How to build a profitable podcast.
Do you have what it takes to start a podcast?
Believe it or not, starting a podcast may seem like a lot of work, but it’s surprisingly easy to get started, and it can be gratifying in the long run with the right amount of preparation.
You don’t need special equipment or advanced technical knowledge to get going. It doesn’t necessarily require special qualifications or accreditation either; most podcasters use their smartphone, recording software like GarageBand, and an online host to get started recording their first episode.
In this ultimate guide on starting a podcast from home, we’ll walk you through the basics of planning your first show from home, setting up equipment, recording audio, producing episodes, and promoting your show to maximise your chances of success!
Before you begin your podcast, you must decide why you want to start a podcast.
Knowing what will help guide everything else down the line and keep things on track when things get tough.
If money is your primary motivation, then there are better options.
If you want to be able to spend more time with family, friends, and hobbies, then it may be worth taking a look at what’s involved in starting a podcast before making any rash decisions.
No matter your motivations, they should be clear before moving forward so that they can inform every decision made along the way.
After all, if you don’t know where you’re going (or even why)?
Of course, not everyone has what it takes to start a podcast from home.
Very few people do.
So before you make that decision, you must figure out if you are one of those who can pull it off.
Here is how you go about doing that.
First, think about your current situation and where you are in life.
If so, maybe starting a podcast isn’t for you, at least not yet.
There is an assumption that all podcasters work from home, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Most have regular jobs or are retired and only do podcasts as a hobby.
If you don’t already have another job or business, then starting a podcast from home might be perfect for you.
But there is more to it than just having time on your hands.
You also need to determine whether or not you are disciplined enough to follow through with things on your own without any help.
If you are like most people, the chances are good that you won’t be able to handle it by yourself.
After all, running a successful podcast requires hours upon hours of hard work each week.
There is no way around it; if you want success, you must put some serious time and effort into your show.
Whatever it is, make sure you know what type of podcast will work best for your skills and interests.
If nothing else, at least have an idea about what general topic you’d like to cover regularly.
For example, if you love classic rock but aren’t that good with audio editing software, maybe a definitive rock-themed podcast isn’t for you—but perhaps you could contribute to another person’s show.
There are plenty of podcasts out there that are looking for additional voices to help keep their content fresh and exciting. Just be sure to read any contracts before you sign up!
You don’t want to get stiff when you are promised royalties or other compensation.
And while we’re talking contracts...
The best legal advice I ever received about contracts is... that everyone should have an attorney review their contracts before signing them.
Many people mistakenly believe they can simply read over contracts they receive from others, understand them perfectly well, and then decide whether or not to sign them.
I’m here to tell you those people are wrong (and often regret their decision). Always get a lawyer to review every contract before signing it!
More so, if you love sports and can talk about them ad nauseam, a sports-themed podcast might be perfect.
But if you don’t know much about sports or aren’t interested in covering them regularly, it might not be worth your time to pursue that as an option.
So before diving into any other steps, ensure you’ve got a good handle on what kind of podcast you want to create.
This way, when it comes time to develop your show concept and figure out how to market yourself, everything will fall into place more easily.
We assume you now have all of the above figured out…
Think of a name that’s memorable, clever, or funny.
Don’t use brand names or trademarks.
Go with something unique.
Make sure it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s trademark and that it won’t lead to any legal trouble in your area of operation.
Register your podcast name with FeedBurner if you can.
Choosing a name for your podcast is an essential first step, as it helps define you and your show.
These days, podcasts are often named after their hosts or main topics.
For example, The Adam Carolla Show or The Joe Rogan Experience…
If you plan to have multiple hosts (which isn’t uncommon), ensure each has a say in what they want to call it.
You don’t want any confusion about who is behind each episode!
Depending on what you want to say, podcasting might be a fun way to spread your message.
Make sure you pick a format that fits your content.
For example, you’ll need to use real-time audio or video recording if you're doing interviews or reporting on live events.
A prerecorded classroom session may fit best if you create an educational program.
You can also offer both options and let listeners choose how they want to listen.
Whatever you decide, make sure it’s easy for people to find and download your podcasts from home.
There are many different ways to start a podcast.
For example, you can go solo and host it by yourself.
You can have a co-host (this is often more workable if you’re interviewing people). Or, you can interview others on their podcast with them as your co-host.
We chose to do our show because we wanted complete control over our actions.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits to having someone else involved in your show – they might bring in an audience you don’t already have, for example.
In any case, choose what works best for you!
Just make sure that whatever structure you choose will be sustainable for you long term.
And remember, even if you change structures later, it’s okay!
Creativity is a massive part of podcasting, so it’s essential to have the artwork for your show. There are several ways to ensure your podcast artwork is up to par.
For instance, you can use Canva or Photoshop.
Both have an easy-to-use interface and offer tons of ready-made templates that won’t take you long to create unique designs.
These two tools allow you to create high-quality podcast cover art for free!
If you don’t want to pay for a subscription but still want a professional-looking design, then I recommend using Fiverr.
You can find someone who will design an excellent podcast cover for as little as $5.
