Don’t you love listening to a soothing voice while you are busy doing your daily chores or just trying to relax? Feels like it helps you keep calm amongst all the chaos. What first came to your mind when we talked about a soothing voice? Slow music, ASMR, or podcasts? Most people are highly likely to think of podcasts in the first instance. But are you aware of this concept? Do you know how to record for a podcast? Research suggests that 75% of the Americans are familiar with podcasting. However, for those who don’t, this detailed guide is all you need.
It will be wrong to say that podcasting is a “new” trend as podcasts have their roots back in the 1980s. It’s been only recently that they have started to gain so much popularity.
What Are Podcasts?
Do you remember how you used to love falling asleep listening to stories during your childhood? That habit is making a comeback in the form of listening to podcasts (however, ensure you use the best headphones for sleeping for a great podcast-listening experience while you sleep).
You must have heard of blogs and vlogs, two ways of documenting and sharing what people think, and feel. Podcasts are also a form of blogging. They’re also known as “audio blogging.”
People love listening to audio or video recordings that are loaded with enthusiasm or bundled with emotions. That is why podcasts are gaining popularity at such a rapid speed. Research shows that podcast listeners have grown 37.5% in 3 years.
We, humans, love documenting or sharing what’s happening around them with the world. This probably helps us add value to our existence or makes us feel more connected to the outside world. Today, there’s a podcast for everything.
Therefore, if you love sharing your experiences and stories but are not very comfortable with talking on a stage or on a video, recording a podcast is a great and safe way to mark your existence in this world.
If you’ve already made your mind to record a podcast but not sure how to start, then you are in the right place. In this guide, we will tell you everything about recording a podcast and much more. Let’s get started!
Why Are Podcasts So Popular?
Before learning how to record for a podcast, you must be wondering if it’s even worth investing your effort and time. The short and straight answer is “YES.”
Almost 144 million Americans starting from the age of 12 or above, listen to or have listened to podcasts. You can find over 750,000 active podcasts on the internet today. But the question remains, why are podcast so popular?
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the world to stay at home and work remotely, life has become busier than ever. You hardly get time to grab a book, sit by the window, and read it. That is why audiobooks are so famous these days. The same is the reason why podcasts have become so popular. People are constantly looking for ways to learn something new while working on their routine tasks or household chores. There are several things people do when listening to a podcast. Almost 74% of podcast listeners are willing to discover and learn about something new.
How to Start a Podcast – 10 Quick Steps
Now that you know podcasts are worth your effort and time, you must be curious about how to start your own. Being a beginner, it can be confusing to map out all the steps yourself. So, we have researched for you and here are a few simple steps for you to follow to start your journey.
1. Determine the Reason/Subject
Anything you do must have a reason strong enough to drive you through the journey. If you are planning to start your podcast only because it’s trending these days or you’re looking at earning good money and fame through it, we hate to burst the bubble for you that it won’t work for long.
Therefore, find a genuine reason why you want to start your podcast. There can be plenty of reasons. Probably you want to share your experience with something or your journey as a freelancer talking. So, without diving headfirst, it’s important to set your goals.
2. Select Your Target Audience
You cannot or rather should never think of the whole wide world as your audience. It is extremely important for you to find out for “whom” you will create the content. People with similar interests as yours will be your audience.
For example, if you are a student who has just started college and want to start podcasting but have no idea what to talk about, you can document and share your daily routine in college. How your first day was? Which class had your interest the most? There are plenty of college students who are alone and having a hard time there. They can get a lot of help from your podcast.
This was just one example. You can share anything you want and you will for sure find people who will be interested in it. Ensure your content has something that listeners can take away with them. No one wants to spend their time and money on something they won’t benefit from.
3. Pick a Podcast Format
To have a fixed podcast format is also very important especially when you are just starting. This way your audience will know exactly what type of content they are signing up for. But it’s not always necessary to stick to a particular format throughout the season.
Once you have built an audience base, you can experiment a little by trying out different podcast formats. The different types of podcast formats that you can try are listed below.
