Podcasts are trending right now, but should you start a podcast, and how do you pick a topic? Today’s guide will help you see if podcasting is right for you!
by Kimberly Pangaro
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Starting a podcast is an exciting journey that allows you to share your voice and connect with an audience in a unique way. It allows you to build a brand based on your personality, your authentic self, and your points of view. More than this, having honest conversations with others on your show, helps establish your podcast as a go-to resource for many.
But starting a podcast is not as cheap as many think it is. And maintaining it is difficult, especially if you have a full time job or a family that needs your attention. On top of that, growing it and building your audience takes time, patience, understanding of your show’s analytics, and figuring out what works or doesn’t work.
Don’t fret! In this guide, we’re going to talk about all of it so you can see if starting a podcast is the right choice for you. So, let’s get started!
Creating The Concept
To get started, you’ll need to create a podcast theme or concept. This helps identify your podcast to potential listeners. Start with formulating ideas of what to talk about. Are you going to share gruesome murder tales? Is your show a collection of like-minded individuals talking about life? Are you looking to inspire people in business? Knowing what you want to talk about is the first step in starting a podcast. The next step is coming up with a brand.
Coming up with a brand takes time and patience. Sure, you can start a podcast in less than an hour, but without a brand and logo to represent your show, it will just get lost amongst the others. Start by researching the category your podcast will be in. This will help you differentiate between the different brands and names of the podcasts. It will also help you get an idea of the kind of name you want for yours. Then, you’ll want to look into the top 10 podcasts in that category. You’re looking for what they have in common, what sets them apart from one another, what the reviews say about each podcast. You need to do this to learn what you need to include in your podcast.
After doing all of this research, you will finally be ready to choose an official podcast name. Once you do this, you can cross-reference the name you chose on other podcast platforms. Remember, don’t pick a name that another podcast has or it will get mixed up with other shows. After this research is finished and you can confirm you have created a unique podcast concept and name, it’s time to develop a logo and podcast cover.
Creating a logo and podcast cover is no easy feat, especially if you are not creative. That’s okay because there are plenty of freelancers that need the work on Fiverr and Upwork. Head onto either site, type in logo or podcast cover creator, and sift through the many choices provided to you. You should aim to pick a freelancer that has a ton of good reviews, affordable prices, and has done the kind of creative work that you find to be very good. If their creative works don’t inspire you, then they might not be the right fit for your vision. Lastly, before you hire anyone, you’ll want to make sure you have a clear vision that is very detailed, ready at hand to provide to your new hire. If not, then they won’t be able to complete your designs as you hope.
Choose A Profitable Podcast Topic
Most people who choose to start a podcast don’t just do it out of the sheer love of podcasting. Most want to earn some type of income from it. To this, you’ll need to consider the topic you choose to talk about and whether that topic is a high income-generating one. To help you get an idea, I’ve put together a list of the highest grossing revenue podcast topics (ChatGPT helped me with this list).
Keep in mind that revenue-generating topics vary depending on various factors such as audience size, monetization strategies, and market demand. However, some podcast topics that have shown significant revenue potential include:
- Business and Entrepreneurship: Podcasts that provide valuable insights, tips, and strategies for starting and growing businesses have the potential to attract a large audience and secure lucrative sponsorship deals.
- Personal Finance and Investing: Podcasts that offer expert advice on managing personal finances, investing, and wealth creation can be highly monetizable through sponsorships, partnerships, and affiliate marketing.
- Health and Wellness: Podcasts focusing on topics like fitness, nutrition, mental health, and well-being have a dedicated audience seeking guidance and information. This niche can attract advertisers in the health and wellness industry.
- True Crime and Mystery: True crime podcasts have gained immense popularity in recent years. Their captivating storytelling and intrigue can attract a large audience, leading to potential advertising and partnership opportunities.
- Self-Help and Personal Development: Podcasts that focus on personal growth, motivation, productivity, and self-improvement have a broad appeal and can attract a dedicated following. This audience engagement can translate into revenue through sponsorships and product endorsements.
- Comedy and Entertainment: Podcasts that entertain and bring laughter to listeners have a strong potential for monetization. Advertisers and sponsors often seek platforms that provide a light-hearted and engaging experience.
