Hi! I’m Charlotte from Wonderfully Bookish, where I write about books, films, and and host a bookish podcast. A podcast is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now, and this year, I finally took the plunge. It’s been a lot of long and hard work, but it’s so worth it!
I currently work as a virtual marketing assistant and I work with a couple of podcasts, including one that has almost 2 million all-time downloads. It’s a blast to work on them and it made me more confident to start my own – but little did I know, when I was writing up the show notes and doing the marketing for their podcasts, that those things were barely scratching the surface of how much works actually goes into making one.
So, in this post, I’m going to help out anyone who may be thinking about starting their own podcast by telling you some of the things you might need to consider. I hope if you end up making your own that you can keep some of these things in mind!
What’s your podcast’s name and niche?
Having a niche (i.e. a main thing your podcast focuses on) is important, because it’s the thing that will drive the right kind of audience to discover it. Having a podcast where you talk about absolutely anything in the world can be fun for you, but it’ll be harder to find dedicated listeners if they don’t know what your podcast is about. You might think that talking about a load of things will attract a wider audience, but it’s actually quite the opposite: a narrower niche will mean that your podcast is a lot easier to find, driving more listeners to find and subscribe to it!
Similarly, you need a good name that will instantly tell potential listeners what your podcast is about. It shouldn’t be miles long, and if you can, it should include a keyword so that it has more chance of coming up in searches. Here are a few examples: Learn to Code With Me (a podcast all about learning to code), A Tale of Two Booksellers (a podcast all about books), Happy Mum, Happy Baby (a podcast all about motherhood). These titles make you aware of what the podcast is about instantly without having to work it out for yourself.
Will you do it alone or with a co-host, and will it be interview-based?
This decision will greatly affect how much planning goes into your podcast. If you do it alone and talk about topics by yourself, then that requires the least amount of planning and work; if you have a co-host, you need to consider how you’ll record if you’re both in different locations (more on that below); and if you have interviews with other people, you have to consider how you’ll record and how you’ll find your guests. It’s completely up to you.
Think about what your show is about, the feel you want to go for and the dynamic it’ll have, and how much work and planning you want to put into each episode.
What equipment and software will you use?
Obviously, how you record your podcast is one of the most important, if not the most important thing you need to think about. You might be surprised just how many people will give up listening to a podcast if the recording quality is fuzzy or too quiet, so you’ll need to make sure the sound quality is good. This means you’ll need a decent microphone.
You don’t need to afford an expensive mic – even most modern phone microphones will do if you’re a beginner – or you can spend a little bit on a USB mic that plugs into your computer. I’ll be going into my own recording equipment in a future blog post on my own blog, so look out for that. You can also find a lot of info online. (Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income is a great resource and was one of the first people to make a real income out of podcasting!)
You’ll also need to think of the recording software you’ll use, especially if you’ll be doing an interview format. Skype is easy to record (I think the most recent Skype update lets you record calls right from Skype itself rather than using third-party software like you used to have to do), but the sound quality might not be great. A lot of people use Zoom, which is a free conferencing program that is quick and easy for guests to join, or I use and highly recommend Zencastr which has both free and paid options.
Alternatively, if you’re recording alone, you can record directly into a recording software like Audacity (which is what I use – it’s free and easy, and there are tons of tutorials online).
If you’re recording with a guest or co-host, you could also ask them to record their own audio and send it to you, and then you can sync up your audio with theirs. This might require them to have a basic knowledge of recording themselves though so you don’t get a terrible recording back.
How will you format and edit your podcast?
My podcast follows the same format every episode:
- Introduction (a quick 30-second intro with me explaining where you can find the podcast and the show notes for that episode, over background music)
- A separately-recorded introduction to the episode itself (where I welcome the listener to the show, introduce the guest with a short bio, and explain what we talk about in the episode)
- Theme music (I got this recorded by a professional – more about this below)
- The interview (which usually lasts about 25-45 minutes)
- The outro (like the intro, this is a pre-recorded ending where I explain again where to find the show notes over the same background music)
It takes me a couple of hours to fully edit an episode and record the introduction. I record the episode’s introduction after the interview so I can explain what we discussed. I then export it as an MP3 and upload it to my host (again, more below), then write up a blog post with some notes about the episode and the podcast player, as well as links to Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Altogether, it takes a few hours per episode from start to finish, so it’s not the fastest process but I really enjoy it!
I edit my episodes in Audacity, which is completely free to download and as I said above, there are countless tutorials online. It’s been around for years and it’s one of the most popular options among newbies and professionals.
Which host will you use and where will your podcast be available?
Unless you’re going to upload a podcast straight into a blog post or website page (which isn’t recommended because you’re likely to fill the available space you have with your web host), you’re going to need a podcast host. This is basically somewhere you’ll upload and store your episodes, and the host will send the episodes out to various destinations like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and more.
There are a lot of options out there and it’ll be impossible for me to cover them all here, but I’ll be writing a whole blog post on possible options in my upcoming podcasting series on my blog. I use Libsyn, which is super easy to use. It takes a bit of set up at the beginning but there are plenty of tutorials.
You can also use Soundcloud or even upload your episodes to YouTube (you’ll have to save them as video files though rather than just audio). Hosting is one of the things that’s the hardest to explain, but you can either find out more online or feel free to ask me any questions. I’ll be happy to help!
Where will you get your artwork, music and other graphics?
For my podcast, I have a custom theme tune, my podcast artwork, and graphics that I use for the episode featured images and for when I share them on social media.
Here’s my artwork:
And here’s an example of my episode graphics:
Artwork: For my artwork, I had it designed by my friend Joely, who just so happens to be an illustrator. (She takes commissions so if you like mine, you can get in touch with her!) She designed the actual illustration, and then I made the artwork myself by adding the coloured background and the text. I used Canva, my favourite free site for designing graphics. I also used Canva for my featured images/social media graphics.
Music: I commissioned someone on Fiverr to create my custom theme song for me. It cost me about £18 altogether which I thought was amazing for a custom piece of music! You could see if you have any musical friends or family who could have a go at it for you, or find someone on Fiverr (or something similar) like I did.
Time to go out into the world and start podcasting!
I hope this has given you some idea of what to think about when starting a brand new podcast. There are other things to think about too, but podcasting is one of those things that you learn as you go. It’s all trial and error and I’ve had to deal with so many things that I hadn’t expected. Everyone’s podcasting experience is different, so just have a crack at it, see if you like it, and away you go!
As I mentioned above, I’ll soon be starting a series on my blog all about starting a podcast as a newbie. I’ll be going into more detail on the things I mentioned above as well as other things like the show notes and transcription, your posting schedule, the costs you might have to consider, and how to market yourself. I hope, if you’re interested in podcasting, you’ll drop by and have a look once it’s up.
Thank you so much to Sarah for inviting me to be a part of TLCC’s Blogmas! You can listen to my podcast here, on Spotify, or on Apple Podcasts. I also blog about books and films at Wonderfully Bookish or you can find me on Twitter.
Hope you see you over there!