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How to start your own Podcast, a practical guide

How did I start?

In October 2018, a dear friend Amer Grgic invited me to be a guest on his Podcast show Bits vs Bytes. At that time, Podcasts ware not my thing, or better said, I was new. Talking about Artificial Intelligence and its impact on business was not, and that was what we discussed in that episode.

I travelled to Capelle aan den Ijssel, some 140 kilometres from my hometown, where Amer had his company and the studio. He already had set-up two microphones, a laptop, coffee and I had received questions before the interview. It was a great new experience for me, and Amer was doing a fantastic job with his Podcast. Ode to the man as he was one of the top 10 most listened podcasts worldwide back then; sadly enough, after having a rich crowed of memorable people, Amer decided to shut it down.

But, he inspired me to start, although it took a while before I was ready.

A year later, Sanir Pasalic and Sandro Slijepcevic invited me to The Balkan Talks Podcast, this time talking about Entrepreneurial mindset, among other things. And yes, again, I had to travel, this time a shorter route of 86 kilometres to a Utrecht. And they also had a studio within their home with the basic needs to record the Podcast. While having a great conversation with the guys, I had an epiphany based on two Podcast experiences while travelling home. And that lightbulb was ‘I can do this more efficiently and draw a much more international audience’!

The travelling, having a designated room for recording, seemed too much of a fuss for a Podcast interview. Saving your guests time and making it efficient was my goal.

Research and analyse before you do anything!

My process with everything I do is to have a thorough understanding of the matter before taking the next step. So, I took a weekend to analyse the podcast industry, the do’s and don’ts, and search for how-to instructions. Of course, Google being my search source. So I typed ‘how to make a great podcast’ in my search bar. Luckily, many people have taken the time to share knowledge and insights about the topic.

I got results from BuzzSproutCastosBuildfire. And I’m confident you will get the same depending on your search terms. The guides which I found online had a similar red thread of advice:

  1. Podcast Topic/theme
  2. Audience (listener profile)
  3. Choose a name for your Podcast
  4. Define questions
  5. Buy quality equipment
  6. Invite guests
  7. Record
  8. Be consistent
  9. Promote, promote, promote

After the research and analysis, I had the guideline for what I need to do.

How to choose your Podcast topic/theme?

Choosing a topic/theme is the biggest challenge, especially if you are passionately curious about multiple subjects which matter in the world. And, of course, I did not want to be just another one in the line. My Podcast would be something I feel passionate about, a mirror of my thought through my guests. To get here, I needed to analyse who I am and why do I the things I do. I have always been going against the stream throughout my life, opposite what the masses say and thinking. Whether I disagreed with them due to lack of arguments and vision or just wanted to question their decisions, I constantly challenged the status quo. My protagonism and augmented criticism are why I made my profession around my speciality supported by strategic, organisational and technological developments and trends.

What better topic than to have guests who defied the odds and challenge the world’s status quo on my show!

Challenging the Status Quo Podcast was born!

How did I come up with the Digital Savages?

The Podcast’s name is ‘Challenging the Status Quo’, but it is brought to you by Digital Savages. The reason for this is the fact that I wanted to build a brand people can relate with but also provide more than Podcast alone. But a whole experience based on my core beliefs. As you already figured out, Digital Savages is an oxymoron; it represents me and my soul urge. One side of me is in love with technology, digitalisation, high-tech and all dots connecting them. The other side of me urges for total isolation from all possible digital information streams, the Internet, platforms and likes. It desires a cosy wooden cabin with a fireplace and many books where I can enjoy my family and thoughts of great writers.

The above describes the main reason behind the brand Digital Savages and Challenging the Status Quo as one way to express my passion for helping and sharing with others. I will devote one particular article to the branding and the story behind the colours, logo, and thinking process.

How to choose your audience?

Once I had the title of the Podcast, choosing an audience came a bit easier. My ambition was to inspire and motivate people who are stuck or feel failure in their personal and professional lives. Weather still in college, having taken the first career steps or young professionals, this would be the Podcast they can listen to for counsel. The listeners would hear the guests’ personal journeys and have an emotional connection with their endeavours because they can relate to situations and circumstances.

How to choose your guests?

Having listened to my favourite Podcasts from Startup PodcastGarryVeeLex Friedmann and Joe Rogan, I found out that the guests on their show ware already world-known people like actors, singers, successful entrepreneurs and athletes. Although listening with pleasure, these stories have been told on multiple occasions and covered by media on numerous platforms. They can not relate to me, nor can I relate to them. I wanted something special, and I wanted ordinary people to tell extraordinary stories of hardship and their definition, not conditioned definition of success. Personal stories, things people do not share in a broad public, uncommon stories of hardship, challenges and resilience! These stories would inspire and motivate the listeners not to give up that easily, even though they are in a tough battle.

My network consists of people I build personal relationships, on stage and beyond; my guests come from my direct network. Or through a warm relationship network of my guests. I first started inviting them through the What’s app and LinkedIn e-mailing questions on request. Later in the process, I have developed an invitation letter that describes all the Podcast’s inns-and-outs, including questions and distribution platforms and what they need to think of when connecting.

How to define exciting questions?

Once I had defined the goal and name of the Podcast, it was time to determine engaging questions. Next to analysing my favourite Podcasts, I used Google again to find excellent Podcast Interview questions. My search boolean resulted in two overviews, one from Wavve and one from DesignYourThinking. Of course, I added my own ‘Challenging the Status Quo’ flavour to ensure the vision and mission of the Podcast are satisfied.

Why aligning all your recording tools is crucial?

