Podcasts make powerful sales machines.
If you do it right, you attract a vibrant community of listeners, exciting partnerships, and dream clients.
Let’s learn how to start a podcast and grow it into a full-fledged business today.
1. Create a game plan
Every big goal starts with a plan.
Before buying your podcast equipment and contacting your dream guests, consider these questions:
- What’s your budget?
- What’s the name of your podcast?
- What topic or theme will you focus on?
- What makes your podcast different from what’s already out there?
- What’s the length of each episode?
- How often will you record an episode?
- How often will you publish an episode?
- What’s the format of your podcast? Is it a commentary style or interview-based?
- Will you have a podcast co-host?
Your answers to these questions will determine the next few steps.
For example, your podcast’s topic or theme will shape your intro script and which guests you’ll have on your show. Likewise, your answer to what makes your podcast different helps you stand out in the sea of sameness and connect with a unique community of listeners.
Now that you have a rough idea of what your podcast’s going to be, let’s continue.
2. Prepare all creatives
If the host’s personality makes listeners stay, then the creatives are responsible for piquing interest in the first few seconds.
Here are three main visuals we recommend you prepare:
Your podcast’s cover art helps listeners visually identify your podcast.
Often, these thumbnail-sized visuals either feature eye-catching graphics, the podcaster, or a combination of both.
Note how the cover art of Noah Kagan Presents boasts an intense hue of green, which carries a sense of growth, as does his confident stance. Quite fitting for an entrepreneurial podcast, we’ll say!
To design your cover art, either use the premade templates or start from scratch on your graphic design software.
If you don’t know how to harmonize the different colors, here’s what you can do.
On Picmaker, click the third button on the right and let the photo editing tool automatically suggest different colors.
You can do the same for your fonts and colors using the second and third button.
Better yet, click the MAD all button at the top to change all three elements in one go. Picmaker will generate a new look each time you click these buttons.
Grab the Picmaker lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $69 (usual price: $300).
Now that your cover art’s successfully piqued interest in listeners, it’s time to hook them in.
With thousands of royalty-free stock music available today, anyone can download unlimited tunes without paying a dime. Unfortunately, there’s a new problem lurking around the corner: These tracks are often overused.
To create a unique intro track for your podcast, you’ll need a tool like SOUNDRAW.
SOUNDRAW creates custom tracks based on the type of music you choose. Take your pick from the theme, mood, genre, length, and more, and SOUNDRAW will generate 15 original music clips within seconds.
From then on, edit to customize it further.
Grab the SOUNDRAW lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $69 (usual price: $2990).
The intro script sets the scene—it gives first-time listeners a peek at what your podcast covers.
Here’s an example from The Copywriter Club (TCC) to show you what we mean:
Did you see how TCC leads with curiosity (“What if…”) and ends with a fantastic value proposition (…”to inspire your own work.”)?
It speaks to aspiring copywriters’ desire to run a successful business.
3. Soundproof your room
Setting up a recording studio in your home base is enough to get you going.
Opt for rooms with soft surfaces (e.g., rugs) and soundproof hard surfaces with foam wedge panels to prevent echoes and unnecessary noise from reaching your mic.
Pro tip: If, by some rotten luck, you live in a noisy neighborhood and it’s impossible to soundproof your room, consider renting a space from PodcastRental. Note that the podcast marketplace covers only the US and UK.
Don’t worry if there are still echoes in your recordings. That’s what the next tip is for.
4. Invest in wallet-friendly tools
The right software and hardware tools help you sound like a pro.
Microphones-wise, you can’t go wrong with USB mics like Blue Yeti and Audio-Technica ATR2005. Both are affordable options for podcast newbies. Check out our Ultimate Podcast Starter Kit guide for a deeper dive.
In terms of podcast recording and audio editing software, it depends on your budget and skills. For example, complete beginners can’t go wrong with ReMasterMedia. It’s intuitive and friendly to the wallet.
Add a podcast recording for processing, pick an audio remastering profile (e.g., Max Presence, Smooth Boost), and download it.
ReMasterMedia lets you upload up to ten audio tracks and process them at one go, making it an excellent choice if you’re looking to speed up your workflow.
Grab the ReMasterMedia annual deal on AppSumo today for $69 .
5. Write a hyper-targeted pitch
Note: This tip only applies if you interview guests on your podcast. If you’re recording solo or with a co-host, feel free to skip it.
What makes a great guest? Besides subject matter expertise, they’re also wildly active on social media.
The trick here is to interview guests with an active online presence—their already built-in content distribution will help promote your podcast to their followers. Note how this podcaster finds and books their guests on Reddit.
In your pitch, make it clear to your potential guest that you’re familiar with their work.
Imagine you’re a freelance content marketer invited to a podcast. Which pitch would you respond to?
“Hey [Name],I run a content marketing podcast.
Since you’re a freelance content marketer who writes for lifestyle clients, I reckon you would make an awesome guest for our listeners.
Are you interested?”
