How to build a profitable podcast.
Getting your first podcast up and running can seem like an insurmountable task if you’ve never done it before.
Luckily, plenty of other entrepreneurs have done this, and you can benefit from the wisdom they gleaned from their successes and mistakes. There are plenty of resources to help you, whether software or in-person training.
You’ll want to record quality episodes and build an audience, but setting up all the recording equipment and editing software from scratch can cost you hundreds of dollars, not to mention all the time required to figure it out on your own!
We hope that we can erase all that cost in this post. However, suppose you have some cash to invest in making your podcast sound as professional as possible, even as a rookie podcaster. In that case, you should check out our how to start a podcast guide.
Let us talk about how we can set this up for free.
Whether you’re looking to build an audience or just have an outlet to get your thoughts out, creating a podcast can be one of the best ways to do it.
While it’s not as easy as recording in front of your webcam, starting your podcast isn’t rocket science; all you need are the right tools and a little know-how.
This guide will show you how to start a podcast for free, so you can try out your idea with little investment before deciding whether or not it’s worth investing in upgrades later on.
It will help you find and validate your money-making idea to figure out your format to launch your show in the most effective way possible finally.
Determine your niche and think about what you want to teach, who your audience is, and why they should listen.
It’s okay if you aren’t sure.
When I started podcasting, I knew I wanted to talk about productivity but didn’t know how much information to include or how many episodes it would take to cover my topic from start to finish.
As a result, I produced a lot of mediocre content at best.
Don’t worry about being perfect on day one—it takes time to figure out what works for you! Once you do have an idea in mind, try writing down five topics that might be related. Then narrow it down to 3 before settling on 1 (you can always add more later).
Be specific with your titles, too.
Instead of “Self-Help Tips for Successful Entrepreneurs”, name it something like “Ways to Be More Productive as an Entrepreneur.
It will help people find your show when searching online and make your title stand out among other podcasts on significant podcast directories.
Remember, though, not to use words like podcast or show in your title because podcast directories like Apple Podcasts ban these words.
You also don’t need to mention yourself in your title; listeners will know who you are once they listen.
Consider creating a brand around your podcast by incorporating it into your logo and website. If you plan on doing interviews, choose a colour scheme for your podcast artwork and stick with it throughout all of your branding elements.
If you’re serious about starting a podcast, you should start by researching your topic. You don’t have to become an expert, but you need to know enough about it to speak and write with authority.
One of the best ways to do so is by reading up on other people’s work in your niche and reviewing their work through a critical lens.
Don't copy anyone else’s work outright; instead, use it to inspire your unique spin on things.
Then, once you feel like you’ve got a handle on what makes your industry tick, it’s time to get writing!
But before we move on to our next step... you might want to pick up the right equipment first. (Don’t worry—we’ll talk more about that later.)
You may have noticed something about our list of questions for choosing a podcast topic: there’s no mention of having expertise in that field.
That’s because being able to educate or inform your audience isn’t always necessary when it comes to creating compelling podcasts.
Instead, focus on choosing something that interests you and fits into one of your professional goals/passions.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know everything about your topic—what matters is that you care enough to learn more.
As long as you can come across as passionate and knowledgeable, people will be eager to listen! And while we’re on the subject... don’t forget to make sure your listeners can hear what you have to say!
Before you set out to start your podcast, consider what equipment you’ll need.
The two most significant recording equipment pieces you’ll need are a microphone and recorder, and all of these can be done on your phone or computer.
Since you are reading this, we assume it is either from a mobile phone or through a computer.
You can record your first audio through your computer or phone recorder, for starters.
Two significant assets you can use for free.
However, if you want it to sound more professional, you might want to invest in some microphones. A little microphone can be a gamechanger in your content regardless of the quality.
You have many options for mics—condenser, dynamic, USB, etc. Your mic choice is mainly dependent on what kind of setup you can afford and what kind of sound quality you want.
When it comes to recorders, there are even more options. Cheap stand-alone digital recorders connect directly to your computer via USB.
There are also cheap portable devices that allow you to capture audio anywhere with an SD card slot.
So don’t stress so much about these. You can also use your phone or computer microphone directly.
Finally, mobile apps for iOS and Android let you record on the go. If you’re just starting, we recommend going with one of these three options:
It doesn’t matter which one you choose so long as it works for your budget and gives you something decent.
The most important thing is to get started!
Once you’ve got your recording equipment, it’s time to start producing some content.
There are two ways you can do that:
Both have pros and cons, but if you’re just starting, we recommend option #1.
It allows you to learn how podcasting works before committing to a long-term schedule—and that’s critical because podcasting is hard work!