When searching for a designer, ask them about their previous experience with podcast covers.
Be specific about what you need so they understand precisely what you’re looking for.
When creating your design from scratch, keep in mind these three things:
Make sure you choose a font that will fit your brand image and style.
If you are unsure what font would work best, try looking at other podcast covers for inspiration or ask someone else for their opinion on what they think looks good.
(Hint: It’s always a good idea to show someone something before you make it live!)
When choosing colours, be sure they contrast nicely and match your logo/branding colours if you have one already established.
For example, let’s say you chose green as your primary colour.
Then it might not be a good idea to use orange as an accent colour because orange is close to the green on the colour wheel.
It could cause them to blend when placed next to each other, leading people to see them together as one big blob of brown instead of two different colours.
To start a podcast, you’ll need some special equipment.
There are several different options, but it’s worth considering whether or not you need to spend money on all of them.
Consider using a laptop with built-in sound capabilities, making recording and editing easier.
You may also get by with just an external microphone—these range in price from $50-$200 depending on quality.
Do your research before purchasing anything!
You don’t want to end up buying something that isn’t compatible with your computer system.
As for hosting services, there are many free ones (but you will have less control over what listeners see).
It is possible to pay for a hosting service, which could cost anywhere from $5/month – $300/month, depending on the features and support offered. Remember that there is no one right way to do things—you should pick whichever option works best for you.
Sweet one: bCast offers several hosting options but recently launched a freemium option for people just getting started in podcasting. You can create your free bCast account here.
This option has everything you need to start podcasting as a newbie podcaster; you should check it out.
Don’t feel pressured into spending more than you think necessary.
Launching a successful podcast without bells and whistles is better than failing because you went overboard with costs early on.
Once you find a formula that works for you, stick with it.
It allows consistency in both your show and how people listen to it.
Consistency breeds familiarity, which is crucial when trying to grow an audience.
Know your goals to know if starting a podcast makes sense for you.
Ask yourself if you’re looking to monetise, gain recognition as an expert in your field, create personal fulfilment, etc.
Recording a podcast can be done on virtually any computer, but you’ll need some special equipment to do it professionally.
The first step is ensuring you have a microphone and audio interface capable of capturing high-quality sound.
There are plenty of options, and luckily they don’t cost an arm and a leg.
You’ll also want a pop filter—these handy devices help reduce plosives (those popping sounds made by P sounds) that might otherwise ruin your recording.
You may also want to invest in headphones or earbuds and a good pair of studio monitors so you can hear what your listeners will listen to.
It’s also essential to have a quiet space with no outside noise or interruptions; if possible, record your podcast at night when fewer people are around, and traffic is quieter.
Finally, set up your mic and speakers far enough away from each other so that you won’t pick up echoes during your recording.
Be careful not to place them too far apart, as you risk picking up more background noise than intended.
If you want to take things further, purchase a preamp for better-quality recordings.
If all of these things seem overwhelming, consider hiring someone who has experience with podcasting to assist you in setting up your home studio.
Remember you are at home… So, before you start, ensure you’ve appropriately connected your equipment.
Check to ensure that all cables are plugged in and turned on and that any software is up-to-date.
Then run a quick test to ensure there are no glitches before recording.
Once everything is set up, then you can start getting organised. You don’t want to be scrambling around looking for something when it comes time to record.
It will also help you feel more prepared and confident as well.
Plus, having things together will allow you to focus better while recording.
It doesn’t have to be perfect; just have everything ready, so you don’t have to worry about anything during your podcasting session.
Buying a dedicated podcasting microphone is usually a good idea if you are trying to start a podcast from home.
Dedicated microphones such as those from Shure, Rode, Heil Sound, and Audio Technica will provide better sound quality and can be adjusted precisely for recording podcasts.
In addition to your computer’s built-in microphone, you should consider getting an additional USB or XLR microphone for higher-quality recordings.
Also, ensure that any equipment (i.e., headphones) works well with your new setup.
While plenty of free programs allow you to record voiceovers and other audio tracks on your PC or Mac, many podcasters choose paid programs like Audacity or GarageBand because they offer more control over how their final product sounds.
Before starting, think about where you’ll be recording your podcast.
When choosing a location, consider how far from everyday life you want—i.e., selecting a place without distractions (or lots of noise) can help with concentration.
Also, consider your comfort level; maybe a living room sofa or an office chair isn’t exactly what you had in mind for a home studio.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options for setting up shop in your own space.
Here are some ideas:
Just make sure you don’t record late at night if you have neighbours who might be bothered by noise!
Once you’ve chosen your location, set up your equipment and get ready to go live!
Here are some tips for making your first podcast a success:
Once you’ve decided what type of podcast you want to create, it’s time to start thinking about your content.
Before you get started recording, sit down and plan a rough draft of your episodes—the topics, guests (if any), and estimated length.
Write down everything you can think of related to your podcast topic—don’t hold back!
You can always cut ideas later on if you need to.
If you don’t have a specific topic in mind yet, try brainstorming with friends or co-workers who are experts in your field; they might be able to help come up with some great ideas for future episodes.