- One-man army (Solo Podcast)
- Two is better than one (Co-Hosted Podcast)
- Sharing is caring (Interview Podcast)
- Group Discussion (Roundtable)
- The movie-like show (Documentary)
- HotPot (Docu-Drama)
4. Decide the Length of Your Podcast
It is quite hard to pre-determine the length of your podcast as it depends on the content. However, we can try and give you a rough idea.
If you are sharing factual data or information with your audience we recommend keeping it comparatively short, for about 45-60 minutes. This time range is safe as it will deliver your content and will also keep it away from being monotonous.
If you are sharing a personal experience, you can take a longer time to deliver your emotions properly so that it is easy for your audience to comprehend.
Therefore, if you are talking about something interesting and engaging then there’s no need to cut it short. On the contrary, if you can sum up your discussion within a short period, do not stretch it and make it boring.
Once you get started with your podcast, the feedback from your audience will help you understand if you need to change the length of your podcast. Or you can also conduct a survey to decide the length of your podcast that your audience will be comfortable with.
5. Give Your Podcast a Captivating Name
It is one of the most important steps in podcasting. To attract people’s attention, you need to invoke curiosity in their minds. A way to do that is by giving an appropriate name to your podcast. You can give a quirky name that will make the audience visit your channel to discover. This is a clever way to lure people to your channel.
Giving a descriptive name to your podcast might be helpful if you wish to draw the attention of only those who are interested in the genre of content you are creating.
One can also give your name to your podcast but it will only work if you are famous. With zero recognition in society, this trick might be a great failure. People generally won’t be interested to take the advice of a self-proclaimed random guy. So try and avoid this method.
6. Give Each Episode a Unique Title
This step is as important as giving your podcast a good name. If you mark your episodes as Ep 1, Ep 2 … and so on, your audience won’t have any idea what they are about to listen to. This might make them lose interest mid-way.
So it is essential to give your episode a unique name as well so that your audience would know what they are exactly getting into. A great way to keep your listener’s interest bound to you till the end is by using a part of your climax as your episode name.
7. Find Ways to Draw Audience’s Attention
Would you like to listen to someone’s relentless chatter? No, right? Then why should others? Therefore, it is important to give your audience a reason to listen to you. Your goal should be clear – either to educate or to entertain. No one wants to hit the “play” button and listen to something that won’t make any sense to them.
If you are a fitness enthusiast, then you can share diet tips and workout routines with your audience. Or if you want to entertain them, you can create episodes of stories that will keep them engaged.
The goal should not only be to draw the audience’s attention towards you but also to have them keep coming back to your channel. Thus, you will have to plan your content in such a way that will be engaging and your audience will always be interested to listen to what’s next.
8. Gather Your Equipment
The best part about podcasts is that you can start your own whenever you want. You just need to gather a few basic types of equipment and you are good to go. Keep your setup simple but not of low quality. Remember that you do not need to splurge to create good quality content.
The first thing that you need to get started is a microphone. If you find it to be expensive you can also get yourself a USB microphone. Other than that you will need a computer where you can edit your podcast and a pair of headphones for better sound quality. That’s all.
9. Learn About The Software
To give that final touch you need to edit your podcast properly. You can either hire a professional or learn to do it yourself. There is some amazing software available both in the free and paid genre. You can check some of our top recommendations in the section where we have talked all about recording and editing your podcast.
10. Prepare Your Script
Having no clue how to start, or how to keep the podcast going is the worst thing that can happen to you. All your setup and prepping up won’t mean anything if you don’t have a planned content. Therefore, never underestimate the power of a script.
If you think that making a list on your mind will be enough then you are wrong. Something will definitely slip your mind and we know that recording it again is a tiring task. So before you sit to record, make sure you have a script ready. But also keep in mind that you do not blindly read out the script. Improvising as you keep going is the key.
How to Plan Podcast Content – 4 Useful Tips
After you have done everything to get your podcast started, it is time for you to plan for your content. Your podcast content is the only thing that will bring success to your podcast so you will have to plan it accordingly.
Before you start mapping out everything, you will first have to do proper research to understand the market. Once that is done, you can follow the steps below. It is a basic roadmap to help you plan your podcast content.
1. Plan the Theme and Length of Your Podcast
Planning the theme and length of the episodes for your podcast should be your priority. Do your research properly to understand if the audience will be interested in listening to your content.
