Podcast Mysteries Unraveled: 12 Steps to Your First Podcast

Woman Podcasting

 There are a lot of reasons to start a podcast, you may want to connect to your existing audience in a more personal way. You may not have an audience but would like to build one. Podcasting is a great way to build a new audience. You may want to become a recognized expert in your chosen niche. Podcasting is a great way to get your message out to the masses. Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits has a great article about what podcasts are not good for, but he does add that they are great for branding and relationship building.

Whatever your motivation, podcasts are a great way to get your voice and message heard, but getting started can be a bit overwhelming. In this article, we break podcasting down into 12 simple steps to get your show on iTunes and have your voice heard. From a big picture perspective, you can break podcasting down into four parts plan, produce, publish and promote.

Planning Your Podcast

This is probably one of the most fun parts. You get to decide what your show is about. This is where you get to be creative and decide on the name of the show, the tone and message you want to portray, the format such as having co-hosts or guest interviews, and how long the shows will be and how often you will podcast. You also get to decide fun things like the branding, podcast music, logos and cover art that you will be using. The planning stage is a great time to be creative and weigh your creative options while still taking the time to iron out the nitty gritty details.

Planning Stage

  • Discover your topic, podcast title, and description

  • Decide on your format, podcast length, frequency and editorial calendar

  • Develop your branding such as your cover art, logo, music, and script

Producing Your Podcast

This is the part where you get to record your podcast. This is another fun part of your podcast journey.

This is where you get to gather up all of your podcast equipment and decide on the type of software you are going to use for recording and editing your show. This is where you get to record and maybe re-record your first show. This is where you develop your microphone technique and your speaking and interview skills. This is where you get to hear what your voice really sounds like. This is the part you will revisit over and over and really develop to grow your brand and voice.

Producing Stage

  • Record your show using your microphone and headphones

  • Get your recording into a mp3 format using audio software and your computer

  • Edit your mp3 file - take out ums, pauses and mistakes. Then add your music, intros, outros and advertising if any.

Publishing Your Podcast

Publishing your podcast is a three step approach. You need to make your recorded podcast files readily available for your listeners. This involves finding a media host. A media host is similar to a web host, but it is an affordable way to have your audio files always available with no downtime or bandwidth restrictions. Libsyn and Blubrry are two of the most popular media hosts.

You can also get a podcast feed from your media host. A podcast feed is similar to a blogging RSS feed, but it has all of the information for your podcast.

Once you have your feed, you can use it to publish your podcast to podcast directories such as iTunes without doing any additional work other than uploading your new shows to the media host. The feed will automatically update the directories with your new information each time a new episode is added.  

You will also want a way to interact with your podcast listeners. Publishing your podcast on your existing blog or website or creating one just for the podcast is a good idea. You can create a post for each new episode. On that post, you can have a podcast player with the episode, a link for your listener to subscribe to iTunes, show notes with a summary of that day’s topic and any links mentioned, and a call to action or a way to continue interacting with each listener that visits your site.

The content can also help with SEO.

You will also want to publish your feed in iTunes. The biggest podcast directory in the world and where many of your new listeners will come from. There are quite a few requirements for publishing in iTunes, but the main things you will need is the validated feed from your media host, the cover image, the podcast title, description, categories, and tags.

Publishing Stage

  • Sign up for a media host to submit files and create a feed

  • Create a category on your blog or website to publish each episode and show notes

  • Submit your podcast to iTunes using your podcast feed, title, description, and image

Promote Your Podcast

After all of the work you want to get as many listeners as possible. Like any online endeavor, promotion is one of the best ways to do that. As you hone your craft and build your content library, you want to promote along the way. The most common ways to promote your podcast is through an established website or mailing list that you already have. You can also grow your audience by interacting with the audience of other podcasters by being a guest or interviewing other podcasters and bloggers. You can also leverage social media using your accounts or your guest's accounts. These are the most common methods, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. There are a number of steps to get started podcasting, but broken down they are not that overwhelming.

Promotion Stage

  • Use your website and mailing list

  • Leverage the audience of guests or bloggers you interact with

  • Find a way to leverage social media for your podcast and potential audience