How to Start a Podcast in 12 Steps

How to Start a Podcast in 12 Steps

 Anyone can start a podcast. Seriously. 

When it comes to creative, expressive endeavors, podcasting has one of the lowest barriers to entry. All you need is an idea, a microphone and an internet connection. 

But it takes a little more to start strong. By putting in more work up front, including plenty of planning and branding exercises, you can give your podcast a better chance at success early on. We talked to Seattle-based guitar podcaster Emily Harris of Get Offset about tips for starting a podcast. 

Emily knows a few things about podcasting. Her podcast Get Offset has been a staple of the guitar sphere since 2018. With nearly 300 episodes (and plenty of changes along the way), Get Offset has become a brand beyond podcasting; she’s participated in campaigns for Fender, JHS Pedals, Keeley Electronics, and more. All that’s to say, if you want to know how to start a successful podcast that can turn into a brand, Emily’s someone you might want to hear from. 

With that, here are 12 steps to starting a podcast. 

How do you start a podcast with no experience?

If you’re not an experienced podcaster, planning and prep are especially important. Take extra time to flesh out your podcast’s elevator pitch and brand identity. Then, think about who your target audience is and how to reach them. Go into your first recording session as prepared as possible and, even without experience, you can deliver your best possible episode. 

What Is Required to Start a Podcast?

There aren’t a lot of things you need to start a podcast. The basics are: 

  • A great idea

  • A microphone

  • Software to record and edit your podcast

  • A simple logo 

  • A distribution and promotion plan 

Those are the bare essentials, but eventually, you could grow to need more. You may decide you need a separate producer or editor. You may decide to get a podcast mixer so it’s easier to record on location. You may even decide to start producing a video version of your podcast so you can take full advantage of YouTube promotion and revenue streams. 

When gathering the tools and assets you need to start a podcast, think big. We don’t mean you should blow your next paycheck on the most expensive, fanciest tools. We mean you should plan ahead and make sure you won’t immediately outgrow your setup. With that in mind, let’s go over everything you need to know to start a podcast. 

1. Assemble Your Podcasting Team 

Having a strong team will give your podcast a huge leg up. Many podcasts are written, recorded, produced and edited by a single person. It’s a ton of work, and burnout is common. Any combination of co-host, producer, editor and marketer will give you more time to put your focus where it belongs—creating an engaging podcast. 

Depending on their size and payroll, successful podcasts can have any combination of the following team members: 

  • Producer: This is essentially the podcast’s ringmaster. A producer helps with everything from episode ideation to scheduling and general leadership. Producers may even open an app like Canva and make episode thumbnails if that’s what’s needed. It’s not uncommon for a host to be a co-producer alongside someone behind the scenes.

  • Researcher: Even unscripted podcasts can benefit from a researcher. A researcher could pull episode ideas and draft up some talking points for the host or hosts. 

  • Editor: Some podcasts are more straightforward to edit than others. Even if your podcast is just two people chatting, an editor needs to balance audio levels, clean up any noise, add in appropriate sound effects or stingers and more. 

  • Co-host: While there are plenty of successful single-host podcasts, having two or more hosts seems to be the norm these days. You want the hosts to have a fun, easygoing chemistry, which is why so many podcasts are started by two close friends. However, anyone could fit the role as long as the energy is right. 

  • Marketer: You can’t just publish a podcast and expect to get listeners. Marketing on social media and other platforms will help your podcast find its audience. 

  • Writer: Scripted podcasts are sometimes written by the host early on, but as a podcast grows in popularity you may hire a dedicated writer. 

Starting off, you might not have someone to fill every role. That’s normal! It’s better to wait to find the right team members than to settle for the first person who’s interested. Put the word out for people who have the same goals and level of commitment as you—and, for that matter, availability. 

“Most of us have busy lives,” Emily tells us. “When I started the podcast with the rest of the team, it became clear that it was going to be extremely difficult to schedule around all three of us. It was a hard decision to make, but we had to cut it down from three hosts to two. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to record as often as we’d envisioned.”

2. Choose a Podcast Topic That You’re Genuinely Interested In

Fill in the blank: “I want to start a podcast about ______.” 

