How I Started a Podcast
Podcasts!! They are a great way to entertain yourself while doing many different activities, and can be a great way to learn about all kinds of different subjects. But have you ever wondered about how difficult it is to start one, especially when you feel like you have some good things to say? Let me assure you that starting a podcast was actually a lot less daunting than I thought. Keep reading to see what Aaron and I have done to get our podcast, Married Muggles, into the world.
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When it came to starting a podcast, I had the idea for Married Muggles back in February, and we launched our podcast in June with our intro episode. Between that time, we had to find a space where we could upload the podcast that would distribute it to the major podcast listening platforms, as well as many other tasks. Here are the steps we took to making our podcasting dreams real!
~Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert at creating a podcast, this is a post to lay out the steps that I took to launch our podcast. Making a podcast should be a creative process, which means you will probably do things differently than I did!
Pick a Topic
Just like with any other project you want to start that involves creating content, you want to have a topic or theme that you are able to focus on. When you have a topic/theme to focus on, you have a better chance of engaging an audience and finding the right people to listen to your podcast. You can make that topic very specific or allow it to be purposefully more broad to accommodate talking points.
Picking a topic gives you a way to focus on what you want to talk about, and helps you plan out episodes based on different facets of that topic. Want to make a podcast about cooking? Think about focusing on a specific cuisine, diets, or type of meals you want to focus on.
For Married Muggles, our focus is that we are a married couple reading through the Harry Potter books together. Aaron has never read them, but I have read them several times, so we read through a few chapters at a time and when we finish a book we watch the corresponding movie. We have picked the genre of books, then focused on a specific series to make us more concentrated.
Friends of ours who started a podcast around the same time as us, Peace Love Grapefruit, is more of a lifestyle podcast that is of two friends who talk about a variety of different topics each episode. For them the underlying topic is based on discussions as friends about their likes, dislikes, and what they share in common.
What is Your Name?
After (yes after) you pick a topic to base your podcast around, you need to pick a name! I like to say pick the topic first, then the name because I feel like you can get a lot of good ideas for names once you have narrowed down what you want to have your podcast be about. A good name is short, sweet, and encapsulates what you will be talking about.
It was pretty easy to come up with a name for our podcast because we already had a topic picked. Because of the specificity of Aaron and I reading the Harry Potter books together, we wanted to make sure we had a word in the name that made it obvious that we were a Harry Potter podcast. With us being a married couple and the word "muggle" also starting with an "m" it did not take us long to choose Married Muggles.
The great thing, too, is that Married Muggles is a short name that is easy to brand and have stand out for our audience. It is easy to say and catchy with the alliteration (J.K. Rowling's favorite!).
Try saying, typing, and listening to your name and how it rolls off the tongue to make sure that you like it, as well as trying it out with a few friends or family members to see what they think. This is especially helpful if the people in your life are also interested in the topic you will be covering!
Here is a very important part of having a podcast: recording! What will you be recording your podcast with? On my Macbook Pro, I had Garageband already installed on my laptop, and this is what I use to record our podcast. So far Garageband has been pretty easy to use and figure out without doing much research on how to get it working.
We host our podcast through Anchor.fm, which has a recording feature, but we have found the audio isn't as good as Garageband and it is only on mobile that you can record anything longer than an hour (our episodes are usually over an hour long pre-editing).
Another piece to recording is having a microphone. You do not need to spend a lot on a microphone to get a decent quality sound. We were really lucky with our only micophone purchase and have loved the quality of our audio with our Fifine microphone off of Amazon.
When recording, we place the microphone between the two of us while. we sit next to each other with some space in between, so it is not the recommended 6-12 inches away from our faces, but it still picks up our audio really well. If you are in the market for a good microphone, I highly recommend the Fifine one, and it is pretty inexpensive.
For a podcast to sound good, it is important to be engaging, interesting, and concise. But if I am totally honest, editing is the biggest advantage to making a podcast sound good. Let me give you some insight into the work on the backend that goes into taking a recorded episode and editing it.
It is not uncommon for Aaron and I to record an episode for around an hour and twenty minutes. Editing an episode that long will usually bring it down to about an hour. That is twenty minutes that I have deleted. Twenty minutes of audio. Yup, editing is crazy!
The time it takes me to edit an episode is around double the length of the episode itself. And I am take out a lot. There are so many "um's," "uh's," "ah's," and long pauses between thoughts or when we are looking something up. With editing, I can take all of those things out, because truly no one wants to listen to them! It isn't like a video where you can at least be watching something during a period of silence.
When it comes to editing, I take a fine tooth comb and take out any pause that is longer than about 2 seconds. I cut out a lot of filler words and sometimes bits of conversation if it just doesn't make sense or if Aaron and I have a quick side conversation while recording. What you get after all of that is a more concise podcast with a flow to it that allows your ears to be filled basically the whole time you listen.
With our recordings all being in Garageband, I also do my editing there are all. It is really easy to edit there, since in the tool there are two strings of the audio for the editor. In the bottom string, I can cut the audio to pieces (literally), and then drag it all together in the top string so that it is pretty much seamless.
I have found that editing, though time consuming, is pretty fun and I like being able to listen back to the episode and improve it through editing. It also gives me a refresher on what we talked about incase any listeners have questions or comments about the episode.
Branding & Logo
For a podcast, having an appropriate and engaging logo is extremely important. That is what your listeners will see when they are selecting and listening to your podcast. I like to suggest something clean and simple, with your podcast name clearly legible. A great site to use to create your logo (if you are a DIY'er like myself) is Canva.
I use Canva for a lot of things, including this blog and the podcast. I used Canva to create the podcast logo, which is what you see when you click on the podcast in a listening platform as well as the profile images for social media. The logo is a great way to get listeners interested as well, so make sure that it speaks to you as a podcast as well as what your listeners might be attracted to while they are browsing for a new podcast to start!
Here is the Married Muggles logo as an example:
We wanted to keep our logo simple so that it would stand out and be easy to read. We have our name, a statement that is it a podcast, and a little lightning bolt at the top to pay homage to the fact that it is a Harry Potter based podcast.
Uploading the Podcast
Okay, so you've recorded your episode, editing the snot out of it, now what? How does it get into the world for people to listen to?
There are lots of different sites to upload your podcast through, but the one that Aaron and I use is called Anchor.fm, which is a podcast hosting site run by Spotify. We have had a really good experience with Anchor since it allows you to upload as much audio as you want for free. It is very easy to upload through and has a lot of different music clips and sound bites/transition sounds to use to add to your episodes that make it more dynamic.
Another aspect we love is being able to add in sponsored segments through Anchor to the podcast. This allows us to get paid for our podcast based on the number of listeners we have to the podcast. When you sign up for Anchor and start publishing to them, they automatically give you a sponsorship with them that earns you $15/CPM (which is 1K total listens). With sponsorships and a high listener count, this can make having a podcast a potentially lucrative side hustle or full time job.
With Anchor, we are able to have our podcast distributed to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, RadioPublic, and Pocketcasts. We have seen that a majority of our listeners come from Apple Podcasts and we were very fortunate to have been approved by Apple within a week of starting the podcast (it can usually take a lot longer, if at all).
Through Anchor we also get a lot of good statistics on our listeners so that we have a general idea of the age groups we have the most listeners from as well as gender and location. It is also very fun to see the breakdown of listens between each episode and then the total number of listens to the podcast.
Having a website for the podcast has actually not been something we have completed yet. Through Anchor we have a pseudo website, (you can see it here), but our plan is to down the road make an actual website. We have not found having a website to be a super important piece for us at this point, and we have not felt like it has hindered us either.