How Do Podcasts Work? How to Create a Podcast in 13 Steps
A podcast is a collection or series of digital audio files that are made available for downloading or listening via the Internet.
What Is a Podcast?
Each individual audio recording is known as a podcast episode. Podcasts are typically hosted by an individual or individuals who lead a conversation, share stories, or report the news. The creator of a podcast is known as a podcaster.
How Do Podcasts Work?
Podcasting is a conveniently accessible medium for listeners and creators alike. Podcasters interested in creating their own podcast have several avenues to publish their work. Unlike traditional radio stations and television networks, which are often subject to regulations and approvals, several podcasting platforms allow for self-publishing. Podcasts are hosted on streaming applications such as Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts (the podcast app that comes with iOS).
How to Listen to a Podcast
For listeners, a podcast operates like an on-demand Internet radio show. You can listen to episodes on a podcast app or subscribe to podcasts online using an RSS feed (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication). Podcast subscribers are notified each time a new episode is available. Most smartphones, including iPhones and Android phones, will come equipped with a media player, which allows you to subscribe to podcasts and stream or download podcast episodes.
How to Create a Podcast
Developing, recording, editing, and distributing a quality podcast takes time. Consider these general steps on how to create your podcast.
1. Identify your topic and goals. Choose a podcast topic that suits your interests and skills. Write down what your goals are for making a podcast. Podcasters create content for a variety of reasons, including brand awareness, audience engagement, and sharing information about a topic that’s important to them.
2. Listen to other podcasts on your topic. Explore the best podcasts that center around your chosen topic. Listen to episodes, read reviews, observe average episode lengths, and learn more about what kind of content works for the subscriber base.
3. Develop your format. There are several types of podcasts, including interview talk shows, monologues, fiction, and nonfiction narratives. Decide how many podcast episodes you want to produce for your first season and roughly how long each episode will be. Choose whether you will act as the sole podcast host or partner with a co-host.
4. Choose a title. Once you’ve established your format, choose a podcast name. Keep it simple and direct. Include essential keywords that will improve search engine optimization (SEO) and help new listeners find your show based on the name of the podcast.
5. Write a script or outline. Depending on the format of your podcast, write out some show notes. Even if your podcast is a loose interview format, a basic template of talking points can keep the conversation on track. Consider writing an intro welcoming listeners to your show and an outro with a call to action for reviews and subscriptions.
6. Gather the necessary equipment. You’ll need a few pieces of equipment, such as a microphone, pop filter, and headphones. You also need access to audio recording and editing software to produce your own audio content. There are several free audio editing programs that you can download online.
7. Prepare a space for recording. Set up your podcast recording equipment in a quiet space in your home. Rooms with cushions, curtains, and carpeting absorb echoing reverberations that can decrease vocal audio quality.
8. Record your podcast. Using your show notes as guidelines, start recording your first episode. If you’re a beginner podcaster, be patient—it can take time to get comfortable behind a microphone. Keep a glass of water nearby and take breaks when necessary.
9. Edit your audio. Start by cutting out any unnecessary content. Keep your podcast focused on your topic by editing out sections that ramble.
Consider rearranging segments to make the narrative thread of the episode as clear as possible. Postproduction is the time to remove or fix any sound quality issues you notice during playback.
10. Prepare your podcast for distribution. Write a brief description of your show that includes helpful SEO keywords. Create simple cover art or hire a graphic designer to help. Save your cover image in the correct file size—podcast cover art can be as small as 1400x1400 pixels and as large as 3000x3000 pixels.
11. Upload your audio files to a podcast hosting service. Podcast hosting platforms store your audio files and provide you with an RSS podcast feed that links to your podcast. Some popular podcast hosting services include Buzzsprout, Castos, and Anchor.
12. Submit your show to podcast directories. Using your new podcast’s RSS feed URL, submit your show to podcast directories like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.
13. Market your podcast. Create a podcast website and post about it on social media. Find online groups related to your podcast’s topic and engage with the members. Invite other podcasters with overlapping interests to co-host an episode. Get creative with how you reach out to potential podcast listeners and stay reliable with your release schedule. Above all, focus on consistently uploading new episodes to increase your listener base.