The right premise for your podcast isn’t always obvious right away. When you’re deciding what your podcast will be about, you should consider your own expertise and interests. You don’t have to be a walking encyclopedia on your topic, but you should have background knowledge and a strong desire to learn more. 

Despite appearing in guitar pedal documentaries and writing for legacy guitar brands, Emily from Get Offset still doesn’t consider herself to be an expert in guitars. “I definitely know a lot—I’m not going to sell myself short on that—but there’s always so much more to learn.” 

She took her lifelong passion for playing guitar and used Get Offset as an opportunity to expand her understanding of the art. “Through Get Offset, I’ve been able to interview some of the most well-known leaders in the industry. When I don’t know something, I get to be that audience proxy and learn alongside the listeners, and I think that’s relatable.”

You can always learn more, but you can’t fake passion. At least not in the long term. If you pick a podcast topic because it’s popular and not because you’re extremely into it, listeners will be able to tell pretty quickly. 

“People won’t always let you know directly, but they can tell when you’re not into what you’re doing,” Emily says. “Guitar has been the love of my life since I was eight years old, and I think that comes through on the podcast.”

3. Pick a Podcast Name With Room to Grow

When people are looking for a new podcast to listen to, they scroll through podcast charts and lists. Having a catchy-yet-descriptive name can be the difference between someone clicking on your podcast and scrolling past it. 

Your podcast name should: 

  • Relate to your topic/niche

  • Be short and snappy

  • Give you room to grow

Take Emily’s podcast name, for instance: Get Offset. For those who don’t know, an “offset” refers to the shape of a guitar and “Gett Off” was an early ‘90s Prince hit. “The name is an homage to my favorite guitar shape and one of my favorite Prince songs,” Emily explains. “Surprisingly few get the Prince reference, but everyone in the guitar world gets the ‘offset’ reference.”

But even so, there’s a problem. “I like a lot of guitars that aren’t offsets! So now, whenever I talk about or demo a guitar that isn’t offset, I get a few comments from people who complain. Honestly, if I’d known it’d become a whole thing, I might have picked a different name.”

So, before you fall in love with that clever name you came up with, ask yourself if it might limit you in the future. You wouldn’t want to pigeonhole your brand from the start.

4. Decide Whether You Want to Start a Video Podcast

Video podcasting is hot right now, but is it right for you? 

More and more people are turning to YouTube and video podcasts as daily entertainment. Since 2022, YouTube has been working to provide more support to video podcasts and Spotify allows you to upload video as well as audio podcasts. You can also use clips of your video podcast on TikTok and Instagram to promote the full episode. 

That being said, not every podcast lends itself to a video format. Before you invest in camera gear, ask yourself what you envision a video version of your podcast looking like. Storyboard an episode or two and decide if video adds anything compelling to your content or would give you solid promotional assets. 

Get Offset didn’t start with a video podcast, but it transitioned to one in early 2020. 

“My co-host and I couldn’t get together in person, so we recorded remotely using a tool called Zencastr,” Emily explains. “By then, I’d already gotten a pretty solid following on YouTube, and when Zencastr began offering remote video recording, we decided to give it a shot. It didn’t add much to my workflow and we doubled our reach.”

5. Put Your Podcast on Every Major Podcast Outlet: 

Whether you decide to have a video version of your podcast, you must ensure it’s uploaded to as many podcast platforms as possible. The most important ones are: 

  • YouTube

  • Apple Podcasts

  • Spotify

  • Pandora

  • iHeartRadio

There are dozens of other platforms, and though they aren’t huge, it’s still important to be featured on them. If you’re not familiar with “long tail,” it’s the idea that there’s a lot of value in appealing to less popular products, keywords or, in this case, platforms. If you can spread out your podcast so it’s available everywhere people listen to podcasts, those smaller platforms could become a big part of your listener base. 

“Uploading your podcast to multiple platforms isn’t too hard,” Emily says. “It’s a one-time setup, but it’s automated afterward. And a lot of podcast hosting platforms, like Spotify for Podcasters or Buzzsprout, can distribute your podcast to a lot of services for you.”

6. Make a Release Schedule (and Stick to It)

Consistency is key when it comes to content. Think about your favorite TV show—you know that episodes generally drop on the same day every week. 

