Learning how to start a podcast isn’t as important as understanding why you should take the time to do it in the first place.
Finding your ‘why’ will provide focus, direction and clarity for your show, so you can launch a successful podcast, grow your audience, grow your network, and share your message in ways you never imagined possible.
You’ll learn lessons it took me years to figure out, including the #1 thing you should do today to clarify the vision you have for your podcast.
Before you dive in, if you want to take a shortcut, watch this video, Then go through the rest of this article.
Lastly, if you want access to 20+ hours of video trainings with experts on all things related to lifestyle business including podcasting, check out our thriving community, Location Indie.
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Ok, let’s get crackin’….
How To Start A Podcast
I know how you’re feeling… It’s f*cking exciting, right?!
When I started my podcast, Zero To Travel, I had no clue it would become the #1 travel podcast, be downloaded over three million times and reach people in over 195 countries!
This is a special time in history when you can start your own radio show today, broadcast it to the world, and have the potential to reach millions. Empowering stuff.
I’m sure a huge part of you is ecstatic and can’t shut up about your idea.
Ok, even if you haven’t told a soul about it, in your mind the enthusiasm is bubbling over like a shaken up bottle of Dom Pérignon (don’t spill too much, that shit’s expensive!).
Then there is the other part of you.
Somewhat clueless about how to start a podcast. You might be wondering:
- Why should I start a podcast? Is it the right medium for me and my business?
- How can I monetize my podcast?
- How should I promote and market my podcast?
- What type of equipment do I need and is it expensive?
- How can I get a podcast online and out into the world?
- How much work is involved?
- How do I book guests for interviews?
- What type of show should I create?
In this resource I’ll cover all of your questions around how to start a podcast, so you can feel good about your decision, get started right away, and grow your business, audience and opportunities.
Who Should Start A Podcast?
Podcasting is blowing up. Why?
Because people want everything on demand…like now!
They don’t have the patience to sit around listening to the radio and scheduling their day around their favorite programs.
That’s why top broadcasting organizations like NPR and the BBC have podcasts. Major broadcast networks, radio stars, celebrities, high-level entrepreneurs, and countless other traditional media outlets have them also.
And you can too. You can compete with multi-million dollar media companies from your bedroom while wearing your pyjamas while drinking a beer.
Business owners, comedians, campers, movie buffs, coaches, runners, economists, and countless other types of people in various professions have podcasts.
Here’s the deal if you are a digital nomad or someone who has a location independent business that involves:
- Creating trust with your audience and customers
- Building an audience
- Building an email list
- Sharing helpful content
- Connecting with others in your industry
Then podcasting is for you.
Why Should You Start A Podcast?
You Can Befriend Your Audience
Have you ever listened to a podcast?
Then you know how intimate of an experience it can be.
You plop your headphones in and it’s like you are hanging out with a friend and eavesdropping on an engaging conversation.
Nobody can hide behind hours of audio, which makes it impossible to NOT get to know the host on a personal level.
Because of this, as the host of your own show, you can build trust and a tight relationship with your audience quickly.
Podcasting Is Exploding
According to this Forbes article, “…(between 2006 and 2012), to be exact the percentage of podcast users increased by 163%, according to an Edison Research study. The Pew Research Center reports that about 58% of us have a smartphone, and that’s only growing.”
Other studies indicate podcasting is on the uptick. Will it last? Who knows, but I’m guessing yes.
You Can Share Your Message With The World
My mission is to help people fill their lives with as much long-term travel as they desire.
Most of my audience has come from the podcast, where I share skills, strategies, inspiration, and advice to help people travel the world on their terms.
If you want to serve others and share your message, podcasting is a powerful way to do it.
I’ve been flooded with emails, tweets, and messages from people who have taken what I shared in the podcast and used it to change their lives.
Knowing this is helping people every day is my ‘why’ and what keeps me going. It’s the best feeling in the world to get a message like this:
Rapid Audience Growth
There are billions of blogs. It’s easy to start one, sit behind a computer, write, and never talk to anyone.
I don’t know how many podcasts exist but it’s safe to say the competition is much less.
