How To - Podcast Guides

How to Start a Podcast: A Complete Step-by-Step Tutorial for Beginners [2024]

Learn how to start a podcast with our step-by-step guide. It walks you through everything you need to start recording your first podcast episode.


Person at a computer, overlooking a city view from the office window

Got a story to tell, a passion to share, or a message that needs to get out into the world? Podcasting might be the answer. It's not just about radio on-demand; it's about igniting conversations, building communities, and becoming a thought leader in your niche. For business owners, podcasting can give any brand a considerable uplift in visibility. 

This guide will walk you through every step of starting a podcast, from choosing the right equipment and recording your first episode to editing, publishing, and growing your audience. Whether you're a complete beginner or a seasoned creator looking to try a new medium, here's everything you need to know for how to start a podcast.

Why You Should Start a Podcast

There’s never been a better time for podcasting. Listener numbers only continue to grow, while few brands have yet to fully take advantage of audio content, meaning you have a great chance of standing out. 

It's one thing to know that podcasts are popular, but another to justify to the powers that be why your brand should start its own show. From brand awareness to establishing expertise, we're just scratching the surface of why podcasts are great for your business.

By now podcasting has found its place within the present-day global digital market. The spectrum is enormous — ranging from creative storytelling and one-on-one interviews to branded sci-fi narratives and in-the-field reporting. There are podcasts on everything and for everyone.

A podcast may be a huge asset for your business, drastically increasing its visibility, while at the same time growing your network and positioning your brand at the forefront of customers' minds. 

Here are a few reasons why you should consider starting a podcast:

  • Reach your target audience, directly, and regularly

  • Build a community around your niche

  • Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry

  • Increase brand visibility and credibility

  • Expand your network and connect with like-minded individuals

Think about it this way: as a brand, you get to be clear on who you really want to speak with, and then chat with them regularly. It’s like speaking at a conference, every week without having to leave your home, except attendance is unlimited and you have their undivided attention.

Podcasting is the most intimate medium for content. It gives your brand a chance to connect at a human level, sharing a true voice, and stories backing up your values.

When you build up a listener base, you know that you have a loyal audience, ready to hear what your brand has to say every week. They trust you, trust your insights, and trust your advice. 

How To Start A Podcast: Your Step-By-Step Guide

You know the why, now it's time to get down to the how to start a podcast. Starting a podcast can be tough. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s an overnight process. But with the right guidance, you'll be well on your way to launching your own successful show. 

A quick note before I jump into the details: I know it looks overwhelming to take it in all at once. But focus on really nailing one step at a time, and your show will come together.

1. The Foundation of Starting A Podcast

You can’t go anywhere without your foundation. For your new podcast that means getting clear on your strategy to guide you. Let’s break it down.

Start with your Goals

Clearly defined goals guide your podcast and fuel its success. They provide a structure for decision-making, measuring progress, and adapting your approach as you grow. To set effective goals, follow these steps:

  1. Identify Your Motivations: Are you launching this podcast because you want to educate, inform, inspire, foster connections, reach new audiences, attract clients, or enhance brand awareness? No need to limit yourself to one, but just be clear on your why.

  2. Craft SMART Goals: Make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, instead of "grow my audience," aim for "increase downloads by 20% within 3 months."

  3. Build a Goal Hierarchy: Set big-picture goals, mid-term milestones, and short-term action steps. These might include increasing brand awareness, getting certain guests on your show, and successfully producing a 10 episode season. 

  4. Keep Reviewing and Adapting: Take a look at your progress regularly, gather feedback from your target audience, and adjust your goals as needed. But don’t forget to celebrate your wins along the way.

Clarify your Podcast Theme

When considering how to start a podcast, one of the first things to do is to establish the overall theme, podcast name, and type of content you will deliver. For most branded podcasts, this could follow the rest of your marketing program and strategy.

As a starting point, you should aim to teach. Similar to how your blogs, ebooks, and webinars educate your consumers and provide value to your audience, your podcast should do likewise.

For example, as a financial institution, your focus could be on money management concepts.

Identify Your Niche

Something must differentiate you from others working in a similar industry. Yes, you could create a podcast that offers a more general take on your industry, but niching down is often far more effective than going for the blanket approach where you try to reach all audiences everywhere. 

A law-centric podcast focusing on U.S. divorce law and how people can navigate different legal scenarios is a great example of niching down on a specific topic.

Ultimately, your podcast theme and what you essentially teach will depend on your industry.

