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Trying to figure out how to start a podcast in 2024? I’ve got good news for you. I’m going to tell you exactly how you can do that. But first, before we get into how you can start a podcast in 2024, let’s talk about why you’d want to.

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I suppose fundamentally, one of the biggest reasons any business or individual podcast in 2024 is simply this; the opportunities are immense.

Now, the cliched statement that “everybody has a podcast”, or that “there are more podcasts than podcast listeners available in the world” are peddled almost daily by influencers who are trying to sell you hacks or alternatives. And they’re talking absolute nonsense.

The truth is quite the opposite.

Some podcasting facts

Podcasting is still the least saturated platform medium available when compared to blog posts, YouTube videos, or any other kind of content marketing platforms.

It’s simply untrue to say that there are more podcasts available than podcast listeners, given that, according to the official index of all podcasts, weirdly enough called the podcast index, there are only actually around about 350, 000 podcasts actively in circulation across the apps, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and even YouTube Music

And now is the perfect time to start a podcast.

Here’s why.

Podcasting now has much wider audience awareness

With podcasting going so mainstream, British audiences, but also worldwide global audiences are now being more trained each week on how to actually consume this content.

If you’d have asked somebody two years ago, “How do you listen to a podcast?”, a lot of people would say to you, “I don’t know. I haven’t got a clue, mate.”

Nowadays, podcasting has entered the mainstream conversation.

And there’s barely a day that goes by when I’m scrolling through my LinkedIn feed that I don’t see some business owner or individual solopreneur announcing their new podcast.

So as you can understand, it is still a very exciting time. In fact, probably more exciting than ever to launch a new podcast in this year, 2024.

In terms of the benefits of doing so, they vary from perhaps amplifying your reach as a brand or business, creating a new revenue stream for your business in terms of products or courses that you could sell through it, or even, as some people use it for, what I call the ‘Trojan horse tactic’.

As in, you can get connections with people that would otherwise probably ignore you via inviting them onto your podcast.

What do you think is more exciting to someone?

Getting a DM on LinkedIn saying, “Hey, I see that you’re friends with whoever. I’d like to be connected with you. Would that be okay?”

Or, “Hey there, saw your post about X. I think you’d be a great example of someone that could speak with expertise about Y on my podcast. Are you up for it?”

A trendy young person showing how to start a podcast

Ok, so a podcast's a great idea. What actually is it, and how do I start one?

Now that we’ve talked about why you might want a podcast in 2024, let’s talk about what the podcast is, and its potential impact on your business.

A podcast is, quite simply, nowadays, content.

There are old school podcasters like myself, that up until quite recently have been saying, no, unless it has an RSS feed, it’s not a podcast.

And we’ve dismissed things like YouTube videos that have presented themselves in a podcast-like way.

We’ve dismissed them out of hand, saying no, they don’t have an RSS feed, therefore they’re not a podcast.

And while technically, strictly that’s true, it’s not the accepted belief now from the majority of people consuming this content.

Most people don’t care about RSS

The majority of people you’re going to be targeting with your content aren’t too fussed about the technology behind it.

To them, they don’t care how it’s delivered to them, all they care about is whether it’s going to entertain them or educate them.

And that’s the point here. So technically, yes, you could create some Zoom videos, post them on LinkedIn, and call that a podcast.

Technically, you could.

You’d be very foolish if you did, because you’re missing out on pretty much 95 percent of your potential audience, who are never ever going to consume that content.

Unless they’re already following on LinkedIn, it’s going to be absolutely lost on them.

So ideally, you do want to buy into this notion that to have a podcast, it needs to be sitting on an RSS feed, and therefore syndicated to all the relevant apps and platforms.

These include Apple Podcasts, Spotify, nowadays YouTube Music, Amazon Music, and all the other thousands of offshoots that use the Apple Podcasts feed in order to populate their own podcast libraries.

 

How do i format this podcast then?

So now you know what a podcast is and the benefits, you might be wondering, what kind of podcast format would I want to adopt?

Great question and I’m glad you asked. This is for me, one of the really hot potatoes in this challenge of creating a podcast that people are going to want to listen to.

Everyone’s go-to format ‘idea’; a Diary of a CEO clone

Of course there is Diary of a CEO, from Stephen Bartlett.

Diary of a CEO clones

It’s the podcast that anybody that’s not really that into podcasts can probably name, mostly because it gets promoted by everybody and anybody on LinkedIn, and also since he’s been on Dragon’s Den, a few more people in the general public have become more aware of what he’s doing.

And of course you’ve got the High Performance Podcast, which is, again, in the public zeitgeist, due to some of the celebrities that they’ve had on that show.

But here’s where I think the downfall of podcasts begins to happen.