While your podcast doesn’t have to drop weekly, it does need to drop on or around the same time every week. For example, you could release an episode every first and third Thursday of the month and fans will know to keep an eye out for it. 

Don’t be afraid to take breaks, but always have a plan in place. 

“If I know I’m going out of town for a few weeks, I prefer to have a few episodes scheduled so it doesn’t impact my flow,” Emily says “But if I do need to take a break, I try to announce the break and when I’ll be back on the last episode before that break. That way folks aren’t surprised or worried when I seemingly drop off the face of the earth for a few weeks.”

One way podcasters plan breaks is to create “seasons” of their podcast. This is most common on serialized podcasts, but any podcast can decide ahead of time to have seasons with a set number of episodes followed by a break. Just be sure to make it thoughtful. Give each season a theme, and work to relate each episode to that theme. Otherwise, the audience may feel that you’re just taking random multi-week breaks throughout the year.

7. Put Some Thought Into Your Podcast Microphone

Don’t let your mic be an afterthought. A high-quality microphone can separate a professional, successful podcast from a podcast that struggles to get a few dozen listeners. A great microphone will make your audio sound natural, while a bargain bin mic will make it sound like you recorded through a broken telephone.

“When I started out, I just used whatever I had lying around,” Emily remembers. “I went from a low-quality USB microphone to a standard, run-off-the-mill dynamic microphone to a condenser microphone that didn’t work at all in my space.”

Eventually, Emily settled on a broadcast microphone that wasn’t too expensive, and that’s been her setup ever since. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to shopping for a microphone for your podcast, check out our detailed guide on choosing the best podcast microphone for you.

8. Build the Rest of Your Podcast Recording Setup

Your microphone isn’t the only essential element of your podcast setup. Usually, you’ll need some combination of an interface or podcast mixer and podcast recording software

Let’s talk interface vs. podcast mixer. It’s a debate that rages on in the podcast industry. If you’re using anything other than a USB microphone, you’ll need to choose one of the two. But it’s easy enough to decide which is best for you. 

Emily typically uses a USB interface to record Get Offset.

“However, there are times when I want to record episodes where I’m traveling. I was just in Germany for 42 Gear Street and they had the Mackie DLZ Creator podcast mixer in the backyard. I was able to pull other creators aside to record with me and I didn’t have to worry about setting levels or anything like that. It was great.”

To learn more about interfaces vs. mixers, check out our Podcast Equipment Checklist

9. Create a Professional Podcast Logo That Really Pops

Your logo is your podcast’s visual identity. It’s the first thing people see when they’re browsing podcasts, and it’s what’s displayed on their smartphones while they listen.

There are a few things you need to consider when creating your logo:

  • Is your name legible when the logo is small? Sometimes your logo will be extremely tiny, but it still needs to be clear it’s your podcast.

  • Does the logo still look good when cropped round? Many social profiles make you crop your profile picture in a circle

  • How does the logo look on merch? Do you need a version with a transparent background or does it look fine on merch with a solid background?

  • What overall color palette works with your logo? If you’re working with a designer, ask them for a color scheme.

  • Do you have access to raw files? If you want to make changes to your logo or animate it for videos, having access to a raw file is helpful.

  • Should you hire a designer? A freelance designer can make the process a lot easier and more efficient. Just be sure to consider the above questions when approving the design!

When Get Offset started, Emily’s former co-host spent some time designing a logo. “It looked pretty good, but we made tons of mistakes,” Emily says. “It worked on merch and you could read ‘Get Offset’ from a distance, but it didn’t crop well because we had this belt buckle design around the actual logo. I had to open up Canva to make a version that could crop to a circle. There were also some little imperfections you’d notice if you had a larger version on the file.”

After struggling with the original logo for years, Emily enlisted a designer to redesign it. “The response was overwhelmingly positive,” she says. “People were even messaging me that they wanted to buy a shirt with the new logo.” 

10. Don’t Skimp on Podcast Promotion

All successful podcasts have one thing in common—they promote themselves. 

“There’s a reason people talk about finding your audience, and not about your audience finding you,” Emily explains. “By the time I started Get Offset, Andrew and I were already active and relatively well-known in certain guitar groups. Because of that, we had a handful of listeners right away, and then we worked to get even more via social and cross-promotion.”