Here are some things to keep in mind during this step:

  1. Talk about what you know: leverage you and your brands expertise. What are you knowledgeable or passionate about? Sharing genuine enthusiasm and knowledge will attract people in search of value.

  2. Know who you are talking to: get clear on your target audience. Understanding their interests and preferred content helps tailor your topic to their needs.

  3. Stick to your why: Make sure your topic aligns with your goals. Education? Choose a knowledge-intensive theme. Entertainment? Opt for a lighthearted approach.

  4. Check out the competition: Check existing podcasts in your potential niche to see what there is, how they approach topics, and what listeners like. This can give you an idea of where there may be a market gap.

Remember, a well-defined niche attracts a dedicated audience, fuels content creation, and can guide you through the whole podcasting process.

Further reading: Podcast Topics

Know Your Audience

Your podcast will never appeal to everyone — that's just the sad fact of podcasting. For example, a technology podcast focused on AI probably won't appeal to flower-arranging, cottagecore millennials. 

You need to find your people — the ones who will love your podcast and its content. 

Instead of casting the broadest net possible, you must focus on fishing out the people you want to tune in to your show. If you think about it, the wrong kinds of listeners aren't going to subscribe, review your podcast favorably, or ever consider sharing it. So, your job is to target the people who will.

Create Ideal Podcast Personas and Avatars

To understand your audience and create content that converts, you have to start with the who. Any marketer understands that you must always have your ideal consumers in mind for your communications to have an impact.

By putting yourself in your customer's shoes and visualizing their needs and pain points, you'll have a deeper understanding of the kind of content you should be producing. 

An "ideal listener," sometimes referred to as a persona or avatar, allows you to do just that. It's that one singular person you'd love to have to listen to your podcast. Having that person in mind makes it easier to structure your entire marketing process and plan your content.

Statistically, only 44% of marketers use ideal podcast listener personas. By building a persona for your podcast, you'll be one step ahead of over half of the podcasters out there!

Further Reading: Defining Your Ideal Listener

Choose A Podcast Name

Next, it’s time to name your show. Though it seems like a fairly easy step, take your time to think about it. Your title is the first thing listeners see, and the first chance to reel them in.

Selecting the right title for your podcast helps align your brand identity and can help attract listeners. Take your time to brainstorm and come up with a few options before making a final decision. 

Here are some steps to guide you in choosing a captivating podcast title:

  • Consider keywords and phrases that effectively represent your podcast’s subject matter and purpose. 

  • Opt for a concise, pronounceable title that easily resonates with listeners. 

  • Verify that your chosen title is not already used as a domain name or claimed on relevant social media platforms to avoid potential copyright conflicts.

By following these steps, you can choose a title that effectively represents your podcast, attracts target audiences, and stands out in the crowded audio landscape. Remember, your title is a powerful first impression, so choose wisely.

Podcast Description

A podcast description should give potential listeners a clear understanding of what your show is about. Make it concise and engaging, highlighting the value they will get from listening. 

Think of it as an elevator pitch for your podcast. Keep the first paragraph under 300 words and make it compelling enough to grab their attention and make them want to click play.
That being said, you can use the rest of the description space for SEO. Fit in up to 10 keywords naturally and it can really help your discoverability.

Further reading: How to Write the Perfect Podcast Description

Podcast Artwork

Along with your Title, the artwork is the thing listeners might first see. And as much as we say “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, you can bet listeners have a little judgment when browsing for new podcasts.  Make your artwork count, and make sure it aligns with your overall brand.

Consider these points when designing it:

  • Choose visuals that accurately represent your show's purpose and themes. Use graphics that evoke your niche or hint at broader themes. Alternatively, you can use your logo to convey your message effectively.

  • Design with different sizes and aspect ratios in mind to ensure your artwork looks great on all platforms, from podcasts to social media.

  • Align your artwork with your overall branding. Use your logo or color palette to reinforce recognition and create a strong visual identity.

Further reading: Podcast Cover Art: Size & Specs to Get Your Brand Noticed

Young guy sitting with notebook in front of laptop, planning out a podcast episode

2. Podcasting Formats

Anyone who has been listening to podcasts for any length will know that they come in all formats. Deciding on your podcast format is an essential task that needs some careful thought.

While there is no "right" way to structure a podcast, there are a few things to consider. 

