13 Things You’ll Need to Start a Podcast in 2021

todayJune 14, 2021 27

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A podcast is a great way to humor, educate, and entertain an audience. Around 55% of all U.S. consumers listen to these digital shows, a figure that only continues to grow year after year. If you’re looking to start a podcast but need a nudge in the right direction, we have plenty of information to share right here.

13 Things You’ll Need to Start a Podcast in 2021

1. Your Reason

Before you purchase any equipment, understand why you want to launch a podcast. Are you a business owner? Freelancer? Independent publisher? If you’re linking the potential of a podcast to your profession, congrats. This is a great way to deliver valuable content to your listeners and build credibility in your field.

Alternatively, if you want to podcast as a hobby, your schedule and content might be slightly different. What we’re saying is that you’ll probably develop the show as you have time, and the subject matter will likely be something you’re passionate about, such as gourmet food or jazz. In either case, you need to identify your reason. This will keep you motivated when your schedule is tight and in the early days of establishing your audience.

2. Your Target Audience

Speaking of your audience, do you know who they are? As in, the people you want to target with your message. Without this critical information, your podcast will lack direction.

Let’s say you’re a graphic designer interested in attracting new clients. Your target audience might therefore include small business owners, authors, and marketing managers. If you’re a sports enthusiast who wants to highlight players and weekly games, your audience is simply people with the same interests. They might be sports enthusiasts, local coaches, or athletes themselves.

Starting from Scratch

Many people want to start a podcast but don’t because they’re starting from scratch. That is to say, they have no audience already established with a business, blog, or social media following. Don’t let this deter you. Most listeners do not care if they’ve never before heard your name. What they do care about is the content you deliver.

3. Great Shows Planned

Whether you’re talking about great logos (as a graphic designer might) or interviewing a local minor league baseball player (as a sports podcaster would), you’re giving listeners valuable content. This is their reason for listening, and once they’re hooked, they’ll come back for more. The best thing you can do in the early stages of your podcast is to generate ideas for 10 to 15 shows you think listeners would enjoy. This gives you a firm foundation from which to launch.


4. A Name

You might think this is the easiest of your steps, and perhaps it will be. But we have a few pieces of advice: don’t use your own name, unless you incorporate it with something descriptive like Gourmet Food Ideas with Ann Martin, and don’t make it too wordy. You’ll be saying your podcast name quite often when recording your episodes, so make sure it rolls off the tongue.

Also be careful with clever names, as it can be hard to know what these shows are about. If you want a title like Fat Pockets and Happy Lives, you might also consider a tagline to go with it. For instance, if your podcast is about personal finance, add a phrase like, “Everyday ways to save money.” The easiest of all names is probably the descriptive one, such as The Rock Climbing Podcast.

5. Episode Length

Do you want your podcast to run 15 minutes? 10 minutes? A full hour? If you’re looking for the sweet spot in terms of length, it’s generally 20 to 45 minutes. Again, you need to think about your audience, and this is the average time of a work commute or exercise session.


6. New Release Schedule

The best schedule is the one that allows you to release the most episodes on a regular basis. If you can do this weekly, that’s great. If time only permits for once every two weeks, then stick with that schedule. And, finally, if once a month is the best you can squeeze in, that’s fine, too. The most important factor here is meeting your deadlines so listeners know they can regularly count on you for new podcasts.


7. Recording Equipment

You need at least a computer with a microphone and Internet access to record a podcast. Keep in mind, however, the more limited your equipment is, the more limited your show’s sound quality may be. We therefore recommend you invest in a simple but capable USB microphone and stand. Don’t spend big sums of money just yet – you want to first ensure you enjoy podcasting.


8. Recording Software

This software allows your computer to record your podcast episodes. You have a few options here, including those that can be downloaded for free. For instance, Audacity delivers a high-quality sound experience free of charge. Adobe Audition takes considerable time to learn but is rich in features. Alitu offers great editing capabilities and is very easy to use. Mac users likely already have Garageband installed.


9. Your Words

It’s time to hit record on your software, but you’re not sure what to say. You might be tempted to read from a script, but we don’t recommend this. You’ll likely sound like you’re reading, which you are, and that doesn’t make for a very lively show. Instead, have bullet points in front of you highlighting what you want to discuss. Then proceed with your show as if you’re talking to a friend. Keep it light and conversational – listeners like this level of intimacy.

10. Cover Art

Attractive cover art for your podcast will help it stand out in places like the iTunes store. Canva is a free platform where you can easily use stock images to create a well-designed cover. You can also have a freelance graphic designer put this together for you, or ask a friend who loves photography for some help. Ideally, your artwork should be in JPG or PNG form and 1400 x 1400 pixels.


11. Media Hosting Service

A media host is a service provider that stores your podcast files so others can listen, download, and subscribe. Many people believe that once you have a podcast episode completed, you can simply upload it to iTunes, but this isn’t quite true. You need a media host, and monthly subscriptions to these providers are fairly reasonable. Buzzsprout, for instance, starts at just $12 per month.

12. Directories

Now that you’ve chosen your media hosting service, you can submit your podcast episodes to different directories. These are the places – like iTunes – where listeners can discover and download your episodes. Most media hosting services make it easy to distribute to directories.

13. Long-Term Plans

The technical tasks are complete, and you can at last focus on growing your audience and possibly even monetizing your podcast. A few ideas for reaching more listeners include launching a website for your podcast and incorporating SEO, cross-promoting with other podcasters in your space, and asking people you interview to promote your podcast on their websites.

Another way to grow is with our all-in-one streaming platform. We help podcasters quickly and easily reach an enormous audience; just in 2020, our website enjoyed more than 7 million unique visitors with hundreds of thousands of monthly downloads. Visit Helium Radio Network today and take your podcast to the next level.

Written by: #HeliumRadio

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