Starting a podcast involves a lot of moving pieces, and it can sometimes get confusing and feel a little overwhelming – especially when it comes to your podcast setup.
Good news is, this complete podcast setup guide will provide you with all the resources to get you to your podcast launch.
First things first: what will your podcast be about?
You’re currently in one of three camps:
- You have your podcast topic nailed down and you’re ready to rock
- You have multiple podcast topics and you need to narrow it down
- You don’t know what your podcast topic will be
We have an entire guide on JUST finding your podcast topic, but to distill it down into a bite-sized exercise, here’s what you should do:
- Take out a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle
- On the left side write “passions” and on the right side write “expertise”
- Set a timer for 5 minutes and write out all the things you love doing under “passions”
- Set a timer for 5 minutes and write out all the things you have experience doing under “expertise”
- Use arrows to draw connections between similar topics that show up on both sides
- This overlap is what we like to call your Zone of Fire: where your passions and your expertise meet
Here’s what it might look like:
Once you have your Zone of Fire, it’s time to choose ONE area of overlap that matches this criteria:
- You believe there is an audience out there who wants and needs it
- You’re excited at the thought of podcasting about it
- You believe there is an opportunity to create products & services around this idea
Once you have your podcast topic, it’s time to start conducting market research. This part will help you confirm the criteria above, especially when it comes to knowing there is an audience out there who wants and needs the content you’re going to create.
First step is Google it. Just go ahead and type your podcast topic into the Google Search bar.
Then evaluate the results based on these questions:
- Is someone else already doing it?
- If yes, who is doing it best, and what’s missing from their approach?
- If no, dig deeper
Once you’ve found one to three other companies or individuals who are focused on the same or similar topic – and it doesn’t have to be in the podcast format, it can be any type of content – start following them.
Subscribe to their email lists, follow them on social media, check out their YouTube channel, and continue to ask yourself the questions above to evaluate how they’re presenting their content.
Finding Your Avatar and Niching Down
You have your podcast idea, and you’ve started to do your market research. Now let’s dive deeper and start to get more specific around who you’re creating your podcast for.
Who is your perfect listener?
In order to find your avatar, your first must define them, and to start, you should ask yourself these questions:
- Who is the perfect or ideal listener for your podcast?
- What type of individual would benefit from tuning in to your episodes, consuming your content, and following you on an ongoing basis?
- What transformation will you be able to provide them with (where they are right now versus where they want to go)
- What are their demographics?
- What is their personal life like?
Once you’ve answered all of these questions actually write out who this person is. Give them a name, state their age, talk about their familial life and their past and where they currently are in life. And make sure you know exactly what their biggest dreams and aspirations are.
If you want an example of what an avatar definition might look like, you can check out this deep dive on finding your avatar.
Finding your avatar
Once you have your definition written out, it’s time to go find that individual in real life, and you can do this by following these steps:
- Go to Facebook and type your podcast topic in the search bar
- Find two to three communities (Facebook Groups) related to your specific topic
- Join the two to three communities that are active and engaged (there are recent posts, and people are commenting and exchanging value within)
- Every day for the next month spend 5 minutes in each group doing the following:
- Ask a question
- Answer a question
- Provide a piece of guidance
- Provide a piece of support
- Study the conversations, questions, pain points, struggles, and wins those within are sharing
- Start to find similarities and differences between the avatar your defined and the actual individuals within these groups
- Try to get on a one-on-one Skype or Zoom call with at least 10 people from these groups (offer to help them with one of the struggles they’re facing and be honest about the fact that you’re doing market research for a podcast idea)
Once you’ve completed all of the steps above, this is your opportunity to refine your podcast topic, go even deeper with who your avatar actually is, and start to uncover your niche.
Your niche might be a result of going super deep with who your avatar is, or it might be a result of you finding the ONE thing that your competition is either doing poorly, or not focusing on at all (but that you know is a struggle based on your conversations with your avatar).
An important part of your podcast setup is making sure your avatar will be able to find you.
You’ve already done a good amount of research when it comes to your competition, and now it’s time to really zone in on the keywords and keyword phrases you believe (or know) your avatar is searching for.
KWFinder is a great tool to help you zone in on the highest search volume for specific keywords and keyword phrases, and it does come at a cost.
However, if you sign up for one month and fully focus on doing all of your research within that period, then you can cancel and not have to pay for it on a recurring basis if you don’t want to.
I like KWFinder because they make it super simple to search, sort, and dig deeper on certain keywords and *related* keywords (those keywords you may not have ever thought of, but that are closely related to your original search).
Once you’ve narrowed down about five keywords or keyword phrases you want to focus on for your podcast, it’s time to move to the next podcast setup step.
