How to start a podcast on a budget [The Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide to Podcasting - 2020]

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

This is a simple step-by-step guide for beginner’s on how to start a podcast on a budget or for free.


I started The Casey Digital podcast in February 2019 with no budget and there are now thousands of people tuning in to listen to my content. In this post I have listed the steps you need to follow in order to create and grow your own podcast from the ground up.


Let’s get into the step-by-step process!



Contents:

  • Step 1: Position your podcast to appeal to your target audience

  • Step 2: Ensure you have the right podcasting equipment and software

  • Step 3: Plan your podcast in advance and have a great script

  • Step 4: Find amazing guests to enrich your podcast for your audience

  • Step 5: Enjoy recording your podcast, it shouldn’t be a chore

  • Step 6: Spend time editing your podcast (but not too much time)

  • Step 7: Promote your podcast effectively through your channels



Step 1: Positioning your podcast


Why do you want to start a podcast?


It’s really important to know why you are starting your podcast and what the motivation is for you. If you aren’t clear about your ‘why’, you run the risk of losing interest and direction further down the line.


Are you looking to market your business? Give people advice? Entertain people? Or are you looking to build your personal brand?


All of the above are potential motivations and outcomes of the process but if you don’t have a clear drive and motivation that doesn’t go beyond jumping on the bandwagon of a popular trend, you might very well be doing it for the wrong reason.



**Why did I start the Casey Digital Podcast?**

I started my podcast in January 2019 because I love podcasts and I believe that there is a lot of value in the conversations that I was having with some e-commerce clients in London. I wanted to share these valuable insights and dialogues with people that couldn’t afford big agency fees.


Also, I have been working on my personal brand since 2018 with a view to launching my own agency into the market. My thought process was that if I could establish a reputation in my field, then I would be able to get a big job or grow my agency faster.



Target audience for your podcast, don’t try and make it for everyone


Now you need to know who you are aiming your podcast at. If you don’t clearly define your demographic from the start, you won’t be able to target your audience effectively.


Podcasting is like growing a following on YouTube - you need to talk specifically to a segment in the market and connect with them to build this following. If you water it down or you try to appeal to everyone, it becomes very difficult to maintain or expand your audience.


I’m used to mapping personas from my time working in UX and marketing so I know how important it is to use some of those methodologies to map the personas that you will appeal to. This will also help shape the content you create in the future.


I always find it useful to listen to other podcasts too.


**Podcast persona targeting tips**

Below is a table of the persona map for the Casey Digital Podcast and I find that it helps me plan in advance what my content is going to be, what language I use when I’m recording and also the types of guests that I will have on my show.


Podcast persona targeting
Podcast persona targeting

What are the goals of your podcast?


Establishing clear goals for your podcast is really important because it gives you clarity of what success looks like to you or your business. If you don’t have any goals you won’t feel a true sense of achievement and this may make the creative process feel too fluid, with a lack of focus.


Here are some examples of podcast goals to help you start thinking about how you want to finetune your focus:

  • Building your reputation in the industry as an expert

  • Generating sales for your brand or business

  • Bring a community together to discuss a subject or topic

  • To talk about something you are passionate about

  • To use your platform for a good cause


If your goal is to get millions of listens and get a sponsorship deal with Spotify like Joe Rogan, you have a pretty big task ahead of you but hey, there’s nothing wrong with lofty ambitions.


**My Podcast Goals**

My goal is simple: to be recognised in the digital industry as a leader and to meet interesting new people to learn from.



How to pick your podcast name


The name of your podcast is vital but you can’t make it spammy. Think of it like your SEO strategy, where it needs to be relevant to the interest of your audience without coming across as spam or clickbait.


There are a few different approaches when it comes to naming your podcast:

  • The branded approach: Foundr Magazine Podcast, this is the name of the brand across all channels including podcasting.

  • All about the name: For example the Joe Rogan Experience, most people are looking for Joe Rogan.

  • Witty / Random: For example My dad wrote a porno, is funny and intriguing for people to read and it’s got a good chance of being shared

  • The descriptive approach: For example The Property Podcast, it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Podcast format
Podcast format

Apple have a Podcasts Best Practice which gives you an insight into how they rank podcasts, and it states:


Pay close attention to the title, author, and description tags at the <channel> and <item> level of your podcast. Apple Podcasts uses title, author, and description fields for search. The metadata for your podcast, along with your podcast artwork, is your product packaging and can affect whether your podcast shows up in relevant searches, and how likely users are to subscribe to it.


