How To Make A Podcast From Scratch

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If you also want to experiment with podcasting but don't have the faintest idea how to start taking the first steps, this is the guide to find out how to make a podcast from scratch.

Unlike other podcast tutorials , here I will explain all the stages of creation: from the project to the use of the tools, from the editorial choice to publication and promotion. All elements that you will need to implement the podcast in your business strategy or even just to create a personal audio product. 

It's not enough to know which microphone to choose or how to use the tools to make a successful podcast. Podcast is a powerful marketing tool that can make a difference in your online communication. But for it to be effective, it must start with a strategy. If your intent is to start off on the right foot, let me guide you step by step.

Based on what I have personally experienced with my clients, I will give you some useful tips on how to make a podcast that will allow you to start your podcastering adventure even if you are a beginner.  

How to make a successful podcast: the 5 steps

To lay the right foundation and try to make a successful podcast, you need to know the 5 steps of the process:

  • design
  • production
  • post production
  • publication
  • promotion

Before getting to the heart of this guide, let me tell you that creating a podcast for your brand, personal or corporate, means entering a market that is still uncrowded compared to other communication channels. Suffice it to say that by 2020 there were over 600 million blogs against 2 million podcasts . This allows you to differentiate yourself from the competition, take advantage of a considerable competitive advantage and help you see the podcast as a winning content marketing strategy .

With this concept in mind, it is clear that the podcast is a full-fledged marketing product. And as such, it must be designed and built without leaving anything to chance. Otherwise, the risk is to start with great enthusiasm and then abandon the project as soon as you realize that it is no longer sustainable, both in terms of resources and feasibility.

Creating podcasts: the project

Just like you would for your own product or service, before making a podcast you need to write down the data you need to make it happen. With the project you will have a clear and precise idea of ​​the direction to take and above all be able to maintain it until the end. 

Most of the time this initial phase is omitted because we immediately focus on operational activities, while instead the design is the most important one. This is where you decide, data in hand, times, methods and resources to be used based on your availability. 

To create a podcast define:

  • business goals : what do you want to achieve with the podcast? If you have a clear goal, it will be easier for you to strategize, choose topics, and convert listeners. 
  • target audience : who will you talk to? who is your ideal listener? If you are speaking to a niche or to a wider audience you will need to calibrate content and language.
  • competitor : for your sector, identify who they are and check how and by what means they are communicating. There may be other podcasts on the same topics you cover. Knowing them will help you understand how to differentiate yourself. 
  • message : what is the beating heart of this podcast? Identifying a clear, concise message that will be the leitmotif of all the episodes is fundamental.
  • time : how much time can you dedicate to creating the podcast? Define in advance a schedule in which to identify for each activity the time it will take you to complete it. It will help you understand if and where you will need external support.

Take the time to write down the answers to all of these points in detail. This preventive analysis will help you establish:

  • the podcast format
  • the editorial choice
  • the frequency of publication
  • the duration of the individual episodes
  • the number of speakers
  • who will take care of content creation and audio post production.

Good planning will help you maintain consistency and enthusiasm over the next few months. 

Podcast topics and editorial plan

You have chosen the underlying message, you have chosen the format and the editorial line. Now it is time to develop this idea.

 

I do not recommend starting to write the text of an episode without first having defined an editorial plan . It is like starting a long journey without having clear the stages. That's why now you will have to focus first on the macro topics and then gradually go into detail with the drafting of the titles of the individual episodes. 

Finding the right topics is always a bit of a challenge in the beginning. What can help you is to be clear about where you want to take listeners . Imagine accompanying them in your world, whatever it is, linked to your business or a passion or a value. It blazes the way for them to slowly discover the journey they will undertake. 

A few tips for the podcast editorial plan :

  • start from the macro and go down to the micro: define the areas of interest and draw up an ever-increasing level of depth for each of them;
  • think about the needs of users : what are the most frequently asked questions people ask themselves on that issue? What solution or point of view can you offer them?
  • help yourself with SEO : look for the keywords that revolve on that specific theme and see what the correlations are to expand or deepen a certain concept.
  • bring concrete examples: success stories or direct experiences that strengthen your mission that create identification or develop complementary arguments to your underlying message. 

Podcast production

Once the design bases have been established, we get to the heart of the realization. The production of a podcast begins with the development of the contents and continues with the audio recording of the same.

Once again, turning on the microphone is not the first thing to do. The podcast should be prepared like any other content. It doesn't matter if you write every single word you say or use a ladder. If you want to achieve the goal you have set for yourself, preparation is essential. 

Each episode of the podcast must have its own internal structure that helps the listener to orient himself. For example:

  • intro
  • theme song
  • argument
  • closure

The choice of the internal format is yours, the important thing is that:

  • grab attention from the first seconds
  • follow an identifiable pattern
  • you bring those who listen to you into action.

How do you grab attention ? In this case, the inverted pyramid logic used with web content is not recommended. Better to give a hint, arouse interest in the topics that will be discussed, launch a question that will be answered or anticipate the voice of a guest and then reveal their identity and topic. 

