If you are thinking about starting a podcast and making money and you’re not sure where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I will tell you everything you need to know about starting a podcast and making money with it.
Who am I, and why should you listen to me? Hi, my name is Kreig Kent, and I am the founder of Gritty Founder, a daily podcast where I interview the world’s top founders, innovators, and masters of entrepreneurship. Today, Gritty Founder is downloaded more than a million times a month, and the downloads keep increasing every day.
But, when I was initially thinking about launching my podcast, I struggled! I did not know where to begin. I had no idea how podcasting worked! I just knew that I wanted to start a podcast, and I had a feeling that I would be good at it. It was just a feeling! I had no idea whether or not I would really enjoy it, whether I would be able even to sustain such a hectic schedule of running a daily podcast and if I would also be able to make it worth my while. In short, I knew nothing about starting and running a podcast.
So, what did I do? I got my hands on every single podcasting course, book, and read as many blogs as I could. I consumed a ton of information, and it seemed like the more information I consumed, the more paralyzed I felt. What do they call it? Ahh, yes, analysis paralysis! That’s how I felt.
I remember not understanding how the technical setup worked, and I couldn’t wrap my head around RSS feeds! But, now I can explain RSS feeds to you in my sleep, and I could probably set up a podcast in a few hours. So, how did I get to this point?
In short, I kept things very simple, and I did not allow myself to be overwhelmed by the massive amount of information there is on this topic. Trust me, that was the hardest thing to do. Everyone in the podcasting world has their way of doing things, and if you allow yourself to drown in the ocean of information there is on this topic, you will find yourself confused, which could send you on a wild goose chase and prove to be a waste of time.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty (founder) of starting a podcast, let’s focus on some fundamental things that seem simple, but if you don’t get these basic things right, you will not see any success with your podcast.
Here are three things you need to do before you think about starting a podcast and making any significant income from it.
1. Target Audience
Before you go down the path of creating, launching, and building a podcast, you should spend a good amount of time thinking about who your target audience is. This phase is known as user research, and this is something that needs to be taken very seriously because if you don’t know your target audience well, you will not be able to create content that appeals to your audience, and that reduces the chances of your podcast being successful. So, you need to do your homework and find out exactly who your audience is by doing some very practical things.
You should take a notepad and a pen and spend some time writing down the format of your show and write down information about your target audience. Write down things like the age of your audience, are they predominantly male or female? Do they have discretionary income? Are they married? Do they drive to work every day? Which podcasts do they currently listen to? Why do they need what you have to offer? Write down as much as you can about your target audience. By doing this exercise, you will learn a lot about who you are serving, and you will be equipped with more knowledge, which will help with the success of your podcast. If you don’t do this exercise, that means you are flying blind, and that’s never a good thing!
If you have a friend who is good at asking questions and someone who you feel can help you in this process of figuring out your target audience, ask your friend if they will help you by asking you as many questions about your podcast as possible so that you will be forced to think of things perhaps you haven’t thought about. The goal of this exercise is to provide clarity for you so that you know exactly who is going to potentially be interested in what you have to offer with your podcast. Once you figure out this crucial step, you’re on the right track with your show!
2. Show Format
Once you have figured out who your target audience is, the next step is to design a format for your show. What will your show sound like? What will be the approximate length of each episode? How many episodes will you publish every month? Will you have guests on your show? These are just a few questions you will need to answer before you start your podcast. If there are some questions you would like me to add to this list, please send me an email or leave a comment! Once you’ve figured out the format of your show, the next step is to figure out all of the equipment.
Now, this is the part that can get really confusing. There is so much information on the internet about podcasting equipment that it can get really confusing for most people. I know I certainly found it very confusing when I was starting out. Some people recommend recording on a mixer, and some people record directly using software like Adobe Audition or even an audio recorder like the Zoom H6.
I have tried all of the above, and I came to the conclusion that I love using a mixer. Even though it is a bit clunky and it’s not the most efficient setup if you travel as much as I do (I do not like going through TSA with a mixer in my bag), it really sounds amazing, plus I am a sucker for good audio. So, if you’re just starting out, you might be able to find a quick and easy way to record audio, but if you want my recommendation, I will recommend getting a mixer like this one, so that you can start off your podcasting journey on the right foot.
Once you have completed the above three steps, you are well on your way to creating and launching your first podcast! Congratulations, you’ve come a long way.
The next step is to figure out a recording schedule, which shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. This part will be easier if you don’t plan on having guests on your show. If you create a podcast where you will be the only one creating the content, and you don’t plan on interviewing guests on your show, your podcast will be so much easier to create because you will not have to juggle the schedules of multiple people. You won’t need to deal with cancellations, and you will not have 20 emails back and forth before you are able to confirm a single guest!
If you have made it this far, and you have done your research on your target audience, you’ve designed a format for your podcast, and you have bought all of the podcast equipment you will need, then you’re almost there!
Making money with your podcast!
The good news is that if you have completed all of the above steps, then you’re much closer to making money with your podcast than you were before you started. The not so good news is that you will probably not make money with your podcast from day 1. Unless you already have a massive audience, you’re an online celebrity, or you plan to spend a ton of money on advertising — growing your audience from scratch will take time and a lot of patience. When I started with my daily podcast, I was under the impression that within a few weeks, the show would attract thousands of listeners, but that didn’t happen. In fact, it was the opposite. I launched my podcast, and we had a few hundred listeners. Not even close to the million-plus downloads we see every month now. Thankfully, I was committed to making the podcast a success, and I stuck with it. I used every tactic in the book to grow an audience, and we soon hit an inflection point. The numbers started climbing exponentially, and the downloads and total time spent listening to the podcast episodes climbed steadily. That initial momentum really helped.
To learn about the different ways you can make money from your podcast, go and check out my post on How to Make Money From a Podcast.