I had everything in place, but I knew for listeners to tune in, the quality of your Podcast has to be of a certain professional level. And NO, we are not looking for Studio quality. That is a thing for later on and only if you go full Pro with the Podcast.

My the first microphone I bought using the same way of search as in the previous paragraphs. My search for ‘Best Podcasting Microphones’ turned out an overview from the MusicRadar. Without overthinking, I bought the Blue Microphones Yeti USB.

Forgetting about the things that annoyed me in Podcasts, where I was the guest like travelling, I scheduled the first recording session with one of my guests — this time in Amsterdam, my office’s location in September 2019. I had to bring along my laptop and my brand new Blue Yeti Microphone, which is too big to carry along to any place, not handy at all. Using GarageBand for Mac, I connected my laptop and started recording the interview. The first recording session went wrong, with too much background noise, too many mistakes during the interview. It was a complete failure, so to say. Luckily enough, my guest was a close relation of mine, and it was his first podcast interview ever, and he did not mind being a test subject in this matter.

I had to revise my approach, this can and will be efficient, and every recording and interview will be easy to conduct. So, it was back to research again. This time ‘What is the best platform for recording Podcast’ was the boolean. The results led me to PodcastInsights of both the best software local and online recording platforms. And I was resolved, SquadCast showed the most straightforward way, and the price of $30 per month was acceptable given the fact you did not need any install, the audio files from both the host and guest are recorded separately, and you can see each other. You can schedule and invite guests through the platform, while the invitation contains the direct link to your session.

I also researched a more mobile and light microphone if I am on the move within the Netherlands or travelling abroad. A quick search showed Zoom H2N Field recorder as one of the best for the multipurpose, including recording a Podcast.

I had everything in place, the online platform and a perfect light microphone; the show could start! And finally, I did not have to travel and could have my recordings from wherever my guests and I ware at any given point in time.

Which platform to use for the distribution?

If you search PodcastInisghts, you will get a result for 31 online podcast distribution platforms with each platform’s upside and downside. When I started the Podcast, SoundCloud was one of the most used platforms, but Anchor was coming up. I started using Anchor because it was and still is free, and the platform distributes Digital Savages Podcast to all known audio platforms like SpotifyApple Podcast, and Google Podcast. You don’t need to go through your Podcast registration process at every platform; Anchor takes care of that.

How to set-up your promotion?

To generate awareness, I registered Digital Savages on LinkedInTwitterInstagram and Facebook. My central platform for distribution is LinkedIn, and I use Instagram for redistribution on Facebook. After one year of recording, I added YouTube to the play because it is the second most used search engine and, in most cases, is used for listening instead of watching. At the end of 2020, I reworked all my episodes using Veed.io to a Video version and uploaded them to the Digitial Savages YouTube channel. I chose this platform because I did not have any software to generate a video with Audio Spectrum Visualiser. Veed.io offered just that, and editing was effortless and very user friendly.

When you start, please make sure you analyse the distribution options for every platform! SproutSocial has detailed analysis reports on the best time to post for every platform you will probably use.

What did I learn along the way?

As they say, everything is obvious once you know the answer. But you have to walk the path of execution before you take advice from anyone. So I suggest you do the same. However, here are a few pointers that I learned along the way.

  1. The questions are not finite; they evolve as your Podcast grows, so do not be rigid with your question. Instead, try to challenge your writings and be critical if you get desired results from the questions.
  2. Reevaluate the used tools and platforms and make sure they fulfil your needs. I also record monthly webinars on Digital Business Disruptors; I use Zoom, which also has separate audio recording functionality. I was using SquadCast and Zoom and paying for both subscriptions. While considering which was the best, SquadCast chose for me. They introduced this new way of highjacking customers by making registration obligatory for my guests. So after complaining and not getting the right solution, I moved to Zoom entirely, and I have to say I should have done that much sooner.
  3. As a recording and distributing Podcast does entail the session and advertising that comes along, you need to have a visual editing programme. But you also need to edit your recordings. At a certain point, I was looking for a possibility to consolidate my licences. Adobe Creative Cloud offers the perfect solution with Audition for the recordings, Spark and Photoshop for visual editing of posts, Adobe Aftereffects, Premiere and Rush for video editing. So I moved from Veed.Io and subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud, having all my service applications and always with the newest version.
  4. You can find Royalty Free sounds you are allowed to use within your Podcast on YouTube. Choose the sound representing your Podcast, and you can use it as much as you want without the removal of your Podcasts for violating CopyRights.
  5. Ask your guests to turn off all possible background sounds coming from their smartwatch or phones. Another thing is to communicate via laptop/computer and not via phone as that can cause issues when using SquadCast as soon as your screen goes on the lock, you lose your connection.
  6. Make sure you prerecord as many as possible sessions, so you never miss a point of publication.

What is my set of tools and platforms I use today?

For recording:

  1. Zoom Webinar Licence
  2. Blue Microphone Yeti UBS at home
  3. Zoom H2N when travelling

For editing:

  1. Adobe Audition
  2. Adobe AfterEffects
  3. Adobe Rush

For visuals:

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Adobe Spark

For various elements:

  1. Envato Elements Licence

For Podcast Distribution:

  1. Anchor.fm (owned by Spotify)

For marketing:

  1. Digital Savages Website
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Instagram
  4. Twitter
  5. Facebook
  6. Telegram
  7. YouTube

Closing words

Be patient and hard working. All of this does not come easy, and it requires discipline and consistency. Please don’t follow my path but create your own and upgrade your game when the time is right. You will know when that moment comes. I wish you all the best, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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