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Podcasting 101 Guide: What is Podcasting & How to Start

Podcasting includes creating an audio file for distribution via an RSS feed. We simplify podcasting for you and explain, what it is, how it works, and more.
Kendall Breitman
Social Media & Community Expert
Last Updated:
January 15, 2024
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

With 383.7 million podcast listeners worldwide and podcast ad-spend projected to rise to $3 billion by 2026, it’s understandable if you’re looking to get involved in audio content. Though you may have tuned into a podcast or two previously, recording and producing one is a totally different ball game. 

The key to success is starting from the basics: learning about what you need for podcasting, the best practices to get started with, and tapping into industry know-how. In this podcast 101 article, we’ve put together a podcasting guide for beginners, offering you some tips and tricks for making some noise in the podcasting world. 


  • Podcasting is all the process of creating, recording, and publishing a podcast
  • 3 reasons to start podcasting: it’s easy, gives you a platform, and it’s lucrative
  • To get started, make sure to keep a tab on the industry, invest in your setup, and understand the best tools available to you. 
  • The biggest tip for getting started podcasting? Prioritize recording quality. 

What is Podcasting?

Before we get into the details, let’s take a step back and answer the most important question: what is podcasting? 

In terms of mainstream consumption, podcasting is a relatively new medium. Though podcasts have technically existed since the late 20th century, they really only started taking hold in the early 2000s. 

What is a podcast? 

A podcast is essentially a pre-recorded radio show that is available to stream or download for on-demand listening. Podcasts can take many formats (solo, interview, panel etc) and often have a theme or specific topic of interest. Although they started as an audio-based medium, video podcasts have been gaining serious popularity in recent years. 

What does podcasting mean? 

Podcasting refers to the process of recording, producing and publishing a podcast show. You can record in a more traditional studio-setting, remotely online, or on-location. Some creators choose to livestream or repurpose live content for their podcast. 

How does podcasting work?

As you might be able to tell, there’s no set formula for how to approach podcasting. That being said, the overall process will look similar to this: 

Step 1:  Record your podcast audio and/or video. 

You can do this in remotely using software like Riverside, or on-location in studio. 

Step 2: Edit and finalize your podcast in post-production. 

Make sure your audio sounds as good as it should, stitch various segments together, and add sound-effects and other media into your recording. 

Step 3: Publish and distribute your podcast via your podcast host. 

Step 4: Monitor your podcast analytics to see how well your content performs. 

You may also choose to monetize your content through dynamic ads, for example. 

Step 5: Repeat! 

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Why should you start podcasting?

If you’re still on the fence about whether you want to start podcasting, here are a few reasons you should take the plunge: 

It’s easy & affordable 

The first, and arguably most compelling, reason to start podcasting is that it’s easy and super budget-friendly. Getting started podcasting doesn’t need to be complicated, nor does it require a big up-front investment. If you have a mic and a computer, you’re pretty much good to go. 

Audience reach & exposure 

Whether you’re an independent creator or a business, podcasting’s wide reach has got to be tempting. Since 56% of US adults listen to podcasts at least a few times a year, the exposure that podcasting can give you or your brand is invaluable. 

Gain credibility  

Podcasting gives you a great platform to establish your voice within a space. By podcasting, you can share your expertise and experience with your audience in a meaningful way. 

Monetization potential 

The profitability of podcasting should not be overlooked. Podcast ad spending in 2022 was estimated to be at around 1.73 billion USD, forecast to increase to 2.5 billion USD by 2024. For independent creators, this offers a lucrative opportunity to make money from their content. For businesses, podcasting represents a way to diversify revenue whilst promoting their product.  

Read more: How to Make Money Podcasting in 2024: 12 Effective Ways

Advantages and Disadvantages of Podcasting 

To get a better idea of the realities of podcasting, you need to know the pros and cons of starting a podcast: 

Pros of podcasting 


As we mentioned earlier, getting started with podcasting is easy. Even if you have no experience with podcasting equipment or recording one, you’ll be an expert in no time. This means it’s an extremely accessible medium for anyone and everyone. 


