As you know, I’ve become a podcaster starting a couple weeks ago and I’m enjoying it. For those who have expressed their own interest in starting a podcast, I wanted to give you some tips to help you get started.

Step 1: Define why you want to start a podcast

Are you trying to build authority about your expertise? Are you trying to provide valuable content to your customers or target audience? Are you doing this for professional reasons or personal reasons or a mixture of both? Are you podcasting as a prequel to something bigger? No matter your why, it is nice to know why you want to start a podcast. For me, I wanted to start a podcast because I wanted to write about my own personal journey to becoming an online business owner. What is great is that I can speak in my podcasts from my point of view, speak candidly, give valuable information and lead people to some opportunities. I will be starting another podcast that will be more professional in nature for another channel that I have called Funnel Training Academy. This podcast will be less personal and more information based to help train people on funnels. I’m doing this Ordinary to Extraordinary business podcast because it is a personal endeavor to me so I’m accountable. I’m starting the Funnel Training Channel podcast because the end goal is to provide free training, but lead them to paid-for opportunities down the road.

Step 2: Identify your target audience

The three most popular audiences fall into health, wealth and relationships categories. Which area does your ideal audience fall into? And then what is their sub category. So you may be a personal trainer and you want to give tips on bodybuilding…so your main category is health and your sub category is fitness and you can even go deeper and say you are targeting men between the ages of 25 and 45 who are trying to bulk up. By identifying the persona of your audience, you will be able to cultivate your messages accordingly. For example, your messages may sound more manly with words like dude and testosterone, because you are talking to men OR perhaps your audience is women, you may say things like ‘you go girl’ or words like sassy because you are speaking to women. 

Step 3: Name your podcast

Come up with some ideas for names of your podcast series. Some people like to just use their name, while some like to come up with something catchy. Others like to use a title that includes their target audience. It really doesn’t matter what you choose – just choose what you feel is going to represent you well. If you are in the male fitness arena, it could be something like “Bulk Up and Be Fit” or you could go with “Hudson’s Fit Tips on Bulking Up” or as I said, it could just be your name. I had a hard time with this because I know that I’m going to have several podcasts series at some point, so I wanted my overall representation to be something that was universal to all of them so I went with Advanced Online Marketer, but I titled the series Ordinary to Extraordinary Business because that is the theme of my journey and it can apply to me personally, as well as be attractive for my audience who also would like to go from ordinary to extraordinary.

Step 4: Determine a proper length of each podcast episode

Set up a standard length of your podcast for every episode including a min and max length. For me, I want to stay under 20 minutes, so that is my max, as well as trying to be longer 5 minutes. However, these are just standards, but every now and then, I’m sure I’ll be outside of these numbers. I want my messages to be consumable in a quick car ride. Plus, my goal is to have a daily podcast so I want to ensure I can live up to this commitment. So choose what you feel would be good. You may find that you run 30 to 40 minutes and if your audience loves that length – go for it. I know some do a standard of 40 minutes long and some even go longer than an hour, while others do a set 30 minute podcast routinely. It really doesn’t matter, but my advice is that you sort of have a similar timeframe from week to week because your avid listeners will come to expect a 20 minute podcast routinely, but as I said before – you can alter these lengths from day to day depending on your message. 

Step 5: Define a good cadence for your podcast

How often will you be publishing a podcast? Mine is daily, but for you it could be weekly. Try to think about your audience, when would be the best days for them to receive your podcasts and moreover, what time of day? I try to publish mine at 6am daily (scheduled of course) and the reason is that no matter what time of day my audience likes to listen, it is out there waiting for them when they are ready. However, some people may come up with weekly cadence with a set day and set time, so every Sunday at 7:45am for those on their way to church perhaps, if you message is about spiritual faith or a weekly devotional. Or if you are in the fitness world and you feel that daily 7am works best, do that. It is just nice for your audience to come to expect your episodes on a routine basis.

Step 6: Outline your podcast format

What type of podcast are you planning to put on? Mine is a solo show,  meaning that, at this point, I am the only voice on my podcast. I love this because I have control over when I do my podcast and what I say. However, some people like to do Co-Hosted shows, where you have one or many other people who help you host and you would need to coordinate time to do these together and figure out how to split monetization income, etc.  Another format is Guest Appearances through interviews which means your podcast will have a guest speaker. A little coordination from your end, but these are very popular. Roundtables and Summits are also formats to consider where you have a room of people all speaking about topics related to your podcast. They can be fun and rewarding. You can also do success stories highlighting news and wins or a documentary style where you have a narrator who is on location walking you through a series of events. You can choose one format style or do a mixture of several – it really doesn’t matter. One thing I will say is that if your guests or co-host records audio in a different location than you – it is advisable for you to test the audio quality prior to recording. If I’m sitting in a noisy subway recording audio, while you are in a quite secluded office – the audio quality will be quite diverse and possibly distracting to your audience. It is just something to be aware of. 

