As a motivational speaker and marketing coach, Inspiration Lab member Hayley Luckadoo loves to empower women to take steps toward big dreams and a better life. She is a serial entrepreneur and audacious dreamer who took a hobby wedding planning business born out of a college apartment and created a multi-business success story. One of her favorite parts is her podcasts — Females on Fire, a business and personal development show for women, and Best of Luck, a relationship podcast Hayley co-hosts with her husband — and below she’s sharing how you can start a podcast too!
Podcasting is an incredible way to build an audience and a business, share your voice and message with the world, or just have a great time while you connect with other people. It’s the hot trend that gives you a platform to do things your way. Plus, anyone can start one! Whether you’re a product-based business, a service provider, a content creator, or work a corporate job but have a hobby you’d love to talk about, podcasting can be for you!
If you know you’re ready to start a podcast, it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out where exactly to begin. There’s really no right or wrong way to host a podcast, but getting started comes down to these five main things.
1. Nail your niche.
If you already know you want to host a podcast, you probably already have some ideas for your show and what you’ll talk about, but having a successful podcast goes deeper than just a topic. Ask yourself, “Do I believe I could talk about this topic or topics within this industry for hours?” If the answer is yes, then you’re off to a great start. If the answer is no, is there a way you could expand on your topic or bring in other people to discuss it? Only you can decide if you’ll be able to come up with enough content on your chosen topic, but thinking about this ahead of time keeps you from getting stuck with no ideas later.
Now think about who your audience is. Are there people who are interested in or would benefit from hearing this content? If you believe there is an audience for it, then you’ve got the most important part! Try to be as specific as possible when it comes to who your ideal listener is. Do a little research on podcasts that are already in this industry or having similar conversations, if there are any. What do people like or dislike about these shows? Consider brainstorming a few episode ideas and asking your ideal listeners to see if they would, in fact, listen to them. You may even get some great ideas you hadn’t thought of yet.
2. Structure your show.
Once you have the concept and know there’s an audience for it, you need to decide how you actually want to structure the podcast. Will you interview guests, go solo, or do a mix of both? Do you want to host it alone or get a co-host? Will you run ads and, if so, where in the show will you place them? You’ll also want to consider how long the episodes will be and how often you’ll publish new episodes, including whether you plan to do the show in seasons or year-round. Much like when you wrote term papers back in school, you need to create an outline for your podcast.
Start with the introduction of the episode. Decide if you’ll have music, play the same intro every time, or do a fresh introduction on every episode. Next, you need to transition into the main content, so have a plan for how you’ll make that switch and how you’ll provide the content (the interview or the topic of discussion). Finally, you have to close the show, so just like the introduction, you need to think about whether there will be music, the same pre-recorded ending to each installment, or a fresh closing. All of these are things you need to think about to create the structure of your podcast.
3. Get the tangibles.
Now that you have the basics of your show nailed down, you have to start getting the actual things that will put the show together. Start with equipment. You don’t have to have a fancy or expensive microphone or a whole production booth to create a great podcast, but you may want to upgrade to something a little better than the voice memos on your iPhone. You can find some inexpensive but still great microphones on Amazon that will get you started. (Just make sure you grab a pop filter for noise protection too!)
You’ll also need online hosting to record and store your podcasts, and there are tons of options depending on your needs. A quick Google search of “podcast hosting” will give you tons of places to start. Next, you’ll want cover art, a square photo with the title that will be the “face” of your podcast. You can design this visual yourself or hire a graphic designer to create it for you. If you want to have intro music, create, purchase, or have someone orchestrate it for you. There are dozens of other things you can invest in to up your podcast game, but these are the basic necessities.
4. Batch your content.
Hopefully you took my advice and created a list of episode ideas and an outline for your episodes because now it’s time to make the magic happen! Start recording your episodes and decide if you’ll edit them yourself or hire a podcast editor. Try to batch your content — meaning, record and edit as many episodes as you can ahead of time — so you won’t feel the overwhelmingness of looming deadlines each week when it’s time for a new episode. Setting aside a day or two to focus on batching as much as you can will alleviate a lot of the headache new podcasters feel after they launch.
5. Create a marketing strategy.
You’re ready to go, so all that’s left is to decide how you’ll market your podcast. Decide which platforms (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, etc.) you want to be available on and submit to them. Choose how you’ll promote your new episodes and create templates for any graphics you might want to use. You may even want to consider creating social media channels specifically for your podcast and promote the episodes using those feeds. Just make sure you know exactly how you plan to promote them so you’re not falling behind with each new episode.
You may also want to host a launch for your show. Create a launch plan, some special graphics, and maybe do something special like an Instagram Live or a giveaway. Launching with a few episodes to start is always helpful, and planning a special launch can help you gain some extra attention right from the start. Ask your friends, colleagues, or current audience (if you have one) to share about your launch and leave reviews for your show. Launching is a big part of your marketing strategy, so it helps to plan all of this out!
That’s it! It may sound like a lot, but the process really is simple. If there’s something you love talking about or that people never stop asking you about, then it may be time for you to start a podcast. Above all else, just remember podcasting is supposed to be fun, so as long as you’re enjoying yourself, the rest of it will come together!