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How to Start a Successful Podcast [13 Tips for Beginners]

How to Start a Successful Podcast [13 Tips for Beginners]

In 2023, there will be over 460 million people listening to podcasts worldwide. Furthermore, there are already more than 5 million podcasts currently available.

Without a doubt, podcasts are among the most popular forms of content, and their popularity will only grow in the years to come.

Have you ever thought about starting a podcast for your business? No? Perhaps, you are hesitant simply because you do not even know how to start a successful podcast?

Not to worry, that is exactly what we are going to talk about today. Let us start with the basics.

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What Is a Podcast?

A podcast is digital audio content, usually a series of episodes, that follows a certain theme, and is distributed over the internet. Sometimes, podcasts also have videos, but it is not mandatory.

The most popular podcast outlets are Apple and Spotify, while the most popular podcast is The Joe Rogan Experience, with an average of 11 million listeners per episode.

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How Much Does it Cost to Start a Podcast?

You might think that starting a podcast requires a huge investment. Sure, that might be true for some, but it is not always the case. You see, it is possible to start a podcast for free.

If you want to take things to the next level, you can invest between $200-$3000 in equipment, such as headphones, microphones, acoustic panels, cameras, lighting, recording software, etc.

Furthermore, if you are just starting out, it is absolutely possible and okay to use your smartphone. Naturally, once you grow your fan-base, and get used to the process, you might want to consider upgrading your set, so you can produce better sound quality, and enhance the overall experience of your podcast.

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How to Start a Successful Podcast: 13 Tips

How to Start a Successful Podcast_ 13 Tips

  1. Choose Your Topic
  2. Watch and Learn from the Best
  3. Pick a Format
  4. Create Your Podcast Brand
  5. Invest in Equipment and Recording Software
  6. Outline Your First Episode
  7. Record Your Podcast
  8. Edit Your Podcast
  9. Upload Consistently
  10. Add Video for YouTube
  11. Promote Your Podcast
  12. Gather Feedback from Your Audience
  13. Collaborate with Other Creators

1. Choose Your Topic

The very first thing you need to do is to think: what do I want my podcast to be about? Don’t just think about creating a few episodes, try to outline the future – is the topic fruitful enough to create 200 episodes?

You never know how successful you might turn out to be, and it would be a bigger headache trying to readjust your main theme, once you are popular. Instead, prepare up front, and try to pick a topic that will not be completely exhausted within a few episodes.

Choose Your Topic

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2. Watch and Learn from the Best

Just like any other activity that you have no prior knowledge in, you should take some time to watch and learn from well-established podcasts that are loved by many.

Observe and analyze what makes them stand out from the millions of other content creators? Take a moment to understand how often they publish, the length of their episodes, and anything else you deem useful.

Typically, the most popular podcasts are between 20 and 40 minutes long, however, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Podcast, for example, often has episodes of 3 to 6 hours!

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3. Pick a Format

Another great podcast tip for beginners is to pick a format. These are the most popular ones:

  • Interview. Invite and talk with a different guest each episode. This format is very popular, and also quite competitive.
  • Monologue. Showcase your specific expertise. It doesn’t need to be anything too fancy or niche, you really just need to talk with confidence into the microphone and engage your audience.
  • Conversational/co-hosted. Two (or more) people with great chemistry discuss different topics or issues at hand. Unlike the interview format, though, here everyone is a host.
  • Panel. Each episode features a group of guests that share their opinions and unique insights.
  • Non-fictional storytelling. Here you can talk about real life events, and people, like historical battles, serial killers, odd medical cases, etc. Usually, each episode features a single story.
  • Theater. A creative format that is quite similar to audiobooks. These types of podcasts typically feature different voice actors, sound effects, and so on.
  • Repurposed content. Some content creators reuse their content from blog posts, for example, and adjust it to a podcast format. Generally, these formats are easier to create, since you already have the content.

Of course, you can always be creative and innovate your own podcast format. You can experiment by mixing several styles, and come up with your own unique podcast format.

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4. Create Your Podcast Brand

Branding is an essential part of every digital marketing endeavor. You should definitely think carefully about how you want to brand your podcast, as the first impression is always crucial.