“Hey [Name],I read your latest post on LinkedIn about how content marketers should never skip the outlining.
I wholeheartedly agree, as this stage helps us get on the same page with the editor or client.
Would you be interested in chatting more about this in my content marketing podcast?”
Pitch A reeks of generic spam. It feels like the host sends it to every content marketer on the planet and is waiting to see who will bite the bait.
Pitch B, on the other hand, comes across as hyper-targeted and sincere.
6. Record your podcast
Now the real work begins.
See to it that you know how to use your podcast recording software before hitting the record button. You do not want to spend 30 minutes talking to your guest only to realize that you forgot to click it.
Here are five more best practices to keep in mind before and after each recording.
- [Before] Invite the guest for a quick pre-podcast chat. Think of it as a courtesy call. Use this opportunity to propose the topics you want to cover and check if they have the right recording equipment. Your guest might also want to clarify any questions that they may have during the call.
- [Before] Email a day before the interview to remind the guest. Your email should include important information, such as the time the interview starts and the audio communication tool the guest needs to download before the show.
- [After] Email to say thank you. Share your gratitude and include the URL link to the podcast episode. Invite them to share a review or rating while you’re at it. Better yet, let them know that you’re looking for more guests and ask if they can recommend anyone to the show.
- [Before] Get on the same page with your co-host. Make sure you both agree who’s in charge of editing, uploading, creating the episode cover arts, and responding to listeners’ comments.
- [Before] Get your co-host to record from their end, too! This ensures the best audio quality, as local recordings are not affected by poor connections.
Whichever podcast format you pick, remember to disable all automatic software updates on your laptop during recording. This prevents clipped audio or otherwise altered recordings.
7. Upload your podcast with a few clicks
Most listening apps involve similar uploading steps: Enter the podcast RSS feed, verify ownership, and submit for review.
Recommended reading: How to Upload a Podcast: a Step-by-Step Guide (Screenshots).
Depending on which self-hosted podcast platform you choose, you might be able to distribute your podcast on all listening apps at once.
Some platforms, like Podsite may not distribute your podcast to listening apps, but boast other features that make up for this absent feature.
For example, Podsite automatically creates a website from your RSS feed and a dedicated page for each episode.
You can even manage donation and sponsorship packages without leaving the platform.
Grab the Podsite lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $99 (usual price: $180).
8. Monetize your podcast without sponsorships
You’re not alone if you want to monetize your podcast. When done well, this marketing channel can attract legions of customers.
But did you know that paid sponsorship isn’t the only way to monetize it?
Take The Copywriter Club, for instance. It scaled with copywriting memberships and training programs.
Another podcaster, Ramli John, host of Growth Marketing Today, won a $23K consulting contract after only three months of launching. At that time, Ramli had only 100 downloads per episode.
So don’t lose hope if you can’t find sponsors! Your podcast makes a powerful marketing channel.
9. Repurpose your podcast to expand its reach
Content repurposing taps into a new audience.
By repurposing your podcast into other formats, you maximize visibility for each content channel’s reach. Not to mention the amount of time and resources you’ll save!
Here are three popular examples to show you what we mean.
Blog posts improve search visibility.
Intercom wrote this excellent blog post after speaking to Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of HubSpot. The conversational marketing platform even distilled several insights into attractive quote graphics.
Note that blog posts are different from transcripts. While the former summarizes the key takeaways, the latter requires readers to comb through long walls of text to weed out the insights.
Email may be an old-timer in digital marketing, but it’s still one of the most powerful channels in the world.
That said, you can absolutely repurpose your podcast using email marketing. In fact, that’s what Rob Roseman did for The Dad the Best I Can Show.
Here’s how you can replicate his strategy.
On SendFox, create a welcome automation series to direct subscribers to your past podcast episodes.
Use the tagging feature to segment subscribers into specific categories.
For example, if you run a content marketing podcast with two main audiences—freelance content writers and content managers—create two separate lists. That way, you can easily send relevant content to these different audiences.
Grab the SendFox lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $49 (usual price: $240).
It’s challenging to grow a podcast without social media. If this is a channel you want to look into, here are two ways you can repurpose your podcast episodes:
- Quote graphics: Feature your guests’ best tips in social media graphics. For readability, keep them short and punchy.
- Audio snippets: Give listeners a 30-60 second glimpse at what was discussed during the podcast. Focus on the highlights!
Pro tip: Add all your important content—including your podcast—in a single link. That way, you can funnel all your social media followers into your other channels.
Configure your name and podcast website in SleekBio.
Pin your podcast at the top of the page to grab instant attention. Drag and drop your URLs to rearrange them in any order you like.
Grab the SleekBio lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $19 (usual price: $72).
Build a growing community of fans with your podcast
Much like any other business, it takes careful planning to turn a successful podcast into a full-fledged business.
We hope this guide has helped you to get started with confidence!
And when you’re ready to take it to the next level, hop on over to AppSumo. With 3,000+ lifetime and annual tools, you can sound like a pro while saving money down the road.