When deciding on a format for your podcast, research podcasts outside your industry. Story-driven podcasts like Serial and How I Built This can offer a lot of inspiration to businesses that are new to podcasting.Here’s some of the most common formats to get you thinking:

  • Solo monologue: A single speaker sharing tips, ideas, or stories

  • Interview show: At least one host interviewing guests and experts within your industry

  • Multiple hosts: at least two hosts discussing topics

  • Narrative style: Usually, guest interviews are broken up with host voiceovers*

*This format focuses on storytelling and requires a higher production value.

Most podcasters in the B2B space tend to lean towards interviews or roundtable discussions with thought leaders and industry experts. Others are usually led by a single host talking about a given topic. 

Our advice is to find a podcast format that is both repeatable and engaging for your audience. Going from one format to another on a regular basis can make you seem inconsistent and unreliable. Plus, constantly changing your publishing process reduces your chances of building a loyal following. 

Further reading: Podcast Formats: Why Narrative Shows Work Best for Branded Podcasts

Finding Your Rhythm: Choosing the Right Episode Length and Schedule

Once you've chosen your format, it’s time to consider…time. How long should your episodes be, and how often do you need to publish to keep your audience engaged?

Optimal Length:

  • 15-30 minutes: Perfect for quick hits of information or engaging narratives.

  • 30-60 minutes: Standard format for most podcasts, offering room for deeper dives without exceeding typical commutes.

  • 60+ minutes: Best for in-depth interviews, panel discussions, or complex topics.

Publishing Schedule:

  • Daily/Weekly: Ideal for news, updates, or short-form shows. Requires a high content creation pace

  • Bi-weekly/Monthly: Balanced approach, allowing for deeper dives. Fits well with most themes

  • Seasonally: Great for narrative or in-depth series. Offers flexibility, but there’s the risk of losing momentum between seasons

Further reading: What's the Best Day to Publish a Podcast?

But remember, it’s all about flexibility. Don’t sacrifice content quality for timing, if you need to space shows out so you can produce a better result, take that time. 

Experiment, track listener engagement, and adapt your schedule to find the rhythm that works best for you, your show, and your audience.

Pro tip: Consider "micro-episodes" for quick snippets, bonus content, or teasers to keep your audience engaged between regular episodes.

3. Basic Podcast Equipment Setup

While you don’t need to remortgage your house to set yourself up, investing in some decent podcasting equipment is important. If you’re in this for the long haul (and you should be if you’re hoping to succeed), it’s a worthwhile investment.

Your basic equipment setup will vary slightly depending on which format you’ve decided to go with, but in our experience, these are the essential items you'll need when you’re first starting out.

  • A good podcast mic (we recommend the Shure MV7)

  • Wired Headphones

  • Pop filter or windscreen (if your mic doesn’t come with one)

  • Mic stand or boom arm

  • Audio interface or mixer (if necessary)

Further reading: The Best Podcast Equipment for Every Budget

Microphone and Headphones

4. Podcast Software Options

Once you have your equipment set up, you'll need software to record and edit your podcast episodes. There are several options available, both free and paid. Some popular choices include:

  • Audacity (free)

  • Descript (free version, or premium starts at $12/month)

  • Adobe Audition ($22.99/month)

If you’re planning on doing remote recordings in addition to your in-person interviews, then you’ll also want to consider adding one of the following options to your toolkit:

  • Zencast

  • Squadcast

  • Riverside

Further reading: Podcast Software Roundup: Top Tools for Recording & Editing

5.Planning and Recording Your Podcast

While you may be ready to go, there's a few steps to take before you start recording your podcast. You'll need to plan out the direction of your show and the episodes before ge

Write an Outline and Script

You can of course just wing it for your episodes, but I can’t guarantee it’ll be a great idea. Ideally, you’ll want to write an outline for your first episode. 

Without it, you’re going to waffle on and bore your audience. (Trust me on this one.) Once you get better at it, you may be able to get by with just an intro and outro script. But really, even the pros use outlines, they are a great tool for mapping out your topic and keeping you on track. 

Further reading: How to Write a Podcast Script [With Examples & Template]

Choose a Recording-friendly Location

Where you are recording matters just as much as what you are recording. You need a quiet spot free of distractions. More than that, you’ll want a place that offers good sound quality. Ideally, you want somewhere carpeted and with minimal echo or background noise. If you haven’t got a studio, a closet with clothes can work well. 

Hone Your Mic Technique

If you’re not used to talking into a microphone, it can take some practice to find your sweet spot. By that, I mean mic placement (how far away it is from your mouth) and how loud you speak into it. 

