5 Steps to Start Your Podcast

If you are reading this, that means that you want to start a podcast. This blog post will help you learn the steps to making that happen. 

1. Have an idea
This may seem like an idiotic step to include, but it is the most important step. You need to have an idea of what you're going to discuss on your podcast before you start recording. This is important because if you're not passionate about what you're talking about, your potential listener will move on to a different podcast that is exciting and engaging. You have to remember that there are probably hundreds of podcasts covering a similar topic to you, so you need to hook them in by making them excited about your topics. 

Photo by:  Dmitri von Klein

Photo by: Dmitri von Klein

2. Get the gear
Many people will go look at podcast studios online like Earwolf, or Marc Maron's Garage, and see an SM7B, which is a $350 mic, and get discouraged. Let me tell you that you don't need to spend $350 on a mic to sound good. There are plenty of cheap alternatives. Here are a couple options:

Audio Technica AT-2020USB ($149)
Shure SM58 ($110 including cable)
Zoom iQ6 ($100)
Audio Technica AT-2500USB ($70)
- Blue Snowball ($43)
- Your iPhone ($0)

Another important aspect is your actual recording device. Rather than picking up a desktop audio interface, I recommend a portable recorder. This affords you the ability to just throw a recorder in your bag and go to record your podcast rather than having to spend an hour setting up a computer, and interface, and blah blah blah. There are 2 different recorders I will mention from my favorite portable recorder company.

Zoom h2n ($160)

If you're looking for simple, this is the way to go. An interface and a mic all in one. You can set this down in the middle of the table and record a table full of people. The coolest thing about this device is it's ability to record in 3 different polar patterns 90-degree X/Y, Mid-Side, or Surround. That means you don't need multiple microphones to pick up an entire room, this will do it all for you at only $160!

Here's an image of Chris Hardwick recording The Nerdist Podcast, using the Zoom h6 to record 3 Shure SM58's direct. Then he is using the Zoom h4n as an audio back up in case anything goes wrong with the h6    Photo from: WSJ.com

Here's an image of Chris Hardwick recording The Nerdist Podcast, using the Zoom h6 to record 3 Shure SM58's direct. Then he is using the Zoom h4n as an audio back up in case anything goes wrong with the h6

Photo from: WSJ.com

Zoom h6 ($400)

This device is what I currently use and it is one of the most useful pieces of audio equipment I have ever purchased. The reason I recommend this, is that it implements an interchangeable capsule feature that allows you to use an X/Y mic, MidSide Mic, Shotgun Mic, or the coolest one in my opinion, a 2 XLR expansion capsule. This means you can record up to 6 XLR inputs on individual channels allowing you to mix in your DAW later. Another AMAZING feature that made me ditch my desktop audio interface is that this thing can act as an audio interface so you can record directly into your DAW! To put it simply, this thing does everything you can ever need, and it sounds great! 

3. Hosting your podcast

There are plenty of options for hosting your podcast. When I first started a podcast, I bought a domain, and had to figure out how to develop an RSS feed and all that nonsense. For my current podcast, I found out about Libsyn. This service will cost you as low as $5/month and you can host your podcast there, and they develop the RSS feed for you. So this part is a no brainer. Sign up for Libsyn. Upload your first episode. And you're ready for the next step.

4. Submit to iTunes

Before you get to iTunes, make sure you have artwork (at least 1400px by 1400px). Also get the best art that you can with your budget. Pay someone if you have to because this is the first impression anyone will have of your podcast and it needs to catch their eyes! Now that you have your SUPER TIGHT artwork, grab the url for your rss feed (for example, mine is http://podcastage.libsyn.com/rss) and head to the iTunes store.

Step 1. Go to the podcast portion of the iTunes store.
Step 2. Select submit podcast
Step 3. Paste your RSS Feed
Step 4. Hit continue
Step 5. Wait for iTunes to approve it

This part can take a few days. When filling out all the information on Libsyn about your podcast, make sure you label everything correctly. Mainly, if you swear, mark it explicit. This will speed up the process for iTunes and minimize your chances of getting rejected.

5. Social networking your podcast

Don't forget to set up your twitter, facebook, youtube, and whatever sites you plan on using to promote your podcast. This is so you can share information with your listeners in between episodes. Don't forget to get them involved in your podcast (i.e. ask them to provide questions, for feedback, for reviews in iTunes, etc.).

That's all the steps to get your podcast up and running. A few additional pieces of advice. Don't be afraid of recording a bunch of practice episodes by yourself to get comfortable on the microphone. 

If you have any questions about the process, don't hesitate to leave a comment on here, and I will revise the article to include an answer to your question. Let's make this a living article that we can expand on and grow to help new podcasters get a better idea of what it takes to start a podcast.