If you want to get your ideas on the internet but don’t want to learn how to start a blog, podcasting may be the avenue you’re searching for.
Starting a podcast is easy once you’ve equipped yourself with the right tools.
We’ll walk you through how to develop a podcast and what you need to start a podcast (and some stuff you don’t need).
- What Is a Podcast?
- Characteristics of a Good Podcast
- Who Can Start a Podcast?
- What You’ll Need to Start a Podcast
- Make it Easy With a Podcast Starter Kit
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Personality Over Equipment
What Is a Podcast?
A podcast is a lot like a radio show – personalities get together to talk about various topics within their expertise.
You can find podcasts on crime, history, comedy, startups, and more.
Some creators craft fictional stories through their podcasts, while others use podcasting to grow their blogs.
Unlike radio shows, you can listen to a podcast episode at any time from your phone or computer.
You can find podcasts on most music platforms – Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Audible are some examples.
While video podcasts do exist, most podcasts are audio-only.
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Learn more about what podcasts are, how they work, and the most popular niches for this type of media.
Characteristics of a Good Podcast
A lot goes into making a podcast great.
You’ll want to look at making your content unique, your sound design as good as possible, and crafting an authentic personality.
1. Unique and Quality Content
The market is oversaturated in podcasts – everyone and their mom wants to get in on it.
To combat this, you need a unique theme.
Know that most ideas have been done already, so you’ll need to take an angle that really stands above the rest.
- Do you want to tell a story?
- Do you want to report on the news?
Just because an idea has been used doesn’t mean you can’t put your unique spin on it.
Turning on the mic and rambling won’t cut it, so here are a few ideas to think about:
- Mix genres – instead of doing a news podcast, go with a dark comedy theme.
- Your content can’t just be unique; it also needs to be quality.
- Plan out each episode and write a loose script.
- Feel free to deviate some from your script, but at least have the major points you want to hit.
2. Quality Sound Design
Since your podcast will most likely be completely audio, you must ensure your sound design is excellent.
Later, we’ll cover the equipment you need to achieve this.
Maybe the most essential aspect of a great podcast is authenticity.
While most creators play some character, you should still be open and honest with your audience.
Avoid making your character a lie – instead, amplify aspects of your personality.
Who Can Start a Podcast?
The short answer – anyone!
Sure, if you’re already established as a content creator on social media or run a blog, you’ll have an easier time gaining an audience.
However, you don’t need those things to start your podcast – everyone starts somewhere.
While anyone can post, you can’t publish any kind of content.
Radio has stricter policies on what you can say, host sites such as Spotify have regulations on what can be posted.
Spotify’s regulations include:
- Advocating for violence, harassment, or abuse
- Content that involves discrimination such as sexism, racism, or ableism
- Spreading blatantly false information
- Promoting the sale of illegal goods such as drugs, endangered species, or certain weapons
- Deceptive content, such as trying to pass yourself off as someone else
Other hosting platforms have their own regulations.
It’s crucial to become familiar with the rules of whatever hosting site you choose before beginning your podcast.
What You’ll Need to Start a Podcast
You don’t need top-of-the-line equipment to get started.
However, you at least want decent quality.
Do not rely on the built-in microphone for your computer.
While you most likely have the bare minimum to begin a podcast – a laptop with a built-in microphone – you need more to start a quality podcast.
Some new equipment includes a high-quality microphone with pop-filters and windscreens, audio mixers, and even a new computer.
Luckily, you may be able to continue using your current computer.
Your RAM should be at least 8GB.
Additionally, look for at least a triple-core processor and a speed of 2.5 GHz.
If your processor and speed look good, you can update your RAM.
Even a laptop can work for podcasting.
Keep in mind if you have a PC or Mac when choosing your equipment – some may be incompatible.
Microphones are one of the most crucial pieces of equipment when starting a podcast.
A high-quality microphone will give your podcast a crisp, clear sound.
If you’re on a budget, look for USB mics that plug right into your computer.
They’re often compact with good quality.
