With an audience of over 100 million listeners, podcasts have established themselves as a great way to reach people with your ideas and message. They’ve become incredibly popular these days and increasingly accessible with tools like Podvine. So, it’s not hard to see why so many people are interested in recording their own!
A lot of people start out unsure of how to make a podcast, but recording a podcast isn't nearly as difficult as some people think—at least it doesn't need to be! In this guide, we will break down the process into six components, including:
Planning: The process of building a show out of your ideas and identifying topics, guests, and stories that fit within the show's umbrella.
Equipment: The physical tools you'll need to record your podcast.
Software: The virtual tools you'll need to make your podcast sound clean and professional.
Editing: The process of transforming raw audio into a coherent final piece that your audience will love.
Publishing: The process of choosing a podcast hosting platform to upload your podcast to and directories to feature it on.
Marketing: The process of promoting your podcast and growing your audience.
The following article will cover how to record a podcast from start to finish, so you can get started today!
Planning a podcast is one of those incredibly important steps that many beginner podcasters feel tempted to skip. We get it—planning isn't always fun! However, the better you plan, the better your final product will be.
There are two hierarchical levels to podcast planning that should be on your radar:
Show planning refers to the planning that goes into creating the skeleton of your podcast—the themes, tone, and structure of your show. Episode planning refers to the specific content that will be covered in each individual episode.
Both levels of planning are important, and you should treat them accordingly! Let's take a closer look at both planning stages.
The first step in creating a successful podcast is to come up with a great idea for a show. This may seem daunting, but it's actually quite simple! There are five key things to think about when brainstorming show ideas:
Topic: What topic will your show cover?
Audience: Who is your target audience?
Style: What style will your show have? (e.g., educational, comedic, etc.)
Structure: How will your show be structured? (e.g., interview-based, monologue-based, etc.)
Schedule: What will the frequency of your show be? (e.g., weekly, monthly, etc.)
Once you have a good understanding of these five things, it's time to start brainstorming ideas!
Now that you have an idea for a show, it's time to start planning specific episodes. This is where the rubber meets the road — the more specific your episode plans are, the easier it’ll be to record and edit your podcast.
When planning episodes, there are four key things to keep in mind:
Topic: What will be covered in this episode?
Guests: Who will be interviewed or featured in this episode?
Sources: What resources will be used in this episode?
Timing: How long will this episode be?
Scripting: Will your podcast be fully scripted, partially scripted, or off the cuff?
Let's take a closer look at each of these five elements.
The topic of an episode can vary widely, but it's important to make sure that all episodes in a series are loosely related. For example, if your show is about entrepreneurship, you may want to focus some episodes on specific topics (e.g., starting a business on a shoestring budget) and others on interviewing entrepreneurs who have succeeded in various industries.
Interview guests are one of the best ways to make your podcast interesting! Not only does it add variety to your show, but it also allows you to tap into the knowledge and experiences of others. When selecting guests, make sure to consider who would be interesting to your audience.
Tip: Looking for an easy way to find interesting guests? Podvine's list of podcast guests is a great place to start! You can either list your show and wait for guests to contact you, or proactively seek them out — whatever works best!
When doing research for an episode, it's important to have a variety of sources at your disposal. This could include books, articles, interviews, etc. Having a variety of sources will help you avoid sounding like a one-note podcaster.
The length of an episode can vary widely, but it's important to keep in mind that shorter episodes are typically more digestible for listeners. Most podcasts range between 20-40 minutes long, but there's no set rule on what's right or wrong. Just make sure that your episode’s content is worth the listener’s time!
While you don't need to write a full-blown script for every episode, it's a good idea to have an outline of what you'd like to cover. This will help keep your episode on track and ensure that no important points are missed.
To give our personal opinion for a moment, we feel the safest approach to scripting—especially for beginners—is to fully script key segments like intros, outros, ad reads, and segues.
This helps make your show professional and coherent while leaving room in between key segments for banter, spontaneity, personality, and interesting tangents.
Now that you have a plan for your show, it's time to start recording episodes! This section will walk you through the equipment you'll need to start recording your podcast.
The good news is that you don't need much equipment to record a podcast. In fact, there are only really three pieces of mandatory equipment:
Laptop: This will be used to record and edit your podcast.
Microphone: A good quality microphone will produce better sounding audio.
Headphones: Headphones help to isolate your voice from outside noise and prevent feedback.
However, there are some other pieces of equipment that can be helpful, such as:
Audio Interface: An audio interface allows you to easily connect your microphone to your laptop.
Studio Monitors: Studio monitors help you to accurately judge the quality of your audio.
