How To Start A Podcast
I decided to start a podcast after a few of my Twitter followers brought the idea to me. They wanted me to discuss boys, their bullshit and ‘banter’ and tbh – that’s not really my jam any more. It felt disingenuous to start a podcast on dating when I’m in a relationship with no intention of ever having to hear the word, ‘banter’ or to put up with boys’ bullshit any more.
But it got me thinking. I tried YouTube and SUCKED SO BAD at it. I hated watching myself on screen. But I do like chatting and I am a *bit* funny (sometimes, ok not ever, you got me) so a podcast seemed like a great compromise.
So where the fuck do you start?
It was a completely new world to me – I wasn’t even a podcast listener! Except Dad Wrote A Porno because why the Belinda Blinking hell are you not listening to that? I had no idea what I was doing. But by chatting to a few friends, and delving deep into Google – I managed to figure it out. It’s been going for 4 weeks and I have around 200 subscribers – which I guess is good? Who knows!
If you’ve ever thought about starting one, but like me – didn’t know where to start, then read on to see what my process was for starting a podcast – maybe it’ll help you launch one too!
Decide On A Topic
For me I knew I wanted to do something about women almost instantly. My FAVOURITE thing to do is scroll through social media, read blogs and devour books by women, about women – so it was fitting that this would be my topic. To be able to talk about something and records LOTS OF MINUTES on it – it has to be something you’re passionate about.
Podcasts tend to be either round table discussions, panel chats, duo-hosted or led by one person. Then you decide whether you’re going to have guests or whether it’s you by yourself or you and your buds catching up each week.
I decided that I wanted to go it alone as I initially thought it would be cool to do with a mate but then I realised that logistically it might be a pain – to get together, the both be free at the same time, to share the responsibility etc.
Then as I came up with the ideas for the podcast, it made sense to invite guests on each week to share their stories.
Plan Out Each Episode
Podcasts with structure tend to flow a bit better. So I sat down with my iPhone notes and wrote out a structure. Something a bit like this…
- Jingle for 20 secs
- Introduction to the podcast – general
- Introduction to the guest
- Bit of small talk
- Segment 1
- Segment 2
- Segment 3
- Segment 4
- Guest can plug their shiz
- Thank yous and begging for subs and ratings
- Jingle to play out
Before recording, I’ll research lots about my guest so I can give them a decent introduction and then I’ll tailor my segments around topics and issues that are relative to them. I’ll often write down a few questions I really want to ask them to ensure that if we go off on a tangent – I can focus it back again.
Decide on Timings
Podcasts can range in lengths and often people will listen to 15-20 minutes before switching off so you have to work out which timings suit you. I personally prefer podcasts that are between 30 mins and an hour so I’ve tried to ensure that mine are around this length.
Having those segments planned out means that you can pace your podcast well enough so that people don’t get too bored listening to too much rambling.
Initially I thought I’d record mine with guests over Skype but then I heard about Zencastr. A free (trial) website that you can send your guest or co-host a link to that opens up a kind-of chatroom where you can record.
So far 2 of the podcasts have been recorded this way but another 2 have been done in person.
I have very little equipment so transporting it to meet guests has not been a problem.
I like recording over Zencastr because I don’t have to leave my house and neither does my guest. So when I’m trying to secure interesting people with busy schedules – this is a benefit. However I do like recording with people in real life as the chat has a much more relaxed and personable vibe.
There isn’t a lot you actually need and you TECHNICALLY can do it just by using a Smartphone – HOWEVER I wanted to make a little investment into some decent equipment. I already had my MacBook which is what I use for recording onto Garageband and editing but I wanted a decent microphone.
I picked up the Blue Ice Microphone* from Amazon for under £50 which can be plugged into my laptop and gives a far superior quality of sound than the laptop mic would.
And that’s all I use!
Finding A Jingle
Whilst I’d love to have the Spice Girls, ‘Spice Up Your Life’ as my soundtrack – I knew I’d need some royalty free music to add to the recording.
I had no idea where to start and didn’t really understand the differences between the types of licenses I’d need or the music would need. This website was a fantastic resource!
Once you’ve recorded, you’ll want to edit it and put your fancy intros and jingles in. I just use GarageBand as it’s super easy to drop tracks and to snip bits out.
After I’ve finished editing, I use the option to ‘Share it to iTunes’ so it is in the correct format.
Getting People To Listen
If you have a website already you should be able to host it there. I have WordPress so I installed the Blubrry Podcast Hosting plugin.
All I have to do is write a blog post about the podcast and include the media file in the post. I then need to get the URL of the media file and have the plugin validate it. This gets it ready for iTunes.
If you don’t have your own website, you can do what my friend Ryan does with his (awesome podcast – catch up with him here) and host it somewhere like Podbean.
Getting Your Podcast Onto iTunes
This was the bit that terrified me the most as I thought iTunes was the ONLY OPTION. But it’s not so don’t panic.
First up, you’re going to need some cover art. You can make it easily yourself on Photoshop or Canva OR you can do what I did and commission the lovely Jemma to create something bespoke for you. It must be between 1400×1400 and 3000×3000 pixels to be accepted onto iTunes. I asked Jemma to make mine 3000×3000 so I could resize down if needed.
Then you’re going to have to publish your first podcast and get the RSS feed URL.
This should be quite easy to find wherever you host it. For example, in WordPress, once I’ve uploaded the audio track into my media gallery, I look at all of the info about my file and can find the URL there – I then put this into Blubrry who generated me an RSS feed.
Once you’ve done that, you find your way into Apple Podcasts and the bit where you can submit your podcast, you fill out all the necessary info and submit your feed URL.
You’ll be notified after a few hours up to a few days if it’s been accepted. Once it has, you’ll get an email with your special iTunes subscription link. From now on, anytime you publish your podcast (on your blog or to your host) the RSS feed will automatically push it through to iTunes.
I still need to look at other ways to share my podcast as I know not everyone has an iPhone – perhaps I’ll update this post once I’ve figured it out.
Other Bits To Bear In Mind
Ask for subscribers, ratings and reviews but beware – don’t become obsessed like I did. I wanted EVERYONE I KNOW to listen, subscribe, rate and review – and for the most part, lots of lovely people did. But then I got a few 1 star reviews from people and it genuinely made me really sad. Now I just don’t check and hope that people are nice!
Enjoy it – try not to stress over it or worry if the quality isn’t brilliant or you can’t get guests. It’s a fun, creative endeavour at the end of the day. Make it for you and if others enjoy it – bonus!
Have you ever wanted to start a podcast? What would you do it on? If you have other questions, feel free to reach out and I’ll see if I can help!