A podcast is an internet radio show that listeners can subscribe to, listen to and download episodes.
For your listeners to know when new episodes come out – you will need an RSS feed. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and allows applications to access updates to websites in a computer-readable format.
WordPress is perfect for podcasts as it comes with a built-in RSS feed system. Once your podcast is published and publicly available – you can connect it to a podcasting app (iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud) to make it easier for people to find, subscribe and consume your content.
Are you interested in starting your own podcast? Curious what the best podcasting setup looks like?
We’ll cover all of those questions in this article.
Finding your niche
If you are new to podcasting, it’s best to find your niche to compete with existing podcasts because there are many podcasts out there.
To find your niche, answer the following questions:
- Who is your podcast for?
- Will you have a co-host, or run it alone?
- Do you plan to interview guests?
- What topics do you plan to discuss?
- What makes it different from other podcasts in the same niche?
Outline your topics, learn as much as possible about your audience and be creative so your listeners are attracted to what you have to say.
Most people start podcasts to entertain the audience, build their personal brand, share in-depth knowledge about a specific subject, or as an inbound marketing channel.
There are tons of different podcasts on every topic imaginable, but if you’re passionate, creative, offer unique insights – you’ll be able to compete with them.
To have a professional podcasting setup, you’ll need a website (to publish updates and where people can learn more about your podcast), equipment (to record your podcast), and proper tools to manage your episodes and expand your reach.
Choosing the right WordPress hosting and building your website is one of the most critical initial steps in your podcasting adventure. Your website needs to be up at all times, load fast, and you need to have access to 24/7 support and daily backups in case anything happens.
WordPress is the best choice to build your podcast website, it has over 56,000 free plugins, including many specialized for podcasts, and over 7,000 free themes in its directory. WordPress is a straightforward platform to develop and scale your podcast website with.
Media hosting service
Once you build your website and it’s up and running – you need to decide if you’re going to host your podcast media files with your web host or a third-party media hosting service. Podcasts are usually large audio files since they’re long-form and last 30+ minutes in duration, so if you’re uploading and hosting them with your web host – your hosting resources will run out quick.
That’s why we recommend going with a third-party media hosting service such as Blubrry. Blubrry offers great features, here are just a few of its benefits for your podcast site:
- It’s fully optimized for WordPress, and they provide their plugin to manage and publish podcasts right from your WordPress dashboard
- It has some useful features such as advanced statistics, iTunes support, ID3 tagging and artwork management
- You get a podcast directory so people can learn about your podcast
- Access to forums where you can communicate with successful podcasters and learn from others to become a better podcaster
- A content delivery network to distribute your podcasts faster
You don’t need expensive and fancy equipment when you’re starting your podcast, but your microphone needs to be reliable. Make sure not to use your computer’s built-in microphone because they tend to be low quality, and that will drive away listeners from your podcast.
Here are some recommendations for solid starter microphones:
Blue Yeti – USB connection, quite versatile, and inexpensive
Samson C01UCW – USB connection, very reliable, and inexpensive
Rode Podcaster – USB connection, excellent sound quality
In addition to microphones, you’ll need to get a shock mount, pop filter, microphone arm and a pair of decent headphones.
We recommend getting Sony MDR7506 as it’s the best bang for your buck in its category.
Planning your first episodes
To have a successful podcast, you need to sit down and plan episodes before recording.
We’ll outline a couple of focal points and decisions you need to make when recording podcast episodes:
- Decide on your podcast topic, create an outline and then plan out all the details
- Define your episode length, and try to stick to it. Podcasts are usually up from 20 minutes to over an hour-long, but the duration depends on your content and amount of topics you want to discuss. Try to balance things out – i.e., don’t cut it down just to fit the specified length, and vice-versa – don’t go too long if you don’t have much else to say
- Make sure to have intro music, background music, supporting sounds, etc. to make your podcast feel more professional. Here are some royalty-free media resources you can use: Free Music Archive, YouTube Audio Library. Make sure to review licensing rules before using any of those resources in your podcast
- Write a script/storyboard to make sure you won’t stray from the subject, and to provide a sense of direction for your listeners
To record and edit audio files, you’ll need a computer audio recording software. We recommend using Audacity, which is the open-source, free software most podcasters use.
Audacity is very straightforward to use, once you downloads and install it, follow these steps to start recording your podcast episode:
- Open the Audacity application from your computer
- Create a new project from the File menu
- Click the record button
It’s that easy.
Audacity allows you to edit your audio files to remove any pauses, coughs, accidental sneezes or unwanted noise. You can also insert audio tracks such as background music, music effects, etc. Feel free to check out Audacity tutorials here.
Once you’ve recorded your podcast, make sure to export in a .mp3 format as it exports smaller files with excellent quality.
To publish your recorded podcast episode, log in to your WordPress dashboard, and head to Plugins > Add New option.
In the search field, type Blubrry:
Click the Install Now button to install the Blubrry plugin on your website.
Once installed, click the Activate button to activate the plugin:
Head to PowerPress > Get Started menu tab on your WordPress dashboard to start the setup process:
On the first screen, if you’re a beginner, click the No option, and if you already have a podcast feed, click yes. In this tutorial, we’ll focus on absolute beginners.
On the next page, input your podcast name, select the category (niche), confirm if your podcast contains explicit content (swearing, etc.), upload any artwork, and once ready – click the Continue button.
Next, you need to choose if you’re going to self-host your podcast episodes or use Blubbry media hosting service. In this example, we’ll self-host, so we need to select the No, thanks option.
You can choose to opt for the free tools (statistics, podcast directory) Blubrry offers on the next screen. We’ll continue without those in our example:
Create new podcast episode
Finally, click the Create a new episode button to publish your first podcast episode:
You will see a familiar WordPress post screen, where you need to:
- Put in your podcast title
- Fill in the description
- Select category
- Add tags
- Paste the URL to your mp3 file (you can use FTP to upload files to your hosting service)
Once completed, click the Verify button to verify that the URL is correct.
You will then see a new set of options under the Podcast Episode section which you can use to configure additional features:
Click the Publish button once ready.
That’s it! Your first podcast is published, and you’ll be able to see it published on your WordPress website:
You can now head to PowerPress > Settings option to configure the rest of the options. Here are some of the elements you can fine-tune:
- Feed settings
- Podcast artwork and SEO
- Show information
- Rating settings
- Apple iTunes settings
- Website player settings
- Custom pages (subscribe, etc.)
- Submitting your show to podcast directories
- … and more!
If you want to use a more advanced podcast player, you should consider the Smart Podcast Player. It’s a premium plugin, but it offers an excellent set of features and is fully integrated with the PowerPress plugin.
Now that your podcast is published on your website, you should submit it to big podcast directories. To submit it on iTunes, go to iTunes Connect, enter the URL of your podcast feed, and click the Validate button. Make sure to login with your iCloud login information first.
Once completed, Apple will provide a preview of your podcast details, including the cover art you’ve submitted. If everything looks good, click the Submit button, and Apple will send you a confirmation email.
Hopefully, this guide helped you plan, record, and publish your first podcast using WordPress!