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How to Start a Podcast in 2022: Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

How to Start a Podcast in 2022: Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

Is podcasting right for me? And if it is, how do I start a podcast in 2022? 

It seems like these questions are becoming increasingly common as podcasts skyrocket in popularity. According to eMarketer, it is predicted that in 2022 there will be around 125 million monthly podcast listeners in the U.S. and over 420 million monthly podcast listeners worldwide. Those are some huge figures and they predict it will only grow! 

If you’re like most casual podcast fans, you’ve probably wondered what it would take to start and grow a successful podcast. From the outside, it might seem like a lot of fun, way too much work, or both—but you won’t have an accurate idea of what it’s really like to do until you… well, do it.

If you’re ready to give podcasting a try, this ultimate guide shares the step-by-step of everything you need to know to start a podcast.

Follow these steps from our start a podcast checklist to get creating your own podcast:

  1. Plan your podcast 
  2. Create a podcast brand
  3. Set up your equipment
  4. Choose recording software
  5. Prepare for your podcast recordings
  6. Record a few first episodes
  7. Edit your podcast recordings
  8. Publish your podcast show
  9. Promote and monetize your podcast

Ready to get going? Begin with the video below and then read on for a deep dive into each of the above steps on starting a podcast.


Step 1: Plan your podcast

Find your why

You might want to go straight into planning and setting up your podcast, but before you do anything you must find your ‘why’! Figuring out why you want to create a podcast will not only motivate you to be consistent, but it’ll also guide you on the type of content you want to create. 

To find your ‘why’, we suggest researching and listening to other podcasts. Figure out what you like, and what you don’t. You could also think about what audience you’re interested in and what you can offer from your own experiences. 

Choose a podcast topic

Your first instinct may be to choose a topic that interests you and your passions. Great! This is your starting point, but you also need to consider a topic that aligns with your motive behind creating a podcast. 

Most importantly, you’ll want to think about your target audience and what you can offer them that’s unique. This is why we suggest going for a niche topic. The more specific your topic is, the easier it is to plan content around it. 

"If you're not niche-focused and you don't have your content pillars; you don't have sort of the high-level structure; you don't know the problems and solutions of the industry and you're trying to fake it till you make it- that's where you run into a lot of issues."  -Social Media Growth Expert, Steven Mellor

Keep this pie chart in mind and you’ll find your sweet spot in choosing a topic.

Factors to look at for finding a topic when starting a podcast.

If you’re completely clueless, check out our blog on over 100 podcast ideas you can try. 

Choose a podcast name

Our guide on podcast names covers all you need to know on choosing a name! In short, though, you want to find a name that relates to your topic but still stands out. 

Your audience, branding, and SEO are some of the things you should keep in mind when choosing a name. You’ll want something that’s easy to remember, but that fully explains and resembles your brand and what your podcast is about. Of course, you should also pick a name that’s easily searchable, especially in relation to your topic. 

“Podcasts I see grow organically really well are podcasts that are trying to grab an actually searched keyword.” - Buzzsprout Head of Marketing, Alban Brooke (Hit Publish) 

‍Can podcasts have the same name?

It’s not a good idea to choose a podcast name that’s already taken. You want to be as unique as possible so that when people search for your podcast, they only find you. If you want to use a name that’s already in use, consider contacting the show host to find out if the podcast is still active. 

Try our name generator to get ideas flowing. 

Select a format and structure

Format

Think about the best way to convey your podcast topic. If you’re podcasting about history, a documentary-style might suit your show, whereas, if you’re podcasting about entrepreneurs you’ll probably want to host interviews with successful thought leaders. 

Some formats you can try include:

  • Solo-host monologue
  • Co-hosted show
  • Interviews
  • Story-telling scripted narratives
  • Documentaries
Read more: Choosing A Podcast Format & Best Practices To Follow

Structure

Structuring your podcast includes choosing its length and the general order in which you’d like your podcast to run. 

Find an ideal length

It’s best to choose length based on how much valuable information you can provide. If you’re going on tangents, it’s better to keep things shorter.

A good rule of thumb is to also tailor your episode length to publishing frequency: 

  • If you publish every day, keep it short and snappy (10 minutes is perfectly fine). 
  • If you publish weekly or a couple of times a week, try to stay within the 30-50 minute mark. 
  • If you publish less frequently than that, your listeners probably won’t mind if you go over an hour.

These are just suggestions; there are MANY exceptions to the rule. For instance, Binge Mode is a popular podcast covering various fandoms, and their twice-weekly episodes regularly surpass two hours. 

