This guide runs through some of the practical considerations you need to make before launching a podcast.
Keep in mind that this is only one half of the battle. There’s no point in considering any of the below if you are not clear on your content, why it exists, and who it exists for.
There’s no step-by-step guide to that. That’s about you knowing your message and your motivations for getting it out there and being happy to let that evolve as you identify your audience.
But once you are clear on what you want to say, here’s some areas that you’ll need to address to ensure that you’re saying it properly.
1. The Name
It’s an obvious place to start, and with good reason. I’m sure you can get away with writing an entire novel and figuring out what to call it once you’re done. This doesn’t work with podcasts. You won’t be able to generate any hype ahead of your first release without a name for people to associate you with.
What makes a good name? Well, people will have sorts of varying opinions on that. But brevity is a bigger factor with podcasts than other mediums: your name needs to be clearly readable on its artwork when viewed on small mobile displays. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, for example, is fine for a film, but it might struggle to make itself readable when condensed onto the podcast grid.
Which moves us onto nicely to…
Sure, it’s not essential to do artwork at the start of the process. It could in theory be the last thing you do before you release your first episode but on the technical side, it’s important to bear in mind that you will need at least the primary show artwork to submit your feed to the podcast platforms prior to launch.
Giving yourself a visual identity early doors will be a great help in developing the personality of your podcast. Furthermore, quickly developing your brand and having the tools to promote it is only going to make your life easier when generating interest – no harm in getting a head start and having your social media accounts set up in advance. Besides – the last thing you’ll want is to have done all the hard yards to pull your content together, only to have to delay release because you’re still waiting on artwork!
This blog from Snappa’s Ana Gotter does a great job of running through design considerations for podcast artwork – other key considerations include vibrancy of colours, and ensuring they meet 3000×3000 pixels.
For technophiles, buying new shiny expensive toys to play with can often be the most exciting part of launching a podcast. And if you want to break the bank and pay a premium to ensure the very best quality, all the power to you.
But the cost needn’t be prohibitive. Gone are the days when you need a full studio to produce high quality audio, and reasonably priced plug and play kit has made it possible for anyone to put out strong sounding podcasts from their own home. The Podcast Host has put together this useful run down of microphones on the market, ranging from those suitable for beginners to the higher priced ‘pro’ items.
But the microphone may only be the start: headphones, audio interfaces, pop shields or even a new laptop might be on your shopping list, depending on your existing set up and how much you’re willing to invest.
This will also depend on the nature of your content. Producers of narrative documentaries have a lot more cause to invest a little more in portable recorders, memory cards and wind mufflers than those recording a ‘chatcast’ with their mates.
And don’t forget to think very carefully about where you’re recording. Large echoey spaces are not to be encouraged, nor somewhere in audible proximity to a busy road or building works.
You’ll need to establish your software of choice for both recording and editing – ideally, the two will be the same as project/session files are not mutually intelligible across different applications.
Adobe Audition remains one of the most intuitive and quick to grasp audio workstations out there, while others swear by Logic or Pro Tools, all of which require a subscription. Audacity is the most well known of the free alternatives – but anyone choosing this route should be aware that they will be limiting their functionality.
In recent years there has also been great developments in software designed for recording remote interviews, boosted by increased demand on account of the pandemic. The key advantage of using a Cleanfeed or a Zencastr – over, say, the in-built record function on Zoom – is that it will record every participants’ audio locally. This means that the recording itself will be entirely unaffected by the dropouts and painful noises one associates with a poor WiFi connection in a conference call.
You could have the greatest podcast in the world, but it’s useless if you don’t know how to push it out there and reach your audience.
Like every other aspect, this is an area with a broad spectrum of potential investment depending on what you’re seeking to gain. If your intention is to gain hundreds of thousands of listeners so that advertisers come knocking, then may well want to fork out for some form of paid advertising. If you’re quite content releasing a pod that only mates will hear, then by all means just stick it in your personal Facebook profile.
And like everything, there is no one size fits all social media podcast package. If you have a business-oriented title, maybe LinkedIn is the best place to promote it. If your podcast is intended to aggravate the culture wars, throw it on Twitter (or maybe Parler). And if your podcast is about the evils of social media, then you might want to take out an old-fashioned newspaper advert.
When you’ve got all of the other bits together and you’ve recorded and edited your first episode – and generated a bit of hype about the pilot – it’s time for the rewarding moment of hitting that big green RELEASE button (nb: not a literal button). To get on the vast majority of platforms, you’ll first need to get yourself an RSS feed.
By far the easiest way of doing this is to use a podcast hosting provider or aggregator, such as Libsyn. These services operate as a warehouse, where you can store all of your episodes, artwork, show notes et al. As soon as you upload an episode, they will do the work for you in terms of ensuring they are on all the various platforms.
Try not to dismiss show notes as an add on either. True, not everyone reads them, but if they’re poorly written or don’t exist at all this will reflect badly on you. If they’re engaging and do a good job of teasing the content, then they might be the difference between a smash hit episode and a fade to obscurity.
Most importantly: who is going to do all of this?
The most important detail across all of these stages is ensuring you have the right person doing the job. It is possible to be a ‘one (wo)man band’ – but consider the constraints that will place on your time. If you’re launching the podcast for fun, will it still be fun when you’re staying up late fixing an edit? If your title is to benefit your business, will it do so if you don’t maintain professional standards across the board?
Engineering, graphic design, audio editing and marketing are all jobs done by professionals. The more professional you want to appear, the more you’ll want to lean on experts who know their craft. That isn’t to say that every podcast maker out there needs to budget for outside help, but if you’re serious about your title having an impact it’s something to consider – and will leave you more time to focus on the creative content.
Have you heard of a little agency named GLProUK? We know all about each of these steps of the process, and take great pleasure in helping our clients along this journey.
GLProUK is a digital marketing agency based in London and Surrey, helping market-leading brands fulfil their content requirements. We bring a passion for innovation to our podcasts, graphic design, professional video and photography, tailoring our expertise and enthusiasm to the unique aspects of your project.
We believe in making the client experience as easy as possible, whether we’re developing a full marketing strategy, fulfilling your production brief, supplying a production crew or offering post-production services.