How to start a podcast with no audience
19 minutes read
Table of Contents
- How to Create A Podcast
- Cover Art
- Uploading and publishing your episode
- Pick A Style
- Pick Equipment and Software
- Pick A Name And Cover Art
- Record A Podcast Trailer
- Upload Audio
- Add Podcast To Podcast Players
- Keep A Consistent Schedule
- Consistent Minutes For Podcast
How to Create A Podcast
Time to start a podcast, well, how is it done?
People might think that podcast hosts upload their episodes directly to Apple. Which isn't true. To start a podcast, a host needs a podcast publishing platform, which is where Caproni comes in.
A podcast host uploads their audio files to Caproni for Apple to access them. Access to uploaded episodes gets done via a RSS feeds given to hosts by Caproni. With RSS feeds, Apple can know when there are new episodes available. Podcast hosts have to provide Apple with their RSS feed only once. Which allows Apple to give its users access to a host's podcast. A few days after submitting the RSS feed, the podcast will become searchable in Apple Podcast.
Yesterday, we discussed the ownership of content. When adding a podcast to different directories, ownership comes into play. Some podcast hosting platforms might offer to add a host's podcast to Apple on their behalf. Hosts should decline the offer.
The person that submits the RSS feed to Apple has control of account privileges. The person to submit will see certain privileges such as directory provided analytics.
When hosts' podcasts receives reviews, they get tied to the company's account. If a host moves the podcast to another hosting platform, the reviews will disappear. They could lose all the hard-earned reputation they obtained in the different directories. Another key component to ownership of content is controlling the RSS feed.
For a podcast, the person controlling the RSS feed has ownership of the podcast. If a company owns an RSS feed, they can add content such as advertising. If the company does not like the content in the RSS feed, they can delete it. The podcast host is subject to the analytics that the company decides to give them. A host might use a free hosting platform to get a feel for podcasting.
After some time, a host might want to get serious about their time investment. Then, they should consider hosting their podcasts with a paid podcast hosting platform. The paid hosting platform offers them true ownership and control of their RSS feed. For the most part, the free hosting companies want to control the RSS feeds on their platform. Some of these companies are subsidiaries of large companies. They have more time and money to regulate the content on their platform. At the same time, they need to make money in other ways besides charging users. Adding content to podcasts on their platform is a method that some might use to make money. Most likely, the ads will not fit the content of the podcast. The ads might confuse listeners. They might stop listening to the podcast because they get confused by the content. Furthermore, a host wants to protect the brand image of the podcast. Featuring ads from third parties takes away attention from the podcast's story.
Some free hosting providers also add their logo to the cover of podcasts that are on their platform. Which takes away focus from podcasts. While searching for new podcasts, people might notice. They might wonder why many podcast covers have the same logo. They could search for that answer instead of listening to the podcasts. Which takes away valuable attention from the podcast's brand.
Many problems can occur when adding music to a podcast. There are several courses of action that a host can take to avoid these problems. A host should not use a popular song for the intro or outro music of a podcast.
To avoid any issues, a host can buy music from a musician for use on the podcast. Paying for a song means that the artist has no reason to stop a host from using it. Another option is to use royalty-free music. Which is public domain and can get used by anyone for anything.
Some music has a creative commons license. Which is music that anyone can use as long as the artist gets the credit.
Find music here:
Every podcast needs a name. The name of a podcast should give people who find it a basic idea of the podcast subject. The "Alex Edmonds Show" does not tell anyone about the podcast. The only people who can get away with putting their names in the show title are already famous.
My podcast's name is Building an Indie Business. Anyone who stumbles onto my podcast knows right away that my podcast is a business podcast.
Put related keywords in the title of the podcast to improve discovery. Keywords will increase the odds of a podcast getting found through search.
Someone looking for an indie maker or bootstrapping podcast will find BAIB. The words "indie" and "business" in my podcast's name make that possible.
There is no need to have the word "podcast" in the title. It is redundant.
Take some time to think of a title. Sleep on it. My first instinct was to name my podcast, "supremerumham makes a website." I speak from experience when I say, "sleep on it!"
A host should have a cover with bright colors. Some colors that would stand out include red, blue, or green. The colorful covers will stand out among the dark color covers. For someone scrolling looking for a podcast, the bright cover will catch their eye. They will be more likely to stop and take a look at the bright cover podcast. Adding a picture of a host's face might increase the chances of someone listening to the podcast. Seeing a smiling face builds trust.