Secondly, even if you’re contending with a tight budget, podcasting won’t break the bank. Not only can you start a podcast show for free, if you want to, but you can also keep your ongoing costs very low by using free or affordable tools and services. 

Growing medium  

Podcasting is growing at a pace and it’s not slowing down. By 2024, podcasting is predicted to be a $4 billion industry. Getting in on the game early is never a bad thing. 

Competitive edge 

In the same vein, if all your competitors are podcasting then shouldn’t you be too? As the industry grows, podcasting will be a major factor in maintaining a competitive edge and ensuring your voice is as loud as those around you. 

Additional Revenue 

Finally, we’re sure that nobody would turn down a potential revenue stream. As monetization methods for podcasting grow and expand, the possibilities for a great ROI increase too. If you’re able to create a successful and popular show, you could start to see some serious bang for your buck. 

Read more: How to Make a Successful Podcast: 15 Effective Tips to Try

Cons of podcasting 

Number of podcasts 

The sheer number of podcasts (approximately 200 million worldwide) might put you off entering what’s already a fairly saturated market. That being said, every voice is different and if you can produce a high-quality podcast, there’s nothing stopping it from rising to the top of the podcast charts. 

Consistency is key 

Though a podcast can be as high-maintenance or low-effort as you want it to be, generally speaking, to hit the top of the charts you’re going to need to commit energy to consistent creation and output. This might not be achievable depending on how much time and energy you can commit to your podcast. 

Monetization doesn’t mean profit 

Lastly, if you’re looking to podcast as a way to make money, it’s important to realize that monetization doesn’t always mean a huge profit or even necessarily breaking even. Attracting lucrative sponsorship and advertising deals relies on establishing a niche and generating a captive audience. Whilst this isn’t impossible, it’s the product of concerted and consistent effort. 

How To Get Started Podcasting

If you’re ready to get started podcasting, you’re probably wondering how. In this section, we’ll offer some podcasting tips for beginners and how to get started easily: 

1. Understand the industry

We’re not saying you need to be a podcasting expert from day-one, but it definitely helps to understand what kinds of shows do well and why, the best tools and platforms to use, and what you can do to make your podcast stand out. 

Practically speaking, this means taking the time to do your research, listen to some podcasts, and really hone in on your podcast’s identity and niche. In the long-run, this should help you define your podcast’s voice and build out a really successful show. 

Podcasting setup

Figuring out your podcasting setup is the first step. Your setup can be as minimal or fully-equipped as you want it to be - depending on your budget, recording format, and the space available to you. 

A basic podcasting setup should include a mic, computer, and recording software at the very least. If you’re thinking of creating a video podcast, you’ll also need a camera of some sort. 

If you want some inspiration for your podcasting setup, follow the tips in our guide to setting up a podcasting studio at home

Podcasting software

Podcasting software is a must for all beginner podcasters. Not only are they key to getting your podcast made, but often their in-built features will help to elevate the quality of your recording. 

Though there are plenty of more generic audio-recording platforms out there, we’d recommend opting for a tool that’s podcast-specific. This will ensure that even if you’re a complete beginner, you’ll be in safe hands. 

When choosing your podcast software, it’s a good idea to get a feel for the various ones that are available and see which one aligns with your needs. We’ve done the hard work for you by putting together a guide to the best podcast recording software in 2024

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Podcasting Remotely vs In Studio

You’ll also have to choose whether you’ll be recording remotely or in a studio. Though, of course, these don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You could opt to do a mix of the two! 

If you’re stuck between the two, here’s a quick comparison between recording in a studio and remotely: 

Remote guests vs in-person 

If you choose to record remotely, this opens up your flexibility for including remote guests. This means that even if someone can’t make it physically to your location, they can still participate in your podcast. This is great for extending invites to guests in other parts of the world or even locals who prefer a home-working approach. 

