How To Start A Podcast: The Guide

A no-nonsense, practical guide for the aspiring hobbyist podcaster.

Here’s the how-to guide I wish I’d had.

In 2015, I decided to launch my own podcast, and I went to the Internet to figure out how to do it. I couldn’t believe how many useless “How to Start A Podcast” articles I came across which offered little beyond bland, SEO-friendly advice like, “Ask your friends and family for feedback.” (“Gee whiz, I really feel I’ve harnessed the collective wisdom of the community here.” — me, 2015) Eventually, I gathered enough knowledge to produce and launch not just any podcast, but the podcast I had envisioned, one with high-quality sound, background music, good editing and above all else, an engaging story to tell. To my happy delight, this weird little side project of mine, The Land of Desire, became a hit! I now count myself fortunate enough to have thousands and thousands of subscribers, nearly a quarter million downloads, and a lot of awesome, engaged fans. Launching my podcast is one of the best things I’ve done for myself, and I want to make it easier for other people to launch their own shows as well.

However, I also want to make sure they have the tools to do it right — to contribute something thoughtful and interesting and entertaining to the world. The low barrier to entry in podcast product is a blessing and a curse. Everyone can do it — but not enough people ask themselves whether they should.

It’s the American way!

There are a lot of junk podcasts out there — total filler projects that aren’t funny, or educational, or thoughtful, or offer any kind of value to a listener. There are shows which are nothing more than weird, cynical attempts to make money (haha!! money in podcasting!! bless ‘em!!) and shows whose true potential gets lost in their poor production techniques. Finally, of course, there are the folks who are 100% sure that the world wants to listen to 2 dudes sitting around and talking about, idk, stuff. So, I won’t just capture the how of podcast production, I’ll also discuss the why. Speaking of why, you may be asking yourself…

Why should I listen to you?

Great question! Always examine your sources, in podcast production as in life. 😉 There are an ungodly number of ~*~ marketing SEO podcasting experts ~*~ who will tell you anything you want to hear, so long as they get paid for doing so. Here are my credentials:

  • I’ve launched a show of my own and acquired a lot of subscribers and downloads. “I did it, ma!”
  • I’m not selling anything, so if you don’t listen to my advice, it doesn’t really make a difference to me. There are a few affiliate Amazon links in here, but I’ll point them out — and I really do recommend that stuff.
  • Since I’m not selling anything, I’m not afraid to talk about bad news or downsides to stuff. To my bitter regret, nobody is paying me to have opinions.

So, why ARE you doing this?

Another great question! As they’re always asking in Inside The Actors Studio, “What’s my motivation?” I’m making this guide for a lot of reasons, but here are a few:

  • Be the change you want to see in the podcasting world. I want more great podcasts out there! There aren’t enough women podcasting, there aren’t enough people of color podcasting, and there aren’t enough awesome, high quality shows being produced by amateurs. (Note: there are definitely a bunch of awesome, high quality shows being produced by amateurs, but how many is too many? The limit does not exist.)
  • Attract new listeners to my podcast. I actually discovered a lot of great podcasts on a variety of subjects because I read their behind-the-scenes posts discussing how the show was made. Maybe you’ll discover a passion for French history that you never knew you had. (Here’s episode one, just sayin’…)
  • Become a #thoughtleader by golly. Maybe someday I’ll be the talking head they invite onto CNN to teach people what The Podcasting is all about, just like my mother always dreamed.

So there’s all my cards on the table. This guide is my gift to the Internet which helped me learn, launch and love podcasting. While this guide may be helpful to someone whose boss told them to create an official podcast for The Business, it’s really aimed at the amateur, hobbyist podcast designing a passion project. If that sounds like you, are you ready to get this podcast party started?

Part One: Podcasting 101

Want to learn how to produce your own podcast? Check out the rest of my series How To Start A Podcast here.