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How to Start a Podcast in 2021

So it’s 2021, and you’re looking to start a podcast? Then you’ve definitely come to the right place! This post will give you all the steps you need to get your podcast up and running in 2021. From finding your niche, to the right equipment, and the basics of podcast monetization, it’s all here. We’ve also included some topics we think all podcasters, whether veteran or newbie, should take into consideration as we head into all that 2021 has in store.

But before we get into all of that, just in case you’re still on the fence about starting a podcast in 2021, we’ve got a little extra motivation especially for you…

Why start a podcast?

1. They’ll build your niche authority

Whether you’re a creator, an entrepreneur, a blogger, or whatever your “thing” is, starting a podcast is a great way to help you build authority in your niche. Your own podcast could be an incredible avenue where you can share more of your expertise and topic knowledge, reach new audiences, as well as grow and nurture your relationships with your followers.  By sharing your valuable content via another channel, you’ll be able to establish yourself as a leading authority within your niche. 

2. They’re great for business

Podcasts are becoming a top place businesses and brands turn to when it comes to marketing and promotion. (Fun fact: just last year, podcast ad spend tipped the scales at a whopping $782.0 million, with experts indicating that number could soar to an astounding 1 billion dollars this year!) But besides all the opportunities for marketing via podcast ads, starting a podcast for your brand and business is an effective way to reach your target audience and serve your customers in new ways.

Related read: Why Your Small Business Needs a Podcast

3. They’re A LOT of fun! 

But besides all of the above, hosting a podcast is just plain fun! This is not to say that there’s not a lot of work involved – there certainly is – but the podcasting space is a really rewarding place to be. It provides so many opportunities to learn new things, challenge yourself in new ways, and build some really wonderful relationships with those you meet along the way.

So whether you’re doing it for business or brand reasons, or it’s just a way for you and your bestie to hang out and chat about your favorite topics, starting a podcast will bring a whole lot of enjoyment to your life in 2021. 

The Lowdown

Now that you’re convinced that starting a podcast is the next challenge you’re undertaking this year, you’re ready to check out the 8 basic steps you need to take when launching a podcast. Feel free to jump to the topics you’re most interested in, depending on where you are in your podcasting journey.

Step 1: Determine Your Aims and Objectives

Step 2: Find Your Niche

Step 3: Get the Right Equipment

Step 4: Plan Your First Recording

Step 5: Record Your Content

Step 6: Edit Your Audio

Step 7: Market Your Podcast

BONUS Step 8: Monetize Your Podcast

Updates for 2021

The Breakdown

And now, let’s dive into a closer look at the 8 basic steps of starting a podcast in 2021. 

Step 1: Determine Your Aims and Objectives

The first step to starting your podcast, as with anything, is to determine your aims and objectives. You’ve got to understand your “why”. This is paramount to achieving podcasting success and ultimately reaching the goals you set out to achieve.  Every decision going forward will be based upon your aims and objectives, so it’s really important that you lay these down clearly before moving on to Step 2.

Spend a little time brainstorming, and then write down the aims and objectives you feel best encapsulate the reasons why you want to start a podcast. Writing these down is important for three reasons. 1. It’s good to have something to refer back to from time to time throughout your podcasting journey to make sure you’re still on the right track. 2. As we mentioned already, nearly every decision you make regarding your show from here on out should be made with these in mind, and so it follows that you have them handy whenever you’ve got an important decision to make! And 3. They could also be a great motivator and reignite your passion when you’re feeling discouraged or demotivated in your podcasting journey.

Related reads: How to Boost Your Podcasting Confidence

Step 2: Find Your Niche

Now that you know the “why” of your podcast, the afore-mentioned fun can really begin! And it starts with finding your niche – that space within the industry that you’ll carve out for yourself. Using your understanding of your “why”, you now need to hone in on your topic. You may already know what your niche or topic is right off the bat, but as it is with a lot of new podcasters, you may know the general subject you want to build your show on, but you haven’t quite found your niche, or the unique angle or approach you will take on your show.

During your brainstorming, think about what your passions are, who your audience is and what type of show could they be looking for. Using this info, try and zero in on what makes you different, as this will set you apart from other podcasts. Once you’ve found your niche – after a couple of brainstorming sessions (probably fueled by a fair bit of caffeine, let’s be honest) – you’ll be one step closer to dominating the airwaves with your unique spin and point of view.

For a more in-depth look at finding that topic that’s just for you, check out our post on How to Find Your Podcast Topic. It’s even got some unique topic ideas to get the ball rolling and those creative juices flowing! 

