How To Start A Podcast

You’re probably part of the 89% of Australians who know what a podcast is*.

And we’re guessing you are aware of the value of podcasts and their potential for your business or organisation. Yet you might be thinking: ‘I’d love to create a podcast, but I have no idea how to get started!’

We understand! So we’ve made it simple for you. In this article, we outline the 8 steps required to develop and produce a high quality, professional podcast that expands your reach, engages your audience, and creates the impact you want to make.

*Source: ABC Corporate Tracking Study 2019

1. Get a clear strategy in place

Before you buy a microphone, before you think of a podcast name, before you think of interviewing anyone, you MUST create a clear strategy for the podcast. We can’t emphasise this enough.

As part of the strategy, you need to establish:

  • The main objectives of the podcast
  • The ideal target audience
  • How you will measure the success of the podcast

Investing time at the start on a strategy will not only result in a better podcast, but it will also make the whole process much quicker and easier.

Plus, having a solid strategy enables you to get your whole team and the decision makers on board. We find, particularly in large organisations where various teams are involved, that everyone has different opinions about how the podcast should sound and be presented. Creating a clear strategy that involves everyone allows for decisions to be made much quicker, with fewer disagreements.

We have run podcast strategy workshops for organisations including Australia Post, Melbourne Water, Lavazza, Spotlight and The University of Melbourne.

If you’re looking for support with your podcast strategy (or simply want to get your team’s ideas aligned!), click here to reach out.

2. Assemble Your Team

Creating a podcast on your own is no small task, and one we don’t recommend. To avoid overwhelm and to ensure the best possible outcome, make sure you have a support team around you.

We recommend your podcast team consists of:

  • Project lead – usually a communications or marketing manager
  • Show host – someone to present the show and/or conduct interviews
  • Content writer – to plan the episodes and prepare show notes
  • Podcast editor – usually a technical person
  • Marketing manager / social media manager – to help with promotions
  • Graphic designer – to create the artwork and social media tiles
  • IT person – to do the technical setup and integrate the podcast with the website

Something else to consider is: Who needs to approve the episodes? Make sure you agree on one point of contact (CEO, Head of the Department, etc) who has final approval rights.

If possible, involve the whole team from the project’s inception. This way, everyone understands the goals and context.

If your organisation doesn’t have the internal resources needed, then we recommend outsourcing the parts of your podcast project you don’t have the skill sets for.

3. Plan Your Content

Now you’ve got your team in place, it’s time to plan your content! You may wish to consider:

  • The number of episodes you will produce
  • Will there be a theme to your episodes?
  • What voices will you feature?
  • What is the journey you want to take your listener on?
  • What existing content you can repurpose for the podcast
  • How the podcast will differ from your existing communication channels

As you are planning your content and preparing your interview questions, remember to keep it simple.

One mistake many new podcasters make is they try to cram too much information into a single episode.

When we worked with the maths and statistics academics at the Australian Research Centre for Excellence, some of the draft podcast outlines we reviewed could have been 5 episodes in one! We asked them to pick ONE key message from the plan, and to focus on this instead, which led to a much more streamlined episode.

4. Record your episodes

There are many different ways you can record a podcast, and it depends on how many people you are recording and where they are located.

As a general rule, we recommend recording your podcasts in-person wherever possible. The rapport between the speakers is much stronger, and the conversation flows much easier.

If you want to use a professional studio, go for it! Otherwise, you can invest in some high quality podcast equipment that will give you excellent audio quality, even when recording at the office or at home. We usually save our clients the hassle and simply courier the podcast equipment to them or book a professional studio.

What about recording online? 

Yes, this is totally fine – especially when your guests are remote or your city is in lockdown! We do not recommend using video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams for podcast recordings, as the audio quality is usually rubbish and worsens with poor internet connection.

There are a number of podcast-specific online recording platforms on the market that are better options, including: Zencastr, Squadcast and Riverside.

However, please note that these platforms are not faultless – for example, if the internet connection is weak they can drop out, or they aren’t compatible with certain browsers – so it’s important you know how to troubleshoot them before your recording session or have a professional facilitate it.

5. Edit and produce your podcast

Once you’ve got your raw audio, now it’s time to turn it into an amazing podcast! The editing and production side is usually the most technical and time consuming part of podcasting. Unsurprisingly, it’s the part that most people outsource.

Producing the podcast can include:

  • Reviewing the transcript of the raw recording and make editorial decisions
  • Editing multiple sections together with smooth transitions
  • Editing out the speaker stumbles, umms and ahhs, etc
  • Removing background noise
  • Creating consistent levels (volume) between speakers and music
  • Adding intro/theme music and voiceovers
  • Final mixing and mastering

The time required for editing and producing an episode depends on the number and length of the raw recordings, finished episode length, format (ie 1:1 interview, narrative style etc), and approval process.

6. Create marketing assets

Simply creating an audio file and uploading it is not enough to attract an audience – even if you already have an engaged or closed audience!

If you want maximise the reach and impact of your podcast, you need to dedicate the time and resources to marketing it.

This is why creating marketing assets should be a key part of your podcast process.

In addition to the branded square artwork that represents your whole show, here are some marketing assets you may consider creating for each episode:

  • Social media tiles
  • Audiograms (short ‘snippet’ videos with captions)
  • Show notes (written content that can form an accompanying blog post)
  • Video versions of the podcast for YouTube

Make sure all your social media assets have consistent branding, are easy to read, clearly state the name of the podcast and have a link to the show.

7. Set up podcast hosting platform

This is the other main technical element of podcasting. Firstly, it’s important to understand the difference between a podcast hosting platform and a podcast directory.

Podcast hosting platform: 

This is a dedicated platform where your audio files and their associated metadata live. There are many different platforms that vary in cost, customer service and metrics. We normally recommend Australian hosting platforms like Whooshkaa and Omny Studio, as they have excellent customer support and provide a great, robust platform.

Podcast directory:

This is where people can download and listen to podcasts. Includes: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher. It’s free to submit your podcast to these directories. Interestingly, YouTube is the most popular platform in Australia, with 42% of podcast listeners using it to access podcasts**, which shows how important it is to create video versions of your podcast too.

Once your podcast is live in the directories, you can share links to where listeners can subscribe on each platform.

When publishing subsequent episodes, you only need to upload them to your hosting platform and they will be automatically distributed to the directories, where they will appear in your subscribers’ feeds and podcast apps (except YouTube – each video needs to be uploaded manually).

**Source: Global Perspectives Podcast Stats 2020

8. Promote and share!

Now it’s time to tell your target audience about your podcast! You may already have marketing channels in place – if so, great! Use them as much as you can.

There are many different ways you can promote your podcast; here are some ideas that we helped our clients with:

  • Create a short ‘trailer’ episode to start promoting your podcast before you launch
  • Share each episode on your social media channels
  • Ask your interview guests to like, comment and share the posts
  • Send a podcast update to your email list / members
  • Make posters or leaflets with QR codes to subscribe
  • Throw a launch party – invite everyone you know and make them subscribe as a prerequisite for being served at the bar!

So there you go – the 8 steps for planning, producing and launching a podcast. For more podcasting tips, follow us on LinkedIn, where we post short, fun videos on everything from equipment recommendations and content ideas, to interview skills and creative marketing tips.

Happy podcasting!