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Online with Dock Line: How to Start a Podcast in 2020

Online with Dock Line: How to Start a Podcast in 2020

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Starting a podcast in 2020 is a lot easier than it was a couple of years ago. Equipment is easier to use and cheaper to come by. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t a couple of learning curves when it comes to starting a podcast. Although the field may be less crowded than the blogging sphere, there are over 800,000 podcast shows and will soon be in the millions. If you are going to start a podcast in 2020 you’ll need to up your game to be noticed even with a captive audience. Starting a podcast can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You can launch a podcast for your business or as a hobby. You should know that the average podcast takes time to build an audience. It’s time to mix your creative side with the marketing side.

Picking Your Topic and Niche

Before you start buying equipment and scheduling podcast episodes, you are going to want to know what to talk about. Defining the topic and niche of your podcast is critical to growing and building your audience. Answer questions for yourself like:

  1. What are your interests?
  2. Is this just a hobby or do you want to eventually start a business with this podcast?
  3. Which interest of yours would you like to further explore? Do you want to become an expert in that interest or a casual observer?
  4. Do you want your podcasting to be dependent on a product or service? For example, movie reviews or political news? Going down this route may mean that your content needs to be extremely relevant or target specific niches. Meaning you’ll have to keep up with timely movies and news or be very specific in who you cover. For example, you only review horror films from the 1960s or your podcast is over the rise and end of the Vietnam War covering multiple angles. The downsides of covering relevant reviews or movies is that you are always dependent on content from other sources and that content can be worthwhile or not.
  5. Do you want your topic to have clearly definable facts to base itself off of? For example, a Supreme Court ruling. This is different from talking about a topic like Buddhism vs. Christianity. This is also different from talking about personal taste, i.e. ranking the albums of a classic rock band. These decisions all affect workload as you’ll need to gather more information and establish yourself as trustworthy to your audience. Try brainstorming ideas that you are interested in using brainstorming techniques.

Spend some time on this process, as clearly knowing what you are going to talk about can help guide the format, duration, and production process of your show. Defining topics and niche can also help you discern whether you need a co-host or not when you start a podcast in 2020.

Recording and Preparing Your Podcast For Launch

So you’ve narrowed down your topic, figured out your niche audience, and have a format for your podcast. Great! Now it’s time to get to recording. If you never have tried to record a podcast or worked with microphones, you DO NOT need to spend hundreds of dollars on a microphone. Quite frankly, you need to keep your investment low as a first-timer. There is a very real possibility you don’t have the right set-up for an expensive microphone and you may always quit podcasting. If that happens, you’re stuck with a $300 dollar paperweight that isn’t benefiting you any. Some common items you may need for a podcast setup include:

  • Computer
  • Recording Software
  • Microphone
  • Pop Filter
  • Boom Arm
  • Isolation Box
  • Headphones
  • Audio Interface
  • Mixer

Some of these items are optional or not necessary depending on your set-up. When starting out, try to keep your set significantly smaller and easy to operate. The last thing you want is to have a very technical process of recording as that can kill your enthusiasm for an episode. Do your research before buying any product and make sure it is absolutely necessary that you buy the item. Be creative, with the right treatment to a room you can even record a podcast with a voice recorder.

Where to Host Your Podcast

So, you’ve recorded the first couple of episodes of your podcast. You’ve edited them in your software. Now you’re ready to upload to iTunes, except, you can’t actually upload your podcast straight to iTunes or Spotify directly from your computer. iTunes and other podcasting apps need an RSS feed submitted to them. An RSS feed can come from two places, either a website or an audio host. To get started, you just need an audio host and can later transition to building a website. 

What is an Audio Host, though?

An audio host is an online platform that houses all of your audio and syndicates it through an RSS feed. It makes it easy to upload and submit your podcast to iTunes, Spotify, etc. They usually will run you around $20 dollars, although there are some free options. Select an audio host that has in-depth analytics about your podcast. It should monitor things like downloads, playing time, what country your podcast is getting the most downloads, and more.

Submit Your Podcast to iTunes and Spotify

Once you have recorded your podcast, edited them, picked an audio host, and uploaded an episode, now is the time to submit to iTunes and Spotify. This a fairly simple process, and you’ll want to submit to these podcast directories because these are the biggest platforms available. Uploading to these platforms gives you instant access to millions of listeners around the world. Try making a list of specific people on your friend’s list to share the podcast with. Also, when you post your first episode on social media try to write engaging headlines about the episode or who is involved. Really sell yourself and your work, and position yourself as a content provider. What would make a potential listener’s ears perk up? Start a podcast off right with having a couple of marketing tactics to get noticed. This will help get you on the new and noteworthy page which will grab you a sizable subscriber base to start with. 

So, do you have a passion that you love learning about? Are you an expert about something that you could help others get better at? Do you have a hobby that you spend a lot of time on? If you have something valuable to share with the world and are willing to devote a few years to share it, then yes, you can and should start a podcast. If you want to start a podcast in 2020 and need a more in-depth resource we have you covered! At Dock Line Magazine, we have compiled a comprehensive guide (over 12k words) on starting a podcast. We go in-depth about planning and buying equipment as well as picking an audio host. Contact us today to find out more!

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