Step 3: Get the Right Podcast Equipment

You know your “why” and you’ve determined your niche, it’s now time to get the tools of the podcasting trade. First up, the basics. You’ll need a microphone (popular choices include the ATR2100 or the Blue Yeti – you can use a smartphone or tablet, but this will require extra editing in order to achieve quality audio in the final product) and a pair of quality headphones (the Audio Technica ATH-M30x and the Sony MDR-7506 are popular amongst podcasters). You’ll also need recording software (check out this post for more information) as well as a sound-conducive space to record from. If you’re not quite ready to book a timeslot at a professional studio just yet, we’ve got you covered with our post on How To Build a Podcast Recording Studio at Home.

Related read: Top Tools for the New Podcaster

Step 4: Plan Your First Recording

You’re now ready to record that all-important first episode! Your first episode is a big deal as it’s your entrance into the podcasting world; it’s what will get your initial listeners hooked, and just as in real life, first impressions matter! That first recording is super exciting…but it can be a little daunting. 

You may be feeling all sorts of pressure to get it right the first time, but just take a deep breath in (and let it out again!) and we’ll share all our secrets for nailing that first recording. Take a look at our article on How to Plan for Recording Your First Podcast Episode and you’ll be all set to absolutely crush (in the best possible way!) the very first episode of your show.

Step 5: Record Your Content

Step 5 is all about recording your content! Finally! This is why we’re all here after all! If you’ve done the groundwork covered in the previous steps, doing the actual recording will be that much easier. But there are a number of strategies you can apply to help you get the best recording every time you hit record. Most importantly, have a plan of action. Whether this is a full script or just the main points you want to cover in your recording session, a solid plan of action will help you get all the content you need for your episode.

You also want to come prepared. If you’re interviewing a guest, make sure you’ve done all the necessary preparation beforehand, show up early and always bring your A-Game! Do this, and you’ll always get the content you’re after. 

Related read: Top Tips For Scripting Your Podcast

Step 6: Edit Your Audio

Capturing the recording is actually only half the task, you now need to take that raw recording and work some editing magic in order to achieve that high-quality final product your listeners will love. Unless your podcast is a live show, there’s quite a bit of editing that goes into getting a great sounding podcast. And when you’re just starting out, this can seem like an overwhelming and time-consuming endeavor.

But never fear! We’ve got just the thing to help make the editing process that much easier! Check out our 10 Editing Tips to Increase Your Podcast Sound Quality, which have been compiled by our very own expert sound engineers, so you know they’re going to be really helpful!

Alternatively, if you’re still a little wary of waveforms, and intimidated by all the toggles, you can turn to a podcast editing company which has all the skills and resources to turn your raw recordings into an audio masterpiece. 

For more info on this, check out all we offer here.   

Step 7: Market Your Podcast

Next up, marketing. This is a really important step as it is what connects your show to your target audience. Social media is a real ally when it comes to marketing and promoting your amazing show, but it can be a little tricking navigating just how to make the different platforms work for you and your show. Check out our posts that will show you just how to use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and even Pinterest to get your show out there!  

BONUS Step 8: Monetize Your Podcast

It might not be on your podcasting agenda when you’re just starting out, launching your show, and building up your podcast community, but there will come a time when you may want to explore all the ways you can monetize your podcast. We’ve already mentioned the incredible sums of money that has been put into podcast advertising, but opening up your podcast to advertising opportunities is only one of the many ways you can monetize your podcast. You could create your own products or merchandise, offer bonus content when listeners donate, or host your own live events. The possibilities are really endless!

Related read: Top 10 Ways to Monetize Your Podcast

Updates for 2021

And now for some points we think will be important for podcasters to take into consideration in this coming year.

Video Podcasting

We’ve seen a growing trend of podcasts turning to video podcasting as a way to strengthen their authority within their niche, deepen their connection with their audience, and simply as a way to offer their listeners so much more. And with the rise of social media platforms like TikTok, and the focus on video content on Instagram, we definitely think this trend is set to continue. It might not be for every podcast host, but the idea of starting a video podcast, or at least creating video content should definitely be considered in 2021. 

Related read: The Hows, Whens, and Whys of Video Podcasting

Podcast Accessibility 

The podcasting space is an incredible place and one we believe should be open to everyone. 2020 already saw big strides being made towards podcast accessibility and inclusivity, and this will only continue moving forward. We therefore believe that all podcasters should do all that they are able to make their podcast accessible to all, and this should be something that is front and center when you start brainstorming the aims and objectives of your show. 

For more on this topic, check out  Podcast Accessibility: Why And How To Make Your Podcast More Accessible

Closing Thoughts

So there you have it, the simple steps to follow in order to start a podcast in 2021. There are so many resources available at the tap of a screen or the click of a button that there really should be nothing stopping you from launching your show this year! And 2021 is a great year to get into the podcasting game! The podcast ship has not sailed into the sunset and you’ve certainly not missed the proverbial boat! Follow our simple steps, find that all-important niche topic, record some great content, and let 2021 be the year you take the sound waves by storm!

Related read: How To Avoid Common Podcasting Mistakes

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