Think about your audience and your podcasting goals, and do what feels right to you. 

Episode layout

It definitely wouldn’t be a good idea to start podcasts diving straight into your interview questions. Your podcast needs a hook, and a timeline for your audience to follow. We suggest you:

  • Start with a hook and an intro 
  • Cover the main content of your show (generally an interview)
  • End off with a conclusion followed by an outro.

You may also consider where to place ads or other extra segments. 

It’s always a good idea to write out an outline, or even a script before recording each episode. 

Frequency

The last thing you should think of is how frequently would you like to publish. Think about what’s practical for you and what will be best in maintaining a good relationship with your audience. Above anything else, make sure you’re consistent!

Step 2: Create a podcast brand

As much as you shouldn’t judge a podcast by its cover, branding plays a huge role in attracting audiences. 

Think about: 

  • What audience do you want to attract?
  • How do you want your brand to make others feel?
  • How do you want your podcast to be represented?

When you’ve thought about this you can then start to create your logo and podcast art cover.

Logos help make your podcast look more official or professional. They create a consistent brand between your podcast’s different platforms. 

Cover art is the way you’ll portray your show on podcast directories. This should include the name of your podcast for easy identification, but it should also represent your brand and grab attention.

Learn how to start creating your own, with our podcast cover and logo guides. 

Remember to keep in mind the image requirements of your podcast directory. Apple Podcasts allows images with 1400x1400 pixels up to a maximum of 3000x3000 pixels. Spotify has a minimum of 640x640 pixels.

Step 3: Setup your equipment

Your next step is to set up your podcast equipment and, luckily, you don’t need a fancy studio to create a professional podcast. 

What equipment do you need to start a podcast?

It really depends on your budget and goals. If you’re truly strapped for cash, you can start a podcast with a computer, and a good idea. But if you’re serious about creating a podcast that’s enjoyable to listen to, start with these basics:

  • Microphone: Audio-Technica ATR2100, Samson Q2U
  • Headphones‍: Sennheiser 280 PRO, Audio Technica ATH-m20x
  • Laptop or desktop computer: HP Spectre x360 , Macbook Air
  • Podcast camera (for video podcasts): Logitech Brio, Sony a5100, or the Panasonic HC-V770K

Additional equipment to consider: 

As you can see we’ve added recommendations, but there are many equipment options you can choose from. 

Read more: Best Podcast Equipment for Any Budget (2022) 

If you’re planning on filming with guests in-studio or even with a co-host you’ll need enough equipment for each person. You’ll need a mic for each person and you might want to consider an audio interface or mixer to help you capture tracks. Don’t worry we cover this in detail in our multi-person podcast setup article.

Step 4: Choose recording software

The best and easiest way to record a podcast is to use audio recording software. There are many free and paid solutions on the market. Some options include: 

  • GarageBand (free)
  • Adobe Audition (paid)
  • Audacity (free)
  • Skype (free and paid)
  • Zoom (free and paid)
  • Riverside.fm (free and paid)

It all depends on what you’re looking for. The free options are a great place to get your feet wet. But if you can afford to be a bit more discerning, it’s better to choose specialized software. 

Ask yourself the following:

  • Is the platform easy to use?
  • Are there producer controls? 
  • Does the software record in high-quality resolution?
  • Can you automatically cancel out background noise?
  • Are you recording remotely? If yes: Does your software have remote recording capabilities?
  • Does your software come with easy editing tools for polishing your podcast? (This is a huge help for beginners starting a podcast!)
  • Can you easily download or share your podcast recordings?
  • Can you download uncompressed files and separate tracks for more advanced editing?

The list goes on…

While we can simply tell you that Riverside covers all of the above and more, we’ll let you see for yourselves. You can compare Riverside to other podcast recording software or try it for free! 

Step 5: Prepare for your podcast recordings

You’ve got the basis all sorted out and now it’s time to start preparing for your first few episodes.

Schedule and prepare interviews

If you’re choosing to create an interview-based podcast we recommend starting to schedule guest interviews. Keep a list of guests you’re interested in hosting on a spreadsheet so you can see exactly who you’ve reached out to. You can find guests on social media, or through a referral base or matching platform like PodMatch.

Some guests may be busy, so it’s best to send them an estimate of your interview length. It’s not a bad idea to set yourself a shorter interview length than you’d like, such as 30-45 minutes. Asking for less of your guest’s time will help them be more inclined to say yes, and will help you dig deeper because you know you don’t have an endless amount of time.