Make your title specific. A podcast named Our Community Bulletin is too vague to attract many subscribers, no matter how compelling the content.


**How I named my podcast**

My name is Paul Casey + I’m a Digital Strategist = The Casey Digital Podcast

I like things to be simple :-)



What topics and subjects to cover on your podcast


It’s okay for your content and subject matter to touch on different areas as long as it stays true to you and your audience. Not everything needs to be rigid in the podcasts but you do need to know what you are talking about.


If you don’t it might have an adverse affect and lead people to switch off.


Podcasting is like any form of content marketing, it isn’t easy so you need to set out a clear plan and be in it for the long run (not just the short-term glory).


**How to pick podcast topics**

I always draw inspiration from the content I consume in my market, the conversations I have with clients and the guests that I interview.



Step 2: Ensure you have the right podcasting equipment and software



Software options for podcasting


There is becoming a lot of competition in the market when it comes to podcasting software and there are a few out there that are quite specific, so picking the right one can be tricky.

I looked at Buzzsprout, Garageband on my Mac and Captivate but for one reason or another they were either too complicated or not easy to use and it put me off as a novice.


In my opinion, the best podcasting software for beginners is Anchor.fm. I have found it an absolute dream from the beginning, right through the point where I’m at now, getting hundreds of listeners per episode.


Here are the benefits of using Anchor as your podcasting tool:

  • It’s free.

  • The mobile app is outstanding and that’s what I use to record, edit and publish my podcasts end-to-end.

  • You can record your podcast remotely with guests by simply sharing a link as the audio is all recorded within the app itself.

  • It has a library of free audio assets to use and the editor tool is great to trim clips, add audio in the background and order your audio files.

  • Anchor publishes your podcast to all the major podcast platforms including Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, plus it gives you an RSS feed to embed on your website. See my podcast RSS feed here.

  • You can monetize it to make cash if you want, I haven't as of yet but the option is there.

  • It also has a recently updated analytics suite so you can get analytics on each episode, as well as your overall channel


Like most things that are free, Anchor isn’t perfect. The analytics are not up to my usual expectations (Google Analytics style) and if you are creating a more complex podcast with multiple guests and professional equipment you might need an upgrade.


If you are looking for a more advanced podcasting tool I would recommend Audacity as it has a whole host of beneficial features. Audacity also really allows you to go to town with the editing and effects.



Remote recording podcast software


The world has changed a lot in 2020 and the method of recording podcasts has evolved greatly too but fear not - I’ve got you. Remote podcasting is on the rise and I’ve found the best ways to do this are:

  • Zoom Call - you can save the audio down to your machine and upload to Anchor then publish it, plus you can record the video for YouTube. I have experienced some loss of audio and temperamental behaviour if you are recording video also so make sure you test it first.

  • SquadCast - this is a purpose-built remote podcasting software and it’s great if you don’t want any drop offs in your audio and a more professional set up with an individual audio file per guest for editing. The subscription fee is low and if you are a regular remote podcaster it makes perfect sense.

  • Anchor - ‘Record with friends’ is a feature that allows you to record a call and the audio quality is great.



Equipment options for podcasting


Similar to the software, there are a lot of options when it comes to the hardware for podcasting and if you are starting out it’s important to know the basics - essentially you need a microphone and some headphones.


When I started my podcast I used my Apple Airpods to record and listen as it was just me speaking in a monologue style but as I started to introduce guests and take things more seriously I needed to upgrade.


Podcasting Microphones


My microphone is a Blue Yeti which is a USB microphone that has great sound quality plus I can use the settings to have multiple people speaking into one microphone. Since I started using this microphone, the sound quality is great and it has made a significant difference in the growth of my podcast in general.

Blue Yeti Micro Phone - grey
Blue Yeti Micro Phone - grey

Sound quality really matters so if you are unsure on what to spend your money on whether it’s software headphones or a microphone - make sure you invest in a good mic.


Speaking to other podcasters, I have also been recommended other microphones such as The Blue Snowball, The Rode Podmic and The Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone but this costs a bomb and people only buy it because Joe Rogan uses it.


Podcasting Headphones


I still use my Airpods if I’m recording the podcast over the internet but if I’m in person with a guest I don’t use headphones. I have used headphones in professional studios though and it does make the experience better.