Whether you’ve always dreamed of having a radio show or there’s a topic on your heart that you’d like to share with others, you’ve decided to explore podcasting as a way to contribute to the conversation. With a podcast, you get to have meaningful conversations and build a community of like-minded people with similar interests.
While podcasting has become extremely popular in recent years, launching and maintaining a podcast is laborious, and there is a lot to consider. As with most things, planning and staying organized goes a long way, so here are seven non-technical things to consider before starting a podcast.
Define Your Topics
Clearly defining your podcast’s purpose and goals will not only offer you clarity and direction but will help attract listeners with similar interests and passions. To define your topic Answer these questions.
- What is your show about?
- What’s your unique angle (what makes your show different)?
- Why do you want to start a podcast? (As opposed to a blog or a YouTube channel)
- Who is this show for?
As you prepare to launch a podcast, spend time clarifying your show’s focus. Narrow down three to four topics that will become your core content pillars — what you want your show to be known for and the recurring topics you’ll revisit throughout.
Over on The Thought Card Podcast, I empower financially savvy travelers to afford to travel, pay off debt, earn more money, and build wealth. Can you spot my content pillars? If you guessed affording travel, paying off debt, making more money, and building wealth, you’re correct.
What topics will you discuss on your show?
Secondly, can you talk about those topics endlessly (or at least it feels like it)? Make a list of potential episode ideas. If you can brainstorm more than ten episodes, you’re on the right track. If not, you may want to consider another topic or create a limited series instead.
Early on in the planning process, make a list of potential podcast names.
Before committing to any name, cover your bases by searching the term on Apple Podcasts and Podchaser. Apple Podcasts is one of the most popular podcast players, and Podchaser is a podcast search discovery tool.
If it has already been taken, find another name for your show. Not only may this name already be trademarked, but using that name will confuse your audience and make discovering your show challenging. If there are no other shows with the name, you’re in the clear.
Remember, you can always change your name in the future. So don’t rush the process, but also don’t let it cause unnecessary delays either.
Podcast Cover Art
Podcast cover art is the artwork that accompanies your show. In addition to your show’s name, your podcast cover art is a unique identifier that makes your brand stand apart. After you’ve finalized your podcast name, consider how you will visually represent your show. What colors, graphics, text, and fonts will you use?
Do you have the budget to hire podcast cover art designers, or will you DIY? Will you be the face of your brand, or would you prefer an illustration or text?
Either way, browse through various podcast catalogs in your niche and outside your niche to identify the designs that catch your eye. Are there any trends or elements that you can spot and perhaps incorporate into your design?
As a rule of thumb, skip the word ‘podcast’ in your podcast name — it’s duplicative and a waste of limited space on your cover art.
Seasonal or Ongoing
Although many podcasts have ongoing shows (with no breaks), many podcasters are pivoting to the seasonal model, where they publish 10-20 episodes per season.
Taking seasonal breaks will allow you to recharge, analyze what’s working, source new guests, and plan for the upcoming season.
If you decide to go the seasonal route, make it clear to your audience when you intend to take a break and when they can anticipate your return. Keep your promise.
Consistency is key to growing an audience. Keeping in mind your lifestyle and other commitments, realistically, how often will you publish new episodes?
Although weekly shows continue to be the most popular podcasting schedule, to be consistent and have time to produce and promote episodes, many podcasters are moving to biweekly and even monthly schedules. Some have even decided to release the entire season at once, Netflix style.
In addition to how often you plan to publish new episodes, what day and time will you publish? Whatever you choose, plan to stick to your publishing schedule so you can build trust and consistency with your audience over time.
Solo or Interview
Podcasts take on a variety of different formats. Will you host a solo show, or will you exclusively interview guests? Perhaps your show will feature a mix of both, or maybe it’ll be narrative-style.
If you plan to interview guests, make a list of guests you’d want to feature. You can also make a list of ‘dream guests,’ people you aspire to interview one day.
Generally, how long will your episodes last?
Depending on your audience’s lifestyle, you may want to produce shorter episodes vs. longer ones. For example, if your ideal audience is busy entrepreneurial moms with newborns, they may prefer listening to short episodes between 15-20 minutes long since they have limited time. In this scenario, bite-sized episodes that offer lots of value may be more beneficial.
After your show has launched, be open to adjusting episode length based on listener feedback and analytics.
Overall, launching a podcast takes significant time and effort, but finding a balance between planning and taking action is essential to getting your new creative project out into the world. As you build up your body of work, be open to pivoting and redefining as necessary.
Other Technical Things To Consider:
- Outro music
- Video recording (optional)
- Recording and editing software
- Audio leveling software
- Podcast hosting and distribution
- Website hosting