Also, think about the type of interview questions you’d like to ask. When guiding an interview you want it to flow like a story. Start by asking your guest how they got to where they are, and let the interview flow naturally from there. 

It’s likely guests get asked questions repeatedly, so you may want to try take a more unique angle. Keep your questions interesting, authentic, and tailored to your specific audience.

“My job as the interviewer is to take all the information that I have and all the reading that I’ve done and all the research that the team has done and given to me and essentially try and discover new things about the person.” - Professional podcaster, Guy Raz (How I Built This)

Outline and setup your episodes

It’s also a good idea to write up a podcast script so you have some direction when recording rather than just aimlessly talking. Decide exactly what you want to cover for your first few episodes then go into the details. (Try our podcast script template, if this seems intimidating.)

Lastly, we suggest to take your equipment for a test run and make sure that everything is working before recording each episode. 

Step 6: Record a few first episodes

Finally, you can actually start creating a podcast! 

Your setup might be a little different based on whether you’re recording remotely or not but here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure all your equipment settings are set up.
  • Test your equipment before recording.
  • Record in a quiet environment or studio. (You can easily create your own DIY home studio if you’re recording at home.)
  • Don’t rush or slurp your words, speak confidently and clearly.
  • Use a live soundboard to add background noise, an intro and outro, or other sound effects. 
  • Position your microphone correctly so you capture sound smoothly

If you’re recording live in a studio, you’ll likely still use software to capture your recording. Make sure everything is connected and simply start recording and then save your files once you’re done. Recording remotely follows the same steps, except that you’ll be interacting with your guest via remote recording software. Make sure your guests know what to do and guide them if they’re unsure. 

We have a complete guide to recording podcasts that goes into detail on how to create your first few podcast recordings.

Step 7: Edit your podcast recordings

Podcast editing doesn’t have to be complicated to make a huge difference in the quality you produce. This is essential if you want your podcast to be a completely polished professional show. 

When it comes to editing we recommend:

  • Trimming out unwanted content to create a seamless but concise flow.
  • Canceling out background noise and cutting out awkward pauses.
  • Equalizing and normalizing noise levels 
  • Adding in sound effects such as background music and an intro and outro (if you haven’t already while recording).
  • Adding visual branding if you’re recording a video podcast. 
  • Creating clips to promote your podcast or repurpose it into short-form content.  
Read more: Podcast Editing: How to Do It In 10 Steps (Complete Tutorial)

Some recording software like Riverside comes with editing tools to help you out and it’s worth looking into this. Although if you want to be more advanced with your editing, specialized editing software might be better.

Step 8: Publish your podcast show

After making your podcast, your next step is to publish your podcast on different listening platforms. To do this, you’ll need to use a podcast hosting site which is where you store your podcast content. You’ll then use your podcast hosting site to push content to a listening directory which is where your audience is able to access your show.

Publishing a podcast when starting a podcast

We recommend choosing a hosting platform that is compatible with your podcast, offers enough storage, allows you to publish your podcast on the platforms you most like, and offers easy analytical tools to assess your podcast afterward. 

Some options include:

Each platform may require a slightly different process but generally, in order to publish your podcast you’ll need to:

  1. Upload your first (few) episode(s) to a podcast hosting service.
  2. Create an RSS podcast feed. 
  3. Submit this RSS feed to the podcast directory you’d like to publish to.
  4. Once approved, new episodes you upload onto your podcast hosting site should automatically get published on the directories you chose. 

And if you’re looking for where to publish, start off with the most popular listening apps. You can try: 

Step 9: Promote and monetize your podcast

You might think that after publishing your podcast your work ends. This is not the case at all though! If you want your podcast to be listened to, it’s always good to promote it so you can attract listeners and more downloads. 

 Promoting your podcast 

There are many podcast promotion and marketing tactics you can try. Here are some ideas:

  • Invest in audio SEO to boost your search rankings
  • Repurpose episodes into short shareable social media content (You can easily create this with Riverside Clips). 
  • Create a podcast website
  • Use a podcast promotion platform or network service
  • Collaborate with other podcasters

Figure out what’s best for you, you may want to create a website, or you may stick to the social media route.

Monetizing your podcast 

Not everyone plans on making money from their podcast, but it’s definitely possible. There are a few main ways podcasts make money and can become full-on income streams.

  • Sponsorships and advertisements
  • Subscriptions and donations
  • Merchandise or paid content
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Live events and public speaking
How to make money when starting a podcast

Note that monetizing your podcast is usually not one of the first priorities when starting a show. This is because some monetization methods such as advertising are more successful if you have a larger amount of listeners. Either way, it’s good to have this in mind so you can start strategizing and pushing towards monetization.