To create a podcast cover, a host can use Canva or hire someone at a place like fiverr.com to make their cover for them.
Basic editing in Audacity is straightforward. To edit anything out, highlight the content that needs to get edited out. Once highlighted, click the scissors icon at the top or Control + X, that’s it. A podcast host can use this method to delete mistakes.
To add audio into a recording has some extra steps. First, load the audio into Audacity. Next, find the spot where the audio belongs. Use the time shift tool to make space for the new audio by pressing F5. Move the audio to fit the new space. Export the audio as an MP3 file, and everything will merge, and that’s it. This technique can get used to adding intro or outro music.
A video showing everything described
Ummm and ahhhs
When recording and listening back, a host might realize they use "ummm," and "ahhh" more than expected. While editing the first episodes, a host might get embarrassed and tempted to edit every "ummm" out. I recommend against doing that.
Editing every single "ummm" and "ahhh" will take a very long time. A host might find themselves frustrated. They might be unwilling to record new episodes entirely after a few episodes. Since they dread the editing process.
Instead, I recommend removing the most blatant and annoying "ummm" and "ahhs." Leaving in the majority. If the content is good and the guests are interesting, listeners will not mind. They can help a host sound more natural.
Instead, it is better to practice improving speech in everyday life. A host might try to pay more attention to their speech when hanging out with friends or work. Be mindful of the use of filler words. If a host needs time to think about what they say, they should not be uncomfortable with a long pause. Speaking slowly will show confidence, which leaves a lasting impression on podcast listeners.
Another strategy a host can try to avoid "ums" is closing the mouth during the podcast when pausing. No sound will come out of the mouth. However, remember that having some "umms" will make a podcast sound more casual and real. Which is good for most podcasts. Most podcast listeners are looking for content that sounds personal and honest.
Do edit out things that are not related to the content of the podcast. Removing background noise would improve the sound quality of the podcast. That includes noises such as anything going on in the outside world. Sometimes a phone might ring, or there might be a mouse-clicking, a host should remove these sounds. However, it is better to avoid these kinds of noises in the first place
Avoid Editing Entirely
In terms of recording the podcast, a host can do several things to avoid issues that they need to edit out. Record podcasts in a quiet place. Recording in silence will avoid disruptions that a host might need to edit out. Lock the door when recording to prevent someone from coming in and disrupting the recording. A host can record when they are alone to avoid background noise. Kitchen sounds and doors opening and closing would get avoided. Put the phone on silent and put it and a drawer nearby. Ask the interviewee to do the same.
To improve sound quality, put headphones on while recording to hear the podcast live.
There are several techniques to use from Audacity to improve sound clarity. It is best to avoid issues while recording. But sometimes there are factors that no one can control. One example is the volume and quality of the audio from an interviewee. There might also be accidental mistakes from time to time. Here I will cover the three most important post-processing techniques.
Using the equalizer is useful to improve the quality of a podcast. The equalizer is especially useful for remote interviews. Since a host can't control a guest's recording setup, use the equalizer to improve the clarity. Audacity fully supports this.
- This tutorial discusses equalizing techniques
- This tutorial shows how to apply these techniques using Audacity
Loudness normalization and the compressor
They help the volume of the podcast get even. Which lets people enjoy the podcast without having to adjust the volume. I recommend normalizing the audio -19 LUFS. Read a full explanation here. This tutorial explains how to apply loudness normalization in Audacity. Finally, the audio quality might improve by applying a compressor. The compressor should get used before doing loudness normalization in some cases.
A host might apply a compressor when the interviewee's audio level is much lower than a host's own or vice versa. Read about the compressor and how to use it in Audacity here.
It is possible to remove or at least minimize noise that made it into the recording with Audacity.This step is not necessary unless there is noise to remove.
Exporting for Publication
Avoid further editing by exporting the audio file into an MP3 format. Some podcast hosting websites have a maximum amount of megabytes per download. Once the maximum gets reached, the file needs to get cut up. Making the audio in the MP3 format avoids this issue for the host. The MP3 format creates a better experience for the audience. The episode will take less space on the audience's phone. They will be able to download the file even if they have a bad internet connection. They will not delete the file from their phone if they run out of storage.
- Bit rate mode: Preset
- Quality: Medium
- Channel Mode: Force export to mono
Keep every episode a similar amount of time. Increase the minutes' episode by episode. Don't go from 10 minutes to 40 minutes. People have a routine and do not like change. Going back and forth between long and short episodes might make them stop listening.