Starting a podcast allowed me to skip years of blog/website audience building and become relevant in the travel space quickly.
Your Podcast Is The Ultimate Networking Tool
When you have a podcast, you have a platform. A place to invite others to come on and share their best stuff.
Now you have a reason to contact all the people you’ve been wanting to meet, whether that’s others in your industry, celebrities or even your heroes.
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing people I have admired from afar for years, like Erik Weihenmayer – the only blind person to climb all seven summits – (I was nervous as hell for that one!) and over 150 others.
Your podcast will allow you to meet people who may not otherwise take the time to connect with you. Now, I’m sure you are wondering…
How Can I Make Money With A Podcast?
Most people think the only way to make money on a podcast is through sponsorship.
You should do the same.
Let me explain.
Part of the thrill of podcasting is that you can call the shots and have your own thing. Well, it’s the same with business.
95% of people think sponsors are how you make money on podcasts but, by depending on sponsorships, you are taking control out of your hands.
Instead, I encourage you to listen closely to your audience, build businesses to help them solve their problems, and spread the word about your own businesses on your podcast.
Since I launched my podcast, I’ve found a business partner and started two successful business to help people live, work, and travel anywhere, including; our community, Location Indie, and our yearly Paradise Pack bundle sale. I’ve also launched a best-selling book on international house sitting with my good friends Nat and Jodie.
I learn what my audience wants, build businesses that serve them, then ‘sponsor’ my podcast with those businesses.
This took a while to figure out. It may not happen overnight, but this is a great way to approach things if you want to make your podcast sustainable.
On top of that, it feels awesome to serve others AND to do work I love. I care deeply about my audience and want to do everything in my power to help them achieve their travel goals. It’s a wonderful way to approach business.
How To Get Brand Sponsorships From Episode One
When you’re just starting out, you can sign up as an affiliate for a brand you want to represent and give that link out in each show.
For example, if your podcast is about horseback riding, you could find a saddle company you love, sign up as an affiliate, then promote your unique link in your podcast.
The Pretty Link WordPress plugin allows you to transform an ugly affiliate link into something that looks (and sounds) more appealing.
For example, I am an affiliate for Bluehost web hosting services.
Instead of giving out a long, complicated link, I can tell my audience to visit zerototravel.com/bluehost.
This redirects to Bluehost and I still get credit for any sales. A shorter link is easier to say and more memorable.
Another tactic I’ve heard about is creating a web page, which contains your Amazon affiliate link. Ask that anyone who listens to your show clicks through on your Amazon affiliate link any time they shop there. This allows them to support the show without having to spend any extra money.
You can also ask for donations.
There are many ways you can ‘self-sponsor’ your podcast, however, I believe the best long-term strategy is to build an audience and create businesses to serve them rather than depend on other companies to give you cash.
Here is the simplified version of the sponsorship sales process:
- Find brands you want to work with and create a spreadsheet containing contact information for key decision makers (marketing directors, brand managers, and anyone else who makes decisions about sponsorships). Yes, it’s up to you to find these people. Yes, it can be hard and time-consuming. Hey, I never said it was easy to get people to give you money.
- Contact potential sponsors and try to get a phone call, so you can learn more about their marketing goals and how you can help them achieve those goals.
- Sell sponsorship by focusing on how you will help the brand achieve their goals by providing value anywhere you can. Outside of the podcast, can you add them to your email newsletter? Incorporate them into your written content? How else can you help?
Securing sponsorship can be a full-time job in itself. If you are lacking time, consider creating a plug-and-play email template, have an assistant create the contact spreadsheet, and reach out using your template. I prefer contacting high-level sponsors myself but you can hire someone to help you if needed.
Sponsorship is just one possible avenue of income. For most people, it won’t be their main source.
If you want to learn more about how to launch a business, so you can travel and earn money from anywhere, check out our community, Location Indie.
The #1 Thing You Should Do Today To Start Your Podcast
Learning how to record and edit a podcast, where to upload your files and podcast artwork, plus where to host a podcast feed AND how to submit that podcast feed to iTunes is important.