Learn more: 

Assessing your podcast’s success

The best way to succeed is by assessing and consistently improving your podcast. Look at analytics like downloads, the demographics of your audience, where and when your listeners are active as well as other types of audience engagement. This can guide you on how well your podcast is doing, as well as give you cues on how to tailor your podcast more for your audience.

Read more: Podcast Analytics: Why, How & What To Measure 

Bonus: How to start a podcast on different podcast platforms

For the most part, starting a podcast should be the same no matter what platform you’re looking to publish to. The main difference you might encounter is that some platforms like YouTube or more video-oriented. In this case, you’ll be better off creating a video podcast. 

The other thing that might differ is podcast requirements and publishing guidelines. To help you out we cover how to start a podcast on three of the most popular platforms: Apple, Spotify, and YouTube.

How to start a podcast on Apple Podcasts

It is absolutely free to put a podcast on iTunes. Once you’re done recording your podcast, you’ll just need an Apple ID account. Then you can follow these steps to submit and start a podcast on Apple Podcasts: 

  1. Upload your podcast recording to your podcast host. 
  2. Log in to Apple Podcasts Connect.
  3. Add a new show with an RSS feed
  4. Copy and paste your RSS feed from your podcast host.
  5. Upload your podcast artwork and verify your show’s details 
  6. Wait for Apple to verify and validate your show.
 Read more: How to Upload Your Podcast to Apple Podcasts (iTunes) [2022]

How to start a podcast on Spotify

Like Apple, it’s easy (and free) to distribute your podcast to Spotify. On both these platforms, you can create a podcast using the steps outlined above. If you’re going the video route, Spotify now hosts video and even has a Riverside integration through Anchor to help you create quality content seamlessly. 

The platform also partners with many hosting sites—such as Podbean, Simplecast, and Anchor—which makes it simple to authorize Spotify as a distribution platform for your podcast. If your host isn’t one of Spotify’s partners, simply log into Spotify for podcasters with your Spotify account. 

  1. Click “get started”.
  2. Copy your podcast RSS feed from your host it into Spotify’s entry box.
  3. Add your podcast’s info and review everything before submitting. 

That’s it! The podcast should be visible in the app within a few hours. 

Read more: How to Upload a Podcast to Spotify (Complete 2022 Guide)

Starting a podcast on YouTube

It might sound like a strange concept—since podcasts are all about audio, not video, right? But in today’s age, many podcasters are embracing video, and many YouTubers are leaning into the audio medium to reach a wider audience. Modern consumers want (and expect) variety in the forms of media they consume, and YouTube has become a popular place for audiences to seek out podcast content. 

The more ways you can package your content, the broader your audience will be. When it comes to starting a podcast on YouTube think about:

  • The type of video format that will suit your podcast
  • Whether your podcast recording software captures high-quality video
  • YouTube SEO and promotion strategies
Read more: How to Start a Podcast on YouTube in 6 Steps [2022 Guide]

‍Frequently Asked Questions on How to Start a Podcast

‍Who can start a podcast?

The great thing about podcasts is that the barrier to entry is very low. You don’t need technical skills or speaking skills to get started, and you don’t need a massive budget, either. If you’ve got the passion and the willingness to experiment, you can do it.

If you’re wondering how old you have to be to start a podcast, well there’s no official age limit. That being said, some platforms like Spotify require you have a parental guardian’s consent if you are under 13. So while you can certainly start at any age, you may need an adult to guide you if you’re younger.

How much money does it cost to start a podcast?

While you can start a podcast for free (as long as you have basic recording equipment), it’s likely going to cost at least $100 to get yourself set up. And the real cost depends on if you’re a hobbyist or plan to make an income from your podcast. 

You’ll need to cover the cost of your equipment (which can vary in price), a podcast hosting account and software subscription, and extras like theme music and cover art design. If you go with the bare minimum, you can expect to spend $50 on a microphone and $15/month on podcast hosting.

If you want to start a high-quality podcast, it might cost more in the range of $500-1000 to get started with the right equipment, plus $30-$50 per month for hosting and software subscriptions.

How to start a podcast on a budget?

