How to Create a Podcast

I have had a couple of folks ask me how you go about creating a podcast. I created my podcast, Self Care Sundays, last year. I am currently halfway through season 2.

Content:

It may sound obvious, but content is foundational to any podcast. Before you start a podcast, check if anyone else is doing your idea and ask yourself if you have enough content to create a podcast on an ongoing basis.

Also, make sure that you are prepared to consistently release episodes. Most podcasts release episodes weekly, the most successful ones are twice a week. That means that you’ll be making content on an ongoing basis. If you want to take a vacation, you’ll have to record episodes beforehand. If you do “seasons” of your podcast (like I do), there’s a chance you can lose listeners between seasons. Be prepared for the commitment.

Your team

It is challenging to do all parts of a podcast by yourself. You may want to build out a team.

If you are going to have one or more co-hosts make sure that you are all prepared for the commitment that it will require.

There are also a bunch of behind the scenes folks whose support you may need to create the podcast. I work with a producer (who researches and schedules guest), an audio engineer (who edits the audio on the episodes), and two interns (who help create social media content). I also work with a digital strategy firm who helps provide strategic guidance for our PR and social media. Of course, you can produce, edit and create social media content yourself. It’s just more time consuming and you may need to learn new skills.

When you start the podcast, you will need show art and show music. I was proud that our show music embodied the idea of our show — self care for marginalized folks because we worked with 4 Wheel City, a hip hop group comprised of disabled Black artists.

Interviews

If you are planning on doing an interview style podcast, you need to think through a few things. First, how you will find people to interview and what platform/audience you have that will entice them to take the time to appear on your podcast. Second, to do a good interview, you or your producer should research the guest beforehand so that you can ask questions that are pertinent to them. Finally, you will want to have some consistency across your episodes. I suggest having a handful of questions that you ask every guest, with follow ups that are unique to the conversation and additional questions that are unique to the guest.

Additionally, interviewing is a skill. Don’t be surprised if you find it challenging or observe that you get better at it with time. My biggest tip is to be present in the conversation. If you’re too focused on what you’ve prepared, you might miss a great opportunity in the conversation. Also, as the host, it’s your job to be the voice of your audience. You will want to ask clarifying questions, for explanations in terminology, and pushback when appropriate.

Technology:

I use a Yeti mic to record. It’s very easy to use and plugs in via USB to the computer. It helps the sound quality sound professional. I also recommend getting a pop filter to attach to the mic.

Recording

I usually record interviews using an app called Call Recorder on Skype. This app has a one time fee and is relatively inexpensive. There are also other tools that I’ve used while on other podcasts including RINGR and Zencastr. If it’s just you or you’re in person, you can also use other tools like Garageband.

Editing Audio

I have no experience editing audio because I’ve worked with an audio engineer since the launch of the podcast. If you’re working with an audio engineer, I suggest making sure you’re communicating well about how to get the best audio quality and how to give them the audio and your requested edits in the easiest way.

Distribution

I do my distribution through Libsyn. They automatically distribute to iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play, Spotify and Youtube with one upload. You do have to connect your account to each platform.

Social Media

Most podcast listeners are social media users. This summer we made a concerted effort to improve our social media strategy and saw a big difference in how it grew our listenership. We post on Instagram, Twitter, and FB. We experimented over time to discover what our the best practices were for us. If you’re new to social media strategy, I’d recommend The Digital Plan as a book and online community with webinars. I learned social media strategy by taking a 4 day course with Becker Digital Strategies.

Transcription

There are many folks who are hard of hearing or deaf who would enjoy access to the content of your podcast. Additionally, many people like being able to read what’s being said or quote it. There are a number of transcription services that you can use including Rev.

Funding

There are different ways to monetize your podcast. You can do ads through the Libsyn platform or Midroll. Both require a certain number of downloads to be able to work with their advertisers, which may be challenging as you’re getting started. Other options including allowing people to voluntarily donate a monthly amount through platforms like Patreon.

Bonus Tips

  1. To make scheduling guests easier, use a tool like Calendly.
  2. The optimal length for a podcast is about 30 minutes.