May 13, 2021
7 min read
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Podcasts have quickly become one of the most popular forms of content to consume, with portability being the main factor. They can be listened to while commuting to the office, doing cardio at the gym, or doing chores around the house.
Entrepreneurs and brands have started using podcasts to connect with their audiences. Soon podcasts can become as mainstream as having an Instagram account or YouTube channel.
Now is a great time to start a podcast to engage more with your existing audience and get more attention to your personal brand and business activities.
There are many reasons to start a podcast – you might want to share information and ideas, influence people, promote your business, or even create an additional source of income. But whatever the reason, use this seven-step process to start a new podcast at no cost.
1. Establish your category and focus on brand respect
You need to choose a podcast category and narrow down a topic. It has to be something that you are experienced in and will not tire of talking about, as well as something with unlimited content potential. Also, decide whether or not you are going to do a podcast solo or with a co-host.
You don’t want to start a professional podcast and then randomly slip into an episode on entertainment gossip. Your audience will go offline and likely won’t stay loyal to your show. There are a lot of options, so the more focused you can be on the laser, the better.
Related: 6 Reasons Why Podcast Guest Is An Untapped Marketing Tool
2. Choose an available and customizable podcast name
You’ll want to choose a strong name for your podcast that’s both customizable and available, meaning there aren’t other podcasts with the same or similar name. It’s also a good idea to choose a name that you can register as a dot-com domain.
If your podcast is snowballing, you’ll want a central hub to connect to all the platforms it can be heard on, along with data and contact information that potential advertisers might be looking for.
Some podcasts are a simple host name or some have a more descriptive name related to the topic. You can also get smart and use keywords that you want to rank for on iTunes.
3. Write an attention-grabbing podcast description
It’s a good idea to write your description specifically for iTunes, as the platform will likely appear at the top of Google search results for your show.
You have up to 4000 characters to describe your podcast, so it’s a good idea to write your description in a way that explains what your podcast is all about while targeting the main keywords you want your podcast to rank for. .
If you optimize your podcast description correctly, potential listeners will be able to find it organically. This can contribute to rapid growth, especially if your podcast is focused on a large industry or a broad topic.
Related: How To Start A Podcast (& Keep It Up)
4. Create a podcast cover that will appear
Even if someone subscribes to your podcast, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they’ll listen. A great cover art can help draw attention to your podcast while potential listeners surf their favorite podcast listening app.
You can hire a designer from Upwork or Fiverr, but if you want to start your podcast for free, Canva is a great tool for creating images.
Here are some things to consider:
- Create your 3000 x 3000 pixel podcast cover. Most platforms require this size.
- Avoid a lot of text. When your artwork is scaled down to fit small devices, the text becomes very difficult to read.
- Avoid stock images. If you’re the primary host, consider using a photo of yourself, and if you want to get attention, use a shocked or surprised facial expression. Images with the person’s mouth open also attract more attention.
If you need inspiration, watch the best podcasts in your particular niche and see what kind of artwork they use. You never want to copy the cover of another podcast, but you can get ideas by seeing what works.
5. Record your first episode
Now is the time to record your first podcast episode, and there are two easy ways to do it. You can use Audacity, which is a free open source solution, or you can use Anchor, which is a very easy-to-use, feature-rich and free-to-use podcasting platform.
Anchor also has an app from which you can record and conduct interviews, so there’s no excuse to stop yourself from recording your first episode.
Don’t worry too much about intros, outros, or sound bites – these can happen. Instead, focus on interesting topics and the quality of your content. You might have fancy intros and outros, but if the meat in your podcast is shoddy, you’re not going to attract or retain listeners.
6. Edit your podcast
I mentioned Audacity as a good free recording software, but it’s also great for audio editing. If you record while using it, editing is a seamless process. Even if you use other platforms like Anchor to record, you can still export the recording and edit it using Audacity.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time doing this at the start. Simply removing background noise and adding a simple intro and outro will provide a better listening experience than the original raw sound.
There are also some great resources like Pixabay and the YouTube Audio Library that give you access to a wide variety of royalty-free music. This can be incorporated into your intro and outro, and ultimately you can create sponsor plug-in segments that also incorporate music.
7. Distribute your podcast
There are plenty of podcast hosting options available, and Anchor is a great choice because it allows for unlimited storage. It’s free and they’ll distribute your podcast with just one click. Anchor was recently acquired by Spotify, but it will remain a free service and will continue to offer distribution to Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, as well as their streams.
While this distro covers most of the major podcast platforms, you can still submit your podcast RSS feed to any other network you want it to be available on.
Bonus: monetize your podcast
This is something you might want to consider later, as a brand new podcast won’t have a lot of monetization options, if at all. Once you consistently have a large number of listeners, you can create an additional source of income by monetizing any of the following methods:
- Ad readings: If you are using Anchor, you can enable monetization and they will automatically place ads on your podcast. It’s a simple way to generate income without having to manage or negotiate inquiries and advertising rates.
- Donor levels: Patreon is a popular platform to use if you want to ask for donations to support your podcast.
- Affiliate offers: Depending on your niche, there may be some affiliate offers that you can promote that are paying well.
- Services or products: Many podcast hosts offer a product or service that they can pitch to their audience and sell directly.
While monetization is great, focus on creating a great podcast and building a loyal group of listeners. A high quality podcast that grows organically will offer plenty of monetization opportunities once your content is solid.
Related: Top 25 Business Podcasts For Entrepreneurs