So You Wanna Start a Podcast?

Deciding to start your own podcast is a great idea – or is it?

In the process of launching the LAWsome podcast for Consultwebs with Paul Julius, we learned what it takes – and it takes a lot. 

The suggestions made below are based on our own research and preferences – for each suggestion, there are more expensive options, and indeed there are cheaper/shittier options – We encourage you to do your own research and find solutions that fit with your own preferences.

This outline is also ordered in a specific way – 

  • You must first Presearch; create a powerful purpose for your podcast, ID specific/narrow audience and install business goals – before you record anything. 
  • Then, focus on Content; what will you be saying, how will you say it, how will you pitch it? Get the words right, speak them aloud.  
  • Then, get your image right by dialing in the Creative; logos, show art, episode art cards for social media.
  • Then, get all of your Sites together; figure out where it’s going to live, be distributed, connect the dots – everything short of publishing an episode. 
  • Finally, get all the Tech and equipment you need to create, record, edit, and produce the podcast you’ve envisioned. 

We did NOT do it this way, and learned in a roundabout, hit our head on the doorway, stubbed our toe in the dark kinda way.  

Let this guide serve as the diving board into the pool of podcasting. And just like real swimming, the best way to learn is through experience, so, good luck! 

Here are some considerations, software, tools, templates and tech that you may find helpful as you get your podcast off the ground.  

PRESEARCH – Figure Out ‘Why’ First

Audience? – Narrow audience, narrow focus = loyalty, who needs this podcast?

Content? – Theme? Topics? How deep can you go on the topics, how many episodes can cover this topic?

What kind of format? – Interviews, long-form, story/chapters, product reviews, length, who is Host/Co-Host, advertising potential, will you be live-streaming, will there be video?

Competitors? – Who is doing similar? What are they offering? How can you differentiate? Can you go more narrow with your topic? Focus in on what they haven’t.

VMOSA – The Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies and Actions. COMPLETE THIS before doing anything – Learn more → HERE 

Goals – Are you ultimately looking for emails, bookings, sales? Find a way to incorporate the “Ask” naturally.  

CONTENT – Show format, content schedule

Show/Episode Flow & Formatting – Use Google Docs to keep a list of topics, guests, links, and show lengths to make sure you’re staying on theme.

One-Sheet – Create a one-sheet pitch for your podcast, highlight benefits/topics/themes – sell the podcast – this can be sent to potential guests, advertisers, used on social, in show blogs

Content Schedule – Map out the episodes and dates for recording and distribution 

Email Templates – Have prefabricated starting points for your most frequently sent emails – Interview requests, sharing requests, links – be sure the footer includes podcast logo! 

ID3 Settings Template – For your mp3s, you’ll want to make sure the ID3 (metadata) tags are complete, so keeping a good reference of what a complete ID3 tag looks like is a good idea.

Blog Per Episode – Your site needs to be updated with every episode. 

Influencer List – Research people who frequently talk about your show’s themes on social media, get with them/tag them when publishing

SITES – Destinations, Applications to Create/Distribute Podcast

Your Website – A place to send folks, collect info, update with episodes, embed LibSyn code.

Social Platforms – Twitter, FB, Pinterest? Where is your audience – ?

LibSyn – Pay to host content and distribute to major platforms, ensure ID3 tags (metadata that explains the file on the web and connects back to you) are complete.  

iTunes Podcast Connect – Submit your LibSyn RSS feed to iTunes, refresh, some analytics – Only takes a day or so to submit, make sure you are ready to Publish before submitting to iTunes 

Google Docs – A place to create show notes, links for guests, collect art/logos/episode cards, 

Calendly – To schedule interviews

CREATIVE – Podcast brand/logo/show art – Image editor, visual content engine – online, quick, easy to use and provides templates! 

Show Logo – review iTunes podcast art, create similar – 3000 x 3000 px – 

Social Platform Art – Banners, right-sized art cards for distribution

Episode Art Cards – Social posts that feature the episode art, logo, features of the episode, visual banners for iTunes and GooglePlay – 

Follow LibSyn FAQs – Art requirements (size, file type) will be explained in LibSyn to ensure that all your logos, wallpapers and backgrounds will look good. 

TECH – Running a radio station

Microphone – Audio Technica AT2035 Condenser

Stand – On-Stage Stands MS7701B Tripod Microphone Stand – Mic needs to be free-standing, not on desk.

Pop-Filter – Prevent the “pffs” and unnecessary mouth noises

Mic Baffle – Deaden the room sound.

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Closed-ear headphones – Sennheiser HD 280 Pro – closed-ear contains audio bleed from headphones better

Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) – Audio editing platform to edit show, add music, etc – Audacity, Logic, Garageband – YOU NEED TO LEARN HOW TO EDIT WAVEFORMS – how to maintain audio levels with compression and other mastering tools, and how to export MONO mp3s. 

Audio HiJack – A program that allows you to capture audio from either specific applications like Skype, or your entire computer, then export as mp3 and edit in your DAW.

Skype – For interviews or audio access to guests, including options for video, Skype is the way to go. 

Original Music – You’ll want a theme and music that is distinct to your show – HIRE A COMPOSER – or, find royalty-free music and be sure to credit musicians and composers/links to their work. 

Total cost for Tech investments → $500+

So that’s it then…..?

Not quite.

The two main ingredients to a podcast, or any successful content marketing idea, are CONSISTENCY and TONE.

Be consistent or be forgotten.

We all have awesome ideas, passionate ones. But passion doesn’t scale.

When you set out for this endeavor, think romance, not passion. Make sure you have a deep well of topics and ideas you can drink from regularly and for a long while.

Podcasting is a performance art.

Don’t think for one second that a podcast is “just talking.” Your podcast is here to perform, and the hosts better deliver because the competition isn’t the next business in your vertical, it’s the New York Times, or WNYC, or Serial, or any other high-quality audio experience up for grabs in the marketplace of podcasts.

Speaking in public or on record is an art with artistic tools like rhetoric, grammar, colloquial flourishes, inflections, and melody. If you are still thinking of doing a podcast, consider the entertainment quality of your hosts and ensure they are ready to deliver a performance with each and every episode

In Conclusion….

If you have any questions about your podcast, or are interested to learn more, let’s connect here on LinkedIn.

Good luck and happy podcasting!

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