The length of the episodes is also an important factor as it prepares the listener for how much time they are about to spend listening to your podcast. Predictability ensures that they come back to listen to you every time you make an episode live.
2. Follow the “Three-Act Structure”
If you are having trouble deciding how much time you should give to each part of the episode, you can follow the three-act structure. Here’s an example.
If you are preparing for a 30-40 mins episode, then you can divide your time into the following:
- 7-8 mins for introducing your content to the audience.
- 15-25 minutes to properly explain or narrate what you are willing to talk about.
- 5-7 mins to end the conversation.
If you stick to this structure it will be easy for you to plan your podcast content.
3. Cover Some Critical Questions Toward the Beginning of the Podcast
Try raising some questions during the first few minutes of the podcast that you are going to answer throughout. This will give your audience an idea about the things you are going to talk about and will keep them bound to the episode.
4. Leverage the Ending of the Podcast to Form a Bond With Your Audience
Do not neglect the ending as the bond with your audience can be formed here as well. Promote other content of yours at the ending and try to end with an interesting question or an incomplete sentence that you will answer in the next episode. This way you will develop curiosity in the minds of the audience and they will come back for the next episode.
Do you know what will help you the most with planning your podcast? A podcast workflow. Let’s learn more about it.
What is a Podcast Workflow and Why You Should Use It
Starting your podcast is just as stressful as starting your own business. It demands a lot of work and without planning, it will be nothing but a mess.
For many people, it is a side hustle. So keeping track of it sometimes gets extremely difficult. A podcast workflow is like a routine you have to follow to establish a successful podcast.
Benefits of Building a Podcast Workflow
We have listed a couple of benefits of having a podcasting workflow:
1. Improved Efficiency
Having a plan laid out before getting started on the journey will increase your efficiency to a great extent. It will give you a clear idea of what to do next, save your time and minimize errors.
2. Better Time Management
When you are starting something new, managing your time is a crucial step. You will have a lot to take care of within the stipulated time. A podcast workflow will give you an overview of things you need to get done so that you can plan and save time.
3. Less Errors
No doubt you are excited to launch your own podcast. It is natural to feel overwhelming. That is why there is also a lot of room for errors during this time. You might skip a step in all the excitement and hurry.
However, if you have a workflow ready for you, it will help you to keep track of all the things and thus there will be less chance for errors.
4. Better Content Management
A podcast workflow will not only help you with increased productivity and efficiency but also give you an idea of which part of your work to outsource.
Outsourcing work to others will release the stress on you and things will get done quickly as well. As we have said earlier that starting a podcast is just like any other business therefore the effort that goes into it is the same. It may not be possible for you to do all the work alone. Therefore, you may need a team to work for you. That’s how every successful podcast works.
5. Consistency in Content
Another great advantage of having a podcasting workflow is that it helps to maintain consistency if you incorporate automation in the process. It will help you with every step that you need to work on. It will also help you maintain your flow, thus maintaining your consistency.
Now, before you start recording your podcast, let’s look at some nitty-gritty of how to record for a podcast to get you started.
What Should Be the Speech Words Per Minute For a Podcast?
First things first, you don’t need to try and maintain a particular number of words per minute. If you do, it will be hard for your audience to comprehend what you’re saying as you will fail to deliver your emotions.
Therefore, while delivering your content, keep the following things in mind:
- Use simple words
- Speak with clarity
- Talk at a pace that is easy to comprehend
For native English speakers, the average rate of speaking is 150 wpm (words per minute), according to the National Center for Voice and Speech. However, the speaking rate can differ for every occasion. If you are a radio host or a podcaster, your rate of speaking should range from 150-160 wpm.
We don’t think that there is any “right” rate of speaking but we recommend you maintain a pace that is comfortable for both you and your listeners. Also, keep in mind that you cannot keep the same rate throughout. You need to read or deliver some parts slower than the other which will allow you to deliver your emotions in the right way to your audience.
How to Record a Podcast at Home – A 3-Step Workflow
You should always record your podcast in a place where you are comfortable and what’s a better place than your home?
Sitting at your favorite spot, sipping on your coffee and pouring your heart out sounds like a plan. But even if you have planned to record a podcast at your home, you will have to plan and take care of certain things.