If you have a higher budget, look for classic broadcasting mics such as the Shure SM7B.
This mic comes with a detachable windscreen and a pop filter.
Many popular podcasters and musicians use this reliable equipment and have for years.
When selecting a mic, look for equipment that minimizes background noise.
A boom mic – a directional microphone with an extended arm – is helpful for podcasting in noisy environments, such as outdoors.
They reduce noise while picking up noise only from the desired speaker or speakers.
Pop Filter and Windscreen
For mics that lack these built-in, buying these add ons is crucial.
Pop-filters reduce the plosive sounds like with P and B that make your audio aggravating to hear.
Not everyone uses an audio mixer – it isn’t a need by any means.
An audio mixer improves your sound quality by mixing, balancing, and combining the audio more seamlessly.
Audio mixers are complicated pieces of equipment, usually marketed for professionals in the audio field.
Wait until you get the hang of podcasting and your existing equipment before diving in further.
Once you learn the ins and outs of audio mixers, they can make the process faster.
The right headphones prevent feedback while Skyping with guests.
They also limit audio bleeding and echoing.
Many avoid noise-canceling headphones that can lead to compressed audio.
Most podcasters look for close-backed, wired, over-ear headphones.
Cable ties are an efficient way to keep your space organized.
If you plan on having a lot of wired equipment, invest in cable ties.
Since wired headphones are the better option, getting an extension cord for them will give you the mobility wireless headphones provide.
Having the proper hardware is important but useless without the right software.
Much of the software mentioned here you can get for free.
Recording and Editing Software
Recording and editing are often bundled into one program.
As far as Mac, GarageBand lets you create and move around separate tracks, ad spots, and more.
The most popular for Windows is Adobe Audition.
Some key features include its sound compression and noise-reduction capabilities.
Call Recording Software
Expect many of your guests to be there digitally through Skype or another calling app.
To record this audio with the best quality, you need a call recording application such as SquadCast, Alitu, or Welder.
ID3 tags link to the MP3 audio file – they are what’s displayed on your car radio when you listen to podcasts or music through Bluetooth.
They include the track title and the artist or podcast channel.
These editing programs have died in relevancy – most hosting platforms put this information in automatically.
3. Important Accounts
Other key tools are the accounts you need to set up before starting your podcast, including calling apps and hosting websites.
Skype allows you to call one or multiple guests.
You can video chat or do a voice call.
The call recording app discussed earlier allows you to record these calls with better quality audio.
Skype accounts are easy and free to make.
Podcast Hosting Account
The best way to release a podcast is through a hosting site.
Buzzsprout and Captivate are two of the many options.
These hosting sites often partner with sites such as Spotify and Apple Music.
Vanity URLs are easy to remember and simple.
Think delta.com for Delta Airlines.
It’s pleasing to look at, easy to share with friends, and makes finding your website easier.
If you have a website for your podcast, choose a simple vanity URL, even if you have to change the name up a bit.
Make it Easy With a Podcast Starter Kit
Instead of buying all the equipment separately, you can purchase a podcast starter kit with all the necessities.
There are kits compatible with iPhones and iPads, such as the Movo Smartphone Podcast Recording Kit.
Movo also produces one for Android devices.
If you already have an iPad, this means less equipment to buy.
Tenlamp also produces a starter kit.
The Tenlamp kit includes a microphone, earbuds, and a live sound mixer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have questions?
To make things easier, we’ve put together answers to some of the questions we hear most often.
Which platform is best for podcasts?
Buzzsprout is currently one of the most preferred platforms for podcasting.
Its interface is user-friendly, and the site provides easy-to-understand stats on viewership and more.
How much does it cost to start a podcast?
Expect to pay from $100 to $500 for the basics to start.
Additionally, you may have to pay up to $100 a month, depending on your hosting and editing software.
Can you start a podcast by yourself?
Yes, but expect to have a higher workload than if you start with a partner.
Personality Over Equipment
Remember, even with all this great equipment, if you lack the ideas and the personality to back it up, it won’t matter.
Start small with your gear and focus on big ideas!