I did a question box on Instagram and asked what you all wanted to see more of – and a lot of you said podcasting! So, welcome to podcasting 101. I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about running a podcast, from the equipment to how to start it.
Want to listen to the podcast version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
I haven’t covered podcasting on this podcast in about 2 years. And it feels very meta to do podcasting 101 on my own podcast, but it also feels right! So, let’s get down to business.
New podcasters will get a ton out of this entire post. If you already have a podcast, then content geared toward you will be near the end of the post.
HOWEVER, if it were me, I’d be sure to check out this whole post either way. You don’t know what you don’t know about podcasting! (Flash back to a few episodes ago when I talked about how you don’t know what you don’t know.)
What equipment do you need for podcasting?
To talk about equipment, we also have to talk about the “podcast bros.” There is a whole “Bro” segment in podcasts and YouTube channels who recommend SUPER expensive, high-end equipment to everyone. As a woman, I’m out here telling you to start with what you have and purchase expensive equipment late. Whereas these “Bro-Tuber” Channels will tell you to buy a $6,000 to get started on YouTube. It’s ALL stuff you don’t actually need to get started… it’s just stuff they feel cool using.
The same thing happens in the podcasting world! A lot of “Bro” podcasters will tell you that you need a $500 mic and an XLR input (excuse me, what foreign language are you speaking?!) to get started.
I promise, you DO NOT need expensive equipment to start a podcast. It is NOT complicated to start a podcast!
I have hosted a podcast in one form or another and been a guest on hundreds of podcasts in the last 5.5 years. And I have done just fine with a mic that plugs in to my computer. Seriously. Fancy equipment is cool, and if you want to do certain things you might need it. But, probably not.
So I don’t need fancy equipment?
Podcasting 101: All you need to start a podcast is a mic that plugs into your computer and you need a way to record your voice on your computer. That’s IT.
I use a Mac to record. My mic plugs into my computer, and I use Quicktime to record the episode.
I could totally open Garageband or another voice software to record straight into my editing platform, too.
A LOT of podcasters do guest interviews frequently. (I personally don’t because I don’t like it and I’m not a great interviewer, but a lot of people do!)
If you are doing in-person interviews, or have a co-host who is in the same location as you, then you might need other equipment besides what I’m recommending here. You will probably need a second computer and second microphone to make sure the audio for you and your guest is good to go,
What equipment do I need for virtual interviews?
If you are doing virtual interviews, I highly encourage you to use Zoom as a way to see your guests. As a podcaster who’s been on a lot of interviews, I MUCH prefer being able to see the other person. It’s a way better environment when you can see each other. And if you want to, you can absolutely use Zoom to record the audio! But, that audio quality isn’t the best.
If you have guests on your podcast and don’t want to use Zoom to record, there is a platform called ZenCaster that allows you to record guest audio over the computer.
If Zoom is all you have, and both people have good mics, then use Zoom! But you will be able to tell a difference between Zoom and just recording your audio straight into your computer.
In addition to that, you’re also at the mercy of the internet. If someone loses a connection… you’ve just lost that chunk of their audio. A guest having a bad Internet connection could make for a really rough recording.
Using a service like ZenCaster lets you record audio separately from Zoom (but you can still use Zoom to see your guest!). It’s a web app that records the audio separately from two microphones and then mushes it together at the end. Even if your guest has a bad internet connection, ZenCaster will pick up their good audio because it’s recording straight from their computer.
What microphone should I use?
I want to say something here. You don’t need all of that expensive, fancy equipment to have a successful podcast. But, since we’re in podcasting 101, I want to clarify that audio DOES MATTER.
It’s an audio-only platform. If a listener hops from one show with great audio to another show with “meh” audio, they might stop listening without knowing why. But, it’s really because the audio isn’t as good.
I have seen people get EATEN UP on the internet because they use a mic that isn’t made for podcasting and the audio is garbage. Don’t go grab a mic just because it’s pretty if it isn’t made for podcasting.