When a new podcaster comes along and thinks, “You know what? I could do that. It’s just two blokes sat talking in front of microphones for 45 minutes. Who can’t do that?”

And while that’s true, absolutely, anybody could do that, what you have to ask is, why would you want to?

That format has been done to death.

It’s not just “Diary of a CEO” and the “High Performance Podcast” that are doing this, it’s all of their clones.

And, I wouldn’t want you to quote me for a research paper for saying this because I’m not a statistician, but I could guess with some confidence that there’s probably about 3, 000 podcasts that sound exactly the same, just not as well produced.

Do you really want to be the ‘pound shop’ Steven Bartlett?

Do you really want to become the ‘pound shop’ version of an already established famous podcast?

My guess is no.

So that’s why you need to think a little bit differently, a little bit outside the box on this.

Whenever I’m talking to new podcasters, the first thing I say to them is “okay, what are you looking to do?”

“How do you want it to sound?”

And when they come up with that idea of, “Oh, I’d really love to get my mates in business or within my networks and sit down and talk to them and tap their brains!”, I immediately think, “yeah, another ‘Diary of a CEO clone’. Let’s try and dissuade them from this.”

There are thousands of ways that you could do a similar podcast to “Diary of a CEO”, but make it sound completely different.

Now, you could either do that with the format itself, in terms of maybe have a bit of a shtick.

An example podcast idea that’s a little different

For example, something like, if you were in the restaurant or catering space, you could do a format where you actually invite people to be interviewed in a restaurant while eating a meal.

And every time they order a dish, that corresponds to a question maybe you’ve prepared.

You can have that one for free, Gordon Ramsay!

But to be honest with you, even just doing things a little bit differently, like perhaps instead of having just a continuous conversation, you break in and narrate what you’ve just heard as the podcast host.

That can sound very different because a lot of these big podcasts, they simply don’t bother with that.

They’ll do their intro, they’ll do their outro, and then they’ll let the conversation do all the talking.

Think how you could do it slightly differently.

So you’re still achieving your dreams.

You’re still sticking to your objective, but you’re doing it in a way that might be a little bit more entertaining for an audience member.

So now that we’ve got the idea of why we want the podcast, what benefits it could offer us, and what a podcast actually is, what your format might be, let’s talk about your niche and your mission for this podcast.

Identifying your podcast's niche

To identify your niche, you need to ask yourself three very basic questions:

  1. What am I an expert in?
  2. What fires up my passions and makes me want to learn even more about the thing I’m an expert in?
  3. How many other people are actually talking about this thing in the same way that I would be?

If you’ve got a definitive answer for all three of those questions, you might have something you can work with.

Start with Why? Nah mate.

I’ll be honest, I’ll hold my hands up here…

Four years ago when I started doing this podcast consulting thing kind of full-time and professionally for external clients, I went through that whole marketing ‘start with why’ thing,

It was COVID.

Everyone was talking about Simon Sinek’s book.

And I will confess, yes, I leaned into that a little bit as well.

But what you want to do is not think about what your ‘why’ is so much.

At least not to start.

You might want to think about what your listeners’ ‘why’ is because that’s ultimately way more important.

Nobody cares why you’ve started your podcast, really.

They might identify with you based on your values, and everything that drives you on a deeper level, perhaps.

But at this stage, you haven’t got that buy-in from them yet.

At this stage, you still want to convince them why they want to listen to you.

So you need to think about your listeners ‘why’.

If you can sit down and create a compelling listener ‘why’, and understand the why behind your ideal listener’s decision to listen to your podcast, you’ll be onto a much bigger winner.

Once you’ve done that, then you can understand a little bit more about what your listener is listening out for, and you can create the content that meets their needs.

 

How to figure out the listeners' 'why'

You could perhaps do a survey.

Surveys can be everything from cheap to free now, especially if you’re using Google’s built in survey documents.

Do a Facebook campaign or a Google ad.

Stick your survey on it, offer maybe a prize of an Amazon voucher or something like that, and try to get some data.

Try and understand the market that your podcast might fit into.

Being more practical about it, you could even go on other podcasts, and you could start to see whether or not there’s audience that’s interested in what you have to talk about.

From that, gather a mailing list.

Build some names and email addresses of people that find you from other podcasts, so that when it comes to launching your own podcast, you know you’ve got a pool of people that you can start to try and sell this podcast idea to.

There’s nothing better than starting with a basic audience for your new podcast.

Creating the actual podcast

So how do we actually go about making this podcast then?

That’s actually the really easy part. And that’s the problem. 

Too many people skip straight to this part, because it’s so easy, and then wonder why it’s not working for them.

First of all, you’ve got to plan your structure and your actual content.

That might involve sitting down and doing some research, getting together maybe ten ideas for podcast episodes.

You could either script them or just put them in bullet points.

