If one of your goals for the year is “start a podcast,” then let’s get rolling and knock it out! As someone who randomly decided to create a podcast one day and launched no less than two weeks later, I want to simplify the process for starting your own podcast.
I’ve told this story before, but I was in the shower listening to my gal pal Amy Porterfield’s podcast when it hit me right in the middle of my shampoo scrub down…
I need to start a podcast.
(Thanks for the kick of inspo, Amy!)
I literally reached my hand out of the shower—probably not even fully drying it—to voice text my right-hand girl Caitlyn and say, “You’re gonna think I’m crazy, but I wanna start a podcast…and I think we should it in like two weeks.”
Luckily, she didn’t think I was (that) crazy, and The Goal Digger Podcast was born! Millions of downloads and 500+ episodes later, I’m here to talk about the starting stage. I didn’t have all the answers, and I wasn’t even sure what I would talk about in two months, let alone in two years down the road. But I did have a loose plan to get started, and here’s what it looked like.
6 quick tips for starting your own podcast
Don’t worry about the most gorgeous, branded cover art or even the “perfect” name. You can change all of that down the line. Instead, start here:
1. Figure out your podcast category.
Did you know there are literally dozens of categories to choose from on iTunes? Categories like Business, Arts, History, Education, and Health & Fitness that then have even more subcategories beneath them. You can choose up to 3 categories for your show (which you should do, so that you show up more in searches for those categories).
This is step numero uno, to determine your category and then your content pillars. Pick your main overarching category and then make sure you have multiple angles, topics, and themes you’ll want to and be able to talk about for a long time. Think ahead to episode 25—will you still have steam to keep going?
That might sound like a lot of pressure, but remember that you can tackle really small topics and branch off of ideas and bring on guests to really make the most of your category. I recommend picking your main category, plus two others you can file your show under on iTunes, and then pick five-or-so content pillars (aka, themes) that fall under your main category that you can cycle through so you always have plenty of content variety and options.
2. Make quick decisions.
There are several moving pieces involved to just start your podcast: your cover art or logo, your intro and outro for the show, a publishing schedule, and the format of the show, to name a few. I see soooo many people get hung up on these pieces and never start because they’re stuck in decision fatigue. Want a visual of how the Goal Digger Podcast creative has evolved over the past handful of years?
Where we started:
After a few years, we landed here:
I promise, no one else is going to pay as much attention to these pieces as you will. So make quick decisions and don’t overthink the things that can easily be changed. Start with the best you’ve got and really trust your gut on things like the name and the logo—and know that all of these things can (and likely will) change!
3. Choose a podcast format that feels sustainable.
There are so many ways to format your show whether you have guest interviews, a co-host, or just-you solo shows. Beyond that, you can set up the flow of the show to be more off the cuff or follow a specific format, like teaching on a topic for the first 10 minutes, answering listener questions for the next 10, and wrapping up with an assignment.
Determine the format will serve both you and your listeners best. If the idea of hunting down and coordinating guests makes you tired even to think about, then start with solo shows! If you get woozy picturing yourself talking alone to a microphone for 20 to 45 minutes, then maybe interview or co-hosted shows are for you.
Start with what is easiest and feels most exciting to you, and know that you can always expand how you do it later on. Be honest with what will allow you to show up in the best way and pick your format.
4. Pick out your recording situation.
*loud sirens and flashing lights* THIS DOES NOT NEED TO BE FANCY. OR EXPENSIVE.
Whew, glad I got that off my chest. Wanna know what I did at first? I used my phone’s recording app and some Apple headphones, and hit record in my car. It was the only place that I could guarantee wouldn’t catch my dogs barking in the middle of my episodes!
So figure out a recording set-up and production method that works for you. Where will you record? How frequently will you record? How much prep do you need prior to hitting record? Who will edit the shows? What software or equipment do you need? Where will you host your RSS feed?
All of these questions ^ might overwhelm you, and if they do… then just start simple. Get your phone, write some notes (or a loose script) for your first few topics, find a quiet spot, and hit record. You can tweak and adjust and figure out the more technical pieces like editing later on, promise!
5. Batch a few shows before launching.
This might be my most important piece of advice! So often people launch with an episode or two, get some feedback, and then… get busy. Life happens, and if we’re not intentional about creating and putting out new content, then it can easily get placed on the backburner. The best way to avoid beginner’s burnout is to get a batch of five to ten shows ready for release.
When you launch you want to have at least a few shows ready to go so that new listeners can binge, plus it’ll give you a kick of momentum. You want to drop more than one with the launch and have a few more queued up ready to publish, so it gives people an idea of what they can expect and encourages them to subscribe. It’s also helpful to have some ready so you don’t feel pressure to create on the fly while you’re getting your footing.
6. Don’t wait until you feel ready.
Launch it and get it out into the world. You’ll get better over time. Just simply do the thing! Refinement will naturally happen as you continue to podcast and get feedback from listeners, but the biggest hurdle is getting started and sharing it.
Plan, record, publish, share… and repeat. I truly believe we all have voices, stories, and insights worth sharing with the world! And the best thing you can do to launch a successful podcast is stick with it and stay consistent. You can do this!