Step 7: Lists out your episode ideas

The fun begins when you start to list out your episode ideas. What on earth are you going to talk about, right? Well, I use Trello, an free online tool to map out my episode ideas. When one pops into my head, I add it to my Trello board – what is nice is that I can rearrange them, make a checklist of to-dos for each, as well as stamp each one complete once I’ve used it. I add research links, notes and even put my script in there. For me this works great. Sometimes I also use Evernote for scripting and scheduling – these are just ideas as you will need to figure out the easiest way for you to list your ideas out in a central location that is easy to access and use. If you aren’t sure where to get your episode ideas, what I have done is to see what others are talking about in my space. You can see popular keywords online, go to YouTube to view titles, or Buzzfeed to see top headlines for 2019. I may read something and it sparks an idea or topic for me.  One unusual place is movies…sounds strange I’m sure, but when I’m watching a movie, sometimes they say a phrase that sparks an idea. You will need to come up with your own way to cultivate ideas on your own. You can use a book, newspaper, headlines, what thought leaders are talking about online, Facebook feed, whatever – just run with it. If you have are an expert at accounting – you can google accounting for ideas. If you are a dietician – you can talk all things food and wellness. Depending on your podcast audience, will determine what you talk about. But getting a list going is a great way to get organized.

Step 8: Create cover art

Cover art for your podcast is pretty standard using dimensions up to 3000 width and height, among other qualities. This is what people will see when they listen to your podcast, so you want it to be tasteful and complimenting of your brand, even if your brand is you.  You don’t have to be a graphic designer to make one either. I’ll be adding free templates to my site soon, but I’m happy to send you a few via email if you need and you can use PowerPoint to update it, move things around and save as jpeg. Don’t have PowerPoint? Well, I can actually make you a template in your preferred software of choice because I don’t want this to keep you from starting a podcast. Another idea is to use – a place where you can literally get things done for $5 and professionally. I have used Fiverr for a ton of stuff and I love it – check it out and search podcast art to see the zillions of available people who can help you out. One thing to note is that there are two types of cover art. One is your overall podcast cover art that goes on the main page of your podcast, it is also your thumbnail on Anchor or Spotify or iTunes. Then, there is episode cover art meaning you could have a different cover for every single episode. This can be super neat once you get going and have a different message for each one. For me, I’m focusing on just the main cover art at the moment – maybe one day I’ll have personalized cover art for each episode. 

Step 9: Develop a standard for messages

One thing that is ideal is when you have a regular welcome and closing message for each episode. As you have seen, I’ve done that for mine starting with episode #2 and I do my best these each episode. The reason is because if someone stumbles upon your podcast and they start with episode 17, they may be wondering who is this, what is this about, what is it titled, therefore a quick welcome can give them a little bit of info before the actual message begins. The closing is the same, if you want to keep them engaged, you can tell them to continue listening so they will come back and listen again. You can do a variety of other message standards too. Perhaps you have a guest you are interviewing, then you will want to use the same intro from each person that sounds professional and uniformed “Today I’d like to welcome my featured guest “add their name here” the “add their title” of “add their business name” and today we are going to be talking about “add topic here”. Something like that…it will become a standard in your episodes and help you not only look like you’ve planned well, but actually help you stay organized in each episode.

Step 10: Add in call to action prompts

Define your call-to-action prompts for your episodes. You may have the same call to action every single episode. It could be “Get started on your full body transformation, by checking out my website and filling out the get me started form” and you may say that every time you get your episode recorded. Or perhaps you are a consultant and you want your audience to book a consultation call with you – your call to action may be “Be sure to book your free consultation by calling me at “enter number here”” – No matter what it is – action is what helps your business. For this podcast, I just want people to continue to listen, so my outro message says just that ‘please continue to listen’ – down the road, I may have other call-to-actions I’ll start adding in. 

So there you have it – 10 steps to get you started on your very own podcast. But there is more and I’ll be doing a Part 2 to starting your own podcast tomorrow with the rest of my tips and advice to help you get your voice heard using a podcast.