(2022) Comprehensive Podcast Creation Checklist

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Did you know that some 90 million Americans listen to podcasts? That number is expected to surpass 100 million in 2024 (Statista, 2022). 

So, despite the meteoric rise of podcasts over the past ten years, it’s still not too late to launch your own audio show. As a publisher and distributor of podcasts, at ZenCast, we understand what it takes to launch your podcast. We offer a service allowing users to upload their podcasts once before distributing them to multiple platforms such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. We’ve seen every type of podcast.


Today, we’ll walk you through everything you need to develop, record, and launch a podcast. We’ll look at aspects such as the naming process, the equipment you’ll require, and what you need from a software point of view to provide you a podcast checklist and when you’re done, access a spreadsheet checklist here. Let’s begin!

Development and pre-production checklist

There are several checklists to consider when it comes to podcasting, beginning with what you need for developing your show and pre-production. This section looks at what you need ahead of these steps. We’ll discuss the pre-launch checklist later.

Development

Here’s what you need to develop your podcast:

  • Pick a topic you’d like to base your podcast on.

  • Decide what format you’d like to go with. *

  • Consider whether or not you want to be part of a podcast network. This is a network that shares podcasts from a wide range of creators. Of course, you would likely need a strong pitch and a solid background in podcasting to join the network.

  • If you’re even more ambitious, you may even want to start your own podcast network. This could simply mean you and a few podcasting friends joining forces. You may or may not need to register as a company if you take this approach; it would depend on factors such as the scale of your operations. Contact the relevant authorities in your area if you are unsure.


*You could choose the format during the pre-production phase if you prefer. The format options include solo commentary, a one-on-one interview, and a group discussion. If you’d rather, you could use a combination of formats in the form of a mixed format approach.


During the development phase, you want to ensure you hone in on a more specific area of your topic of choice (i.e., your podcast idea should not be overly broad). For instance, let’s say you want to do a podcast on gardening. You could make it a bit more specific by centering your show on eco-friendly gardening, water gardens, or container gardening, just to give a few examples. 

Pre-production

As for pre-production, here is what you require:

  • Pick a name for your podcast (if you haven’t already).

  • Get graphic design software for creating podcast cover art. *

  • Get word processing software for composing your podcast scripts.


*Alternatively, you could hire a graphic designer to undertake this work for you.

Production and post-production checklist

Once you’ve finalized your script and podcast art, it’s time to prepare for production. 

Production

This is what a podcaster needs for production:

  • Secure a show host.

  • Book guests if performing interviews or engaging in group discussions. Ideally, you should also have backup guests in this case.

  • Get a laptop or computer.

  • Acquire podcast recording software or/and audio editing software.

  • Buy a USB microphone that can connect to your laptop/computer. *

  • Buy microphone pop filters to remove harsh popping sounds from speaking into the mic.

  • Buy podcasting headphones to monitor your audio quality, hear the show’s music and prevent echos. Every guest needs a pair too.

  • Invest in memory storage devices such as SD cards and/or hard drives.


*Obviously, you’d need several microphones for one-on-one interviews or group discussions.


As for podcast recording software, we recommend looking at Riverside, Descript, Adobe Audition, LogicPro, Audacity, GarageBand, and Restream.


Beyond that, you may also want:

  • A mixer to add music to your podcast.

  • An audio interface for advanced recordings (recording audio on different tracks, rather than one like a USB mic).

  • Shock mounts to remove the vibrations from the environment (stomping, a passing truck) being picked up on your recording.

  • Microphone stands, also to protect your recording from picking up vibrations and to keep your mic in the same position.

Post-production

Post-production might take more time than you think, so whatever time you’ve put aside, double it.

  • Put time aside to learn to edit if you’ll be editing the podcast yourself and you’re new to editing.

  • It’s important to dedicate sufficient time to editing and perfecting your podcast before uploading it. Aside from chopping and cutting the audio into a single coherent piece, you can also use audio editing software to remove clicks and pops or/and address noise. 

  • If you are an independent podcaster, have someone listen over your final draft who will give you honest feedback. One issue that can arise with independent projects is that they can be longer than is necessary. It can be hard to let go of sections of audio or scenes in a novel or short film. 


However, what matters most is that your piece is as enjoyable, appealing, and engaging as possible to retain your audience and appeal to additional subscribers. At this stage you’re ready for the podcast launch checklist.

