you to keep your podcast episodes on the platform while offering other streaming platforms. Anchor is another hosting website that allows you to upload your podcasts to their site for free. There are multiple different free or paid subscription hosting platforms out there—research the one that works the best for you!

10. Promote! Promote! Promote!

Post about your new podcast on all of your social media platforms. This will help gain traction and earn more listeners.

If you eventually decide to monetize your podcast, look at this link to help you get started with getting donations, membership subscriptions and sponsorships or ads.

Remember, your podcast is a way for you to create a project you’re passionate about. Have fun! Always know that your voice is important and deserves to be heard. Every person has a unique perspective so even if a subject you're interested in has been done before, you’ll have a different take on it!

Natalie Daniels is an editorial intern for Dreamlette. She is a journalism major at Emerson College with a love of storytelling. Her favorite topics include entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, social issues, and music.

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