You always read about the best podcasts "you must listen to," or industry leaders announcing their top 10 podcasts to check out in 2019 (we've all been there). Well, why not? There are many advantages to podcasts-- both for the listener and host. 

But what about getting your own content out there? Does anyone actually tell you what it's like to start a podcast? 

Whether your preferred downtime includes binge-listening to serial killer stories or some mindful meditation. There's one thing we can all agree on. There's a podcast out there for everyone.

If you can't find what you're looking for, then why not create one? That's just another plus to the world of podcasting-- anyone can start one.

Firstly, find your niche. 

The popularity of podcasts is astounding. Apple at WWDC 2018 confirmed that Apple hosts over 18.5 million episodes with more than 550 million active podcasts. A study conducted by Pacific Content in 2018 shows us that "Society & Culture", "Comedy", "Business", "News" and "Politics" are the top-performing categories represented in Apple's Top US 200.

Podcasts let you tell a story. I started my own podcast, "Getting Goosebumps, The Power of Storytelling" back in 2015. Storytelling is an area I'm truly passionate about. I created "Getting Goosebumps" because of the different avenues you can venture down per episode.

It's yours to take wherever you like.

So should you start one? Well firstly, here's what to expect vs. what to know.

What to expect

  • They are super fun.

  • You get to take lead on topics and ideas.

  • You can bring attention to things that often get overlooked.

  • Great marketing activity for engagement and to establish your place in the industry.

  • It lets you talk in an informal environment.

  • Get your message across basically uninterrupted.

What you need to know

  • Commitment is essential.

  • It's great for promotion but you need it to be impactful.

  • Planning is just as important as execution.

  • Know your audience.

  • Self promotion takes patience.

  • Know the current content out there because the listeners will.

When picking your topic, theme, or style of your episodes, think of your audience. There are lots of reasons why podcasts are listened to. Even more so intricate for why specific ones are more popular. People listen to podcasts to stay informed and up-to-date with current events. Others listen to educate themselves or gain some motivation. Reasons like these reflect why the top five categories are the best-performing.

It's good to know you can generate a decent income from podcasting. That will come in time though. 

Don't expect to get rich off it. Once your listenership has growth, you can consider advertisements and sponsorships. This will happen when your content is worthwhile to advertisers. And this is how you'll make the most money off them.    

Don't get caught up on the production of your podcast.

That's not to say sound quality isn't important-- your audience will normally be able to tell the difference between good and really bad.

It is possible to set one up pretty cheap though. Just make sure what your recording is clear. Being in a quiet environment with no background noise can go a long way. You can work at improving your recording equipment as time goes on. 

Concentrate on a cost-effective editing tool that suits your basic needs for the time being. Also, you've got to sign up for hosting and streaming. This is so your episodes are downloadable and streamed through the likes of iTunes and Spotify. 

There are some great platforms for this out there. Payment varies depending on number of downloads or duration of minutes recorded. I personally use Buzzsprout purely for the easy migration from other host providers, and the option to schedule episodes in advance. Do your research and see which one benefits your type of podcast.

The initial start-up will be the most challenging. It's always good to be consistent-- just don't slack on content. This will help you build your listener-base to release episodes on a regular basis. For your podcasts to be successful, it is a balance of quantity and quality.  

My advice, if you want to put the work in and you're enthusiastic about what you're talking about. You should go for it.

Remember: to truly reap the benefits you need to commit as if it were any other project within your company. Not just a hobby and not just a chance to potentially generate another form of income.