How to launch a podcast.
In this blog I will be looking at the business and logistics side of setting up a podcast, giving you an overview of the process from start to finish. You can think of this as a checklist to monitor your progress against. I will not really be discussing anything regarding the content or editing, but I will ask you to consider what your podcast is about, its format and its possible competitors. This blog will be focused on independent releases, but can also be a good guideline for making your proposal stand out to a production company.
First of all, you need to ask yourself what your podcast idea is, and whether there are other podcasts doing something similar. If so, what makes yours unique? This will help you figure out if there is a demand for your podcast outside your immediate social circle and what competition you face.
Who will host your podcast and why?
Will you be presenting yourself? If so, what skills, expertise and experience do you have that make you the right presenter? It is important that your unique selling points as a presenter are clear to the audience, either in the podcast itself or in the accompanying description and promotional materials.
If someone else is presenting the podcast or when choosing a guest, consider whether they have a pre-existing audience, any expert knowledge on the topic or an emotional connection to the issues being discussed. If your podcast is centred around one big name presenter, is the format suited to host changes down the line if they want to leave?
What is the goal for your podcast?
Is it just for fun or are you looking to make money through including advertising or by supporting other business endeavours? If you are looking at running adverts on your podcast it might be worth looking into sites like Anchor that can get you sponsors. If you are a smaller podcast starting out, this might be worth thinking about. When your podcast grows larger (over or around 50,000 downloads per episode), you can look at joining a podcast network like PodcastOne where you can take on far more lucrative advertisements. Of course, you shop around and compare rates when looking to find a network that is right for your podcast.
Who’s your audience?
In order to best appeal to your audience, you should think about: their age, gender, ethnicity, interests, economic and educational background. Think about websites these people go to, what social media they use and what tags and accounts they follow. These will help build your podcast’s audience, make it appeal more to your core demographic and help to secure relevant advertising slots.
The next step is to get your equipment. If you are not sure where to start, see my previous blog and add a microphone, either a Shure SM58 or a Rode NT1-A if you are looking for my recommendation. If your needs are not met by my recommendations (e.g. you require more microphones and inputs), use the messaging form to contact me and I can advise you based on your intended usage.
Next, join some Facebook groups for podcasters. You are not doing this to post about your new episodes (that will generally drive very little traction unless it’s a group specifically related to the theme of your podcast). This is so you can learn from others, what went well for them and the mistakes they have made in the past. People in some of the more active of these groups will also be quick to help and advise you if you run into any problems.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/podcasteditors/ - If you edit your own podcast
Now to the actual recording! Prepare and record 3 – 4 episodes before releasing your first episode. These are known as episodes ‘In Hand’. People that do this are more likely to stick with their podcast for longer and get a clearer idea of the direction in which their podcast is heading. This will help potential guests and advertisers get a better understanding of your podcast and grasp the technical quality before deciding if they want to invest their time or money.
Making a Website
Before releasing your first episode, you will want to set up a website for the podcast. This could be a simple Wix or Wordpress site for those who are not brilliant with HTML (like me). Having a website makes it easier for your listeners to connect with your different social-network accounts, as well as any crowdfunding (e.g. Patreon) or donation site (e.g. Kofi). It will also allow you to include more information about you and your podcast than you could otherwise display in the short descriptions that accompany your episodes, allowing you to display other content like blogs, write ups of your episodes and merchandise stores.
You’ll also need to decide on a hosting platform, which will be where you will upload your mp3 files. They’ll give you an ‘RSS feed’, which directories like Spotify and Apple Podcasts will check to know when you upload a new episode. Details like the podcast’s title, episode’s title and description will also be pulled from this site. Personally, I use Buzzsprout, which starts at $12 a month depending how long your episodes are; but it’s free for 90 days so I encourage you to try it out to decide if it’s right for you.
Spotify, Apple Podcasts etc.
If you want a definitive guide on how to distribute to different directories like Spotify or Apple Podcasts, click here. Alternatively, here is a more concise video that summarises how to get onto the main and larger directories. He is using Spreaker as his hosting platform, but this will work no matter what hosting platform you use as long as you can find and copy your RSS link. If you can’t find your RSS link, click here for instructions on how to find it on the most common hosting platforms.
The artwork is one of the first things a prospective listener will see, so you will want to insure it stands out to make a strong first impression. If you aren’t artistic, sites like Fiverr or People Per Hour have some designers. Alternatively, you can ask other podcasters (in those podcasting groups you joined on Facebook) who designed their artwork. You can get very good work for not a whole lot of money and it will definitely be worth it in the long run.
Write a short synopsis about the podcast so that people can get more of an idea what it is about and whether it will interest them. You’ll only want a line or two, nothing too long. You can then do this per episode to give listeners an idea what each individual episode is about, allowing people to pick and choose specific episodes that are of interest to them.
Before you release your first episode, record and release a podcast trailer. This could be an overview of what the podcast is about, or a highlights reel of some of the best and most entertaining parts of the upcoming episodes. This gives people an idea of what to expect and can work in tandem with the description and artwork to assure them that your podcast is worth their time.
Hope this was helpful! If you are financially investing in your podcast, it might be a smart idea to consult myself or enrol in a podcast launch scheme. This can ensure your plan and goals are realistic and increase your likelihood of achieving them. There will be a couple launch schemes linked below. If you think I forgot anything, please let me know in the comments below or by dropping me a message. Also, please follow me on Instagram/Twitter @daynesaudio where I’ll announce when I upload a new blog post.