Do you want to launch your very own podcast? Whether you’re looking to share your thoughts on the latest hot topics or just want a creative outlet to share your ideas, starting a podcast can be both fun and rewarding. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to get started with podcasting, from picking out the right gear to recording and publishing your episodes. It may take some work, but it’s easier than you might think!
A podcast is, quite simply, an episodic audio series that can be streamed or downloaded from the internet. They’re like radio shows, but people can listen to them on-demand and at their leisure. Podcasts are available in a wide variety of categories, from entertainment and news to lifestyle and finances. And since anyone can create a podcast, the content possibilities are virtually endless.
Why Start a Podcast?
If you've ever thought about starting a podcast, now is the time. Podcasting can be a great way to share your passion with the world, learn and try something new, connect with others, and even earn money and build passive income. Unlike other forms of content creation, you’re in complete control over your podcast. You decide on the topic, guests, format, and more. Plus, when people start listening to your podcast, they begin to associate you with that topic or area of expertise, helping you build your authority and credibility.
How to Start a Podcast
Getting excited about podcasting is the easy part. Now, it’s time to put in the work! Like anything worth doing, starting a podcast takes some effort, but it’s definitely doable. Here’s what you need to know:
Defining Your Target Audience
Your podcast should be for someone, not everyone. If you build things for everyone, you will attract nobody. Focusing on making a few people fall in love with your podcast and building a loyal community should be your main goal. We recommend starting your podcast from the heart and optimizing for a small niche—your target audience. Think deeply about what they might want to hear and cater to them.
Knowing Your Why and Choosing a Topic
Knowing your why and choosing a topic is essential. You must determine a topic that's general enough that you will never run out of things to talk about yet specific enough that your audience will know what to expect. Knowing your “why” gives you perspective. It’ll keep you motivated when things get tough, and it’ll help you stay on track with your goals.
Get Creative With Naming
Once you have a topic, give your podcast a name! This can be difficult, but it’s important to put some thought into it. A great name will help people remember your podcast and give them an idea of what to expect.
Picking the Right Podcast Format
There are multiple podcast formats that you can use to organize and structure your show. The one you choose should align with your content goals and the kind of experience you want to create for your audience. Below are some examples.Interview
Bring on a guest, have them answer pre-written questions, and share their perspective on various topics with your audience.
Pro: Very engaging format, 2x+ the audience and reach, especially if your guest has a following and will cross-promote.
Con: It takes time to recruit interview guests and prepare them ahead of time.
With this particular podcast format, you can bring on a guest or co-host and discuss a variety of topics. Compared to an interview format, this is less formal and should make your listeners feel as though they’re listening in on a conversation between friends.
Pro: Similar benefits to an interview.
Con: You need to find the right guest or co-host because the chemistry among guests matters. It also takes time to recruit guests.
Here, you’ll discuss and educate your audience on a topic that is relevant to your community.
Pro: Will likely resonate with your community as long as you pick a topic that will capture their attention.
Con: It takes time to research as you want to provide as much valuable, correct information as possible and position yourself as an expert or someone who is knowledgeable on the subject.
Discuss anything on your mind, including your hot takes on current events or trending topics.
Pro: Endless freedom
Con: You are responsible for carrying the entire show—no third-party news or guests, meaning you must prepare to ensure a good flow while delivering interesting content.
Bring on multiple guests to discuss various topics.
Pros: Similar to an interview but with more perspectives.
Cons: Even harder to plan since you need to both recruit and coordinate the schedules of multiple people. Plus, you need to focus on moderating as well.
You are leading the narrative, either fiction or nonfiction and captivating your audience with your storytelling skills.
Pros: Can be highly engaging and lead to large audience growth, depending on your delivery and content.
Cons: Requires significant research in preparations as the story should flow as much as possible for listeners to follow along.
All formats require work and planning, but all can deliver great results. While it might be hard to find guests, you can slowly work on building your network. If you’re going to host guests, remember that they shouldn’t carry the show. Guests are often viewed as a panacea for a good show, but that is not always the case. It’s your job to recruit guests, research their backgrounds, and moderate to ensure good chemistry.
Individual podcast formats, whether they be storytelling or an educational show, rely on you and can be just as captivating as a show with guests. They also require work, research, and thoughtful delivery. Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide which format is the best fit for you and the kind of content you want to create.
Podcast Studio Setup: Hardware
At a minimum, you’ll need a microphone and recording software with editing capabilities. If you’re just starting out, don’t worry about purchasing the most expensive equipment — you’ll get there with time. Just make sure you select something that will produce high-quality audio.
Quality audio is crucial for an engaging podcast. Remember, even if you’re hosting a video podcast, many listeners will prefer audio only formats and can't see you; all they have are your voice and the sounds you share with them. Poor audio quality can turn away potential listeners and even cause current ones to stop tuning in. Therefore, investing in a high-quality microphone is a critical step in setting up your podcast. Logitech's Blue Sona is an XLR dynamic microphone designed to deliver studio-level audio quality to your streams. Its contemporary and sleek aesthetics seamlessly blend with your existing setup. Pair it with the Compass boom arm, and your setup will not only sound professional but also look the part.
Proper lighting is often overlooked in podcasting, but for video podcasts, it's a game-changer. A well-lit setup helps present a professional appearance, ensures your audience can clearly see you, and helps avoid any distractions caused by poor lighting. Essentially, good lighting takes your video podcast from good to great.
