Five things you need to launch your first podcast

Fancy launching your first ever podcast? Here are five things you need to get started.

Several years ago, we wrote about the growing popularity of podcasting. Since then, the number of podcasts – and listeners – has skyrocketed. As of 2020:

  • More than 55% of the US population have listened to a podcast
  • Over 155 million people have listened to a podcast every week in 2020.
  • Around 24% of people in the US (68 million) listen to podcasts each week.

And there’s plenty of choice today for podcast fans, with over 700,000 active podcasts and 29 million podcast episodes available to listen to.

Want to start your own podcast? You need these five things

If you’re toying with the idea of launching your own podcast, there are a few things you need to get started. To help you, in this article we cover five things you absolutely need in order to launch a successful podcast.

1) A topic you are passionate about

This is our most basic tip when it comes to podcasting, but it’s the most important one by far. 

If you’re going to make a success of your new podcast, it’ll be easier and much more fulfilling to talk about something you really care about. Think long and hard about what sort of topics you want to cover before recording even a second’s worth of content.

Once you get started, you’ll need to regularly upload new podcasts (either weekly or even daily if you can maintain that level of content), and make sure you give your listeners a large variety of content to choose from to keep them engaged.

It’s also worth considering who your audience is and what they want to listen to. The most popular age group for podcast listeners is 25-44 this are group makes up 49% of total listeners). And the five most popular podcasting categories in 2020 were:

  • Society and culture
  • Business
  • Comedy
  • Health
  • News and politics

Combining a topic you’re passionate about with content people want to listen to is the secret to a successful podcast.

2) The right format for you

It’s fine to take inspiration from your favourite podcasts, but ask yourself if there are more effective ways to present your subject matter.

It’s not just about the story you want to tell either, there’s your personality to take into consideration. Are you best suited to delivering a narrative, chatting with guests your listeners would be interested in, or presenting as a co-host with friends?

If you’re stuck for ideas, here are the seven most popular podcast formats:

  1. Interview podcast.
  2. Monologue podcast.
  3. Conversational/co-hosted podcast.
  4. Panel podcast. 
  5. Non-fictional storytelling podcast.
  6. Podcast theater podcast.
  7. Repurposed content podcast.

3) Professional equipment

Stand out from the crowd with a polished and professional final product, using the perfect kit for getting started in podcasting. 

Audio-Technica’s Creator Pack is an affordable choice that doesn’t compromise on quality. It comes equipped with a crisp ATR2500x-USB Microphone and immersive ATH-M20x Professional Monitor Headphones, as well as a desk boom arm and handy tripod stand.

Not got the budget right now to invest in new equipment? You can always get started with the default microphone of your smartphone, external lapel microphones, or a pair of affordable microphone-equipped headphones, and upgrade to a more professional set-up as your podcast grows in popularity.

With modern podcast recording software especially, you can record and edit high-quality lossless audio even with your laptop mic. Podcastle is one prime example of a recording platform that’s just as great for beginners as it is for seasoned creators.

4) Recording and editing software

If only podcasting was as easy as saying your piece and sending it out to the world. 

Recording and editing software is absolutely essential for making your podcast shine. Thankfully there’s a wide range of options available to suit any budget, from premium products like Pro Tools to impressive free options such as Audacity and GarageBand.

5) A hosting service

When your podcast is ready to share with the world, you’ll need an online hosting service to handle bandwidth demands.

The good news is there are plenty of affordable platforms out there, all with their own set of advantages. Blubrry works well with WordPress sites thanks to its plugin PowerPress, while Buzzsprout has gained plenty of fans thanks to its user-friendly interface. Or you can upload it for free on Soundcloud.

Share your podcast and build your audience

There’s one more essential ingredient for any podcast: an audience. So once you’ve uploaded your new podcast, make sure you share it widely.

As with any product (whether it’s a paid product or something you want to promote for free, like a podcast) you’ll have far more success if you come up with a marketing plan for spreading the word.

Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before promoting your podcast:

  • Who is my ideal audience?
  • Why do they need or want this podcast?
  • What does it add to their lives?
  • What problem does it solve for them?
  • When might they listen to it?
  • Where do they spend time online?
  • What social platforms do they use?
  • What kind of messaging is going to attract their attention?
  • What will convince them that THIS is the podcast for them?

Also consider how you’ll encourage a one-time listener to return to your podcast, and how you can get people to review and share it. You may have the best podcast in the world, but if no one finds and listens to it, then you won’t build an audience.

Get started on your first podcast!

We hope this article has been helpful. If you really want to launch your own podcast then the onus is now for you to take the first step and bring it to life. Who knows how many people are waiting to hear from you when you do?

Photo by Kate Oseen