Contrary to popular belief, creating your own podcast nowadays is very easy and basically (almost) free. This is the guide you need to create your podcast in a few steps.
What’s a podcast?
Firstly, story time! It doesn’t hurt to know what we talk about when we refer to podcasts. A podcast is a series of audio episodes available on the internet in which one or more people talk about various topics. It’s basically the evolution of the radio.
Podcasts are usually created by companies or organizations for promotional purposes, as well as by content creators. Fun fact: the term “podcast” is said to be coined by journalist Ben Hammersley in an article for The Guardian, combining the words “iPod” and “broadcast”.
Podcasts have no restrictions on:
- Format, including solo shows or featuring multiple hosts.
- Topic, as there are no limits to the subjects that can be explored in a podcast.
- Length, ranging from as short as 1 minute to several hours.
- Frequency, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly.
Now, let’s jump on how to create your own podcast.
Decide the content of the podcast
The first thing you have to do when creating a podcast is knowing what you’re going to talk about. There is no guide for this, and there are podcasts of absolutely any type.
Ideally, if you’re going to start a podcast, you should choose a topic you’re passionate about, so finding new information comes natural to you. You’ll thank your past self in the long run.
Do you read a lot of books? You can make 5-minute summaries every week. Do you listen to a lot of music? Make a weekly critique of the best artists you’ve discovered. You can also see what other creators are doing before starting and get inspired by their content.
In the end, it’s really all about choosing the topics you’re the most comfortable talking about and moving through what interests you the most.
Choose the format and type of podcast
Once you have chosen the topic, you will need to design the podcast’s format. Will you be doing interviews or will you be speaking alone? Will there be different sections or will it be just one?
Although the format doesn’t have to be a 100% defined from the beginning and it can evolve through experimentation, it’s important to think about what will work best for your content. Take a look at how it’s done in other podcasts to see what could be more interesting.
Generally speaking, we can talk about 3 types of podcasts depending on their format:
Interview podcasts are one of the most common types of podcasts, and big content creators like Joe Rogan use it. In this type of podcast, the main focus is interviewing people who know a lot about certain topics.
The great advantage of this format is that, as a creator, you don’t have to know absolutely anything about a topic, just have good networking skills and curiosity. Additionally, since guests will probably share the podcast, it will reach more people.
The downside is that the episodes need to be planned in advanced, since they don’t depend only on you.
Solo podcasts are those in which a single person speaks. They are the least common, but there are examples like Philosophize This!, by Steven West.
The disadvantage they have is that you will need to prepare the programs a bit more, so you don’t run out of content, or just make them shorter. However, you won’t depend on anyone else to record them and they will be more manageable for you in the long run.
Group podcasts are the middle point (and sometimes a mix) between an interview podcast and a solo one. They are dynamic and don’t require as much specialization on your part, as the workload can be divided among the podcasters.
The positive thing about them is that you won’t have to prepare the content as much and you can record every week at the same time. The negative is that you always depend on others to carry it out. A good example of this is Stuff You Should Know.
How to choose your podcast’s visual identity
Once you have the content and structure more or less defined, you need to focus on how you’re perceived from the outside: the name of the podcast and its visual identity. This is important because many people see the podcast cover and literally “judge the book by its cover“.
If you don’t have any ideas for the podcast name, there are tools that use AI and help you do the brainstorming, such as Namelix. This tool also give you logo ideas, although they might not be the best visually.
On the other hand, for the visual identity, you have options like Canva if you don’t know how to use Photoshop and don’t want to invest money in the logo. This platform offers different templates that you can use as a base and create your own cover.
Lastly, if you don’t want to spend time on this and have some money to invest, Fiverr is a great option to have a freelancer do it for you. You can find them for different prices and they do a pretty good job.
With this figured out, you can move on to recording the podcast.
How to record a podcast
The fourth step in creating a podcast is recording it. Since podcasts rely mostly on audio, it’s important to have a decent recording quality, which means you’ll most likely need a microphone.
If you don’t want to complicate things and learn about audio, the best thing you can do is buying a microphone that works via USB.
Blue Snowball is a popular model, but it tends to pick up a lot of ambient noise. If there is noise around (neighbors, computer fan, etc.), it’s best to use a dynamic microphone (like those used in concerts). Microphones like the Q2U have a great price and sound quality.
Smartphones do also have good microphones nowadays, so if you don’t have the budget for a microphone, that’s not an excuse not to record your podcast.
Once you have the microphone, recording is relatively simple. You can use a free podcast software like Audacity on your computer or use a platform like Zencastr, where you can have guests and store both video and audio in the cloud (check the Top 17 Tools for your Podcast).
Zencastr is the easiest, most versatile, and free option, so we’ll use it as the main example.
To start, simply register by choosing one of the free plans and click “create your first room”.
From there, you can choose to record audio only, video only, or both and give your episode a name (this is just for internal purposes).
Finally, in the room, click the record button in the top left corner and start your podcast. If you’re doing it with someone else, there is a button in the top right to invite people, much like a Zoom call.
Once you’re done, you can download both the video and audio to your computer and edit them.
How to edit your podcast
Once you’ve recorded your podcast episode, it’s time to edit it. You can do it directly from Zencastr, but it’s not ideal because you pay for every hour of edited podcast.
The best alternative (and also completely free) is called Audacity. It’s an open-source audio editor that will allow you to edit your podcast relatively simply.
All you need to know is how to cut audio, make fades (in and out) at each cut, and learn to use the compressor to level out the audio.
With the compressor, you need the audio waves (transients) to be as homogeneous as possible visually without any peaks, like the screenshot below.
Once you have the audio ready, you should export it as an MP3, so you can move on to its online distribution.
By the way, if you want to use royalty-free music and sounds in your podcast, you can search for different compositions on Audionautix. You could also use the YouTube audio library by creating your own channel.
How to distribute your podcast
Once you have the final MP3 file ready, you can proceed to distribute the podcast. For this, there is a great tool called Anchor (or Spotify for Podcasters).
By using this tool, you can launch your podcast on multiple platforms such as Spotify or Apple Podcasts in a simple and free way.
To do this, you simply create an account, establish the name of the podcast, and upload the cover you created in step 3, which should be 3000 x 3000.
Once you have the podcast set up, you can upload the first episode by clicking New episode on the top right. You drag the audio to the right and click Save Episode.
Then, you will arrive at a screen where you will write all the episode information: the name and description. You can also schedule it for a specific date and set a unique cover for it. If you leave it blank, the main cover of the podcast will be shown.
And… that’s it! Podcast published. It wasn’t so difficult, right? Now the hard part is getting people to listen to it and improve it continously.
Tips to promote your podcast
Making people aware of your podcast isn’t an easy task. The most difficult part is being constant and publishing non-stop for years.
With this in mind, here are some guidelines for promoting your podcast:
- Always publish on the same day: Once you enter your audience’s routine, they will listen to you every time you publish. Be consistent with the publishing dates and see the magic happen.
- Create podcast highlights to share on social media: You can use tools like Headliner to create videos with subtitles of interesting moments from an episode.
- Choose your guests strategically: It’s clear that the main reason to invite someone to your podcast is because they have something to share. However, it doesn’t hurt if they have a following on social media. Also, don’t forget to mention them on all your social media platforms when you publish, so they can share it.
- Expand your content on social media: If you have a podcast about mysteries, you could create a Twitter thread summarizing a crime in 5 tweets and leaving the conclusion open so that people are curious and listen to your podcast.
As you can see, creating and launching your own podcast isn’t difficult at all and you can do it basically for free.
Have you launched your podcast yet? What was the most challenging part? Let us know in our creators’ community on Discord.