It’s important to note that while these topics have shown revenue potential, the success of a podcast also depends on factors like content quality, audience engagement, marketing efforts, and the host’s unique perspective.
Once you have all of this ready to go, you can officially begin doing three things: gathering your podcast products, building out your podcast space (where you’ll record each episode), and planning your episodes.
Podcast Products Needed
Basic podcasting equipment includes a good-quality microphone and headphones (not required for solo shows without guests). Then you will need to either set up a desk for your desktop microphone (this is our favorite microphone) or if you plan to do a couch-style podcast show, then you’ll need a stand (we like this one). The last and most obvious product needed is the type of chair you plan to use. You want to pick a chair that is both comfortable, soundless, and functional for your podcasting needs.
Separately from these products, you’ll need recording software. For Mac users, you can use GarageBand to record and edit your podcasts. It’s free, but heavy on needing to know how to use it properly. If you’re not tech savvy, you can always hire podcast episode editors on the sites I listed above. If budget doesn’t allow you to hire podcast editors, you can try these cheaper options: (1) Descript, or (2) AutoPod. They both offer a world of options to choose from.
In addition to the above items, you’ll also need an intro and outro, and possibly music to fade into and out of each episode. Before adding any music to a podcast episode, you need to verify that you have the proper license to use it. Don’t stress about this as you can use sites like Soundstripe to find royalty free music to add to your podcast. To create the intro and outro, you’ll need to a create a script to record. You can choose to record this as part of each episode or you can record the intro and outro separately, save those files, and then add them into the episode during the editing phase. It’s up to you. But I highly recommend you have a readable script ready so you can perform this with ease. And don’t forget to add your show’s website (if you have one), social handles, and how they can find the show.
Lastly, you’ll need to have an email collecting software set up. You can add this to your’s website so any new visitors who come to the site can sign up to receive notifications every time you publish. There are many you can choose from like ConvertKit, MailChimp, or OmniSend. Just be sure to choose one that integrates with your chosen website’s platform.
Set Up Your Recording Room
Find a quiet and comfortable space to record your episodes, and consider creating a catchy intro and outro to give your podcast a professional touch. Many podcasters, before they made it big or had enough funds to build out a new room, started recording in their closets and basements.
Depending on what your available space is, you can do the same. If you choose this route, you should sound proof the room. This starts by making you sure you have plenty of furniture in the room to absorb the sound, otherwise you’ll have an echo issue. You can also add sound proof materials to your walls to make the room more sound proof. One of the least expensive ways to do this is to use foam panels (we like these).
If you are opting to have an audio-only podcast, then it’s best to avoid spending extra funds on decor. However, if you are choosing to host a video podcast show, then you should aim to have decor that fits your brand. For example, if you’re a toy reviewer, you should have some toys on shelves showing in the video. If you’re movie-goer, then movie posters and merchandise would be a good idea for decor.
Finally, choose a podcast hosting platform that suits your needs and budget to publish and distribute your episodes to various podcast directories.
How To Plan Your Episodes
In theory, each episode should have a direct topic choice to talk about. You wouldn’t want to listen to a host riffing on something that doesn’t provide value for forty-five minutes, so don’t expect listeners to want to either.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your episodes in line with your brand. If your brand is all about natural health and wellness, you’ll likely not be talking about banking or finance. Another good idea is to decide how often you plan to produce an episode. Take into consideration the time it takes to record one episode, to edit it, to create marketing promos, to create clips, to publish on your hosted site and social channels, plus how much time you have weekly to step away from your day-to-day responsibilities to do all of this.
Once you’ve figured this out, you will have a really good blueprint for how long each episode should be and how often you want to publish.
For example, I record my episodes in September and October because all of my kids are in school and the house is quiet. I start planning in April/May the amount of topics I want to discuss, usually landing around 20 topics. I do this because I know full well that I may not get to record 20, but it’s the goal I try to hit per season.
In the month of June, I start reaching out to potential guests I’d like to interview for a set amount of episodes. I don’t want to interview others for every episode, so I plan which episodes I want guests for. By August, I have a full list of topics, guests who have agreed to be interviewed, and a set schedule to record in September and October. In November, I begin the editing phase. I spend most of December creating any marketing materials, promos, and clips. By January, I start promoting the upcoming season, sharing the newly created marketing teasers. I launch my podcast’s new season in February.
