It's the first episode of the years and in the same that I have the last episode of the year look at why people listen, today we talk about how to start. Ten Years ago I did an episode called “27 steps to launch a podcast and today I am going to update it. As you might imagine things have changed in 10 years. If you already have a podcast I have some items for you. Over the years there have been some ingredients of podcasting that we know add value, but like any recipe, if you use an ingredient in the wrong way you can ruin the final product.

Keep it Real

I hear the phrase, “Keep it real.” This should stay authentic. You should be talking from your heart and your beliefs. Don't say what people want to hear because it's popular, if your opinion differs let's hear it. Let's also hear why you believe those thoughts. We just might learn something.

How this phrase is abused is when “keeping it real” means I'm not going to edit my podcast at all. There are editors who work in movies, television, books, magazines, and newspapers. However, your podcast is perfect with no room for improvement. There is always room for improvement.

I read on Facebook where someone took 26 minutes to answer ONE question. The final version of the podcast had that answer trimmed to four minutes.

Fishing is Boring

I haven't fished in 20 years. If you're into fishing check out the Fish Nerds show with Clay Groves. For me, half the fun was getting to play with a boat and get out on a lake. In some cases, if the boat had a motor it was even more fun. Then you bait your hook, throw your line in and wait. Then you wait some more. This part of fishing is really boring.

Every time I hear someone start off an interview with “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” the person is fishing. They are listening just like watching their bobber float on the lake, looking for a nibble.

Reeling in a Fish is Exciting

I don't watch fishing on TV, but if I'm clicking through the channels and a fishing show is on, they don't show two people in a boat watching their bobber. They show someone standing up with excitement as they have caught a great fish and they are bringing it into the boat.

When you have a guest and you find something that YOU KNOW is going to RESONATE with your audience that's exciting and in the same the fisherman does everything they can to get the fish into the boat, you do everything you can to get that content into your recording.

Stories are Great

Half the time we ask, “tell me a little bit about yourself” we are fishing for a story. Somehow we are lead to believe that knowing someone's back story is going to help us. If I started my podcast with “Today we are going to interview Gern Blanston who has a proven strategy of growing your audience by 200%, but first, let's find out what his parents did for a living…” you would be yelling at your device to get to the good stuff.

Stories are great when someone shares a story that we can learn from, or it makes you laugh, cry, think, groan, or educates us or entertains us.

When I was sixteen years one night I was trying to look cool in front of a girl and climbed a sign at the front of the mall that showed the names of the movies in its three theaters. We figured out that we could change the title “Desperately Seeking Susan” to Desperately Sucking Suzan. As I was a hard rock fan, I was not a fan of Madonna and thought this would be hilarious. It took some effort to get up there, and once up there changing letters was not as easy as it looked. In the end, the sign read Desperately Seeting Susan. Is this real? Yes. Is it a story? Yes. Does it help you with your podcast? No.

Just because something is real and it's a story, doesn't mean it's good. It might be really boring.

The story of Glenn the Geek from the Horse Radio Network asking to get a booth at the largest Horsing Event was a great story as it has helped many people grow their podcast.

Fishing Takes Patience – And We Live in a Microwave Society

People want the good stuff. They want the band whose name is on the ticket (skip the warm-up act). GET TO THE GOOD STUFF.

Tell a four-year-old kid you brought them candy and then tell them they first have to listen to you recite some Edgar Allen Poe. They will start screaming, “GIVE ME THE CANDY.”

Netflix just added the ability to speed up movies. If you are watching a series on Netflix, at the end when you click “Go to next episode” it skips the end credits of the current episode and in intro of the next episode. It gets right to the good stuff.

Conversations Are Great

This is another thing I hear that is taken out of context. What you want to avoid is an interrogation if you are interviewing someone. Just because something is done in a conversational style does not mean it's not boring.

All You Need is Consistency

People are taking the word consistency and spinning it as “If I just release a show on a consistent basis, I will have success.” I see people in Facebook groups saying things like, “I've been podcasting for seven months on a weekly basis, why aren't my numbers higher?” They feel consistency in publishing is the key. It is important. When you publish on a regular, predictable basis, you become part of their routine.


