Earlier this week, I woke up with a persistent and gentle message ringing in my head and it was very clear and audible: It’s time to launch a podcast.
Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. In early 2020, I remember asking my Instagram audience if they’d ever be willing to listen to a podcast if I were to launch one. I remember the enthusiastic responses and the whoops of joy (well, they seemed like joy to me).
But I still balked at the idea of a podcast. I mean, really? Me? Who’d want to listen to me speak? What could I possibly have to say that would be of value?
Turns out I had a lot to say and I found that out in the strangest way possible. From July 2020, I found myself being invited on podcasts as a guest. It started with Anjana Dhanavanthan of The Lazy Parent who was so inspired with my posts on productivity that we ended up talking for two sessions!
That was the seed of an idea that then began to grow gently through the months that followed. Soon afterwards, I was approached by various other people for video interviews and podcasts:
- My coach and mentor, George Kao asked me to share my journey and my progress
- Asmita Bharadwaj Das of One Wholesome Meal asked me about my journey as a blogger
- Tara Whitney and I discussed how we are exactly where we need to be
- Amy Isaman and I chatted about short form writing and how it inspires creativity
- Susmitha Veganosaurus and I talked about selfless service
- Jonah Richman and I talked about Instagram marketing
- Shwetha Krish asked me about my journey as a solopreneur
- Aamna of Crafted by Binks did an interview with me on Productivity during a pandemic
- Anuradha Srinivasan interviewed me about habit building
With each podcast and each video, my confidence began to grow steadily. It became easier to show up and speak on things closest to my heart. The best part was, people were eager to listen as well.
So, when the message flashed in my head on Tuesday morning, that this was the right time to launch a podcast, I sat up and listened. Turns out it was also the start of the new moon cycle which is perfect for new beginnings. Who knew? (Thank you to Susmitha who pointed it out to me)
Armed with the internet, YouTube tutorials and a whole lot of energy, I embarked on learning how to launch a podcast. Here are the steps I followed.
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Decide on a name for your podcast
I confess this was the only thing I had some help with, given how many podcasts exist in the online ecosystem. So I asked my most engaged followers- my Instagram audience– for three words that they believed would define the work that I do. They stepped up so admirably to the plate and gave me a whole slew of ideas: Intention, Creation, Content, Productivity, Slow Business, Authenticity- these were some of the words that emerged.
I then went looking on Google for podcast names that already existed. The easy way to do this is to type in your preferred name and add the word ‘podcast’ to the end of it.
For example, I really liked ‘Create and Thrive’ as a possible name for the podcast but turns out it was already taken. This is an important step because you don’t want to be competing with an established and existing podcast. Make it easy for people to remember the podcast.
One of the best ways to ensure that is to include your name in the podcast title. Since my website/brand is linked to my name, this was a natural fit.
Create Cover Art for your Podcast
I love that you can do this with Canva. You don’t even need a paid Canva account. Once you’ve decided on the name of your podcast, pick a square template and add a background to the image, some text and a picture of yourself.
Don’t spend too much time agonizing over fonts and colours. Trust me on this. Just decide on a simple design that is quick and easy to put together. Ultimately what matters is the content of your podcast itself.
Sign up for an account with Anchor.fm
I can’t believe that this service is free and so easily available to anyone who wants to launch a podcast. Anchor.fm is linked to Spotify so the entire set up process is very simple.
A) Once you’ve created the account, head into podcast settings. Add your podcast’s name and the description in the space provided. Upload your cover art.
B) Choose a category for your podcast and identify the language you will be using for the same. If you enable the ‘Voice messages’ option it allows listeners to send you a recorded voice note.
C) Under Advanced options, select the ‘Clean’ or ‘Explicit’ filter depending on the nature of your podcast’s content
D) Choose a custom URL. I recommend associating this with your existing name or website, so it’s easier for brand recall or Google Search. Do note that you can only customize this URL inside Anchor and not on Spotify/Apple Podcasts/ Stitcher etc.
E) Next, add your social media handles so that they will display on your podcast home page.
F) Under ‘Distribution’, choose it to be automatically distributed to popular podcasting platforms. Anchor recommends this and also requests users to wait up to 10 days for the podcast to be listed across all platforms. If, at the end of that time, you don’t see your podcast on the platform of your choice, you can follow these steps to manually distribute your podcast to a specific place.
Create a Trailer for Your Podcast
Start with a simple trailer for your podcast. Experts recommend that you keep the trailer under 1 minute in length.
Use this space to welcome listeners to your podcast, briefly introduce yourself and what the podcast will be about. Once it’s recorded, add some mood music. Depending on the nature of your content, choose from the various options available and it will automatically add it to your trailer.
I recorded my trailer using the Anchor.fm App on Google Play. (It’s also available on the app store)
Record and upload an episode
The best part about recording using Anchor is that I can actually do it using the app on my phone, connected to my inexpensive Boya 1 Lapel Microphone or my One Plus Bluetooth Headset.
That’s right. You don’t need a condenser mic just yet to launch a podcast. Just start with whatever microphone you already have.
Even better? Check this out.
Let’s say you have a recorded video of yours- on Facebook/Instagram/Zoom. You can upload the video file into Anchor and Anchor will turn it into a high-quality audio file!
This simplified my life to such a large extent. I didn’t need to get any extra audio editing software or mess around with background noise reduction. One touch upload and I was done. Here’s the very first episode that I uploaded using an existing video file.
Promote your Podcast
Once the trailer is ready, Anchor does this super neat feature of turning the audio trailer into a video with captions. That was a pleasant surprise. You will get an email notification of the video trailer which you can then promote on your different social media platforms.
Download the vertical trailer to share on Instagram/Whatsapp/Facebook stories. Use the wide-angle version for embedding on your website like the one you saw earlier on this page.
Link to your podcast’s home page. Mine looks like this:
Create an Audiogram with Canva
Podcasting Equipment for Beginners
I’ve heard that having a condenser microphone is great for podcasts, but I’m currently using these two microphones interchangeably. They are inexpensive and work really well, especially if you’re using the app for recording.
If you’re on a budget, go with one of these two options. You can always upgrade later.
The first is the Boya BYM1 Microphone.
The other is the One Plus Bluetooth headset which does a fabulous job of eliminating background noise.
If you’d like to record an interview, I’d recommend recording it on Zoom, downloading the video file and then uploading it to Anchor to extract the audio. Don’t upload the audio file that gets saved when you record using Zoom, since that isn’t of the highest quality.
It’s really not that hard to start a podcast as a beginner. All you need is a morning of dedicated time, a purpose for starting your podcast and an intent to learn. After that, just follow the steps given above.
Bear in mind, though, that launching a podcast is just half the battle won. Remember to show up consistently and create content for your podcast on a regular rhythm.