Here’s a free 3-step podcast workflow if you’re planning to record your podcast at home:
- Planning and prepping
- Gathering equipment
- Getting familiar with the editing software
Let’s look at each of the steps one by one.
1. Planning and Prepping
Let’s help you plan and prep for your podcast. The first thing you need to figure out is what you are going to talk about. Take your time and do your research on the topic you are planning to speak about. If possible make points on the same and also do your research on the market and find your target audience.
2. Gathering Equipment
After planning and prepping for your podcast, now you need something to get started. What is it? Yes, the best podcasting microphone. The equipment without which you won’t be able to do anything. Do your research well and invest in a good microphone that will be able to capture your voice properly.
If you are recording solo, and do not want to buy a microphone, a USB microphone will be the best choice. You will just have to plug it into the computer and record your voice. No additional equipment is required here as the software will take care of everything.
In case, you have guests or co-hosts and recording in-person with them, we suggest you get a digital recorder. In a situation like this, the most ideal setup would be a digital recorder and two or more XLR microphones. Trying to record on a USB microphone with guests is hard so we want you to avoid it.
Another great option would be a USB audio interface; a USB mic and a digital recorder hybrid. All you will have to do is connect it to your computer and then plug the XLR mics in. This is a great way to improve the audio quality of your podcast.
You also need a pair of high-quality podcasting headphones to help you record excellent-quality podcast content.
3. Getting Familiar With the Editing Software
Now that you have recorded your content, it is time to edit it properly. You can try out free or paid platforms. Audacity is one of the finest free platforms and if you are getting started there’s no harm in trying this out.
But, for a better output, you can also try out Adobe Audition or Alitu: The Podcast Maker. There are several good reasons as to why you should invest in an editing package. These packages will take care of all the things starting right from polishing your audio to adding music and every other thing. When you have decided to do it, why not do it the right way?
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Podcast?
Now, that is an interesting question that is quite hard for us to answer. All we can say is that it depends on you and the way you are doing it. Wait, that’s not at all helpful, right? We’ve tried to down the cost structure for you!
The cost of your podcast depends on the cost of the things you need, to get started. These include:
- A computer
- A microphone
- The editing software
- A pair of headphones
- Podcast hosting
All of these together can cost you about $800 to $1000. Nevertheless, some tricks can save you a few bucks.
Look for a Used Computer
Firstly, if you already own a computer then you can save a large portion of your budget. If not, you can also look for a used or second-hand computer as that is also not a bad deal. Ensure it is fully functional so that you don’t end up losing more money instead.
Get a Refurbished Podcasting Microphone
Now, coming to the microphone. This is one thing we don’t want you to compromise on. Do not even think of recording your podcast on your computer’s microphone. The quality will never be as good as that of a microphone. You can also buy a refurbished microphone but again, we want you to avoid that.
Use Free Editing Software
Next, coming to the editing software. Here you can save a good amount if you choose to try out the free platforms. Or if you have a friend who is willing to do it for you. You can also approach a freelancer who is also a beginner and you can land yourself good quality content at a great deal.
Find Budget Podcasting Headphones
A pair of good podcasting headphones is as important as a good podcasting microphone. These are two equipment that can determine the quality of your content. Some of the best podcasting headphones can cost you $100 to $500. Nevertheless, you can also find some good-quality budget headphones on the market.
Then coming to the designing of the thumbnail. Our advice regarding this would be that if possible learn designing or just try your hands in it. There are lots of free platforms where you can learn how to design on your own. Now not only will it save you a few bucks but also no one can understand your perception of your project in a better way than you.
Split the Cost of the Podcast Host With a Friend
Once your podcast is ready, you’ll need a podcast host to store and circulate your podcast across all platforms. You will have to pay for this and unfortunately, the cost here cannot be cut down. But if you have a friend who is also starting their podcasting venture, you can ask them to split the cost of the podcast host with you.
Is It a Good Idea to Add Music to Podcasts?