Script writing and lineup

Writing by voice is very different from that used for the web or for a book. In a blog article or in a novel, the written word follows the syntactic rules suitable for an endophasic reading , complete with subordinates, engravings, and so on. The language is also different. The words you would use in writing aren't necessarily the same words you would use in a conversation. 

Those who listen to us have no way of rereading, and cannot get lost in convoluted sentences and complex reasoning. The message must be made simple, clear and understandable so that it can be easily remembered. In this, repetitions are very useful, as are questions that lead to reflection or fix a concept before moving on to another.

Try reading an article aloud and record as you do it. After that listen again and notice the difference in structure compared to a speech. How does it turn out? Most of the time heavy. 

Choosing to use a script or a setlist to display content is very personal. In the first case, the advantage is not to lose the thread of the conversation, to avoid getting stuck or filling the gaps with annoying interlayers. However, it requires training because the exposition does not have to look like a reading. 
On the other hand, the use of the ladder makes the exposure more natural and spontaneous, but requires good public speaking skills . 

Podcast equipment

When the editorial plan and content are ready, it's time to turn on the microphone and record. The podcast equipment for a basic setup consists of:

  • microphone
  • headphones
  • boom for microphone and pop filter
  • recording software .

The best microphone may not necessarily be the most expensive. There are low budget products that perform very well for home recording . So before buying the microphone I recommend that you evaluate these factors:

  • environment in which you will record
  • number of speakers involved
  • spending budget.

For headphones, choose the wired ones instead of the bluetooth ones or with the noise reduction system . In this way you will avoid annoying interference during the recording phase. 

And at this point, to record the audio track of your voice, you will need recording software. There are free and paid ones, with different levels of expertise. 
To get started, I recommend that you try a free and simple tool such as Audacity or Garageband (for Mac).

Audio post production

Audio post production is the most technical part and the one that requires a minimum of familiarity and a lot of patience. It is painstaking work that will take time at first. If you're starting from scratch, don't be a perfectionist, focus on a simple and easy-to-assemble format .

In this technical phase, the first thing is the editing of the voice , that is the cleaning of errors, of too long pauses and of background noises, and then the application of compression and equalization. All this serves to make the voice itself more beautiful when listening to it.

At this point, we proceed with the audio editing by adding music and / or other vocal tracks. There can be a theme song , an identifying jingle , a sound carpet, sound effects or atmospheric music.

 

The sound touch characterizes the entire podcast, as if it were its own identity. Music must be chosen with care, it must express the mood and accompany the words without overwhelming them. But be careful not to use copyrighted music to avoid unnecessary removals. 

The final step of audio post production is mastering, i.e. the sound balance of all the tracks to optimize the quality of stereo reproduction. At this point we have our first podcast episode ready to go live. 

How to publish a podcast

To publish a podcast you need to rely on a hosting provider , that is, a provider that provides you with a space on the web on which to upload your audio, just like a website. It will be the hosting that transmits your files to all audio platforms for users to listen to. 

There are many hosting, with free or paid plans, and with different characteristics. Among these are:

  • Spreaker
  • Anchor
  • Buzzsprout
  • Podbean
  • Simplecast
  • Castos
  • Captivate
  • Soundcloud

Hosting creates an RSS feed , i.e. a structured file containing all the information of your podcast: author, cover, title, episode titles, contacts, etc. Whenever you upload a new episode, the feed will automatically update without you having to do anything more.

There is only one hosting, but there are many listening platforms . The user will choose to listen to it on the app he prefers and you will be able to monitor the ratings from the statistics made available by the hosting. 

Distribute the podcast on audio platforms

The distribution of your podcast on audio platforms is automatic and takes place via the RSS feed that the hosting communicates to them. Within a few hours of loading your episodes, it will be possible to listen to it in the dedicated apps. 

The main audio platforms are:

  • Apple Podcast
  • Spotify
  • Google Podcast
  • Spreaker
  • Amazon Music

In addition to these, there are minor platforms that retrieve the RSS feed from the main ones to convey it to their apps. It is not a mistake to distribute the podcast on multiple platforms. In this case there is no problem of duplicate content such as it happens if the same blog article is published on multiple sites. More platforms allow you to reach more audiences, because everyone will choose where to listen to the content. 

But for listeners to arrive, you need to promote the podcast .

How to promote

Like all content, the podcast also needs to be promoted for it to be discovered. How? By creating other content. The social networks, the website, the newsletter, the press releases, are all channels to be used for the promotion of a podcast. 

But promotion is not synonymous with spam. People approach when there is involvement, communication. This is why it is important to tell about your project, explain how the idea was born, what the purpose is, how the episodes will develop, who will be involved and why.

The pre-launch phase is useful to create expectation, to anticipate what will then be revealed in the listening (without spoiling too much!), In order to warm the audience up to the moment of the launch. It would be a shame to work on a project that no one knows exists. 

There are free tools, such as Headliner or Waveform , that allow you to create graphic cards for your posts on social networks by inserting a piece of audio. So you can make your social posts more engaging. Spotify itself allows you to share the podcast or the single episode on your social networks with a preset card. 

Conclusions

In summary, we have seen the 5 phases of the process of creating a podcast , from design to promotion, following the fundamental steps to start from scratch. Every beginning looks like a mountain, but with these tips you can start outlining your project. 

 

 

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