Big thanks to Hollie Jones for this brilliant guest post! 

Podcasts – the bane of my business life as I REALLY want to start one but haven’t quite got my head around it so when lovely Hollie from lifestyle blog, Hollie & The Ivy got in touch with me to talk podcasts, I jumped at the chance! Please see her insight and tips below – thank you Hollie!

According to MusicOomph, almost a third of Americans listen to podcasts at least every month. Podcasting may have started out as a curiosity for hobbyists, but it’s long-since earned a place as one of the biggest forms of media in the world.

It’s easy to see why. It’s engaging, enjoyable, affordable, and the perfect way to embrace long-form content in a time of social media saturation and short attention spans.

If you’re looking for some podcasts, then you’d do well to take a look at these — but perhaps you feel like giving podcasting a try yourself. If so, how should you go about it? Here are some basic tips for you:

Get the basic equipment

Do you own a fairly modern laptop? Anything from the last 5 years with decent quality should be more than good enough to serve as the foundation for your podcasting — handling any research, the recording, editing and uploading of the audio, and interactions with listeners. The only significant investment worth making beyond that is a decent podcasting microphone with a stand and a pop shield.

That said, you don’t need a great microphone, especially when you’re just starting out. You might even be able to use your laptop’s microphone for the time being. But since decent USB microphones are fairly cheap these days, there isn’t too much reason not to get one if you’re even halfway serious about podcasting.

Choose podcast hosting

Even if you have your own website, you’re likely not going to want to host your podcasts there. You’ll want a platform with good streaming controls, reliable uptime, and decent pricing so it doesn’t cost you too much to store plenty of episodes in the event that your podcast really takes off. Some are better than others, so do your research.

To help you out, though, I suggest checking out Adam Enfroy’s list of podcast hosts. He breaks down what makes each one worth considering, running through the strengths and weaknesses, so read through it if you get the opportunity. It even includes some free plans which are ideally suited to new podcasters — before making a commitment, you can see how you get on.

Go with your passion

What really captures your attention? What do you care about? Passion is absolutely essential for podcasting, even more so than expertise or credibility. An expert offering great insight on a topic they clearly don’t care about will inevitably prove boring, while an amateur with tremendous enthusiasm will create very engaging content.

What this means is that you shouldn’t settle for recording episodes about things you don’t find engaging, even if you don’t see an audience for the type of content you’d prefer to make. You might just be surprised by the attention an authentic podcast can get. Get inspired by checking out other passion-project podcasts like Orion’s Method (a podcast about love and wellness) or Lingthusiasm (a podcast about linguistics).

Don’t expect fast results

The most important thing for an aspiring podcaster to remember is this: not only will success not come overnight, but it might not come for years. In fact, there are podcasters today who have been working hard to grow their audiences for over 15 years. The average podcast ends up failing for one of two reasons: the podcaster doesn’t get any better at what they do, or they simply stop making new episodes because they’re not seeing any results.

So don’t be impatient. Work on your podcast because you enjoy it, and engage with people wherever you can. Maybe you’ll hit it big and get the opportunity to sell merchandise, or maybe you won’t — either way, you’ll have a good time along the way, expanding your skillset, becoming more comfortable talking to camera, and having a reliable creative outlet.

Podcasting is fantastic fun, and a great way to start building connections with people online. It’s also really easy to try, so why not attempt it? Just follow these steps to get started and set the right expectations. Good luck!