Starting a podcast on a budget is totally doable, and might actually be a better route to go. If you’re just starting out it’s best to test the waters first and see if this is something you really want to commit to before you go all in. You can follow the exact same steps above on starting a podcast, but here are some extra tips for budgeting when starting a podcast:

  • Purchase only the basic equipment you need to start
  • Remember that top-quality equipment doesn’t have to be pricier
  • Record, edit and host your podcast on free podcast software
  • As your podcast grows and monetizes, invest back into it

You don’t need fancy equipment to produce a high-end podcast. Start with what you can afford and build up from there.

Can you start a podcast for free?

Yes! You can definitely start a podcast for free. There is a wide variety of free podcast software available and many paid options have a free plan as well. If you don’t have a microphone you can try get away with recording with your phone’s mic, but for a better-sounding podcast, it’s best to at least invest in a mic. 

You can always dip your feet into podcasting like this first, but to really develop and grow your podcast it’s worth investing in quality equipment as well as specialized podcast recording and editing software.

How to start a podcast at home?

Creating a podcast at home isn’t much different than creating it in a studio. Actually, with remote platforms like Riverside it’s easier than ever. If you’d like steps to create a podcast at home, follow the same guidelines above but focus on building an efficient podcast studio at home. You’ll want to make sure you’re using remote recording software and know how to record your podcast online.

Read more: How To Record A High-Quality Podcast Remotely [in 2022]

‍How many episodes does it take to start a podcast?

A good rule of thumb is to have at least two or three episodes in the queue before going live, but it depends on how much buffer you’d like to give yourself. One episode is all you really need to get started; the rest is just how prepared you want to be.

Do you need a license to start and publish a podcast?

You don’t need a license to be a podcaster—but if you want to feature music on your show that you didn’t create, you’ll want to obtain a synchronization license

Many podcasters rely on “fair use” laws that let them play a small portion of a copyrighted work without a license; however, all it takes is one lost lawsuit for you to lose a lot of money. It’s best to get a license to use someone else’s music or avoid using it altogether.

What is the best day to launch a podcast?

Since every podcast audience is unique, your best bet is to start publishing, then check your hosting platform’s analytics to see what days and times get the most downloads for your podcast. But if you’re looking for a good place to start, here’s a list of the most popular days and times to publish according to Podbean’s 2019 statistics:

  • Wed 7 pm EST
  • Mon 8 am EST
  • Mon 9 am EST
  • Tue 9 am EST
  • Mon 10 am EST

Do you need a website for a podcast?

It’s not technically necessary, but you should absolutely have a website if you’re serious about podcasting and building an audience. Your website is your home base. It:

  • Functions as an archive for back episodes
  • Helps you gain new traffic
  • Establishes brand consistency
  • Helps you build a community. 

You can also create a funnel for your audience by collecting subscribers’ email addresses and contact information, then adding them to your email list for any future marketing or promotional efforts you take on down the road.

How much money can you make from a podcast?

Besides the number of listeners your podcast attracts, it depends on how much effort you put into monetizing your podcast. While the top podcasters earn millions, this might not be the case for the average podcaster. Podcasters can make anything from a few hundred dollars an episode to full-blown income. This amount is affected by your use of advertisement, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and more. 

For example, if you charge $40 CPM for a single advert in an episode you could earn around $400 if you have a following of 10,000 listeners. Let's say you post twelve episodes per month, then that equals only $4,800 per month. The more you grow and monetize your podcast the more income it'll give you.

‍What pays more, YouTube or a podcast?

Podcasting pays more on a CPM basis than YouTube does. While the average CPM for podcasting ranges from $15-$50, YouTube videos tend to pay in the $2-$10 CPM range. 

‍Why do podcasts fail?

There can be any number of reasons why a podcast might fail, but one of the most common is that beginner podcasters aren’t able to connect with their audience or deliver real value in an entertaining package.

Why should you start a podcast?

Are you still wondering if starting a podcast is a good idea?If you need some inspiration, we’ll give you 5 reasons why we think you should start a podcast:

  1. You’ll be able to build an authentic audience over a topic you love to share your expertise on.
  2. Podcasts are fantastic marketing tools and can help you connect with potential customers.
  3. You’ll likely meet interesting guests and learn a lot!
  4. It’s possible to turn podcasting into an income stream.
  5. The podcast industry only keeps growing and it’s a great space to be in right now.

How to Start a Podcast: Over to You

Starting a podcast can be daunting. It’s understandable to be filled with countless questions about the process, the equipment, the software, and the right marketing strategies. 

The world of audio content is a vibrant, exciting one that’s always full of growth potential. We hope with all of our starting a podcast tips and advice, we’ve helped you feel a little more prepared to make the leap into podcasting!


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