Microphone Stand: A microphone stand helps to keep your microphone in a fixed position.
Shock Mount: A shock mount helps to reduce the noise that can be caused by movement.
Pop Filter: A pop filter helps to reduce popping noises caused by saying words like “P” and “B”.
Let's take a closer look at each of those mandatory items in a bit more detail.
Almost any laptop will do when it comes to recording a podcast. However, if you're looking for a laptop that is especially well-suited to podcasting, check out the following options:
MacBook Pro ($1,299): The MacBook Pro is a popular choice among podcasters because it's incredibly reliable and has enough processing power to handle any podcasting task. Plus, MacBook Pro's come with built-in audio editing software (GarageBand).
Dell XPS 15 ($1,449): The Dell XPS 15 is a great option for podcasters because it comes with a variety of ports (including an audio port) and has a large screen that's perfect for editing your podcast.
Acer Aspire 5 ($750): The Acer Aspire 5 is a great budget option for podcasting. It has enough processing power to handle most tasks, and it's also very affordable.
When it comes to microphones, there are two main types: dynamic and condenser. Here's a quick breakdown of the differences:
Dynamic Microphones: Dynamic microphones are typically less expensive than condenser microphones and are better at handling noise levels. They're also more durable, which makes them a good choice for on-the-go podcasting.
Condenser Microphones: Condenser microphones are typically more expensive than dynamic microphones, but they produce higher quality audio. They're also better at capturing sound in a quiet environment, making them a good choice for recording podcasts in a studio.
As you start browsing microphones, you should also be aware of a second set of microphone characteristics: USB and XLR. In practical terms, these terms are simply describing the way a microphone connects to your computer.
USB Microphones: USB microphones connect to your computer via a USB port and do not require an external power source. This makes them incredibly easy to set up and use.
XLR Microphones: XLR microphones require an external power source in order to function. They need to be run through an audio interface in order to connect with a computer.
If you're a beginner podcaster (and especially if you're not very technical), we recommend opting for a microphone configuration that's reliable and easy to set up. Here are two of our favorites:
Audio-Technica AT2020 ($99.99): The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a condenser microphone that's great for podcasting. The sound quality is great, and the price is even better. It's an XLR microphone, though—you'll need to invest in an audio interface!
Blue Yeti ($129.99): The Blue Yeti is a popular USB condenser microphone that's well-suited for podcasting. It has a number of features that make it easy to use, including a built-in headphone jack and mute button.
When podcasting, it's important to use headphones so that you can hear yourself clearly while recording. In addition, using headphones will help to prevent feedback from the microphone.
There are two types of headphones you should be aware of: closed-back and open-back.
Closed-Back Headphones: Closed-back headphones are designed to block out external noise and are typically better at preventing feedback.
Open-Back Headphones: Open-back headphones allow for some sound to leak in and out, which can be helpful when monitoring your podcast's audio quality. However, open-back headphones are not as good at blocking out external noise or preventing feedback.
There are a variety of excellent headphones on the market, but some of our favorites include:
Sennheiser HD280 Pro ($99.95): These headphones provide great sound quality and are durable enough to stand up to everyday use.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x ($160): The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones are popular among podcasters because they offer excellent sound quality and durability.
Unless your podcast consists of entirely unedited audio, you're going to need some software. Generally, the software you'll use will fall into one of two categories:
Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs): A DAW is a recording software program that allows you to edit and produce your podcast. This is where you'll spend the bulk of your post-production time.
Audio Editing Tools: Audio editing tools are pieces of software that podcasters use to supplement their DAWs. They typically fill niche roles like levelling, compression, or noise reduction.
Now, let's go over each of these categories in a bit more depth.
DAWs can be used for a variety of purposes, including recording music, podcasts, and other audio content. They can also be used for editing and mixing digital audio. This allows you to create high-quality audio files that sound great.
There are a number of different DAWs on the market, but four of the most popular DAWs for podcasting are:
Descript (Browser-based, Mac, Windows): Descript is a podcasting tool for audio transcription, screen recording, audio, and video editing. It also offers human-based transcription services as well.
Audacity (Windows, Mac, Linux): Audacity is a free, open-source DAW that's popular among podcasters because it's easy to use and has a wide range of features.
Garageband (Mac): GarageBand comes pre-installed on all Macs (i.e., it's free!) and is a popular choice for podcasting because it's easy to use and has a wide range of features.
Adobe Audition (Windows, Mac): Adobe Audition is a paid DAW that's popular among professional podcasters because it offers a wide range of features and is very reliable.
Ableton Live (Windows, Mac): Ableton Live is another popular choice among professional podcasters and is known for its intuitive interface.