People listen to a podcast based on the time that it will take them to complete a task. People will be more likely to listen to a podcast that matches their commute time. Which would give an advantage to the podcast that meets that time need. The average commute is 27 minutes. To make a podcast 27 minutes long means that the podcast will fit the average commuter's schedule. If the listeners enjoy the podcast, they will add it to their commute schedule. The average person commutes at least 10 times a week. A host will have 10 chances per week that the podcast on the commute schedule will get heard. Which is different from being on the laundry schedule. The average person does laundry once or twice a week.
For solo episodes, I useAudacity to record the audio for the podcast. Once in a while, I do interviews. For remotely recording interviews, I use Zencastr. The service is free for up to eight hours a month of audio recording. There is a maximum of two guests on the free plan. The paid plan is $20 a month with unlimited features.
Zencastr has advantages over Zoom or Skype for remote interviews. One of which in that it records audio separately. If a host were to lose the Internet connection, the recording wouldn't get interrupted. Also, Zencastr records the audio for interview participants on separate tracks. The editing is simplified and allows for higher quality audio.
The audio files can get merged in Audacity. Open both files in Audacity and go to "Tracks" in the toolbar. Then, "Mix" after "Mix and Render." The files get merged after that and ready for export.
Let's say the person getting interviewed is using a low-quality microphone. Recording on separate tracks could improve the clarity of a call. A host could apply different equalizer settings to their end to improve clarity. Also, let's say there was some noise from a host's end while recording. The noise will be easier to remove if it is only present in one track.
Podcast hosts can record a podcast using a smartphone and get acceptable results. Some people might start a podcast for their business or to reach professional goals. They might want to stand out with higher quality.
Thankfully, producing high-quality audio can get done without considerable costs.
I have outlined here two different setups that can produce top-quality audio.
All equipment links are for Sweetwater, a well-known reseller of audio recording equipment. If there are questions about equipment, Sweetwater staff can help on the phone.
Sweetwater doesn’t sponsor me, and these are not affiliate links. This is my opinion as a customer.
Bare essentials - Good quality for beginners on a budget (~$160)
Blue Yeti is a USB microphone often recommended for podcasters. The New York Times chose it as the best USB microphone for 2020.
In addition to the microphone, I also recommend podcast hosts buy a pop filter. Pop filters help reduce the "popping" noise. The noise gets generated by the pronunciation of some aspirated plosives. The "p" in popcorn is one example.
I didn't list any headphones here. Most people have some already. If not, please get any budget headphones to listen to the recording live.
Home studio - Most bang for the buck for a high quality production (~$500)
This setup is for a fully-featured home studio that won't break the bank.
Here are studio-quality monitoring headphones and a microphone with an XLR interface. A host will need a USB audio interface to connect the XLR microphone to a computer. Which I've also included below
The Focusrite audio interface can power studio monitoring headphones and two XLR microphones. If a host were to get an extra microphone in the future to record a guest at home, they would be ready.
A nice feature of the Focusrite Scarlett is that it comes with a mode called "AIR." Using this mode will give a more professional sound. A host will not need any editing or post-processing with "AIR."
Below there is also a boom arm for a microphone. This boom arm can get attached to a desk to record while seated comfortably. Finally, this setup includes a shock mount. The shock mount is for reducing noise from vibrations. Finally, the microphone needs a pop filter.
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Closed-back Studio Monitoring Headphones
- Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Medium-diaphragm Condenser Microphone
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface
- On-Stage Stands MBS5000 Desk-mounted Broadcast Microphone Boom Arm
- Audio-Technica AT8458a Microphone Shock Mount
- Gator ROK-IT Nylon Pop Filter
The RSS Feed is the key to any podcast. An RSS Feed is available to the public for viewing. When a host creates an RSS Feed, their email is visible to everyone. Anyone who wants to send a podcast host spam can find the email address in the RSS Feed. The more popular a podcast gets, the more spam a host will receive. The solution to prevent seeing spam is to create an email only for the podcast.
Uploading and publishing your episode
Podcasting is an excellent opportunity to reach a new audience. There is no one-click solution for starting a podcast. This chapter will go through the process of setting up a podcast.
Use voice memos and start talking about anything. Then, listen to the recording. When listening look for several factors:
- The volume of the voice: too difficult to hear or too loud?
- The speed of the voice: speaking too fast?
- Clarity: Any glitches or sound problems?
- Background noise: is there anything in the background distracting from the audio?
