7 Must-Haves for Starting a Podcast

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Let us be the first to welcome you to the truly wonderful world of podcasting.

Seriously. We love podcasts so much that we have 2 of them (and one of them has over 4 million downloads). 👀

When we first started podcasting, we did it with hope in our eyes. We knew that it wasn’t necessarily the most easy-to-track way to promote ourselves—but we knew that it could work.

And it did. Now that we’ve launched 2 successful shows, we’re going to show you the essentials of starting your own podcast.

You don’t need a huge budget or listenership to start your podcast. You just need to know who you’re doing it for, what you’re going to talk about, and a few pieces of tech and software to pull it all together.

Here are the 7 must-haves for starting a podcast.

#1: Ideal Listener

Your ideal listener is your customer avatar. They’re the person you ideally want listening to your show and who you’re going to curate your content around.

For example, Tim Ferriss’ ideal listener is somebody who wants to improve themselves by listening to how others are eating, exercising, doing business, and pushing their mental limits. This person is also going to be interested in Tim’s other products, like his books Tools of Titans, 4-Hour Workweek, and Tribe of Mentors.

For The DigitalMarketer Podcast, our ideal listeners are marketers, agency owners, and business owners who want to learn from successful marketers and entrepreneurs as to how they can improve their business. This is also the DigitalMarketer customer avatar, which means all of our listeners are also leads that we can talk to about our products (as necessary).

To figure out who your ideal listener is, you can fill out the Customer Avatar Worksheet which will help you with the next podcast must-have: your description.

#2: Podcast Description

Without surprise, your podcast description is going to describe your podcast. What can listeners expect and who can they expect it from? For example, here’s the description for the Perpetual Traffic podcast as it’s seen on Spotify.

Perpetual Traffic podcast description

Here’s a checklist of things to include in your podcast description:

✅ How often you publish a new episode

✅ Who is hosting it

✅ What industry you talk about

✅ Who gets value from your podcast

#3: Podcast Cover Art

Podcast cover art is the image that will appear when somebody searches or listens to your podcast. Your cover art is essentially the logo of your podcast—you want something that when people see it, they immediately think of you.

There are several options for creating podcast cover art from choosing just graphics or deciding to make it a photo of yourself. For example, here’s our podcast, Perpetual Traffic’s cover art that’s a graphic:

Perpetual traffic podcast art

And here’s the cover art for The Marketing Secrets Show by Russel Brunson that features a photo of Russel:

marketing secrets podcast art

There is no right or wrong when it comes to creating your podcast cover art. Just make sure that it’s on brand.

#4: RSS Feed

Your RSS feed is how you’ll post your podcast to be heard by your listeners. This RSS feed will either be on your own website or through a podcasting platform that you choose to host your podcast through. For example, you can post the audio directly to your website and have that link to iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, etc. OR, you can use a platform like Libsyn to upload your audio and have your RSS feed through them.

There is no right or wrong choice here. We suggest doing research on different podcast hosting platforms to see if there is one that suits your needs and is a better option than hosting on your own website. At DigitalMarketer, we host our podcast through Libsyn and use a Smart Player to make the audio accessible on the show notes of each episode.

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#5: Microphone

Alright, now that we’ve gone over the parts of your podcast that will be seen and heard from others, it’s time for the stuff that only you really see: the tech. As a new podcaster, you do not need to spend a hefty amount of money on a state of the art microphone.

A good starter microphone is the Audio-Technica ATR2100 USB. It’s about $100 and it has a USB connector so you can record audio directly to your computer. Since this is a handheld microphone, make sure you’re getting a stand and clasp for it as well (which should be included when you purchase it).

With your cool new mic, you’ll want to find a quiet place to record your episodes. Since the audio is the make-all-be-all of your podcast, you want to make sure there isn’t distracting background noise or weird echoes from recording in an empty room.

Make sure to run a few audio tests before recording your entire episode so you know it sounds 👌.

#6: Audio Editor

The second tech that only you’ll see is your audio editor. This isn’t a total necessity if you just want to record yourself talking and aren’t worried about editing out your pauses or “ums,” but if you want to take your podcast to the next level you can use an audio editing software.

If you’re on a budget, you can easily use iMovie or Garageband. Both of these come free on Apple computers. You can record your audio using Garageband and edit it inside of Garageband or export it into iMovie to edit depending on which platform you’re most comfortable with.

Once you’re ready to go to the next step, you can use platforms like Logic Pro X and Descript to edit your audio.

#7: A (Mini) Marketing Strategy

Ah, and now it’s time to get people to listen to your podcast. While we’re CERTAIN that your podcast is awesome, it can be hard to get the word out about it if you don’t already have a big audience.

Here are a few quick tips for marketing your podcast:

  1. Invite guests to be interviewed: This will put your podcast in front of their audience and help you get more exposure
  2. Be a guest on other people’s podcast: As a guest on someone else’s podcast, you’re being exposed to their audience and can show them why they would want to come over and listen to your episodes
  3. Take your episodes and turn them into articles: You can post these articles on your website, Medium, or Quora with a sentence at the bottom that says, “Originally posted as Episode 6 of the Brand New Podcast, listen here for more tips on marketing your podcast.
  4. Promote in Facebook groups, forums, subreddits, etc.: While promoting is usually banned in these groups, if you provide enough value in your answers and posts you’ll be able to mention your podcast without making moderators mad
  5. Advertise in newsletters: Find the newsletters that your ideal listener is subscribed to and ask if you can have an ad spot in one of the upcoming emails

And that’s pretty much everything you need to get started with your own podcast.

It shouldn’t cost you a huge amount of money and you don’t need a huge following to get started. You do need to be willing to figure out exactly who your ideal listener is, what content they’re going to care about, and how you’re going to get your show in front of more people.

Remember, every podcaster started somewhere (even Joe Rogan).

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