And you also have to think about how you’re going to present this information to them. You’re going to have to come up with some storytelling ideas.

There’s nothing more boring  to me, than having someone that sits down and essentially gives a lecture, like you might hear in university.

No, you want to tell stories.

You want to engage an audience with the benefit of your experience.

And that means, tell them about your own challenges that you’ve overcome, tell them how you overcame them, tell them what the benefit was to you of overcoming them, and how that might translate to them as well.

Once you’ve got that idea in your head of what you want to talk about, then you can start thinking about equipment.

How to record the podcast

Microphones! Of course you’re gonna need microphones!

There’s nothing worse than listening to a really cheaply made podcast where someone’s either used their phone and an app that records, or maybe even just their laptop microphone.

It sounds bloody awful, so just don’t do it! Seriously!

When it comes to getting microphones, I have a couple of top recommendations, and I’m gonna give them to you now.

The Samson Q2U, which is a plug in USB dynamic microphone.

If you’ve got a few more pennies to spend, I heartily recommend the Rode Podmic USB.

I have four of these in my public studio for use by clients. They’re ‘chef’s kiss’.

DO NOT BUY CONDENSER MICS LIKE THE BLUE YETI!!

Now, this is really important.

Unless you’re in a really well acoustically treated room, like maybe a broadcast or podcast studio that’s been built for purpose within your building, or you’re in a really quiet space with really nice soft furnishings, which absolutely kill all reflections, you’re definitely going to want a dynamic microphone.

Reason being, most of them cut out all the background noise really well.

And especially if you get quite close to the mic, they actually can sound really rich.

Almost as good as a condenser microphone, which is the ones that the broadcast studios use.

Recording software for ‘talking into’ – DON’T USE ZOOM!

You’re going to want to think about recording software to capture your voice via your microphone.

Are you going to do this yourself on your own computer as a monologue, or are you going to have guests?

If you’re going to have guests, you don’t want to be using Zoom.

Zoom is great as a networking tool, but it’s terrible for recording actual content that you want to publish.

You’ll know this if you’ve ever recorded a conversation you’ve had with somebody and then watched it back. The audio sounds washed out and really poor quality.

And that’s what your listeners are going to hear.

So you’re going to want to invest in something like either Squadcast, which is now built into Descript (if you’re using that), or Zencastr.

I cannot, in good faith, recommend Riverside.

I’ve had too many bad experiences with it. I’m sorry if you’re a Riverside fanboy or fangirl, props to you, but it just doesn’t work for me. And it certainly hasn’t worked for many of my clients either.

And then you’ve got to think about editing.

I’ve already mentioned Descript, which I think probably, in 2024, is going to be one of the easiest methods for you to edit, because it’s like editing a Word document.

In all honesty, it’s not perfect and can be quite buggy. But it’s certainly a great option for a beginner looking to do some quick basic editing.

You delete all the sentences you don’t want, and you leave all the sentences you do want.

And then you’ve got a timeline at the bottom, with the audio waveform, that you can tidy everything up and make it sound better.

So if you find that you actually did delete a sentence and it clipped the beginning of another sentence, or maybe it left a half a breath in there that sounds awful, you can go in there and finally edit it and clean that up.

It’s a great tool for any beginner.

If you’re a bit more advanced and you want to do an advanced edit on your audio, I cannot recommend Adobe Audition enough.

Lots of people recommend Hindenburg Pro, that’s great for you if you’re going to be doing more documentary based stuff.

But honestly, probably a bit overkill for just recording monologues or maybe a guest based conversation.

Podcast branding

Now let’s not overlook the really kind of fine detail of branding your podcast.

I mean it is an afterthought for most people.

Okay, I’ve got my podcast idea, got my audio content, that’s it.

How you can leverage AI tech for your podcast branding

Artwork, what am I going to do?

Oh, let’s just build something in Photoshop.

Now, look, that’s very valid.

You could do that.

And I’m not saying that you need to invest thousands of dollars in a graphic designer for your podcast artwork.

You don’t.

Something that you knock together in Canva could be very passable, certainly for your first year or so.

But honestly, I think if you really want to be eye-catching with your artwork and have something truly unique, you’ve got a couple of options.

You can either look at a graphic designer, or you could work with somebody that specialises in podcast artwork.

Lots of people around the world do that. Look at Fiverr or 99 Designs.

Or, if you don’t have that kind of budget, consider AI.

You’ve got MidJourney or you’ve got DALL-E now built into ChatGPT, something along those lines.

Because you want to go minimal anyway.

You don’t want to go too elaborate.

Something that you can design in AI using a couple of really well written prompts, that could suffice you, at least for the first year of your podcast.

Your podcast’s website – it really is a must

You’re definitely going to want a website for your podcast.

