If you are reading this, you may be thinking about jumping into the podcast arena. There are countless reasons that people start a podcast. I started The Protectors Podcast ™ in 2019 to spotlight great guests and have since gone on to interview almost 400 guests.
You just sat down to upload this incredible episode; you know everyone will love listening to it. In your mind, this episode could win awards. You click open your browser and prepare to download the file from your hosting service. What? Where is the file? Your mind is racing. It isn’t there. You search through all the files. It isn’t there. At that point, you learned one of the toughest lessons of podcasting. You forgot to hit record. Lesson one of podcasting is to always, I mean always, remember to hit record.
Before you start podcasting, make sure to plan it out. I don’t recommend starting until you know why you are doing a podcast. Think about what topics you would like to cover and if you would like to interview guests or do a monologue, meaning a solo show with just you talking.
Clint Emerson, former Navy SEAL, author, and podcaster, has a lot to talk about but still thought through his podcast before launching. Clint recommended, “Make sure you have a subject matter that has longevity because you will run out of material quickly if you don’t. Then, let your listeners guide the way because whatever great idea you have – it may be dumb to everyone else.”
You also have to pick a niche, i.e., topics your podcast will cover. Pete Turner, host of the Break It Down Show, doesn’t cover just one topic. Pete told me, “I didn’t pick a niche. There’s some rational thought in niching, but life isn’t a niche. I’d rather explore topics with renowned experts and artists than focus on one thing. The topics often choose me; it’s current events, people I encounter in life, or a guest suggestion that drives my content choices.”
When I started The Protectors Podcast ™ in 2019, I had no idea what I was doing. So I started with a cheap microphone from Amazon that seemed to have decent reviews and used an old set of headphones to plug into my laptop.
Should you use your phone to record a podcast? Of course, you can, but ask yourself if you would tune into a podcast recorded on someone’s phone. Would it keep you engaged?
The podcast equipment options are limitless. The essential equipment you need to record at home is a microphone, headset, and computer. It’s pretty simple.
I talked about my first podcast setup and how bad it was. My current setup is entirely different than the first time I hit record.
• Microphone. Shure MV7 has been an outstanding edition with ease of use and doesn’t pick up any exterior sounds. I used an Audio-Technica ATR-2100 USB for a couple of years before upgrading to the Shure. I still recommend it as a starting microphone.
• Headset. I currently use a relatively inexpensive inner-ear headphone that connects directly to my Shure.
• Computer. An Alienware R9 Gaming Desktop. Why? Because I edit my own videos and stream live to YouTube and Facebook, it has a high-speed graphics card.
• On-The-Road. I recently moved to the DJI Mic for podcasting on the road. To me, it is perfect for interviewing guests or monologues. It picks up your guest’s audio clearly and is easy to download to your computer.
• Editing. I edit my episodes, including video editing, using Adobe Premiere Rush.
• Recording. I use Streamyard, it’s like Zoom, but the audio quality is much better. It also allows me to stream directly to my YouTube channel or Facebook.
• Hosting Platform. I have been using Buzzsprout since the beginning and have had no issues uploading episodes. In addition, you have the option in Buzzsprout to have your episodes published on every major podcast platform, from Apple Podcasts to Spotify.
If you have the budget, you can record in-studio. Recording in a studio removes all your equipment issues. Some studios will even upload your show to a hosting platform.
Ian Scotto, co-host of the widely popular Battleline Podcast, has over a decade in the podcast realm. Ian has broadcast from some of the top studios in the country. He offers some advice, “Well, if you’re in the area of a major city like New York, Chicago, DC, or certainly Los Angeles, you will absolutely have plenty of studios at your disposal that will be happy to help you launch. So, I would suggest searching your area and getting a feel for what these spaces offer. I suggest you compare prices with multiple studios you find and see examples of their work before you book your first session.”
Now that you have your equipment and are ready to record your first episode.
1. Record the episode. Take a deep breath, relax, and hit record.
2. Download the episode. Make sure you can find the file!
3. Edit the audio/video file. At the very least, ensure the file is not corrupted.
4. Upload the episode. Drop the file into your hosting platform.
5. Market. Tell everyone and anyone that the episode is out there.
A few things to remember after you record that first or fiftieth episode that podcasters, myself included, tend to forget.
Let’s go back to the beginning. What is the one absolute thing you must do when podcasting? Yep, you have to remember to hit record.
Sounds are the most significant factor when recording a podcast. Find a quiet area to record that doesn’t pick up a lot of background sounds or echoes; a closet is an option! Also, be aware of kids and pets; they don’t make a sound all day until it’s time to record.
A podcast is informative and ENTERTAINING. Meaning remember that it is entertainment. Few people tune in to hear inside jokes or bland conversations among friends.
How do people find your podcast? Social media, word of mouth, advertising. It all comes down to you. Unless you have a marketing team and budget, you must self-market your show. You put a lot of effort into getting the show going and recording each episode; now, let the world know what you have. Ask your friends, family, neighbor, and the guy in line at the post office, and ask everyone to listen to your show.
Don’t give up! Mark Kelley, host of the On The Range Podcast, gave solid advice about quitting. Mark said, “Don’t quit and keep pushing out good content. Most new podcasters quit publishing episodes around show number 14. They [new podcasters] expect to have thousands of listeners instantly. And when they don’t, they quit. To be successful at this, it’s going to take a lot of time and learning. But, you must keep going with continuous effort to unlock any potential your podcast might have.”
That’s it; Now that you know how to start a podcast, you are on your way to becoming a podcaster.
Now, what was that first lesson again?