You need to come up with:

  • A cool podcast name that will be memorable, unique, and catchy. Make sure it’s without typos, and not already taken.
  • Engaging episode descriptions that will help listeners decide whether they want to listen or not.
  • Make sure your show gets listed in the proper categories, which will help users looking for relevant podcasts find you.
  • Create beautiful, unique visuals that will capture the attention of people, and help you stand out from the rest.

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5. Invest in Equipment and Recording Software

We mentioned earlier that it is possible to start your podcast with just a smartphone. Still, if you want your podcast to be successful, you have to invest in proper equipment and recording software, sooner rather than later.

Needless to say, but, this will not only make your podcast sound more professional, but it will most likely open the door to new and better opportunities. Also, remember that no one will listen to your show, if they can’t hear you properly or your podcast is of poor sound quality.

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6. Outline Your First Episode

Your first episode should matter. Apart from sounding great, you also need to have good content, which will keep users listening and coming back for more.

A nice way to ensure your content stays interesting, and that you don’t end up missing something important you wanted to say, is to create an outline. You do not need to script out the entire show, unless, of course, that’s your jam.

Writing down some basic components, though, can really help you to follow your structure, and stick to the point.

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7. Record Your Podcast

The actual process of recording your podcast might sound like it would be simple and pretty straightforward. That is not always the case, though. There are some things you should take into account:

  1. Find a space with minimum noise. Every bit of unnecessary sound could ruin the quality of your audio. And there’s nothing worse than completing your recording, only to then realize that you have to do certain parts all over again, due to some weird noise or sound. Think about small things like the noise of your PC fan, traffic outside, the refrigerator, pets, other people in the house, neighbors, and so on.
  2. Recorded audio should not be too loud. You can always tune up the volume later on, but in case your audio is too loud, while recording, it can sound distorted. Always test the sound level before you start and make sure it never goes above 0 dB (The suggested standard true peak value for podcasting is -1.0 dB).
  3. Be careful about your tone and mouth placement. To achieve a smooth, consistent sound, you should be wary of how your mouth is positioned in regard to your microphone. You want to eliminate any breathing sounds. You also pay attention to your tone, which can create a bad listening experience, especially if it suddenly becomes too loud or too high.

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8. Edit Your Podcast

One of the most valuable podcast tips for beginners is to always edit your recordings before you publish them. You might think you’ve done a great job, but it is always a good idea to double-check everything just in case.

Furthermore, the professional thing to do is to take a look at what you have created, listen through it, and take care of any technical issues that may have occurred.

Using editing software will help you improve your audio quality, and provide an overall better listening experience to your audience.

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9. Upload Consistently

Uploading episodes consistently and following a publishing schedule will not only inform your audience about new episodes, it will show that you are serious about your podcasts.

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10. Add Video for YouTube

Shooting video for your podcasts can allow you to reach a whole new audience – one that prefers to listen and watch, and the best place to find it is on YouTube.

Not to mention that video podcasts are becoming more popular, and even Spotify – the podcasting go-to-place, recently added video podcasts to their platform.

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11. Promote Your Podcast

Here’s a very important lesson: if you want your podcast to be successful, you need to start promoting it sooner rather than later. In fact, it’s best to start with the first episode. You could try to create a buzz around it by launching a teaser before you release it, for example, or you could invite your followers directly.

Whatever you decide to do, you should, generally, try to be creative and use every medium possible to promote yourself.

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12. Gather Feedback from Your Audience

A vital step that you should not overlook is to gather information on what your audience thinks about your podcast.

Are there some aspects they found more enjoyable than others? Maybe they are more fond of certain subtopics you have covered?

You can find answers to these questions by looking at your analytics, and by going through some of the comments users left.

Whatever the case, as a content creator, you should always listen to your audience, and try to implement their feedback, accordingly.

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13. Collaborate with Other Creators

A good practice that a lot of content creators follow is to collaborate with each other. This is beneficial for a number of reasons.

It helps you boost your authority, expand your network and audiences, and give you fresh, original content ideas.

What is more, from a user’s point of view, seeing two creators they love joining forces, is a truly wonderful feeling.

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In Conclusion

The truth is that there is no magic formula on how to start a successful podcast (unless you found a magic lamp).

In our article, we’ve listed some of the best tips to get you set up properly and on the road to podcast success.

The ultimate tip is, however, to never stop believing in yourself, and to keep on trying. You might not get it right at first, but practice makes perfect!

You can do it. Be persistent, creative, and create great content – your podcast can not only become popular, but also profitable.

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