It’s really tempting to just go cheap and stick a link on your main website that goes to your podcast.

Here’s why that’s not a great idea.

Number one, it confuses Google.

If you’ve got a podcast that talks about very specific niche things, and then you’ve got a main website which talks about service offerings, Google doesn’t know what to pick.

Is this a service provider or is it a podcast? I can’t quite tell. Do you know what? I’m not going to bother. I’m going to both in search rankings, so I don’t have to worry about it. I’m obviously oversimplifying and giving it a human spin, but that’s essentially how it works. If you have a website specifically for your podcast, Google knows exactly what it’s about and it can surface it and rank it for very specific searches from your ideal listeners.

Number two, if your podcast has its own podcast website, you get the benefit of when it starts ranking and backlinking to your main website.

The SEO absolutely benefits from that as well. If you want to know more about this, you can by all means talk to an SEO specialist, or you can book a call and chat with us and we will talk you through it as well.

Once you’ve got your artwork sorted out, and you know what you’re going to record for it, Then you need to start thinking about where you’re going to host it.

Podcast hosting to get your RSS feed for the apps

Now, at Podnows Podcasting, we are built on the Captivate hosting platform.

Lots of reasons why.

They’re absolutely great.

They offer lots of really advanced tools that many other podcasting platforms only offer at enterprise level.

But more than this, it’s about reliability, and it’s about quality of the people behind it.

The people that work for Captivate are amongst some of the industry’s most knowledgeable people.

I also recommend Libsyn, who are my previous suppliers.

My only reason for leaving Libsyn and moving to Captivate was simply about Podcasting 2. 0.

That’s a subject for another post, but make sure whichever podcast hosting provider you choose has a reputation for good uptime, reliable support teams, and quality of service to their customers, and then you can’t go too far wrong.

So you’ve got your content recorded, you’ve got your tool to record it in, you’ve got your microphone set up, and you’ve got your distribution platform organised with your cover art that you can now send to all the apps and get your show populated and propagated. What next?

Your podcast description

Have you sorted out your show description properly?

Have you optimised it for PPO? That’s Podcast Platform Optimisation.

That is a key term that I’ve coined a few years ago when I figured out that actually, you can optimise your content for search much like you can on Google with blog posts.

A lot of people dismiss this.

They’re wrong.

They claim Apple Podcasts only looks at the show name, the show author, the episode titles, and the episode authors. They say the platforms don’t look at anything else.

That was absolute nonsense back then, and it still continues to be nonsense now.

And there’s a reason Apple Podcasts have recently launched transcription services.

They had them two years ago, running in the background.

It’s an AI tool that they have that helps the platform itself identify what topics your podcast episodes are talking about.

So you absolutely want to optimise not only your titles titles, but your show description and your episode descriptions for search.

Before you even publish one proper episode, that’s what you need to be looking at.

Am I telling my ideal listener what they’re going to get from my show?

Your podcast trailer

Now it’s time to get your trailer sorted out.

We’re talking about a piece of audio that’s at least one minute long that you can publish to the feed.

The reason it needs to be a minute long is so that it ticks the box for IAB compliance.

IAB, simply put, stands for Internet Advertising Bureau.

And that’s the industry standard for making sure that download stats are legitimate and compliant with advertising standards.

In order to become an IAB certified listen, that listener has to be engaged with your audio for at least 60 seconds.

Some apps claim 90 seconds.

Either way, you ideally want your trailer for your podcast to be a minimum of 60 seconds long.

Once you’ve got your trailer out there in the wild and you’ve submitted it to Apple Podcasts via the Podcasts Connect dashboard, it will also be submitted it to all the other apps that use Apple’s feed for their libraries.

You will also need to claim your podcast in Spotify’s creator dashboard and Amazon Music.

Once done, you can start sending people to go and follow or subscribe to your show in those channels.

You've published your podcast. Now what?

So at this point, you’ve now got podcast audio out ‘in the wild’ and you’ve hopefully got a format you can build on.

The next step is growing audience.

That’s an entirely different article, and if you need help with this, you can always reach out to me once you feel you’ve reached that stage.

Once you’ve been going for a little while, you can also make use of my audit service to find out how you’re getting on so far, and become aware of any potential improvements.

That’s the basics of starting a podcast in 2024.

Of course, there’s much more to this, and there are more advanced techniques that we could talk about.

How you can then grow it, maintaining it, improving it.

But the bottom line is, unless you start, you’re not gonna ever know whether or not a podcast could work for you.

So my advice is, stop overthinking it, get moving on this, because now is probably the perfect time to put a podcast plan in action. I’m here for you if you need to get more hand holding. If you want more advice costs nothing.

Happy to answer any questions you’ve got. You’ve got the contact form, fill it in, and let’s get podcasting in 2024 with you, yeah?