(As a warning here, DO NOT use a Blue Yeti mic. You literally have to be locked in a closet with no noise for those to sound okay. Not a worthy purchase for podcasting, even though they are pretty.)
The average listener isn’t an audiophile. As long as you don’t sound like you’re way far away from the mic, recording in a bubble, or WAY too close and get those popping noises, then you will be fine!
Make SURE you’re using a mic that is good for your environment and your voice.
The mic that I used prior to my newest one cost $60. I used it for five years, traveled with it, and it was GREAT. I would have kept it for longer, except I dropped it and broke it (whoops).
Both of my mics only pick up sound from one-direction: me speaking into the microphone. There are mics that will pick up sound from every direction of the microphone, two directions, or just one.
I needed a mic that was not going to pick up a crap ton of echo because of my podcast setup. So I made that a priority when I was choosing!
Either way, any mic that reduces background noise and works well with your voice that plugs straight into your computer is great. That’s the most important equipment tip I can give you in podcasting 101.
I highly recommend the mic I started with: the ATR 2100.
When I bought it, it was $60, but now it’s $99. I would STILL start with this mic today.
There’s another entry-level mic from Shure that’s around $60. But I highly recommend the ATR-2100. It’s a great microphone that won’t pick up a bunch of background noise.
A lot of people in the podcasting space would recommend the Shure SM70. That’s the mic that podcasters like Joe Rogan use. Which is fine, but you DO NOT need to spend that much money to start out! It’s super expensive, doesn’t plug directly into your computer, and it’s complicated to start out.
When I broke my ATR 2100, I purchased the Shure MV7. It took me awhile to figure out the settings, but it’s a GREAT mic that’s much cheaper than the Shure SM70. And it plugs straight into your computer, so you don’t need all of that extra audio equipment!
The Ideation of your Podcast
If you haven’t started a podcast yet, then you have to think through the ideation of your show. Podcasting 101 is all about asking the right questions to get started. What format do you want to use: solo, guests, or solo mixed with guests? A video podcast? What will you talk about?
The ideation of your podcast is different for every niche and every person.
In All Up in Your Lady Business, we had a co-hosted podcast. We did a lot of interviews with guests. And our niche was female business owners in general. Our niche was broad and we talked to a lot of people.
With my podcast, I have YET to have a guest almost two years in – and that is on purpose. Like I mentioned, I don’t love interviewing other people and I’m not great at it. I also just didn’t want to deal with the scheduling aspect of a guest-based show.
Plus, I want to give you strategy and not just a run-down of guests who have been on 100 other podcasts. I have NO problem with guest shows, and I love being a guest – it just wasn’t what I wanted.
What is your niche? Who will you talk to? What will you talk about? How do you want to serve? What type of content will you create: strategy-based, telling stories, interviews? Guests or no guests?
Hosting Software You Need for a Podcast
Podcasting 101: Make sure that you’re hosting your podcast somewhere that will syndicate it out to all of the platforms. A local business here started hosting a podcast, and when I went to find it, I couldn’t listen to it ANYWHERE. So, I went back to their post and found out it was hosted on a platform that only allowed you to listen to it on that platform.
You should host your podcast using one hosting platform and then allow it to syndicate out!
I use Libsyn, and I really enjoy it. Our process is pretty simple. I record the episodes, Laura puts in the intro and ads, then she uploads them to Libsyn with shownotes and a release date, and we’re good to go!
Whatever hosting platform you want to use is fine, as long as it makes the podcast available on all the major streaming platforms.
Basic Strategy of your Podcast
This isn’t necessarily about launching, but the strategy about how you should be USING your podcast. I will probably say something you don’t like… because I’m not sure a lot of people agree with this strategy.
So many people think that starting a podcast is what’s going to skyrocket your business and grow it like crazy. And I thought this, too. When I launched my first course (that was more like a membership), I thought that my podcast would get me a ton of members. It was called Creative Cubicle, and I wanted to teach all of the skills to people who wanted to start a creative business.
