5 Things to Check Before Publishing Your First Podcast
Congratulations, you’ve done it!
The inkling of an idea, sketching out a script, recording it to life; maybe you encountered some technical trials and tribulations along the way, but nevertheless, your first episode is ready to go. Or is it?
We’re not trying to be scary - you now have an actual, real episode that you can hold in your hands (or, rather, listen to with your ears...), and that’s already far beyond what most podcast concepts ever become. But, despite this huge success, there are a bunch of things to consider before you make your grand debut in podcasting.
That’s why we’ve compiled this handy checklist for you to look over prior to your first release. Give it a read, heed our advice, then send us a link to your episode when you’ve published your creation:
1. Editing, Final Touches, and Proofreading Your Podcast
Yes, we know - if you’re reading this article, you’re likely to have a file ready to go. However chances are, it’s not really ready to go.
Even the most popular and long-running series regularly make mistakes. Common ones include:
- Background Noise
- ‘S’ Sounds & Plosives
- Misinformation & Factual Errors
- Audio Level Imbalances
- Pacing & Vocal Issues
- Overlapping Voices & Thinking Sounds
Get some friends to take your podcast for a test-run, make use of open feedback threads in places like /r/podcasting, join some related Discord servers - help is there, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. An increasing number of people are beginning to podcast, and just like you, they don’t yet have the popularity for mass feedback. Getting some pre-listeners to give their opinion and check for any glaring issues is invaluable, and if you have to return the favor a few times, that’s a whole lot cheaper than hiring a professional editor or proof-listener.
On the more technical side, you can deftly sort out many of the more prevalent audio issues via particular pieces of software. Cleaning up routine problems, for example, can be as easy as clicking a button, enabling professional-level sounds with beginner-level equipment.
Obviously, we would say these things, being a company who specializes in said software. Yet, it’s true - if a growing listener base is one of your goals, think about these things from the get-go. Podcasting is incredibly competitive, and even casual ventures can become demotivating upon not finding an audience.
So, give every potential audience member every potential reason to keep listening! A small vocal typo or recording misnomer may seem small, but can be the difference between someone switching you off, or becoming a long-term fan.
2. Choosing a Platform to Host Your Podcast
Arguably the hardest technical decision when it comes to podcasting, is where to host your podcast. Yes, you want to upload it for the world to hear - but… where? Is there a YouTube for podcasts? Or a way to post on multiple sites at once? I listen to my favorite show on Spotify, can’t I just upload to that?
Well, not exactly. Your best option, and one we strongly recommend for the fledgling podcaster, is to go with a specific podcast host. There are hundreds available on the market, with every host having hundreds of users that are just itching for you to use their clumsy affiliate link whenever the question arises.
That’s why we recommend you to go with Libsyn or PodBean:
Great for podcasts based upon an existing website or business, Libsyn has been one of the most prevalent podcast hosts since the word ‘podcasting’ was coined. From 2004, they’ve offered a stable and secure product, with a focus on statistics, automation and enterprise. If you’re a casual or hobbyist podcaster, some of their pricing options may seem a little steep, but for anyone wanting to unite their business endeavors with their show, definitely check them out.
A user experience and accessibility-minded host, Podbean is a great option for people wanting to try out podcasting before going all-in. Their product has free options, being highly scalable for shows that need flexibility as they grow, with additional features releasing regularly. Despite being potentially overwhelming to those less savvy, Podbean’s subscription model lets you utilize a ton of features from even the lowest rates, and is a surefire host candidate for podcasters wanting to try out every tool possible.
Remember - these are just two options, and if your show has specific needs, it’s always best to research which host to go with via multiple sources, testimonials and reviews. It’s also worth remembering that nothing is concrete - there’s always room to switch hosts further down the road, if needed.
3. A Podcast Isn’t Just Audio. Here’s What Else You Need to Create a Podcast
Podcasting isn’t a sound recording. Almost all shows include, and are not limited to:
- Titles - whether it’s the name of your first episode or your podcast in general, titles are key. Your voice, discussions… those don’t entice a new listener, how could they? The title is what someone first connects with, and this gateway should be handled with care.
- Description - similarly, a well-described podcast has the highest chance of hooking a potential listener. Laying the groundwork for what they are to expect happens most crucially in the podcast’s description and meta-titles, so ensure it faithfully represents its audio counterpart. Individual episode descriptions are also vital for linking material you refer to in the episode, so treat it wholly as part of the listener experience.
- Logo & Cover Art - words are wonderful, whether they’re written or spoken. They’re best accompanied by imagery, so take the time to outfit your podcast with an appropriate logo and cover image. Supplementing social media posts with complimentary pictures is one way to help them stand out - sites like Unsplash have royalty free options. Speaking of which:
- Social Accounts - to give your podcast the highest chance of gaining an audience, you should treat even the first episode with the future in mind. Make a specific email for your show, then use it to create appropriately-named accounts across all relevant sites. Having pages on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc, is invaluable, as are tools like Buffer to manage them.
By attaining all of these resources prior to going live, you’re saving yourself a headache trying to do them as the podcast grows. Even the most lackadaisical podcast should set up a framework, for your own benefit as well as the audience’s.
4. Think About Backlogs
Probably not the advice you’ll want to hear, but hear us out anyways:
Maybe you shouldn’t publish yet?
Think about it. If your aspirations, be they business-minded or just-for-fun, are long-term at all, you should really consider building up a backlog before going live with your first episode. As soon as a show becomes public, it brings about a certain degree of regularity and expectation from listeners. If potential audience members see that releases are all over the place, lacking rhythm and regularity, they may not even bother to check you out at all.
Sometimes, taking a step back, preparing a bunch of content, then releasing it slowly is the path forward. It gives you ample time to hone your workflow, allows you to gather feedback more constructively, and eases the pressure that comes with showing your brainchild to the world. By ensuring routine has the highest chance of success, your podcast will, too.
5. Long-Term Plans
Who are we kidding? If you’ve gotten this far, that publish button is looking increasingly appetizing. There’s just one more major thing to consider:
Your long-term plan.
Whether it’s for business, personal aims, a hobby, a community - podcasts sprout up for all sorts of reasons. All of them are valid, but they all must also have a long-term plan associated with them. Perhaps your end-goal is turning the show into your primary source of income, or eventually you’ll be wanting guests or sponsorships to feature more prominently in your episodes. It could even be a personal goal of having 52 episodes by this time next year.
Whatever your plan, just make sure you have one. Even if it evolves and is completely different in a few months’ time, having one will give you an equilibrium through which to aptly weigh decisions relating to your podcast.
Think forward, and ascertain which long-term plan is best for you. Ensure you don’t miss future podcasting tips by entering your email below, and sign up for our newsletter