Pre-launch checklist

We recommend recording at least three podcasts before you are ready to launch. This is because by releasing three episodes of your podcast at once, you can attract a wider audience of potential new subscribers to your new show.


Here’s what you need before launching your show:

  • Launch various social media pages for your podcast.

  • Launch a website for your podcast. You can do this for no added cost with ZenCast.

  • Set up an email account.

  • Decide what platforms you want to distribute your podcast to.

  • Sign up for a podcast account with a publisher like ZenCast. You generally need a podcast publisher to distribute your podcast to various platforms such as Spotify. This is because websites like Spotify and Apple Podcast do not allow you to upload directly. 

  • Ensure your podcast follows the rules and regulations of the platform you want to launch on.


When you launch, ensure you get a confirmation email from the relevant platform(s) you share your show with, if applicable. 


At ZenCast, we allow users to distribute their show with up to twelve platforms. If you want to go with just one, we’d recommend Spotify due to its wide reach and additional features. Spotify and Apple Podcast frequently switch places as the number one podcast platform, so using both of them is preferable.



Publishing and distributing your show

With all the aforementioned boxes ticked off, it’s time to distribute your show with the podcast platform(s) of your choice. 

  • Pick what time of day you want your podcast to be available.

  • Make sure to upload at least one hour before that, but preferably earlier.


Remember, it could take some time for your show to appear on a website once you share it with them, so be certain to take this into account when letting the world know when your show will be available. It should be available within an hour,  maybe a few. In rare cases, it can take 6-12 hours. Thankfully, this is unlikely. 


To stay on the safe side, you should tell your social media followers that your show is going live ‘on the morning of’ the release date. Your future listeners will probably imagine you’ll be posting it between 8 am and 11 am. However, you’d be best off distributing your show with the podcast platform around midnight, or around 1 am to 2 am. 


Sure, your show may end up live a bit earlier than anticipated, but depending on the geography of your audience, most people will be asleep in those hours. Of course, you won’t need to do this all the time, but for your very first show(s), it’s better to be safe than sorry. 


After that point, you could schedule your posts in advance if this is an option with the aggregator you use. With ZenCast, you can use scheduling through our Professional and Plus packages



The best time of the day to launch podcasts in North America is 5 am EST since it would reach audiences at the beginning of the day from coast to coast. To be safe, you could schedule it to go up at four in the morning in case it takes an hour or so for the episode to appear on podcasting platforms.


However, without knowing exactly how long it may take for a show to appear on the platform, you may want to schedule it to go live a few hours earlier. 


To recap, just be cautious about promising your show will be live at a specific time since this cannot be guaranteed. 


As mentioned earlier, through ZenCast, you can distribute your show with as many as twelve platforms. You can do this through our ‘distribution’ page. Like other aggregators, we provide platforms with an RSS feed link for each episode of a podcast being uploaded and distributed. This, in result, adds a podcast episode to the respective platforms’ directories.



Marketing and promotion

You shouldn’t overlook marketing. Once your show is live, you’ll want to share it far and wide for the podcast to be heard.


Here’s how you can effectively market your podcast once its live:

  • Share it on your social media pages and try to do so in creative ways.

  • Advertise on social media and Google Ads.

  • Convert your podcast to a video and upload to YouTube.

  • Leverage the audiences of any guests you have on.


Have a question about anything so far? Check out our podcasting FAQ.

Launch your podcast with ZenCast

Sign up to ZenCast today to start your podcasting journey!


Here is just some of what we offer:

  • ZenCast has no limit on uploads or downloads.

  • We provide users with a customizable podcast player geared towards maximizing subscriptions.

  • We maintain a compliant RSS feed. This is to make sure podcasters don’t suddenly lose subscribers from a malformatted RSS feed.

  • We don’t insert ads in or around your show.

  • Podcasters can distribute their show to a private audience.

  • We provide ZenCast analytics which can also be integrated with Google Analytics.

  • We offer SEO-optimized website for your podcast for no additional cost. This website would update with new episodes of your podcast when they go live.

Learn more about podcasting

Today we’ve laid out what you’d require to start, record and share your podcast. Use this spreadsheet checklist to keep track of your progress. If you’d like to know more about podcasting, check out our blog. We delve into subjects like how you can reach 1,000 listeners and the best podcast microphones for any budget



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