What really matters is consistency in delivering value. I remember Jason Sudekis from Saturday Night Live. Troy Heinritz from the blacklist exposed told me the show LEd Lasso on HBO was really good (notice word of mouth) and so I check it out and Troy was right. I then saw Jason had a movie called Kodachrome on Netflix. The movie was predictable, but again the acting of Jason Sudekis was impressive. Consequently, I would watch another Jason Sudekis movies because he was in it. The same goes for the actor Paul Giamatti who I originally saw in Howard Stern's private parts. He is an amazing actor.

I love John Cusak movies from the '80s. I loved behind John Malcovich cause it was so outside the box. Something happened and John's movies started being more and more “Meh” and while I'm still a fan, it's not automatic that I will watch a movie because John is in it.

When it comes to consistency it boils down to this, I would rather have a GREAT episode one day late, instead of a “Meh” episode on time.

How To Start a Podcast in 2021

  1. Know Why You're Starting a Podcast

This helps you pick your content, and measure your success. If you can't say your why, then you will never make it through your “How.”

2. Know Your Audience

Spend $100 on your microphone and 100 hours understanding your audience. The better you know your audience, the better the content. The better the content, the more popular the show.

3. Identify What You Can Talk About to Hold the attention of the WHO and Get Them to Do Your WHY.

This is the “hard” part of podcasting. Here you can see where understanding your audience makes this easier.

4. Determine Your Format
Are you going to do a solo show? Are you going to have a Co-host? Interviews? Are these local or remote?
5. Purchase Your Equipment
Now that you have an idea about your podcast and how you will create it you know what equipment you need. See my Gear Guide
6. Practice Recording and Getting to Know Your Gear
You don't want the first time you use your gear to be when you are recording something “for real.” Also, record a few things that you never plan to release. Do some “practice” podcasts.
7. Identify your Intro and Outro
People will not get on a bus unless they know where it's going. Your intro should:
A) Introduce your show (where we _____)
B) Explain why people should listen to you (it's awkward, but there are tons of other podcasts to listen to)
C) Explain what to expect in this episode.
Your outro should have ONE call to action (easier said than done). The call to action should be based on step one, WHY are you podcasting?
8. Record an Episode That You Feel is Good Enough for the Public
You've practiced. You know your equipment. You have something that is not embarrassing.
9. Get Feedback from Trustworthy People
This is one of the scariest steps. You are finding someone who is your target audience and asking them for feedback. If you receive negative feedback this is a good thing as you have the opportunity to remedy this before you make the episode live.
10. Get Artwork
You now have content and you're starting to think about your launch. You need artwork that meets apple specs which are:
1400x1400px (minimum)
3000x3000px (maximum)
Under 500kb
Use rGB color space
Be a JPG, JPEG, or a PNG file
I love the artwork done by Mark at (He designed the School of Podcasting Artwork and Logo). Be cautious about using people on Fiverr as I've seen multiple people who are frauds. If your budget is smaller checkout Kappa 99, or consider designing your own with
11. Order Media Hosting
Now that you have media ready for the public, you need a media host. I recommend (use the coupon code sopfree to get a free full month). For more information see
12. Create Your Website
Your media host provides a basic website. If you need more than that, I really like which takes your feed and spits out a great looking website in minutes without learning how to code. If you need even more flexibility then you can move to WordPress using a web host like
I like the Second Line themes for WordPress as they are designed for podcasters. If you combine second line themes with elementor your website will be able to do anything you want.
13. Submit Your Show to Directories (all of them)
I get confused by people who only want to submit to the “big” directories. It takes just a few minutes to submit your show for approval. Your show is typically approved in 5-10 business days. Once all of the apps have approved you, THEN you launch. What is the launch? You pick a day and tell all of your friends to subscribe to your show. If you're on WordPress check out the Social Subscribe and Follow plugin.

Join The School of Podcasting

The School of Podcasting has step-by-step tutorials that walk you through all these steps along with lessons on making great content, growing your audience, and monetizing your show. You can join worry-free. Join and if you're not happy within the first 30 days, I will refund your money.


Mentioned In This Show

Fish Nerds Podcast

Blacklist Exposed

Horse Radio Network

Glenn the Geek Episodes

Podpage (take the free class on Podpage)

Podcast Branding

Second Line Themes

Cooler Websites Web Hosting

Social Subscribe and Follow Plugin

Podcasting Resources

Join The School of Podcasting

Podcast Consulting


Daily Podcast Tips

Daily Podcast Tips! Put Your Inbox to Work

About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.

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