I launched the Creative Cubicle the same week that we launched the All Up in Your Lady Business podcast, and I sold 0. My honest-to-goodness assumption is that I would launch this podcast with these great guests, and everyone in their audience would jump in and buy from me. That’s just not how it works.
A podcast is NOT the top of a funnel. It’s NOT the place people find you or are first exposed to you. The podcast is somewhere else in the middle of the funnel. A podcast listener has probably been exposed to you somewhere else, like Instagram or YouTube, and then comes to your podcast.
People usually don’t find you because they were searching something on a podcast app. They find you somewhere else and then come over to your podcast. I’m not saying that people will NEVER find you via your podcast, because it does happen. But usually, the podcast isn’t where someone finds you first.
If you think that starting a podcast is going to immediately give you a massive audience, then you need to rethink your strategy. If you’re starting a podcast especially to grow your audience… I’d start somewhere else.
Yes, your podcast may help you grow your audience as people share it. But generally, your podcast is going to be a place that you send your audience to from another platform.
People think that podcasting is this magical content creation platform for brand new people to find you. And I LOVE my podcast. But 99% of my listeners come to my podcast because I mention it elsewhere.
Your podcast is NOT the top of your funnel.
It’s worth repeating. Podcasting 101: your podcast is NOT the top of your funnel. You should be telling people about it elsewhere and growing your listenership that way.
That’s not to say it could never be the top of your funnel, because it absolutely could be. But you have to do a lot of work to make that happen.
I do have friends who are discovered via their podcast. That usually happens because they were a guest on a ton of other podcasts, and their audience comes over that way. Being a guest on another podcast is a GREAT way to grow your podcast audience.
Audience growth should not be the primary goal of a podcast that you’re starting, or you’ll be highly disappointed with the results. It will take years for your audience to start finding you via your podcast, and in the meantime it’s a lot of extra work and time to put in for little results. If you want to grow your audience, there are a ton of other, quicker methods to that!
Your podcast should serve as a place for your existing audience to come hang out with you.
SEO for Podcasts
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s magical. Whenever you’re using a platform that allows people to search, SEO majorly comes into play.
Podcast apps definitely have SEO built in to them.
But people search VERY differently on a podcast platform than they do on Google. On Google, someone might search, “how to start a podcast.” When searching on a podcasting platform, people are usually using VERY short keyword searches, like “podcast” or “passive income.”
More importantly, podcast platforms are not NEARLY as robust as other search engines. Just because you title an episode “passive income” doesn’t mean the platform will recommend your episode to someone who searches those keywords.
I like to listen to podcasts on Apple Podcasts. When I search for a key phrase there, it will bring up the shows with that keyphrase in their title or tagline. Then, it will bring up episodes it thinks I might like. But those results are SUPER limited! It only shows me about 30 different options when I search. And a lot of episodes that show up aren’t super relevant to my search (for example, they show up because the podcast name has that keyword, even though the episode might not be related).
Definitely pay attention to the tagline, show name, and episode titles for SEO on podcasts. But it’s pretty slim pickings that you’ll be found on the platform.
I ALWAYS recommend doing a blog post with each podcast episode on your blog. Use the keywords you want that episode found for to help get that Google Search SEO juju going on. My podcast episodes have definitely been found via Google Search when they maybe never would’ve been found in Apple Podcasts.
How to Grow your Podcast
The real strategy to grow your podcast is to grow your overall audience. Whether you’re growing on Instagram, YouTube, or somewhere else, sending that audience to your podcast is your best bet for growth.
The other option is to get yourself on other people’s podcasts! That will help grow your audience, too. You need to get more people in your audience who want to listen to you on a regular basis.
The biggest tip I can give you is to NETWORK. Get yourself in front of the right audience and send them to your podcast.
Now that you’ve got podcasting 101 under your belt, don’t let anything stop you from starting the podcast of your dreams.
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