The Logitech Litra Beam offers a simple setup that's easy to adjust, making it perfect for desktop recording setups. Its sleek design doesn't overpower your space and can blend smoothly into your recording environment. What's more, you can fine-tune its settings using the Logitech G HUB Software. This device offers adjustable color temperatures ranging from 2700-6500K, giving you the flexibility to create the ideal lighting condition for your streams. Plus, its ability to be positioned both vertically and horizontally provides maximum flexibility to fit your space and needs.
Other advanced accessories that you may consider for your podcast studio as you continue on your podcasting journey are a mic stand, shock mount, high-quality headphones, a camera if you want to produce a video podcast, and noise-canceling panels (not pricey and highly recommended for your recording space).
Podcast Studio Setup: Software
When it comes to software, consider factors like price, editing capabilities, customer support, and local file save options. There are several free and paid software available, each with its own set of features and advantages. From recording to editing, below are some software that we recommend for your podcasting journey.
Talk Studio: Easy to use and comes with streaming and recording capabilities. This browser-based tool lets you easily invite guests to your podcast.
Streamlabs Desktop: Stream your podcast while recording to increase your reach. The Collab Cam feature enables you to add guests to your podcast by simply sharing a link (no software downloads are required on their end). You can learn more about Streamlabs Collab Cam in this guide.
Streamlabs Podcast Editor: This robust recording and editing tool is designed to streamline the process of editing audio and video podcast episodes. Whether you're a seasoned podcaster or just starting out, Podcast Editor empowers you to create high-quality content easily (you can read more about that in our Streamlabs Podcast Editor Guide).
Adobe Audition: Full-suite audio editor for post-production. Offers audio restoration, sound removal, noise reduction, and many features and visualization tools. Lacks MIDI support—pricey relative to others in this list.
GarageBand: Used by both beginners and professionals. Easy to edit your podcast. Great user interface and supports 24-bit recording. Available for Mac only.
Audacity: Widely popular among folks getting started with podcasting. Free, offers many editing options, and supports multitrack audio and batch processing. Lacks advanced features.
Hosting and Publishing Your Podcast
Once you have your equipment and content ready, it's time to host and publish your podcast. Most hosting platforms offer free and paid options, so research before you select one. Below are some of our personal recommendations.
Buzzsprout—a modern interface that’s great for advanced users
Pros: transcription service, multiple pricing tiers, advanced analytics
Cons: 250GB bandwidth (not unlimited); pricing not as intuitive as others
Price: free or starting at $12 per month for premium features
Simplecast—popular and well-designed
Pros: solid status if upgraded. Private podcasting, sharing, web players, and ease of use
Cons: 20K downloads limit; must upgrade for advanced stats
Price: $15/month for a basic monthly plan after a free trial
Transistor—great for folks who want an easy way to get started
Pros: ease to use, automatic sync to Spotify, Convertkit, Hubspot, Twitter, and unlimited storage; great private podcasting tools and highly regarded customer support
Cons: download limits on unlimited plans
Price: $19/month and up
Castos—unique design and added tools for growth
Pros: Enterprise plans, unique design, growth tools (for a fee)
Cons: No free version after 14-day trial
Price: $19 per month and up
Spreaker—useful if you want to manage a podcast on multiple platforms through one account
Pros: Team management, advanced analytics, and access to monetization tools
Cons: plans based on audio storage, lacking some features
Price: $8 per month and up for advanced features
How to Upload Your Podcast to Popular Platforms
You can upload directly to Spotify or Apple. All you need is a name, cover art, RSS feed, and category where you want your show to appear.
For Apple, you will need to create an Apple ID, upload it to Apple Podcasts Connect, and submit your info.
For Spotify, you will need to create a Spotify account, submit your RSS feed, and go through the steps to fill out your info.
Monetizing Your Podcast
There are several ways to monetize your podcast. As you grow and evolve in your podcasting journey, you can explore different monetization strategies that align with your content and audience. Below are some of the main ways we’ve seen podcasters monetize their shows:
Advertisements and sponsorships: These become more lucrative as you grow. Rates are custom per person and per brand. Advertisements can be placed before the show, throughout the show, and/or in the description. Leading tools to get this revenue stream are SMX Media, and AdvertiseCast.
Donations and tipping: Often, podcasters get started here as their income source as it’s available to everyone. Common tools are Patreon and Streamlabs tipping. When companies, like Streamlabs, for example, don’t take a cut of your earnings,100% of the funds from your supporters go to you (minus standard processing fees).
Paid and branded content: As you grow, companies may reach out to you (or you may pitch) for sponsored opportunities (e.g., a quick ad slot within an episode of your podcast).
Premium content for paid supporters: This could mean early episodes, paid subs-only episodes, and private RSS feeds.
Advertising may seem like the most common revenue model, but it is not available to all and has its limitations. Having spoken to dozens of successful folks, we recommend that everyone, regardless of whether you are just getting started with podcasting or a seasoned pro, incorporate donations into your show. This is an easy way to let your community support your podcast. You can learn more about monetizing your podcast by reading this helpful guide.
Now that you know how to start a podcast, it’s time to get started! Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a podcasting pro. Just remember to have fun with it — after all, that’s why you’re doing it in the first place.