But learning all of that is NOT the most important thing you should focus on today if you want to get started.
Don’t worry too much about the tech side right now; I’ll give you an awesome go-to resource in just a minute.
You goal isn’t to get a show online and out into the world; it’s to get a kick-ass show out into the world.
Now is the best time to get super clear on what your show will do for people. Aim to inspire, entertain, and inform. I recommend you do this exercise:
Take 30-60 minutes and write out the introduction to your show (Yes, now!)
Even if you don’t plan on having a voiceover person introduce the show, pretend you do.
What would the announcer read to introduce the show?
How would he/she introduce you as the host?
This exercise will force you to dial in on exactly what your show is about.
When I did this it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I had to pack the entire vision for the show into a few sentences or less. Doing this will fine tune your vision too.
Be sure to keep the focus on your audience. What’s in it for them?
If you get stuck, build a ‘So You Can’ bridge. This works well for shows that are educating in some way. Check out this template to see what I mean:
Welcome to (insert your podcast show name) – the show that (insert explanation of what your show covers), so you can (insert benefits to your audience).
There are a million ways to go, but this will give you a starting point for brainstorming.
How Do I Book Guests?
This is one of those unnecessary worries.
Here’s the deal. There are millions of people out there who want to promote their stuff, whether it’s a new book, a website, a company, a cause, a non-profit, or something else.
Therefore you won’t have any trouble finding guests.
The harder job is curating great guests. You may not want to be too selective in the beginning, but don’t invite just anyone on your show either.
Start with friends and people who may not be as ‘popular’ as you’d like but who have interesting stories to share.
Lastly, don’t wait too long to approach some ‘bigger names’. Once you snag one, it’s much easier to get others on your show.
How Much Work Is Involved In Running A Podcast?
Each episode takes me about 3-5 hours. Here is the breakdown:
- 30 min-1 hour to find guests, trade emails, and schedule
- 1-2 hours to prepare for show
- 1 hour to record
- 30-45 min to record intro and outro and upload files to my editor
I hired an editor and someone to help me write out show notes and publish the episode. If you don’t do that, you can tack a couple of hours on.
And that’s all for one episode!
Of course, it can take even longer depending on how much you prepare, how long it takes to find guests, network, and so on.
Either way, it can be a lot of work but the rewards are tremendous.
Don’t forget, once you make a show, it’s out there forever. It will live online for people to listen to any time. You are creating something that will live on beyond just one week, so put good stuff out there!
Podcasting Nuts and Bolts
I haven’t taken the time to break down the entire technical publishing process yet because there are already a few fantastic tutorials out there that will give you every step you need to take. These are free.
I recommend Pay Flynn’s Step-by-Step Podcasting Tutorial. This is what I used to get started.
If you want to see my full equipment recommendations, hear the audio difference between recording with and without a proper microphone, and get more advice check out this article I did with Too Many Adapters.
You can hear my conversation with Dustin from Too Many Adapters here:
Marketing and Promoting Your Podcast
Check out this comprehensive list of 41 ways to promote your podcast by my buddy Matt. He pretty much nailed it!
Two things that have worked well for me.
First, cross-promotional efforts have been amazing. For example, Trav and I regularly appear on each other’s shows. Trav hosts the Extra Pack of Peanuts Podcast and also shares strategies to help people travel the world, so we help each other and our audiences out. We also co-publish episodes and split two-part episodes between our shows. It’s awesome.
Don’t see competition; see collaboration.
Another great way to get exposure for your podcast is to appear on other podcasts as a guest. This is something I need to get better at. Here are a few podcasts I’ve been fortunate enough to appear on as a guest:
Also, look to add your content onto other websites.
If you have a travel podcast, please get in touch and I’ll add it to our travel podcast directory.
Podcasting is incredible. If you’re interested, don’t wait. Get in while it’s still early.
Check out the Matador Marketplace to connect with other travel media producers.
If you want professional help strategizing, producing, and launching your podcast, I offer a full podcast production and marketing package. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Want to start a travel blog? Read this.