Podcast Name, Format, and Frequency
You know your podcast topic, you’ve done your market research, you know exactly who your ideal listener is and you’ve nailed your niche.
You also have your top five keywords or keyword phrases, which is a perfect time to take all of the knowledge you’ve gained up to this point and come up with a podcast name.
Nailing your podcast name
Your podcast name should always be clear first, and clever if it fits. Be absolutely certain that the podcast name you choose is going to stand out to your avatar and immediately communicate to them that your podcast is FOR THEM. Don’t make them guess.
This is the importance of knowing your avatar intimately. Whenever you have questions about your podcast name, format, frequency, or any number of other podcast setup questions you’ll inevitably come up against, you should be asking your avatar what THEY want.
Once you’ve settled on a name that you know your avatar will immediately be drawn to (and bonus points if it includes one of your keywords or keyword phrases), it’s time to decide on format and frequency.
Podcast Format Options
- Interview-based show
- Topic-based show
- Q&A show
When it comes to choosing your podcast format, think about which of these options lights you up the most. Are you excited about researching others to interview and having conversations on your podcast? Or would you rather come up with a topic on your own and be on the mic by yourself?
Or maybe you’re interested in multiple formats – that’s great! Make it a variety and do an interview on Monday, a topic-based on Wednesday, and a Q&A on Friday!
This is YOUR show, and remember, you can always change it.
Podcast Frequency Options
- 2x / week
Your podcast frequency options are truly endless, but our recommendation is that you try your best to do at least a once per week show. This will ensure you’re providing enough content for someone to stick around.
When it comes to choosing your frequency, be honest with yourself about what your current schedule allows. And also keep your avatar in mind: how often would they want to tune in to your show?
Remember: nothing is set in stone!
Just like your format, your frequency can change. So make an informed decision to start and commit to it. If two or three months in you decide to switch things up, then just be sure you’re communicating that to your listeners so they always know what to expect.
In terms of the day you publish, if you’re doing a weekly show then publish on Mondays; a twice per week show, then publish on Mondays and Thursdays.
Your Podcast Equipment and Software
We have an always-up-to-date list of top recommendations for your podcast equipment and software, but let’s take a look at a few options here. And keep in mind, we always recommend keeping your equipment and software setup simple – especially in the beginning.
Your podcast equipment really is simple and can consist of as little as a laptop computer and a microphone. This is my podcasting setup that I’ve been using for over 5 years now, and I love it.
I use an ATR-2100 USB mic plugged straight into my MacBook Pro.
Again, we have a full list of recommendations and other options listed on our podcast equipment page.
Your podcast software can also be very simple, and it’s going to depend on what podcast format you choose.
For example, if you’re doing a topic-based show, all you need is a recording and editing software like GarageBand, Audacity, or Adobe Audition.
I use Adobe Audition (it’s part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, or you can subscribe to it separately for $20 / month), and I love it. But if you’re looking to use a free software, then GarageBand (for MAC) or Audacity are both good options, too.
If you’re going to be doing interviews then you’ll need an additional piece of software to connect with your guest and record your interview. Here are a few of the top options:
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your podcast equipment and software. It really comes down to what you feel most comfortable with and what works for YOUR podcast setup.
So choose one, test it out, and if you like it – awesome! Start recording!
Podcast Host & Podcast Directories
The last step of your podcast setup is choosing your podcast hosting service. This is where you’ll upload your podcast episodes and get your RSS feed so you can submit your show to the different podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher Radio.
We recommend Libsyn as your podcast host because their support is great and they’re fully focused on providing just that: podcast hosting services.
We’ve been hosting our podcasts with Libsyn since 2012, and you can get the rest of this month and next month free when you use our affiliate code: FIRE at checkout!
You can also check out your other podcast hosting options here.
Recording your first episodes
Once you’ve recorded your first episode (your “About Me” or intro episode) and uploaded it to your podcast hosting service, you’re ready to go!
You can check out an example of how an “About Me” episode is structured and delivered by tuning in to my intro episode for my newest podcast, Ditch Busy.
And finally, submitting to the major directories! This is your opportunity to get your message out to the world on multiple different platforms. We can’t wait for you to share your voice and value with those who want and need it most!
From Podcast Idea to Podcast Launch
We hope The Ultimate Podcast Setup Guide has been helpful in sharing the steps you can take right now to go from podcast idea to podcast launch.
If you’re looking for a complete step-by-step guide, with exercises and accountability, then The Podcast Journal is your guide. The Podcast Journal is a physical journal that guides you EVERY step of the way – so you won’t miss anything or have to guess at what your next step is.
Everything is laid out for you day by day so you can go from idea to launch in 50 days.