Pick A Style
Once there's been enough practice, the next step is to pick a style. There are styles for a podcast. Solo, interview, round-table discussion, to name a few. In the case of an interview podcast, it is best to start reaching out to people as soon as possible. For a solo podcast, start looking for material to discuss.
Pick Equipment and Software
To record a podcast, a host needs a microphone, headphones, and recording software. The microphone will need a pop filter as well. Any pop filter that fits the microphone will be fine.
Use headphones during recording to hear how a podcast will sound. Any pair of headphones will work. Headphones prevent sound echoes. When not wearing headphones, the sound will echo back after a host talks. Not only is the echo annoying and distracting, but the mic may also pick the sound up and will record the echoes.
The hardware I used to record the podcast is a Fifine k669 and an Auray TT-ISO mic stand. There's no particular reason why this is my hardware. I Googled “USB mic” and this is the first mic that came up. The mic stand I chose because it does not take up a lot of space. For podcasting equipment, I try not to get caught up on different hardware. Getting caught up in hardware distracts from the content.
For solo episodes, I useAudacity to record the audio for the podcast. Once in a while, I do an interview. I've done two interviews. In the first interview, I used Zencastr to record the audio. The service is free up to eight hours a month for audio recording. there is a maximum of two guests on the free plan. The paid plan is $20 a month and unlimited features.
While the audio was on Zencastr. I usedSkype for the video to see the person I am interviewing.
Pick A Name And Cover Art
Every podcast needs a name. The name of a podcast should give people who find it a basic idea of what the podcast is about. The "Alex Edmonds Show" does not tell anyone about the podcast. The only people that can get away with putting their name in the show are people who are already famous. My podcast's name is Building an Indie Business. Anyone who stumbles onto my podcast knows right away that my podcast is a business podcast.
There is no need to have the word "podcast" in the title, it is redundant. Take some time to think of a title, sleep on it. My first instinct was to name my podcast, "supremerumham makes a website." I speak from experience when I say, "sleep on it!"
After choosing a name, designing cover art is the next step. Cover art should be a bright color, such as red, blue, or green. Having the cover art be a bright color will help a podcast stand out from others. When someone is scrolling through a list of podcasts, the bright cover is more likely to catch their eye. They may take a look at the podcast..
Record A Podcast Trailer
iTunes, Google, and Spotify only accept RSS Feeds that have episodes. Recording a podcast trailer prevents problems for the podcast's launch. The potential listeners can get a preview of the podcast with a trailer. The trailer should not be long, no more than 2 minutes. A host can give a brief overview of the content a listener will hear on the podcast. If the podcast is an interview podcast snippets of a few interviews would give listeners a preview. For a solo podcast, a host can go over the roadmap for the podcast.
At this point, the podcast has a name, cover art, a trailer, and an actual episode. It is time to create a podcast with a podcast hosting website.
A host gets an RSS Feed when they upload the audio to a podcast hosting company. The RSS Feed is how iTunes and other podcast directories will gain access to the podcast.
Add Caproni Here
Add Podcast To Podcast Players
Now, people need to be able to find the podcast. The most popular players are Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Each player has a different method for uploading. There should be no problems if the RSS Feed is setup right. In case there are any problems, these videos can help, Apple's and Spotify's process.
Some podcast hosts will offer to upload a podcast for their customers. Decline the offer. If a podcast hosting website adds a podcast to the player, they own the podcast. What does this mean? The podcast hosting company can add anything to an RSS Feed. They can make changes without permission.
To fix problems, a host has to ask the podcast hosting company to fix it. If a host makes a spelling error and wants to refresh the RSS Feed, they must tell the podcast host to do it. A fix that would take a host two minutes if they uploaded the podcast themselves.
After submitting a podcast to the players, there is a waiting period of at least 3 or 4 days before showing up. Then, another 3 or 4 days before the podcast shows up in other apps that use those directories.
While waiting, a host should join some relevant communities. There are several communities for podcasting where a new host can learn. One great one is Open Podcast.
Keep A Consistent Schedule
Now that the podcast is live, a host has to keep a consistent schedule. People have added the podcast to their listening schedule. If the podcast is not there, they will replace it with another and that change might stick.
Consistent Minutes For Podcast
Keep every episode the same amount of time. Increase minutes episode by episode. Don't go from 10 minutes to 40 minutes. People have a routine and do not like change. Going back and forth between long and short episodes might make them stop listening.
After this, the podcast should be live. A host may have started to collect email addresses for the podcast. If so, an email should let the subscribers know the podcast is live. The email should contain links to the biggest podcast players. After, it is time to grow the current audience.