Experiment with different distances and angles to find the best sound quality. Practice speaking clearly and enunciating your words to ensure your voice is captured accurately.

Further reading: Proper Microphone Techniques & Placement Explained

Record a Test

Finally, it’s time to actually record something. Remember, this is a test, not a work of art. Your first attempts will likely be messy, and that’s fine. The aim here is to get you comfy behind the mic. 

Start by recording a short introduction or a few practice sentences. Play it back and listen for any issues or areas that need improvement.

While it is best to nail your microphone technique, keep in mind that you can always fix things in the editing phase as well.
Once you’ve got a test complete, you can finally start a podcast and enter the recording phase!

6. The Edit Phase

In the editing phase, you'll polish the raw recorded audio to create a finished podcast episode. This is where you have the opportunity to not only enhance the sound quality and remove mistakes or awkward pauses but also to drive the overall narrative and content of your podcast episode. 

Editing can easily suck you down the rabbit hole of perfection. To avoid that happening, here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Start With a Clean Workspace

Before diving into editing, organize your files and create a dedicated folder for your podcast episode. This will help you stay organized and easily access the files you need.

Delete Duplicate Takes 

Begin by removing any duplicate takes or repetitions in your recording. While the initial cut may still be rough, it forms the basis of your podcast episode. From here, it's time to focus on the details.

Trim Out Mistakes

Listen through your recording carefully and identify any mistakes, stumbles, or awkward pauses. By cutting out these sections, you'll create a seamless listening experience for your audience.

Smooth Your Transitions

If there are abrupt transitions or cuts between sections or segments, consider using crossfades or other transitions to make them sound more natural and polished.

Guide the Flow

Think about the narrative and content of your episode. Remove any content that feels disjointed or doesn’t contribute to the overall message.  Keep only what truly matters and helps convey your intended story.

Add a Catchy Intro and Outro

Include an introduction at the beginning of each episode to set the tone and introduce your podcast. Likewise, end with an outro that wraps up the episode and provides any necessary calls to action or next steps for your audience.

Enhance the Listening Experience 

Consider adding music, sound effects, or other elements that can make the overall listening experience more engaging for your audience.

Export and Save Your Final Episode

Once you're satisfied with your final edit, export an audio file in the format your hosting platform recommends (such as a .WAV file). Save it in a designated folder for easy access because you’re going to need it for the next step.

Further reading: How to Edit a Podcast: Audio Levels, Content, Tips, Trailers & More

7. Podcast Hosting Service

With your episode ready to go, the question is where to? I’m not talking Apple or Spotify, before you get to distribution you need to find a host to upload and store your podcast episodes. This is also where you will generate an RSS feed to submit to podcast directories (more on that next). 

Some popular podcast hosting platforms include:

  • Podbean: User-friendly interface—great for beginners.

  • Transistor: Versatile and cost-effective, it’s a good choice for most podcasters.

  • Riverside: Designed for high-quality remote recording and live streaming, the platform offers top-notch audio and video capabilities.

Research each platform to see which one best suits you best in terms of pricing, storage space, analytics, and distribution options. Keep in mind that while free options exist, they often come with limitations.

 Once you've chosen a platform, sign up for an account and follow their instructions. After setting up your podcast hosting, you can upload your edited episode. Typically, you'll need to provide the episode file (in the recommended format) and fill in details such as the episode title, description, and artwork. 

Remember to add relevant tags and categories for better discoverability by your potential listeners.

Pro tip: Consider leveraging platforms like YouTube for wider reach, no host is needed, just an account.

Further reading: 13 Best Podcast Hosting Platforms for All Budgets

8. Podcast Directories

Now, you can get your show to your listeners. Directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and others can all give you a platform for listening, and sharing. These directories act as libraries, connecting your show with listeners actively searching for new audio content. 

Most podcast hosting platforms offer easy integration with major podcast directories (usually at the click of a button). Check if your host provides an easy way to submit your podcast to these directories. You can usually find tutorials or FAQs on your hosting platform's website to guide you through the submission process.

In addition to the major players, it's worth submitting your podcast to additional directories to expand your reach. Some popular options include: 

  • Stitcher

  • Pocket Casts

  • Castos

  • TuneIn

  • iHeartRadio

  • Overcast

  • Deezer

9. How to Start a Podcast: The Launch Phase(and Growth!)

It’s finally time to send your creation out into the world. How do you do that? What’s the best approach? There are two ways to go, and both have merit.