Adding music to your podcasts is a great way to represent your content to listeners. Music adds emotions and listeners would be able to associate their favorite part of the podcast with music. So why wait? Let’s add music to your podcast
It’s not a bad idea to add music to your podcasts. However, ensure you don’t let the music overpower your podcast content. You don’t want to make a piece of full-blown music, all you want is to play around with a note or a few. Ensure the music matches the theme of your podcast.
Also, remember that you cannot add any music of your choice to your podcasts. We hope you are aware of copyright and trademark laws. They protects the ideas of other people from getting stolen or being used without the owner’s permission. So, we always recommend you to create and use your own music.
What Is the Best App for Recording Podcasts?
Let’s face it. There’s nothing such as the best app for recording podcasts. The best app for you would be the one you can easily use.
However, if you are beginner with zero knowledge of editing and recording software, you probably don’t know which app to try first. In that case, the list below may come in handy. Nevertheless, before you check the list to find the best app for recording podcasts, ensure you’re clear with your requirements.
Recommendations for Solo Podcasts
If you are recording a solo podcast, which means there won’t be any other person getting featured in the podcast apart from you, then you can easily record and edit your podcast using one software only.
Our top recommendations for the best app for recording and editing solo podcasts are:
- Adobe Audition
- GarageBand (only for Mac users)
Recommendations for Interview Podcasts
If you have a guest onboard or if you are conducting an interview, then you would need separate software for recording and editing your podcast, especially if you are recording remotely.
As more than one person is talking, you need good software that can capture both of your voices. Our recommendations for the best app for recording solo podcasts are:
Coming to the editing part of the podcast, we recommend you use the same software as mentioned above in the solo podcast section.
Other Podcasting Apps You Can Use for Different Types of Podcasts
- Hindenburg Journalist
- Logic Pro
Important Podcast Terminology
If you are about to join the world of podcasts, then there are certain terminologies related to audio and podcasting that you should know. Here’s a list below for you:
1. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
It refers to a type of audio file format that can only be played on Apple devices and software.
A bed is normally a piece of music played in the background while someone is talking.
3. Bit Depth
The bit depth determines the quality of the audio and is checked before starting the podcast recording.
4. Bit Rate
The bit rate determines the bits of data in a single second of the audio.
Clipping is the flattening of an audio file’s top frequencies.
Any podcast will benefit from audio compression. To make the audio sound like it does on the radio, two forms of audio compression are used in podcasts. To prevent the podcast voices from peaking, a simple compressor is used and a limiter is used for the digital audio mixer.
7. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
A digital audio workstation (DAW) is an electronic device or piece of software that allows you to record, edit, and create audio files.
A library of podcasts.
9. Equalizer or Equalization (EQ)
Equalizer or equalization is used to edit elements of different frequencies of the audio.
The gain is used to adjust the sensitivity of the microphone.
11. High-Pass Filter
A high-pass filter either reduces or eliminates low frequencies from the audio.
A piece of music that is generally associated with a particular show.
13. Low-Pass Filter
A low-pass filter either reduces or eliminates high frequencies from the audio.
The metadata is the information attached to your audio/MP3 file.
15. Mix Down
The final piece of audio after editing and mixing are done.
Mono is a type of audio where the track is balanced throughout.
Narrowcast is the content that is created for a specific set of audiences.
18. Polar Patterns
The sensitivity of any given microphone to sounds coming from various directions, relative to its central axis, is referred to as polar patterns.
19. Room Tone
Room tone is the ambient noise in the room you are recording.
20. RSS Feed
RSS feed is an individual link that will be provided by your podcast host once you sign up with them.
21. Sample Rate
Sample rate helps in measuring the number of data points in comparison to the frame rate.
22. Time Shifting
Time shifting is the act of recording and storing data. The ability to access or listen to material at a later time is also referred to as time shifting.
The display that you seen on your DAW is known as waveform.
24. Waveform Audio (WAV) File Format
WAV file is a high-quality format for recording audio.
After reading this detailed guide, we bet you no more think that recording a podcast is an easy job.
Tell us honestly, did you know that there are so many steps that you have to follow even before you start recording? Starting your own podcast is like starting any other business. It may seem like a daunting task at first but once you get started, you will get more comfortable.
We sincerely hope you found the guide on how to record for a podcast worth reading. Let us know about your favorite podcast in the comments and tell us what do you want to hear next from us.