What I’ve loved about quarantine is that everyone who has ever wanted to try something like creating a podcast now has a chance to get it going! As someone who has been podcasting for almost two years, I have come to a place where I believe everyone who wants to tell a story should have a podcast.
However, for many people who want to start a podcast, they lack the understanding of how they should go about starting a podcast. They look at the project and feel like they are staring at this impossible mountain they could never climb. However, podcasting has never been easier for someone to get into, and it can be a real opportunity for you to discover your voice and even find your audience. If you want to grow your audience and save yourself some trouble in the long run, then you need to launch well.
Step 1: Identify your focus
My biggest failure when starting my podcast was that I lacked a direct focus. As you begin down the process of wanting to start a podcast, the first step is to discover what you want your show to be about. A show without a focus will most likely never go anywhere. I learned this lesson the hard way.
When I first started podcasting, it was because I just wanted to have one. I pulled out my computer and my microphone and hit record. There was no plan and no motivation about where this thing would go. In time this created an issue for me with several episodes lacking direction, and they feel as if they are missing something. When I started, I failed to understand my focus. Now, as I work on my relaunch, however, I have narrowed my focus and am creating all of my content around this idea of sharing in meaningful stories like you would with a friend over coffee. Therefore I am working on creating all my content to be story-based interviews that help people live out their best stories.
After I identified my focus, it has been much easier to reach out to guests with a purpose for booking them on the show, and I feel much more confident about the direction I am going in. The beautiful thing is that your focus can be on anything. It can be about your favorite movie series, comic books, or even something obscure like underwater basket weaving. The focus of your show is entirely up to you. When you identify your focus, it allows you to put your best foot forward and propels you towards creating meaningful content.
Step 2: Batch record interviews or episodes
One of my biggest mistakes when I first launched my podcast was that I didn’t batch record interviews. I just found myself recording a week at a time. This made it challenging to keep up with a weekly schedule that I had initially set for myself, and as a result, it made my podcast inconsistent in the upload schedule later on down the road. It also made for some late nights. I remember having to stay up late on a Thursday night to get a podcast ready when I had to get up early for my 9–5 job the next day.
Now, as I am working on my relaunch for August, I have dedicated the next few months to batch recording interviews to take me through all of 2020 when I relaunch the podcast.
When you are starting your podcast, you are most likely flying solo on everything. That means you are the admin who is setting up podcast interviews. You are the producer of the show, and you are the host. All three of those roles alone can be demanding. Therefore it’s best for you to do as much of the legroom as early as possible to give you the best advantage when it comes to launching your podcast.
The best thing for you to do to set yourself up for success when launching your new podcast is to get as far ahead as possible. This will give you some time in between the launch of your podcast and when you need to record new episodes.
Step 3: Market like crazy
Before you launch your podcast, you should develop a strategy to get people interested. From Facebook ads to Tik Toks and Instagram posts, you need to create content around your show that will get people interested. The worst feeling in the world is releasing episode one and no one listening, and that’s what will happen if you just throw the show out into the internet without doing any marketing.
- 30-second clips on Instagram and Tik Tok
- Ask your guest to record a short video inviting people to check out the podcast on their socials.
- Once the podcast is live, creating a targeted Facebook ad around people you think would be interested in your content.
- Leading up to your podcast starting publish previews of upcoming episodes all over your social channels.
- Recruit friends or people who support you in your creative pursuits to help you promote on their social channels.
If you want people to show up for your show, then you are going to have to generate interest. Developing a marketing strategy and starting to engage with your early audience is the key to launching well.
Start recording for less than $200
Maybe you have figured out the focus of your podcast, and you are ready to record episodes, yet you still aren’t sure about all the technical stuff to get started podcasting. The first thing you should do is head to Anchor.fm or download the Anchor app and create an account. This will allow you to easily create your show and distribute it to the major podcasting platforms (Apple Podcast, Spotify, etc.) for free.
The second thing you will need to decide is how you are going to record. You have two options. You can use Anchor.fm to record straight on the app with your phone and with guests and then edit and release your episodes. Or you can use Audacity (a free recording program) to record from your computer and then upload it on the Anchor website. If you are using your phone, then you will want to invest in some headphones with a microphone that is compatible with your phone. That way, you can record the best possible audio for your podcast. However, if you are using your computer, then you should invest in a USB microphone like the Blue Yeti, which retails for around $129.
If you are recording a remote guest, then I recommend using Zencastr. They offer a fantastic free service with 8 hours of recording time. Even if you end up needing more recording time for only $20 a month you can get unlimited remote recording.
Launching isn’t the end
The thing that kills a podcast is losing momentum. When you lose momentum with your podcast, it becomes challenging to get going again. After you have successfully launched your podcast, you need to keep on steps 2 and 3 over and over again. Continue recording interviews and building out your recording schedule so that you can build upon your show.
It’s okay if you need a break after you launch your podcast before you start recording more episodes again. However, the easy thing would be to quit after you launch and no longer put in any work on creating content after you have created a bunch. It would be easy for you to take your break and not plan on ever coming back.
This means that if you decide to take a break, you need to give yourself a hard deadline on when you will be returning to working on creating new episodes. For example, I am working on getting 20 episodes recorded over the next two months so that I can take a couple of months off in the late summer and spend early fall and winter preparing for the next twenty episodes I am going to release. It’s okay to take a break. However, it’s not okay to be lazy and take a permanent vacation if you want your show to continue.
However, you will only be doing your show a massive disservice if you quit after your launch. Instead of stopping after your launch or allowing yourself to get lazy, commit yourself to spend a designated amount of time on your podcast each week. Currently, for me, as I am working on my relaunch, I have set aside ten hours a week to work on booking guests, working on relaunch items, recording interviews, and building promotion activities.
Anyone can launch a podcast, but it takes someone who is dedicated to stick with it and work hard at building something that lasts. Don’t let your idea be something that fizzles out after a few weeks. Let it be something that blossoms into something meaningful and lives with a purpose because the story you want to tell with your podcast matters, therefore launching and sticking with is how you allow that story to keep going.