Read more: How To Record A High-Quality Podcast Remotely [in 2024]

That being said, you might prefer to gather people physically in a room to benefit from the organic rapport and interaction. This approach usually entails a few more logistical considerations, though. 

And of course, you could go for a hybrid approach, incorporating remote and in-person guests in the same recording. The video below walks you through how to go about podcast hybrid recordings.

Logistical considerations

The logistical considerations are the biggest difference when it comes to remote vs in-person recording. If you want to record in a studio, you’ll need to locate and book out a space. This will inevitably add to your podcasting budget. And in addition to getting your guests there, you’ll also be contending with time-constraints. 

By contrast, remote recording affords you invaluable flexibility. All you need is your phone or laptop and you’re good to go. Your remote guests can join your session from wherever they are and you’re not so limited on recording time if you need to extend your session. 

Recording quality 

You may be leaning towards studio recording simply because you want to maximize your recording quality. The biggest misconception is that remote recording means low quality. With platforms like Riverside, you can record a studio quality podcast straight from your laptop - even if your internet isn’t playing ball. The secret? Local recording. 

Learn more about Riverside, or start podcasting today!

Podcasting Best Practices: Tips To Get Better At Podcasting

Unfortunately, there’s no fail-safe way to podcast. However, there are some podcasting tips that you can follow to set yourself up for success. 

Keep up to date with trends 

As we mentioned earlier, keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in podcasting is vital. You need to know what’s doing well, what tools to be using, and what audiences are listening to. Additionally, understanding how different platforms like Twitter and Spotify are changing the space are important for adapting your content and strategy to keep up. 

Listen to your audience 

Your audience aren’t the only ones who should be listening. You need to cater to your listeners, producing content that keeps them engaged and interested. This is also important if you want to monetize your content. 

You can harness your podcast analytics to understand your podcast’s performance and refine your output. You can also diversify your content by recording exclusive podcasts for your subscribers or doing livestreams. 

Stay agile 

Though you might get into a good rhythm with your podcasting, it’s important to be adaptable and keep innovating to stay ahead of the game. This means integrating new tools and platforms into your process as you grow, and staying open to changing things up if and when the time comes. 

Invest in your process 

As your podcast grows, you’ll probably be able to start spending a bit more on your setup. Though you can get away with a bare-bones podcasting setup, if you’ve got the budget, it’s definitely worth upgrading and investing in your equipment. 

Don’t skimp on quality 

Last, but certainly not least, never skimp on quality. A podcast is defined by its audio, visual and production quality. This is what gives your show credibility and keeps audiences coming back. 

FAQs on Podcasting

What is podcasting and how does it work?

Podcasting is the process of creating, recording and publishing a podcast - which is an audio-based recording that is available for on-demand streaming or download. 

In recent years, video podcasts have gained serious popularity amongst podcast-lovers and creators alike. This has been spurred on especially by the success of YouTube Podcasts

What is the purpose of a podcast?

There’s no singular meaning or purpose to a podcast. It can be anything you want it to be - whether that’s to make people laugh, contemplate different issues, or introduce new ideas. 

Podcasting is unique because unlike a live radio show or livestream, listeners can decide when and where they want to listen to your content.  

What are the 3 types of podcasts?

We’d say there are more than 3 types of podcasts. That’s because there are lots of different ways that you can break down the different types of podcasting: remote vs studio recorded, monologue vs interview vs panel, fiction vs nonfiction - the list goes on. 

Are podcasts profitable?

It’s important to realize that a podcast probably won’t be profitable straight off the bat. You’ve got to dedicate time and effort into building a niche and cultivating a solid (and captive) audience base. That being said, podcasting can be incredibly lucrative if you open up into advertising and subscriptions. 

How much time does it take to produce a podcast?

This depends on how much time you want to spend. Theoretically, you can spend as little or as much time as you want or need. Using tools such as Riverside’s integrated editor, you can take raw recording to publication-ready podcast in minutes. However, if you want to get down to the minute detail using a dedicated editing suite, you may find yourself spending longer. 

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