Hello, friends! Today, I thought I would share one of my skillsets with you.
Have you ever thought about turning your blog into a podcast? Or just trying out a new way of using your voice that offers a bit more room for context?
Particularly in today’s virtual climate, if you’re feeling a pull for more community, or looking for a way to jump-start your business visibility, a podcast might be an option you’ve considered, but never seriously inquired into.
So, here goes.
#1: Clearly define your “why” and your audience.
The first step toward launching your own podcast is to be very clear about who you are trying to reach and what you want to offer. This will determine your branding going forward and keep you motivated when the workload settles in.
- What are my goals? (Hint: It’s okay to admit it if you want to make money.)
- How much time am I willing to put in and can I accomplish my goals in that timeframe?
- What is the person that I want to reach experiencing right now?
- What specific ways can I help or offer value?
- What is my story and what does it have to do with my goals?
- It doesn’t have to be self-development! There are podcasts out there about everything from true crime, to book clubs, to entertainment for kids! Your basic categories for your offer are to:
- Educate (Share Your Skills, Research)
- Entertain (Laughter, Storytelling), or
- Learn Together (Debate, Discuss, Relate)
- These questions will also help you to determine your voice: Do you want to be the resident expert? Do you want to keep it informal, a chat between friends? Do you want to offer interviews or solo episodes or a mix of both? Do you want to co-host?
For me, this has been the hardest part of the journey. Honestly, I change and pivot and tweak this still. So, if you haven’t got it all figured out – that’s okay.
But, I do think the more you nail down your message, the more successful and sustainable your podcast will be.
On the bright side, if you’re a fellow blogger you’re probably already most of the way there! 🙌🏾
#2: Create a title, tagline, logo, graphic, and website.
Once you’ve got your “why” and your target audience nailed down, it’s time to create a title, tagline, logo, graphic, and website. Here’s a brief break-down:
Title: Keep it brief and a reflection of your offer. The more popular your terms, the better for your SEO (Search Engine Hits). You will also want to search for trademarks to ensure this isn’t already being used, and verify website domain availability.
Tagline: A short sentence describing your purpose and what people are getting when they come to your space. You will probably use this in your podcast “intro”, so you could practice recording yourself saying it on your phone’s voice memo feature if you want.
Logo: Your logo is the icon you want people to see and immediately think of you. Think of how the colors and images might impact your target audience.
Graphic: Your graphic will be a square image, usually 3000×3000 pixels or less that you submit with your podcast. This is the thumbnail people will see when they listen to your podcast. Many people hire a graphic designer to create their logo and graphic professionally. I didn’t because I’m poor 😂, but an expert will better know how to appeal to the public if you have the resources.
Canva is a great resource if you do decide to create your own graphics. I use this for my social media posts on the show’s feed, as well as my podcast graphics. They have a free plan, but I eventually upgraded to Pro for access to even more images that are not subject to copyright.
Website: You will want a website to host your podcast Show Notes as well as to enable others to listen to and share their favorite episodes. If you know me at all, you know I link to a favorite podcast episode in almost every post, haha! Many times, I’ve tried to do this only to discover that the specified podcast doesn’t have a website! It’s a barrier to your listeners when they can’t find you or share you without a login to an external service. Actually, there are a couple of features I wish I had, but can’t afford at the moment: an RSS Audio Player Plugin to allow play directly onsite, and a Shopping Cart Plugin with the capability to offer affiliate links. By extension, WordPress.org may be a better option for you than WordPress.com, merely due to the plugin flexibility. There are other site creators you might consider as well, such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc… But you know me, I’m partial to WP.
#3: Choose your hardware.
Let’s talk microphones! When I started, we used lapel mics that I bought on Amazon for $14.99. The sound, of course, wasn’t perfection, but, in my case, I felt more strongly about getting it out there, than getting it out there perfectly.
Later, we were gifted a Blue Yeti mic which is what we currently use. However, I’d love to upgrade from a condenser mic to a dynamic mic in the future. (If you’re curious about the difference, a dynamic mic keeps out the background noise better. Rather than clearly picking up every sound, it focuses on your voice.)
We also purchased a mic snowball to limit the time I spent editing out spit sounds 🤣.
A good pair of noise-canceling headphones or earbuds is always a plus, too. I use buds and it works just fine, but I know several people who prefer the expensive headphones to catch more. It depends on the quality level you are looking for and your income.
Most importantly, you will need a good computer that doesn’t slow down easily. It makes everything a chore when you have to wait every five seconds for the wheel of death. Haha!
#4: Choose your software.
Oh, so many places I could go with this. First off, you will want to look at hosting. While your website will host your show notes, your personal server is most likely not going to be capable of hosting your episodes.
Your host will also be essentially responsible for getting your podcast out to all of the available platforms (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc…). Some hosts automatically send your podcast to a wide list of platforms, others require you to manually apply and submit your RSS Feed.
Libsyn is by far the most widely used host, with a variety of plans based on the analytics you want to see.
Joe and I use Anchor, because it’s free! I love that Anchor submitted our podcast to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast, Spotify, and more… all without my having to do a thing but upload the episodes and graphics. I have zero complaints with their hosting quality and customer service. Their analytics on the other hand – not so great – so if you plan to monetize, you may want to look into something else. I also don’t use Anchor’s record features, we use Audacity, because I far prefer their editing capabilities.
