So you’re ready to take the plunge into the world of podcasting?Terrific! While setting up a podcast is a bit more complicated than starting a blog, it’s not nearly so daunting that you can’t make it a worthwhile endeavor.
In our previous article, we talked about how podcasts can help you promote your business. This time around, we’ve got a handy step-by-step guide to starting your own podcast.
1. Choose Your Podcast’s Name
The title of your podcast is very important as it’s a key element of how people will find it when searching on iTunes and other services.
This isn’t as hard as finding a good domain name, but some of the same rules apply. For example, your podcast name should be easy to spell.
Think of it like the title of a book. Does your podcast’s name invite curiosity, stir an emotion, or explain what it’s about?
2. Create Your Cover Art
Podcast cover art is like the cover of a book. Good podcast art is critical for capturing your listener’s attention and getting them to take your podcast seriously enough to listen to it. This is not a place to skimp.
Ideally, your podcast cover art needs to be 3000 pixels by 3000 pixels (but at least 1400×1400), 72 dpi, and available as .JPG or .PNG format. Cover art that doesn’t meet these specifications won’t be accepted by iTunes, the number one place you’ll want to submit your podcast (see #8 below).
If you aren’t a graphic designer, you can find lots of designers on Fiverr that will create your artwork for as little as $5.
But remember, good cover art is key to your podcast’s success. If you have the budget, consider paying more for better artwork. Here’s one popular designer that gets rave reviews for her podcast artwork.
3. Set Up Your “Studio”
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create your podcasting studio. All you need is a decent mic and a quiet place to record.
While you can spend hundreds of dollars on a microphone, a good starting place is a USB microphone like the Blue Snowball ($49 on Amazon). USB microphones can be plugged directly into most laptops without needing additional adapters.
You also don’t need to spend lots of money creating a fancy studio. The key is to record in a quiet place that doesn’t produce much of an echo. Rooms with carpets and heavy drapes, for example, are better at absorbing (or “deadening”) sound than tiled rooms with lots of hard, flat surfaces which can create a cavernous echo effect.
Here’s a quick studio hack: try recording your podcast in a walk-in closet. The clothes will absorb the echo.
4. Download Recording Software
This is another inexpensive aspect of podcasting because there are free applications available to record podcasts.
It gets a bit more complicated if you plan to record a remote guest as part of your podcast. Most people use Skype for podcast interviews but Skype doesn’t have a built-in recording feature. On a PC, a free and simple solution is MP3 Skype Recorder. A popular Skype call recorder for Macs is Call Recorder from ecamm which can be purchased for $39.95 after a free trial. The company also offers a Skype/FaceTime call recording package for $59.90.
There are also services created specifically for recording podcasts that don’t use Skype. For example, Zencastr records the host’s and guest’s voice separately on their own computer. This can result in better sound quality.
5. Record and Edit Your Podcast
Now the fun begins! It’s time to record and edit your first podcast.
The editing process can be a bit messy. If you plan to edit your podcast yourself, you’d be smart to first take a look at some in-depth tutorials on podcast editing.
The good news is that there are lots of companies that provide affordable podcast editing services. Consider outsourcing this part of the process, which can be tedious and time-consuming. In much the same way it’s easier to pay a dog groomer to cut your dog’s hair than learn to do it yourself, it makes sense to pay someone to edit your podcasts.
6. Find a Podcast Hosting Service
Podcast hosts are different from web hosts. While you might use Namecheap for hosting your website, you need a specialized audio host for your podcast. Podcast hosting starts at about $5 per month. Popular services include Libsyn, Podbean, and Blubrry.
7. Publish your Podcast
Now that you have your host and edited podcast, it’s time to publish! Publishing your podcast means it becomes available via podcast apps.
Podcast publishing involves RSS feeds. A podcast RSS feed is basically your podcast’s program data that other sites need in order to include the podcast in their app.
You submit your RSS feed to services like iTunes and the Google Play Music Store. Whenever you create a new episode your RSS feed gets updated with the new info and iTunes and similar services make the latest episode available to users.
You can choose to submit your podcast host’s RSS feed directly to iTunes and Google. This is the simplest way to publish your podcast.
However, many people choose to create their own RSS feed and submit it to iTunes and Google instead. This gives you more control over your podcast RSS feed.
If you choose to submit your own RSS feed, you’ll need a traditional website (ideally built with WordPress). You can then use a plugin like PowerPress to publish your podcast episodes on your website. Once published on your website, your RSS feed automatically updates, allowing iTunes and Google display your latest episodes.
8. Submit your Show
Because many people listen to podcasts through mobile apps, it’s important to make yours available on as many of these platforms as possible.
The biggest and most important place to submit your podcast is iTunes. In fact, many other podcast apps will automatically add your podcast once it appears on iTunes.
Guidelines for submitting your podcast to iTunes change from time-to-time, but you can find the most current instructions here.
You should also submit your podcast to Google Play Music.
In addition to getting your podcast published with these services, be sure to announce your latest episodes on your social media channels and your website.
Podcasting can be a lot of work, so it’s important that you make sure you have fun while doing it. Pick a fun topic and get started. Good luck!
If you’re seeking a place to host your next podcast content or associated blog, look no further than Namecheap. We offer rock-solid hosting at a great price!