Having this kind of plan allows me to spend my other free time focusing on the other aspects of my business and enjoying family time, while also maintaining a healthy podcast season each year.
How To Submit Your Podcast To Apple
The number one goal for new podcasters is to get your podcast listed on as many platforms as you possibly can. This includes the big ones like Amazon, Spotify, and Google. But more importantly, you need to get your podcast on Apple as Apple leads the others in number of downloads by listeners. To get it on Apple is pretty simple, just follow the steps below.
First, ensure that your podcast meets Apple’s technical requirements, including the proper audio format and episode metadata. You can find Apple’s other requirements HERE.
Next, sign up for an Apple ID if you don’t already have one. Once you have an Apple ID, access Apple Podcasts Connect, Apple’s podcast submission platform. Create a podcast show in Apple Podcasts Connect by providing necessary information such as show title, description, artwork, and author details. Submit your podcast’s RSS feed, which is generated by your podcast hosting platform, for review.
Apple will review your submission to ensure it meets their guidelines, and once approved, your podcast will be listed on Apple Podcasts, ready to reach a wide audience of listeners. Remember to promote your podcast and engage with your audience to build a dedicated fan base.
How To Monetize A Podcast
What’s the point of going through all the hard work of creating a podcast if you can’t monetize it! So, let’s talk about how to monetize your podcast because it’s important and will help you generate revenue, and quite possibly help you leave your 9 to 5 grind.
- Monetize with Advertisements: Join podcast advertising networks like Midroll, AdvertiseCast, or Podcorn, where you can connect with companies looking to place ads on podcasts. They will match you with relevant sponsors based on your niche and audience demographics. You can also reach out to potential sponsors directly and negotiate advertising deals. Keep in mind that some of these companies have strict download and listener requirements before accepting a podcast.
- Offer Sponsored Content: Collaborate with brands that align with your podcast’s theme and values. You can create sponsored episodes or segments where you discuss and promote their products or services. Make sure to disclose any sponsored content to maintain transparency with your audience.
- Launch a Patreon or Membership Program: Provide exclusive bonus content or early access to episodes for your dedicated fans through platforms like Patreon or Glow. You can offer different membership tiers with various perks, such as behind-the-scenes footage, merchandise discounts, or personalized shoutouts.
- Seek Crowdfunding Support: Platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo allow you to crowdfund your podcast by offering rewards to backers. You can offer exclusive merchandise, bonus episodes, or even the opportunity to be a guest on your show as incentives.
- Create and Sell Merchandise: Develop branded merchandise, such as t-shirts, mugs, or stickers, that resonate with your audience. You can set up an online store on platforms like Shopify or use print-on-demand services like Printify to handle production and shipping.
- Offer Consulting or Coaching Services: If you have expertise in your podcast’s niche, consider offering consulting or coaching services to your listeners. This can include one-on-one sessions, workshops, or online courses where you share your knowledge and help others achieve their goals.
Remember, building a revenue stream takes time and consistent effort. Focus on delivering valuable content, engaging with your audience, and continuously seeking opportunities to monetize your podcast. Keep experimenting, adapting, and exploring new avenues to maximize your podcast’s revenue potential.
So, should you start a podcast? Absolutely! Embrace your inner podcaster and let your voice be heard in the podcasting universe. With endless possibilities and the opportunity to connect with listeners worldwide, starting a podcast is an exciting and fulfilling venture. Remember, the key to a successful podcast lies in choosing the right topic that aligns with your passion and expertise. Whether it’s discussing your favorite conspiracy theories or sharing tips on how to master the art of origami, there’s a podcast niche for everyone.
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of how to start a podcast, pick a topic, create your recording room, and buy the right gear, go forth and unleash your podcasting creativity. Embrace the quirky, the unique, and the unexpected. Your podcast could be the next big thing that captivates audiences and sparks conversations. So grab your microphone, let your imagination run wild, and dive into the podcasting world with enthusiasm and gusto. Remember, podcasting is not just about the destination, but the thrilling journey of self-expression and connecting with others through the power of your voice. Happy podcasting!