If you need more practice, consider setting up a weekly show where you interview people in your field or talk about news in your industry.
You could also try hosting an ask me anything (AMA) segment on Reddit or Quora where listeners submit questions for you to answer.
However, as you gain experience and grow your audience, we recommend moving to a scheduled format.
Scheduling episodes helps listeners know when they can expect new content from you—which means they’ll be more likely to subscribe and listen regularly.
And once you hit publish on your first episode, don’t forget to promote it!
Try contacting relevant blogs and websites directly via email or social media, asking them if they would be interested in featuring your podcast on their site.
One of your goals should be to get featured in directories that list popular podcasts.
Thankfully, they are all free. I mean, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.
Search a podcast directory on Google, and you’ll come up with the directories mentioned above and more.
Each of these platforms has a section where podcasters can submit their podcasts for review.
Submitting your podcast is free—and it could lead to increased traffic and downloads.
You should spend some time filling out your podcast profile page as well. It’s not too difficult to do, but you want to make sure everything is filled out correctly, so they know what kind of content they will be receiving from you.
Be that as it may, before you can upload your podcast on these directories, you need to have hosted your show with a hosting platform.
Finding a great place to host your audio is essential. After hosting your show on a hosting platform, you can start distributing your podcast through an RSS feed to these directories.
Now, most people don’t mention this enough, but it is essential to have a reliable hosting partner. We have seen podcast hosting platforms that crash while people listen to shows. Hence, the need to pick right.
Luckily, we have the perfect hosting company for you - bCast!
Here is the sweet part…
As opposed to some podcast hosting platforms on the internet, bCast offers a freemium package which you can get as you sign up on the bCast platform.
If you are looking to test-run your first few episodes, you’ll want to pick this plan. It provides everything you need as a rookie podcaster, but you will want to upgrade to a higher plan as time goes on.
bCast takes care of all of the technical details for you, including setting up an RSS feed and submitting your podcast to significant podcast directories. It also provides analytics about your listeners to see what they’re listening to and when they stop listening.
If you want to start a professional-looking podcast but don’t have much time or technical expertise, bCast is worth checking out.
Step 1: Sign up for an account on bCast and select the freemium option.
After successful account creation, it takes you to a personal dashboard where you can upload your already recorded audio files.
Step 2: create a podcast and fill out podcast info on bcast
Starting a podcast on bCast is pretty straightforward; you can either create one from your bCast account setting or import it from another directory.
After clicking the “create a podcast” button, you will land on a screen where you can upload the following assets: a unique podcast name, the name of the author(s), and a podcast description.
Side Note: Make sure you don't stuff your bCast information with so many keywords, or there is a chance that your podcast gets rejected on some podcast directories. Before you click “save podcast”, you might want to continue reading…
Before you record your first episode, you’ll need a podcast cover image to attract listeners.
It should be at least 1400 x 1400 pixels in size and show off your brand, host or logo, and theme.
Use a simple graphic editing program (like GIMP or Canva, which have a free plan for designers) to create something eye-catching and unique!
Remember that some podcast directories like Apple Podcasts will shrink it down, so don’t go overboard with detail.
You can also use a service like Fiverr to get someone else to design it for you for $5! But we won’t recommend it since we intend to do this for free without spending a dime.
You can use Canva or GIMP, they are easy to understand and use.
The first time I used Canva, it didn’t take me 24 hours to understand the platform and start designing some cover art. You can even become a pro at this and provide cover art designs as a service to new podcasters.
Once you have your cover art done, proceed to your bCast and add cover art to your podcast profile.
Once you are done filling in the text boxes, you can now save your podcast, and you can now go back to the main page to view it, just like the image below:
For the podcast to be "live", you must click the "Live" option on the podcast setting screen. And now we’re done creating a podcast; congratulations.
Next, click the podcast you just added and proceed to upload your first episode.
First, you need to record your audio file.
We recommend using a program like Audacity or GarageBand, which is free, and you can add background music or voiceovers and edit tracks.
You can even import sound effects for added professionalism.
Once you’ve recorded your audio, upload it as an MP3 or AAC file to a cloud-based host like Dropbox or Google Drive.
If you don’t have an Internet connection when recording, consider uploading it to your computer and transferring it once you get online.
If you want people to be able to download your podcast directly from Apple Podcasts (or other popular podcasting apps), make sure that each episode is no longer than 30 minutes long. The maximum length allowed by Apple Podcasts — and that they are saved in .m4v format with a bit rate of 128 kbps.
The higher the quality, the better!
Also, include an image and description of your podcast on its hosting site, so listeners know what to expect.
