5 Simple Steps to Start a Podcast Today
A question that I often receive as the founder of Spark Media, a company that helps Christian podcasters launch, grow, and maintain their shows is this: “Misty, I want to start a podcast, but where do I begin?” When CIPA director Susan Neal asked me to contribute to the blog, I immediately knew the advice I would give to Christian authors, small publishers, and others who may have an interest in hosting a podcast. Podcasts can be an excellent venue for book marketing. While the following advice may seem relatively straightforward to some, it has helped numerous members of my community to start successful shows.
Before you Pick Up the Mic…
Simon Sineck coined the phrase, “start with why.” I believe that this adage relates perfectly to the field of podcasting. To serve an audience well, you and I must be dedicated to the craft enough to understand the unique struggles, desires, and needs of the specific audience whom we serve. For example, as a podcaster, one might be tempted to jump right into the deep end of the podcasting pool without first understanding how to swim. For many reasons, this is unwise. If you do not know who your show is for, you are likely to drown in a sea of many voices and never reach your intended audience with the message that God has uniquely designed and equipped you to deliver. So, before you pick up the mic: you must know your “why.” That is, determine the purpose for starting a show.
It is also imperative that you familiarize yourself with “your who.” Ask yourself who your podcast is for, and then serve that audience well. Your “who” could also be described as your target audience—the people that your podcast ministers to. For example, your target audience could be teens concerned about body image, men who enjoy sports, or women who are busy balancing the demands of life. As a podcast host, you need to know your audiences’ pain points and how to navigate those points. In other words, when listeners come to your show, they often have a question in mind. As a host, your goal should be to resolve the questions of the listeners with your content.
After your purpose for podcasting has been established and you know your intended audience, you can begin the more creative part of the planning process. This step often requires a bit of creativity, a lot of brainstorming, and even some minor research. Drum roll, please…
Step #1: You must name and brand your show.
As a podcast host, you have been given free rein to name your show. Consider these points before selecting the final name. Usually, you have several options to choose from. The show title should be unique, keyword searchable, and clearly articulate the key points that your show will cover.
A unique name helps your show stand out among the competition in your category, and it helps catch the eyes of listeners. A keyword searchable title is one that will be consistently picked up by search engines and can answer your listeners’ questions.
Your brand is the “feel” of your show. In establishing this, ask yourself questions like, “what colors do I want to select?” Or, “how do these colors make my listener feel?” As a podcast host, you will want your brand to be consistent across all platforms so that when someone comes across your show, that person will recognize you as an authority on the subject on which you are speaking.
Step #2: Decide on a show format.
When I discuss show formats with my community members, I explain that a podcast can be one of two formats: a solo show or an interview show. For a solo show, the host is someone who can hold a monologue for an extended period. The ideal host for this type of show is someone who is engaging and able to be focused and concise in his or her delivery. An interview show, on the other hand, is beneficial for someone who enjoys networking, meeting new people, and having the element of back and forth conversation or question and answers on his or her podcast.
Episode length is another aspect of the show format that you, as the host, will want to consider. The episodes can range anywhere from five minutes or less to an hour or more. The length of your show depends mainly on the availability of your listeners and your time constraints. For example, if your show, like mine, is geared toward busy women, it would be most helpful to your listener to provide a short-form show. On the other hand, if you are the host of a show where your focus will be telling stories, you will want to provide the time for your guest to share the essential parts of his or her story.
A third aspect of planning your episodes and deciding on show format is determining how often you wish to release an episode. I have seen some hosts release one episode per day, others multiple episodes per week, some release once per week, and still others release an episode at an even lesser frequency such as bi-weekly or monthly. The frequency at which you release episodes is up to you. However, the best strategy to maintain an audience is to remain consistent in the pattern you choose to follow.
Step 3: Take your time recording, editing, and producing your show.
Now that you decided on the framework for your show, you can begin recording your podcast episodes. It is important to remember not to strive for perfection. Instead, strive to serve the people that the Lord has placed in front of you. Do not be afraid to learn new technologies and step out of your comfort zone.
There are several helpful software tools for recording and editing the episodes for your show. Some of my recommendations are…
Each of these software programs have benefits that are unique to them. Assess your skillset and comfort level with technology to determine which one is best for you,. If technology is an area of intimidation for you, it is possible to hire out the editing, production, and even the show notes portion of your podcast to someone who is better equipped. If you need additional resources or recommended equipment, visit https://www.sparkmedia.ventures/blog
Step 4: Publish your show.
This is the final step and most likely, the one that you, as the host, are the most excited about. This is when your episodes go live, and your listeners finally get to hear your content. Be sure you have a bank of three episodes to launch with so that your listeners have plenty of content to enjoy. You will also want to publish your show to all the podcasting directories so that your show is heard.
In addition to your high-quality audio, you want well-produced music and cover art that is compelling. These two effects can attract listeners to your show, help the production sound and look professional, and launch a successful start.
Step #5: Promote your show.
Finally, you will want to promote your show on your website along with posting on the social media channels your audience views often. This will help your show gain visibility, credibility, and listenership. Also, ask listeners and show guests to subscribe and leave an iTunes review for your show.
For more Christian publishing resources, check out this live streaming article, https://christianpublishers.net/market-through-live-streaming/.
Misty Phillip is a dreamer and a doer who believes we are all here for a reason and that we were created for a purpose. She encourages people to use their stories to give God glory. Misty is a podcaster, author, speaker, and entrepreneur who is passionate about helping others spark your soul message.
Founder of Spark Media which consists of the Spark Christian Podcast Conference, Spark Now Summit, and the Spark Collective. Misty hosts the popular By His Grace podcast. She enjoys inspiring others through speaking, and mastermind groups. She currently serves as the Houston Connect Leader for Christian Women In Media. Check out her best-selling Bible Study, The Struggle is Real: But So is God and Spark Podcast Planner 2020. You can find her at MistyPhillip.com and SparkMedia.Ventures.