As far as how long each episode should be, as we earlier said, aim for between 20 to 30 minutes and an hour.
It will allow enough time to cover your main points without too much information.
Also, remember that not everyone has unlimited data plans these days, so shorter podcasts tend to do better than longer ones regarding downloads and overall listenership.
In frequency, aim for at least one new episode per week—more is even better!
And lastly, make sure you consider which platform your podcast will live on before getting started.
For example, Apple Podcasts require separate RSS feeds for video and audio podcasts, so if you’re planning to release both types of episodes, that needs to be factored into your planning from day one.
Regardless of how you plan to distribute your podcast, you’ll want to edit out any awkward silences or errors in the recording.
There are a variety of software programs and online tools that can help smooth out your audio.
Be careful with overusing them, though—it’s easy to take a 20-minute podcast down to 10 minutes (or less) when you remove too much content.
Look for an editing program that lets you cut out parts without affecting sound quality.
You may also want to invest in noise-cancelling headphones if you have trouble getting sound recordings from your home office or other spaces.
These will make it easier to record interviews and podcasts while cutting out background noises like HVAC systems, street traffic, or nearby conversations.
These might seem like simple steps, but once you have everything set up, it is effortless to start recording and distributing a podcast on your own.
However, if you aren't comfortable creating something by yourself, plenty of sites offer professional help with creating podcasts at different price points.
You can promote your podcast for free or a small fee, such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and more. By following these steps, anyone can become an expert in podcasting.
There are several podcasting directories and social media platforms to get your show and run.
Each has its audience, so take some time to think about which one is right for you.
First, there are Apple and Google Podcasts, which have probably been around longer than any other directory, with an intuitive interface to navigate.
Then there’s SoundCloud, allowing users to upload audio files directly onto their platform, making it easier for listeners to access your content.
For podcasters who want more control over their content and branding, bCast offers a self-hosted and all-inclusive option that allows you to upload podcasts directly onto their servers. If you want the best hosting services (including analytics), check out bCast.
And if you have your heart set on using Facebook as a distribution channel, consider using PowerPress by Blubrry.
Once you’ve chosen where to host your podcast, submit it to those sites—and don’t forget to include links in your show notes!
You should also sign up for Google Alerts to keep track of relevant news and industry developments.
Finally, try submitting your podcast to local radio stations. You never know when a well-placed station might decide to air your show!
This strategy worked for Marc Maron, whose WTF With Marc Maron became a bona fide hit after being picked up by New York public radio station WNYC.
While getting your podcast into Apple Podcasts and other similar directories is essential, remember that ultimately your success will be determined by how much people listen to you—so go ahead and promote yourself through every possible avenue.
Add your podcast information to your website, email signature, business cards, and personal bio.
Keep track of all these efforts by keeping a spreadsheet tracking downloads each week; you may find that there are particular times of day or days of the week.
Now is also an excellent time to get comfortable talking about your show in person—at networking events or in customer service interactions.
Remember, even though you’re now behind a microphone, your job isn’t done once you click to record.
Promoting your podcast while it’s still in production is just as important as promoting it once it goes live. So start spreading the word early and often!
Reviewing your podcast is a great way to build a listener base from its earliest days. It also shows you’re serious about your actions and helps validate your show for listeners.
If you're using an iPhone or Android device, download one free app that lets you record voice memos and email them to yourself…
Then, when someone asks if they can review your podcast, just send them an audio file with all their questions answered!
They can then play it back on their computer or upload it directly to Apple Podcasts (or any other directory) for listeners to find.
It will save you hours because no transcription is involved.
You can even use a service like Rev to transcribe your podcasts automatically.
Just remember that getting reviews and feedback will help you improve your show over time, so try not to get discouraged by negative feedback at first.
As long as people listen, it doesn’t matter how many bad reviews you get early on!
Also, don’t forget to ask your friends and family members who have an audience to mention your podcast when relevant.
For example, a friend asked their mom (who has more than 3 million followers on Facebook) if she could share their latest episode on her page—and she did!
Not only did they gain new listeners, but their mom was able to connect with her audience through a topic she loves.
The mom ended up being featured in several articles about the podcast and was even interviewed by another podcaster in the process!
Talk about a win-win situation!
Remember that building an audience takes time, so focus on creating unique content and don’t stress too much about getting found.
Keep putting out good episodes weekly; your hard work will eventually pay off.
Podcasting at home is very easy…
When done right, your first podcast episode will serve as a roadmap for your podcasting journey.
Sure, plans change constantly and often look nothing like their original form once launched, but thinking things through methodically before diving into execution is key to having success.
A well-thought-out plan can make it easier to remain on the podcast scene and carve out a name for yourself.
So, now you know how to start a podcast from home; it’s all up to you.
You have no excuses to say you don’t have time to do it or that it costs too much money or is something only professionals can do.
Anyone can start a podcast and grow their online audience by doing it.
I hope we’ve inspired you to get started on your journey.
If you found any of these tips helpful, please share them with others so they can also benefit! Good luck!
If you have any questions about this process, feel free to reach out to our podcast experts: firstname.lastname@example.org... we would be more than happy to advise ;)