We are sure that you have some idea about how to design an image for your episode or show at this moment.
If you don’t, please go back to the previous section to see the mediums we mentioned.
Don’t overthink it: While recording your first audio, remember that most podcasts take time to build an audience; focus on consistently releasing content before worrying about how many downloads you’re getting or who might be listening.
The first episode can be a trailer, a teaser to what listeners should look forward to, or even a full first episode with a guest if you can.
We already have our first episode recorded and edited. Let's move forward to uploading it on bCast.
Here is how to add an episode to your podcast:
Get your podcast RSS feed by going to your podcast under "overview". Your podcast RSS feed includes all information about your show, cover arts, and audio files.
bCast will provide the RSS feed URL after inputting all of the required information above and at least an audio file.
Proceed to copy the RSS feed URL and save it somewhere to be used later.
Since podcast directories are essential to growing your podcast, it’s vital to know how you can add your RSS feed to them.
Luckily, many directories allow users to add their feeds manually. So all you need to do is pick it up from bCast and submit it.
If that doesn’t work for you, services like FeedBurner will automatically submit your RSS feed to directories for a small fee.
Then again, we won’t recommend that since there is a simple and free method to do that.
We have a couple of comprehensive step-by-step guides on how to start and upload your podcasts to Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube. So, we won’t go into much detail about that here.
Once submitted, check back on these sites every few weeks and ensure they still have your podcast listed correctly.
If not, simply contact them and let them know!
To increase your reach in terms of downloads, try reaching out to other bloggers or podcasters and ask if they would mind adding a link to your show on their website or social media accounts.
It will only help boost listenership numbers, ultimately what you want as an aspiring podcaster.
It may take some time before results start showing up. Still, generally, I find it best to treat podcasts like any other business endeavour—you need time before expecting significant results.
But with enough patience and dedication, I believe anyone can succeed at starting a podcast. Good luck!
Once you have submitted your podcast to all of these directories, you need to start marketing it. Don’t just expect people to find it.
Make sure you tell everyone about it!
You can also ask your friends and family to subscribe and leave a review on the podcast directories, which will help you get discovered on iTunes and other podcasting apps.
Finally, consider joining a podcast network or website like Quora or Reddit, which can help promote your show by sharing the link with readers, finding advertisers, and connecting with other podcasters for advice and support. You will find one that will allow you to join them for free.
If people don’t know about your podcast, they won’t listen to it!
Be creative in how you spread the word.
Send a link to your podcast to your friends, family members, coworkers, and even strangers (if appropriate) on WhatsApp or any other chatting app you want.
Tell them why they should check out your podcast.
Invite them to subscribe and leave a review if they enjoy it.
The more subscribers you get early on, the better chance you get featured by Apple Podcasts or other directories that give preferential treatment to new podcasts with high download numbers.
The first place you need to do to promote your show should be on social media. Take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc., to get the word out to as many people as possible.
However, if you don’t have a big following on social media, you should consider other ways to reach your audience.
Email marketing is one option that’s affordable for nearly everyone (even free).
It allows you to reach many people in a short amount of time.
It also allows you to introduce yourself and create some excitement around your new project.
People who sign up for your email list are often more likely to listen to your podcast because they already know you.
With any luck, they’ll become fans of your show and will continue listening as long as you keep producing content worth their time.
Here are a few resources that can help get you started with email marketing:
MailChimp offers essential email newsletter tools for free.
MailChimp has paid plans starting at $10/month when you start getting more prominent. You can send up to 12,000 emails per month and store 2,000 subscribers on your free account. Although you’re limited to sending 500 emails per day, that shouldn't be a problem if you stick with updates once or twice per week.
It is another popular tool small businesses use to manage their email newsletters. It’s easy to use and integrates with most major platforms like WordPress, Facebook, and Google+. Like MailChimp, free and paid plans start at $15/month.
Like Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor offers professional-grade email newsletter templates for small businesses starting at $9/month. They also include features specifically designed for bloggers and podcasters, such as automated subscriber segmentation and autoresponders. What sets them apart is that they offer a 14-day free trial period.
Sendy is an excellent option if you’re looking for something simple yet powerful enough to grow with your business. It starts at just $5/month, including unlimited emailing capabilities and advanced features like scheduled campaigns, custom unsubscribe links, etc.
As you can see, it is possible to start a podcast for free.
Take your time and use these tips to create professional-quality content every time.
We hope that you learned something new and useful from these tips.
If you have any questions about this process, feel free to reach out to our resident podcast experts: email@example.com... we would be more than happy to advise ;)
Take care, and we’ll catch up with you again soon!