6 Tips to Starting Your Podcast

Picture of Michelle Lasley with Blue Snow Snowball Ice, Pop Filter and Sony headphones

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

August 25, 2020

My friend said I should start a podcast. That moment brought up the invitation I had to pay someone to help me with a podcast, which happened just a few months before she said, “You should do a podcast!” That moment brought up the hours and hours I spent listening to the Todd Mundt Show on Michigan Radio, followed by Dianne Rehm, and always Fresh Air with Teri Gross. That brought up the idea of What You Should Be Doing with your life. That brought up the unlistened to Studs Terkel that a friend said I should listen to if I was so interested in story. 

Okay, if you’re still following along, I’ll sum it up: I am keenly interested in creating a platform for people to share their stories. I know, in my core, that we all have a story to tell. And, that is the overarching reason I started this podcast. I’ve been putting it together for a little bit now, and my strategy is screaming at me to write down what I’ve done. 

1. Figure out your purpose, your why

What message do you want to share on your podcast? Are you going to ramble on and on about what’s interesting to you? Or, do you have a specific message you want? In anything you do, you need to know your purpose. This centers you. This keeps your messaging on track. This keeps your audience engaged. 

2. Build some content 

Have a few episodes created for your podcast that build up what you’re all about. This will tell your listeners what you’re all about and give you practice. 

3. Get good sound

What’s the first thing you do when you listen to a podcast? You hear. I cannot underscore this point enough. Because… If your sound is off, it will put people off. 

Now, don’t stress over this either. You can add better quality items as you go. You can just start. Many phones have great microphones, for example. If you are going to record on your computer, you need a dynamic or condenser with Cardioid polar pattern microphone. If you are doing interviews, you also need headphones (which are very important in editing). You will also want to acquire a POP filter. Then, test your equipment. Make sure you have the right speaking distance, props to get there, etc. I use the Blue Snowball Ice, which is budget friendly and perfect for my use. If you want to spend a few more dollars for some more options, the Blue Yeti is often recommended. For headphones, I have the Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone. 

In this tip is also editing your podcast. Some hosting platforms allow you to record directly onto their application. This is great if it’s just you speaking your message. If you plan on bringing in guests, you will want to consider software to edit your recordings. I use GarageBand. Audacity is another free option. If you want more options than what free will give you, Hindenburg Journalist is another one to explore.

4. Find a hosting platform 

You want a hosting platform for your podcast to offset the storage from your own website. If you don’t have a website, this will give you a place to direct your guests. Hosting platforms often distribute your podcast too. There are many free or low-cost hosting platforms. I use anchor.fm. Simplecast was recommended to me recently. Others I’ve seen in use include Podbean, Libsyn, and Buzzsprout. There are more, just do a search for “podcast hosting platform”. 

5. Weave your podcast in with your brand

I am assuming you have identified your brand. If not, check out this post where I talk about my process. I share this piece because I want you to be consistent in the message you are sharing. Your work and your why for this podcast are intertwined. Don’t lose your focus. Stay on track. This is important so you can achieve your goals AND meet social sharing algorithms. You want to be recognizable in what you do, your work, so make sure your podcast is recognizable as you. 

6. Have fun!

My last tip is to have fun with your podcast. If you aren’t enjoying this process, what will keep you motivated to stay? So learn to love it all, and outsource what you don’t. 

Resources

http://help.tryca.st/reference/headphones/

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