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Starting a Podcast: Checklist and Resources

Written by: Hilbert College   •  Dec 12, 2023
Two male podcasters sharing a laugh.

Starting a Podcast: Checklist and Resources

Podcasting is an increasingly popular medium for sharing ideas and opinions on many topics. While this medium can be a fun, exciting hobby, it can also turn into a lucrative business model. Getting to profitability requires careful planning and strategies that can be set in motion before you utter your first words on your podcast. Before starting a podcast, a checklist mapping out its components is essential.

To learn more, check out the infographic below, created by Hilbert College Global’s online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Digital Media & Communication program.

Starting a Podcast: Checklist and Resources

The Booming Podcast Industry

Podcasting has grown from an emerging technology to a full-blown medium. Its ability to capture public interest continues to surge, transforming the podcast into an increasingly valuable media platform. This popularity and valuation can make starting your own podcast an enticing proposition.

Brief History of the Podcast

Adam Curry and Dave Winer invented the podcast in 2001, when they created a system to download files to an Apple iPod. The term “podcast” didn’t come about until 2004, when journalist Ben Hammersley coined it by combining the words “iPod” and “broadcasting” in an article in the The Guardian. 

Apple got involved with podcasting in 2005 by including native podcast support with iTunes 4.9. By 2013, Apple announced that it had 1 billion podcast subscribers on its platform. In 2017, Apple debuted podcast analytics, and the resulting data demonstrated the potential profitability of podcasting. This potential was exemplified in 2019, when Spotify acquired podcast networks Anchor and Gimlet for $340 million.

Podcasting by the Numbers

According to a 2023 Pew study, 31% of people aged 12 and older listened to a podcast in the last week. In 2013, only 7% did. Worldwide, 464.7 million podcast listeners exist, a number that equates to 22% of all Internet users. 

Podcast popularity has grown domestically. The U.S. has 103.6 million podcast listeners, and this number is projected to reach 119.4 million in 2026. In 2022, 79% of the U.S. population was aware of podcasts, compared with just 22% in 2006.

In 2022, the global podcasting market had an $18.52 billion valuation. This market is projected to have a compound annual growth rate of 27.6% from 2023 to 2030.

Reasons for Starting a Podcast

Several reasons exist for launching a podcast. Doing so allows a person to build a following or an audience. It can also allow them to increase their credibility within their industry. Additionally, it can allow them to create another revenue stream. Starting a podcast can also help a person build a personal network. Finally, a person can launch a podcast simply for personal enjoyment.

Checklist for Starting a Podcast

A successful podcast that builds an audience and revenue requires multiple layers of preparation. Completing this work can help a person develop a coherent podcast strategy that optimizes quality and outreach.

Steps Before Podcast Creation

The first step to building a podcast is to pick a broad yet niche topic. A broad topic will allow for multiple episodes, while a niche topic will focus on the target demographic. It can also help you establish credibility as a topic expert.

After choosing a topic, researching other podcasts is important. This will allow you to see if other podcasts are covering your topic, and it can also help you determine how your podcast can be unique from the competition.

Next, you can determine the podcast format and frequency. This involves deciding how many people will be on your podcast, determining whether interviews will be part of your podcast and setting a publishing schedule to determine the release of new episodes.

Finally, you’ll want to define your audience. You can do this by building a profile of your ideal listener by defining metrics such as age, residence, work status, hobbies, podcast listening habits and what they may want to know more about.

Brand Building

Branding is key to successful podcasting. This begins with naming your podcast. Your name should be memorable and relate to the topic. It should neither include the word “podcast” nor be lengthy. You’ll also need a few branding elements, such as a logo and artwork for a podcast cover and custom audio (intro/outro music). 

An online presence is also important. You can do this by building a website via a host site, such as WordPress or Wix, and building an RSS feed via a podcast hosting site, such as Buzzsprout or Anchor. When building your social media platform, you should create profiles around your podcast’s name and select platforms that your target audience uses. 

You’ll also build your brand through podcast platforms. This involves submitting your podcast to podcast directories, which simplify the process of finding episodes. Popular podcast directories include Apple, Audible, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

Equipment and Technology

While a professional recording studio is ideal for your recording location, recording at home can also work. However, you need to consider a few provisions, such as choosing a room with minimal background noise, soundproofing a room and sound treating a room. 

When recording the podcast, you’ll need to have audio recording software on a computer, phone or tablet. You’ll also need a podcast microphone, as that typically provides better quality audio. Additionally, you’ll need to edit your podcast. You can do this through free software (GarageBand, Audacity), premium software (Logic Pro X, Audition) or a freelancer (Upwork, Fiverr). 

Recording and Editing the Podcast

When you record your podcast, you can either improvise your dialogue or write out a script beforehand. When naming your episodes, the titles should relate to the topic, introduce the guest if applicable and be straightforward to potentially help podcast search engine optimization (SEO). 

Also important to write out a general synopsis for the podcast describing the theme, intended audience, expectations and frequency of episodes.

Podcast Promotion

You can promote your podcast in several ways. You can start a grassroots campaign. You can also use personal and podcast social media. You can also use social media to create a paid ad campaign.

What Makes a Podcast Successful?

Achieving podcast success isn’t just a matter of recording and posting interesting episodes on time. The podcasts that last optimize their potential by engaging in strategies beyond engaging content.

Strategies for Success   

Podcast hosts should be as engaging as possible, as it can allow listeners to connect with their personality. They should also be relatable by incorporating stories and anecdotes into their podcast; this can connect them with their listeners in a more organic way. The podcast itself should have an outline, as that adds predictable organizational flow to each episode. If you’re going to have guests on, make sure that they’re relevant to your niche. This can not only keep your podcast fresh but also boost listener engagement.

Examples of Successful Podcasts

A great example of a successful podcast is “One Bad Mother,” a comedy podcast focused on the ups and downs of motherhood. The podcast uses comedy to keep stories engaging and entertaining. 

Another solid podcast example is the mental health and wellness podcast “Armchair Expert.” Hosted by actor and comedian Dax Shepard, the podcast encourages guests to share personal struggles that may be relatable to listeners.

A third example, “Off Menu,” is a structured food-centric podcast featuring special guests. Like a dinner, each episode features a starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink, all of which are discussed in each episode. 

Finally, the “Big Mood, Little Mood” podcast is a successful advice podcast discussing feelings associated with various life situations. This podcast builds engagement by featuring guests and listener interactions with each episode.

Express Ideas in a Progressive Format

Podcasting’s evolution into a well-respected medium provides people with a terrific platform to express thoughts and share information. Those who carefully design, build and structure their podcast can potentially turn it into a successful and popular outlet for communication and engagement.


Armchair Expert, About the Podcast

Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2022

Exploding Topics, “Number of Podcast Listeners (2023)”

Forbes, “How to Start a Podcast and Make Money in 2023”

Grand View Research, “Podcasting Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Genre (New & Politics, Society & Culture, Comedy, Sports), By Format (Interviews, Panels, Solo), By Region, and Segment Forecasts, 2023-2030”

Maximum Fun, One Bad Mother

Mixdown, “The History of Podcasting”

Oberlo, US Podcast Listener Numbers (2022-2026)

Off Menu Podcast

Pew Research Center, Audio and Podcasting Fact Sheet

Slate, Big Mood, Little Mood

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