Fly Below the Radar

By this, we don’t literally mean fly below the radar. Nobody would ever get to listen to your show if you did that. What we mean is that you launch your new podcast quietly.

You simply start publishing according to your pre-determined schedule. If people find you, great. If not, that’s not necessarily bad, as it’ll give you time to build up your skills and improve your podcast without the pressure of a large audience. 

As you gain more confidence and experience, you can promote your podcast more actively and reach out to potential listeners.

Launch with a Bang

On the other hand, if you have confidence in your show, you can launch your podcast with a bang. This means putting more effort into promoting your podcast before and during the launch.

This route can work well if you have an existing audience or if you're willing to put in the extra time and effort to build momentum. This may or may not also include having an ad spend budget to reach a larger audience. 

Here are some strategies to consider for a successful launch:

  • Create a teaser trailer or preview episode to generate excitement and give potential listeners a taste of what's to come.

  • Generate buzz on social media by sharing behind-the-scenes content, sneak peeks, and updates about your podcast.

  • Reach out to friends, family, and colleagues and ask them to listen, subscribe, and share your podcast with their networks.

  • Collaborate with other podcasters or influencers in your niche to cross-promote each other's shows.

Further reading: How to Promote a Podcast: Ideas & Tips on the Best Strategies

Key Considerations for Successfully Starting a Podcast

Congratulations on getting your podcast out into the world! It's time to focus on maintaining the momentum you’ve built up to ensure its long-term success. Here’s some things to help you do just that:

  • Consistency is key: Sticking to a regular publishing schedule will keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

  • Engage with your audience: Respond to your listeners’ comments, emails, and messages. Building a connection with them is one of the best ways to grow your show.

  • Podcast marketing: Use social media, your website, and other platforms to spread the word and attract new listeners. Sharing episodes, clips, and behind-the-scenes content is a great way to generate interest.

  • Collaborate with guests: Invite experts, industry leaders, or interesting individuals to be guests on your podcast. Their expertise or unique perspectives can attract new listeners and provide valuable content for your audience.

  • Monitor analytics: Pay attention to your podcast's analytics to understand your audience demographics, episode performance, and engagement levels.

Taking Your Podcasting Journey to the Next Level

Once you’re in the swing of things and feeling more comfortable with the process, you might want to change your podcasting approach. Here are some ways to up the ante:

  • Experiment with different formats: Try incorporating interviews, panel discussions, or storytelling into your episodes to keep your content fresh and engaging. This can be both an exercise in creativity, and a test to see how your target audience enjoys new content types.

  • Improve your production quality: Invest in better equipment, soundproofing, and editing software to enhance the overall audio quality of your podcast.

  • Expand your reach with guest appearances: Seek out opportunities to be a guest on other podcasts or invite influential guests to appear on your show. This cross-promotion can expose your podcast to new audiences and increase your credibility.

  • Monetize your podcast: Explore different monetization strategies, such as sponsorships, merchandise sales, or crowdfunding campaigns. Build a loyal audience and leverage your influence to attract potential sponsors who align with your podcast's niche.

Final Thoughts on How To Start A Podcast

Remember, podcasting isn’t a static project, there's always room for growth and improvement. Stay open to learning, adapt to new trends, and keep pushing the boundaries of your creativity to make your show truly exceptional. 

Stick with it, and you’re bound to be met with success.

If you are considering starting a podcast for your business, pitching a podcast to your boss may seem like a tough mountain to climb. But think of it this way: starting a podcast for your business is a great way to provide value-based content for your audience and customers. Now that you know how to start a podcast, and an idea of what you’ll need, pitching will be a bit easier.

Podcasts provide content that targets and meets your ideal consumers where they are, builds trust with audiences, expands a brand's network, and establishes a reputation. From a business leader's perspective, podcasts genuinely set the foundation for building your personal brand. 

There's a certain amount of prep work and planning that goes into creating a successful podcast, but once you hit your stride, it will become an easily actionable item on your marketing to-do list. 

However, if you’ve read through this guide and come to the conclusion that starting a podcast is way more time-consuming than you initially imagined, don't worry. You don't have to go it alone. 

Lower Street can help you launch, promote, and even edit your new show. As longtime podcast enthusiasts with a wealth of experience, we're passionate about supporting fledgling podcasters like you. Get in touch today and take your podcast to new heights!

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    Harry Morton

    Hi, I'm Harry. I'm a father and the founder of Lower Street. I like mountain biking, making music, and travel.