Before you Start a Podcast: 5 Tips

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Before you start your own podcast, there are a few things you should do. I started my own podcast to help better understand the industry. I produce professional podcast intros and outros, and I felt I could do a better job if I appreciated all the dimensions of podcasting. I have learned a lot along the way. From my own experiences and mistakes, here are five tips I wish someone had shared with me.

1. Count the Costs of Podcasting

Understand how much time you will need to produce your podcast and make sure you are ready.

Understand how much time you will need to produce your podcast and make sure you are ready.

However long you think it is going to take you to create each episode of your podcast, I promise it will take you much longer. The intended complexity and quality of your podcast will determine precisely how much time it will take for each show.  If you just plan on flipping on a recorder, talking about whatever is on your mind for 30 minutes, and then uploading it, maybe you will only need an hour for each episode.

However, if you want a really great sounding podcast that will keep listeners coming back for more, you are going to have to invest more time. Depending on your type of program, here are some of the things that might demand your time:

  • Determining content
  • Scripting
  • Setting up interviews
  • Cutting vocal tracks
  • Editing
  • Adding music 
  • Processing 
  • Encoding
  • Uploading
  • Labeling
  • Writing and formatting show notes

Oh and don't forget, if you want listeners, you are going to need to spend time promoting!

I don't write this to discourage you. Just the opposite. I see far too many abandoned podcasts. People start out with the best intentions, get two or three produced and then quit. They find it just takes too much time.

Here is the good news. If you consider the time involved up front, plan accordingly, and stick with it, you will find that the process gets faster over time.

2. Develop a Podcasting Workflow

Creating a workflow for your podcast can save you time while creating each episode.

Creating a workflow for your podcast can save you time while creating each episode.

You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration if you figure out all the steps that go into creating an episode and write them down. You now have a map of your process to follow. As you start producing more and more episodes, you can find ways to make things more efficient and adjust your workflow. 

For instance, I create custom artwork for each show. It isn't that complicated. I have a logo for the show, and I just change the episode number. It took me a couple of shows to realize that it would be faster to create a bunch of those at the same time. Since all that changes is the episode number, I can make 10 in about the same amount of time it takes to make one.

Another example is the episode description. I used to remember to write this as I was uploading the show. I realized that it is much easier to write this while I am scripting the show. Then, when I go to upload, I can just cut and paste.

I am working on a form for all of this, and I will be glad to share the template when it is done.

3. Get a Pop-Filter

Neewer 6 inch Studio Pop Filter

Neewer 6 inch Studio Pop Filter

My studio is set up for voiceover work. I didn't have a pop-filter because I don't use it when cutting commercials, promos, and narrations. Working from a script, I have the skill, honed over decades, to avoid popping ps and loud breath sounds. However, voicing a podcast is more like live radio (a place where I always had a filter.) You are talking for a longer period of time, and you may not be using a script. That makes it hard for even a pro to avoid the occasional unintended microphone sound.

Getting a pop-filter upfront and practicing with it will save you a ton of frustration. There is nothing worse than having to go back and recut a perfectly good section just because it was ruined by the loud thump of an overenthusiastic "p" sound.

4. Choose Your Podcasting Host Wisely

Choose your podcast host wisely.

Choose your podcast host wisely.

In this series, I am writing about podcast hosts and the features they offer. Before you launch, it is essential to find a host that has all of the features and options you will be needing.

Sure, you can switch hosts. However, it is a pain. And it becomes more painful the more subscribers you have. In changing from one host to another, you need to make adjustments in the settings that syndicate your show to iTunes, Google Podcasts, and other aggregators. Often, that works just fine. But, when it doesn't, you can lose subscribers.

5. Produce at Least a Couple of Podcast Episodes before you Launch

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From a technical perspective, your second show will likely be easier than your first. From a content perspective, it may be much harder. I like to think everyone has one good podcast in them. Sometimes, after the first, it actually becomes harder to figure out what to talk about. Get through that second show before you start publishing and telling the whole world. 

There is another advantage to waiting. If someone finds your show and listens to the first episode and they love it, have something else for them to listen to. Get those listeners while you have their attention! If they stick around for two episodes, they are more likely to subscribe or follow you.

There is even one more reason to launch with multiple episodes: rankings. If you are hoping to really make a splash and find yourself listed on something like Apple Podcasts "New and Noteworthy," the more plays, the better. If you have one episode, you will only get one play per listener. If you have three, you have the potential for three plays for each listener, and that could get you on the charts.

I hope my experience (and mistakes) help you create an amazing podcast.

You can check out my podcast here.

If you are looking for a professional intro for your podcast, I can help. Check out my professionally voiced and produced podcast intros starting at $10.

If you want to check out some of the equipment I used in my own studio or write about on this blog, you can read more here.

Will Rice