Speaking of editing, Audacity is free and a great choice for PC users. You can record directly into Audacity or import audio files. Most Mac users will use GarageBand to edit and do likewise.
Other software might include interviewing, transcribing, and recording software such as Zoom & ECamm. We haven’t done interviews yet, so I don’t know much about how these ones work.
#5: Record your intro & outro.
Now to try your hand at recording! You get to test the waters with an intro and outro. This will lend credibility and variety to your podcast, and let people know what you’re all about.
Our intro is about 45 seconds long. 30 might be better to shoot for, but we wanted to clearly communicate our offer and our purpose.
Our outro includes asking people to share the show if they enjoyed it, and letting them know where they can find us (here and on social media).
Make sure to use royalty-free music with the proper license when you create your intro and outro. We found ours at Storyblocks; I know some people use Bensound or Audio Jungle as well.
#6: Record & Edit your first episode.
Okay, friends. Now that all of the lead-up work is done, it’s time to use your voice. My advice? Prepare, prepare, prepare, but then – enjoy it! We don’t always stick to our script, we laugh a lot, and we go on hopefully-applicable tangents often, haha. But, most of all, we have a lot of fun together and we learn a lot. Don’t worry so much about perfection that you miss out on that.
Once you’ve finished your first episode, edit to your taste (which grows less picky as time goes on, trust me – let’s just say, there is such a thing as over-editing). I am also pretty tech-savvy so Audacity was self-explanatory to me, and I continue to learn as I go, but they have tons of free training on YouTube if you need help with this step.
Next, add your intro and your outro, and voila! You did it!!!
#7: Upload to Your Host & Submit to Apple Podcasts.
Now, it’s time to prepare to launch. First things first, upload your first episode to your host along with your graphic, show title and description (your offer), episode title and description, and completed audio file.
If your host automatically submits your podcast to Apple, great! – Time to play the waiting game. If not, manually apply using your RSS Feed (here is a tutorial I found, but I don’t have iTunes, so – disclaimer – haha).
You want to submit to Apple before announcing your launch because it can take as long 15 days or more (speaking from experience, not what they quote) for them to approve your show and have it up and going. Apple Podcasts is also the number one listening platform where your listeners will find your show.
#8: Announce Your Launch Date & Generate Momentum.
Once you are up on Apple, you can submit to other platforms (which generally take 3-5 bd for you to be up and going) and choose a launch date.
Finally, it’s time to get people excited about your launch! Tell friends and family, share on your social media… I’ve had friends do giveaways – but, basically, just talk about it to everyone you know!
Pump! It! Up!
Before you know it, it will be launch day, and you have a huge congratulations from us here at Of Progress and Purpose.
If you use these tips to launch, I’d love to hear about it! We know the 20-hour work-weeks, the writing, planning, narrowing down, recording instead of Netflixing, pivoting, tweaking, editing… All of it! And we think you are amazing for taking it on!
Which goes right back to your “why” – and we hope you find it absolutely worth every second.
#10: Let’s Talk About Social Media
Last of all, do you have to have a social media account for your podcast? Short answer – No, BUT.
Long answer – it honestly depends on your desire-level to grow. If your podcast is personally fulfilling as a hobby, than no. If you hope to monetize, collaborate, or generate engagement, social media will accelerate the amount of people you are able to reach.
It takes a while to reach the right people, too. Not just the fellow entrepreneurs and the blogger circle, but the listener that needs and is ever-so-grateful for your show. But give it time.
I’ve made so many connections I’m grateful for through this incredible process. I needed the outlet through COVID. I grew so much and continue to grow. I’m on the fence now about keeping it at a hobby level, dropping it altogether to focus on my family, or crossing the line into small-business owner. Wish me luck!
Want to Learn Even More?!
Monica Packer, host of About Progress, and Rachel Nielson, host of the 3in30 Podcast for moms, celebrated my launch with me and are two of the most supportive and, incidentally, two of my favorite, humans on the planet, which I’m sure you know if you listen to our show!
They are teaching a few free classes this month gearing up to the re-opening of their coaching program – Podcast University – to give you a taste of their teaching style and help us newbies out!
The FREE classes are on:
- Monday, September 21 @ 1:00 pm MST (how to grow a podcast)
- Tuesday, September 22 @ 7:00 pm MST (how to start a podcast)
- Monday, September 28 @ 1:00 pm MST (how to start a podcast)
- Wednesday, September 30 @ 7:00 pm MST (how to grow a podcast)
But replays are included if you can’t make it live!
Within Podcast U, they also offer two full courses about starting (10 modules) and growing (8 modules) your own podcast in step-by-step detail, including a new feature – a private podcast – so that you can watch the training videos or listen.
They talk about everything from: What is an RSS feed?, to monetization, XLR hardware, the subtle differences between taglines, intros, show description, etc… interviewing, pitching guests, listener surveys, and more, complete with behind-the-scenes tutorials of the programs they use, and downloadable templates for interviewee release forms and pitches.
Enrollment includes lifelong access, bi-weekly live Q&A sessions, plus the Podcast U Facebook group where we cheer each other on, ask questions, and share about projects, podcast/life balance, etc…
Here’s to success on your journey wherever it takes you!
*This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated if you make a purchase. I promise I only share products I stand by 1000%. Thank you sincerely for your support!