A few ways to promote your podcast early on include: 

  • Being active on social media, both through personal and podcast accounts

  • Posting on forums in a conversational, non-promotional way

  • Appearing on podcasts within your niche

  • Having guests from other podcasts or well-known people in your niche

Ultimately, your promotional opportunities are only limited by your creativity. But if you need more tips, check out our blog post How to Promote Your Podcast.

11. Launch With a Few Episodes “in the Can”

Podcast listeners love to binge a new podcast when they find one, and you can take advantage of that habit by dropping a few episodes at once to launch the show. While it may be tempting to publish your first episode right away, consider practicing a little patience. Releasing an initial batch may ultimately give you an advantage among soon-to-be superfans. 

“If listeners find your podcast early, but they can’t binge, they may lose interest,” Emily stresses. “Having even three or four episodes available right away can be the difference between you becoming their new favorite podcast and being a podcast they listen to once and then forget about.”

12. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Some Money Moves

You don’t have to wait until your podcast is a hit before you can make money podcasting. While it could be a while before you quit your job to start podcasting full-time, there are ways to offset your podcasting costs and more before you launch your first episode. 

A few of the biggest ways podcasts make money early on are Patreon, merch and sponsorships. 


Even new podcasts can attract sponsors. In anticipation of your first few episodes dropping, reach out to some brands in your niche that you think would be obtainable and pitch them. 

“Your best bet overall is to start small, but it all depends on the connections you may already have,” Emily explains. “More brands are realizing the importance of reaching out to smaller influencers vs. spending their entire ad budget on a bigger podcast. Go to trade shows or events and meet with people who highly value your audience. Let’s say you’re starting a podcast about cats. You could find that litter brands, companies that make custom cat portraits or even other podcasts are willing to sponsor at least a few episodes, even super early on, to get in front of your listeners.” 


For just a few dollars a month, Patreon promises fans a way to be benefactors for their favorite creators. And though YouTube, Instagram and other platforms are trying to take a piece of that pie via different subscription models, it’s hard to beat the original. 

According to the website Headphone Addict, the average Patreon creator makes $315-1,575 per month on the platform. That assumes an average donation of around $7, which amounts to 45 subscribers on the low end and 225 on the high end. 

“When the podcast started, we got a lot of conflicting recommendations on starting a Patreon,” says Emily. “But we didn’t want to leave money on the table. As a middle ground, we launched with a Patreon, but we didn’t talk about it. Almost immediately, several people found it and began supporting us. Most of those folks are still donating to the Patreon five years later.”


Some of today’s most successful podcasts have turned merch into a huge business. Podcasts like My Favorite Murder have vast webstores full of items adorned by memorable slogans, logos, custom art and more. 

Even new podcasts can take advantage of merch revenue. 

“We launched a webstore with several different designs right away, and it didn’t cost us anything,” Emily tells us. “Instead of guessing sizes and quantities and risking losing garage space with unsold merch, I opened a dropshipping store. I don’t keep as much money as I would buying in bulk, but I don’t have to put money down or worry about shipping out orders. Plus, I can swap new designs in and out as often as I want, which I couldn’t do if I ordered in bulk.”

Whether you decide to take control of your merchandise or leave it up to a drop shipper, start simple. Shirts and hats with your logo should be your priority—opportunities for merch with fun quotes and designs will present themselves the longer you do your podcast. 

Looking for more ways to make money early in your podcasting career? Check out our article How to Make Money Podcasting.

Let’s Start That Podcast

Successful podcasting isn’t easy. But that shouldn’t dissuade you from starting your podcast. 

“If you have a great idea for a podcast and are itching to start it, then start it,” Emily tells us. “But do so with the understanding that you can’t just wing it—there are things you should do before hitting record. It takes more time up front, but it will save you time and frustration in the long run, and your podcast will have a better chance of success.”

While there’s no substitute for planning and prep, there are tools to make the entire process of recording, producing and editing your podcast a breeze. For example, the Mackie DLZ Creator gives your podcast studio-quality results faster than ever regardless of your experience level. From Onyx80 preamps that make even low-output mics sound both loud and pristine, to customized headphone mixes for each of your guests, DLZ Creator helps you avoid technical hurdles so you can focus on starting your podcast strong. 

Now, go ahead—get to work!


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