If you're just starting out, we recommend choosing a DAW that's easy to use and has a lot of tutorials available online. This will help you to avoid getting overwhelmed early on in your podcasting journey.
Audio editing tools are pieces of software that podcasters use to supplement their DAWs. They typically fill niche roles like levelling, compression, or noise reduction.
Now, let's go over each of these categories in a bit more depth.
Levelling: Levelling is the process of evening out the volume levels of your podcast episodes. This is important because it ensures that no listener is subjected to excessive levels of audio distortion or clipping.
Compression: Compression is the process of reducing the dynamic range of your podcast episodes. This is important because it ensures that all listeners hear a consistent volume level, regardless of how loud or soft the original recording was.
Noise Reduction: Noise reduction is the process of isolating unwanted noises (e.g., mouth sounds, stutters, filler words, white noise, etc.) and removing them from the final mix.
Once you've recorded your podcast, it's time to edit it. This is where you'll make all of the necessary adjustments to ensure that your podcast sounds great.
The most important thing to remember when editing your podcast is to keep it concise. People don't have a lot of time, so you need to make sure that your podcast is easy to listen to and doesn't contain any long, drawn-out segments.
Here are a few tips for editing your podcast:
Cut out any unnecessary segments: This includes ramblings, tangents, and non sequitur… unless any of those are features of your show.
Use compression and levelling tools: Compression and levelling tools can make your podcast sound more consistent, clean, and professional—all things that make people want to listen!
Use noise reduction tools: Noise reduction tools can be helpful in removing unwanted sounds that didn't get removed using compression and levelling. There are a few dedicated noise reduction tools on the market that will save you tons of time.
Use EQ to enhance the sound: EQ can be used to make your podcast sound more dynamic and engaging. If you're intimidated by the prospect of EQ-ing your show yourself, look for podcasting presets online!
Make double sure your audio is consistent: This means ensuring that audio levels are consistent throughout your podcast and that there are no sudden changes in volume. As we mentioned above, a levelling tool is your best friend here.
Use fade-ins and fade-outs: Fade-ins and fade-outs help to create a smooth transition between segments.
Trim the beginning and end of each clip: This will help to ensure that your clips are nice and tidy.
Have a final listen: Listen through the whole episode to make sure your podcast sounds polished and professional.
Once you've finished editing your podcast, it's time to export it as an MP3. This can be done in your DAW or your audio editing tool of choice.
Now that you've created your podcast, it's time to publish it. This step typically involves one or two different kinds of platforms:
Don't worry if this is the first time you're hearing about either of these services—they're pretty simple!
Whenever you click onto a website, you're downloading the files that make up that website from a hosting platform. The same is true for podcasts. When you start listening to your favorite podcast on Spotify, it's being downloaded and streamed from a hosting platform.
If you want your podcast to be as accessible as possible, it's important that you choose a well-designed hosting platform that puts podcast producers first.
Podcast directories are a great way to get your podcast in front of new listeners. They allow people to search for and listen to podcasts on a wide variety of topics, making it a great way to expand your audience.
Apple Podcasts: Apple Podcasts is one of the most popular podcast directories in the world. It's free to use and has a wide range of features.
Spotify: Spotify is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to listen to podcasts. It's also free to use, and has a ton of great features.
Stitcher: Stitcher is another popular podcast directory that's also free to use.
While most services are either hosting platforms or directories, there are a few services that offer end-to-end podcast publishing. For example,Podvine is a podcast hosting platform that also puts a lot of emphasis on discovery, promotion, and audience engagement.
Podcasts hosted on Podvine's platform are automatically searchable in their directory and are eligible for inclusion on featured lists and staff picks. Listeners can stream or download your podcast directly from Podvine's web or mobile apps, share your content with friends, and even leave comments!
If you're a fan of simplicity, prioritizing platforms that fulfill both the hosting and directory roles are a good way to go.
Once your podcast is live, it's time to start promoting it! There are an infinite number of ways to promote your podcast, but a few of the most effective are:
Creating Web Content: If you're willing to play the long game, creating a website and posting informative content related to your niche is an incredibly reliable way to market your podcast.
Being Active on Social Media: Being active on social media through posts, comments, Tweets, and stories is a great way to attract new listeners and build a sense of community with existing ones.
Using SEO: You can use SEO in your podcast name, episode titles, and podcast description to increase your visibility in searches.
That's it! Those are the basic steps that you need to follow in order to create a successful podcast. Once you have your first piece recorded and edited, host on Podvine for a chance to expand your audience through features and an accessible directory!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. We'll be happy to help!
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