If you’d have asked just seven years ago how many Aussies were listening to podcasts, around one in 10 people would have raised their hands. Today, however, it’s a different story. Podcasts have surged in popularity, with a 2023 study revealing Australia has now overtaken the US to be a world leader in podcast listening, which is no easy feat. And, of those surveyed, more than half the respondents are listening monthly. Not only that, more people are breaking into the podcasting field than ever before.

So, if you’re someone who has a podcast idea swirling in your head, where to start? We chatted to three creators to find out how to go about setting up and creating a successful podcast.

This Song Is Yours creator Simon Finck wearing a maroon jumper and black jeans standing with his arms crossed, slightly smiling near a window sill display of music records. 
A unique perspective or different way of storytelling will help to set your podcast up for success, says This Song Is Yours creator Simon Finck.

Find Your Niche and Tone of Voice

The podcasting playing field is crowded, so you want to stand out and find a niche. Your ideas don't necessarily have to be new, but you do have to think of an original way to deliver them and resonate with listeners.

“Some of the best podcasts don’t come from truly original ideas, but from the way the story is told,” says Simon Finck, host and producer of This Song Is Yours, a music podcast featuring guests talking about songwriting and some of the music that's soundtracked their life. It took him three years to work out the exact logistics of how to execute his podcast idea.

For podcaster Ben Hampton, the idea for his weekly show A Gluten Free Podcast came to him in 2020 after being diagnosed with coeliac disease (an autoimmune illness where the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten) and finding a lack of content relevant to him in the market. Researching what other podcasts in the same topic area are doing is a must to set yourself apart.

“I realised there was a real lack of podcasts about being gluten-free, but [what did exist] was also from one perspective,” he says. “They all had a similar vein, were promoting the same sort of stuff and I hadn’t heard any guys talking about it. And I thought, ‘There's a bit of a lack here. Why don’t I start a podcast myself?’ So I did!” 

Emma Edwards, whose The Broke Generation Podcast has been delving into the behavioural aspect of finance since 2021, agrees. “You need to find some sort of gap in the market that you can fill with your unique perspective, skill or insight so you can cut through a busy landscape,” she says. Busy indeed – it’s estimated there are more than three million podcasts currently published!

Hot Tip: Pressure-test your idea by seeing how many ideas for that topic can you think up. “Write down 100 or so episode ideas,” Ben says. “If you can do that, you're onto something.”

SEE ALSO: Sean Szeps: Secrets to Becoming a Popular Podcaster

The Broke Generation Podcast creator Emma Edwards wearing an orange top and blazer is standing, smiling with her eyes closed and wearing headphones.
The Broke Generation Podcast creator Emma Edwards says the more specific you can be about what you do and who it’s for, the better.

To Co-Host or Not to Co-Host?

Comedy and review-type podcasts are great for banter between two hosts. The tricky part, according to Ben, is that you’ll have to work to schedule each other in, as well as that of any guests.

Emma says going solo can “take more prep, scripting and planning” to fill a whole episode, while guests “allow you to enjoy the benefit of a two-way conversation”. The cons? “Editing can be a bit more complicated, plus interviewing guests isn’t always easy.”

SEE ALSO: My Top Tech Choices With ‘How I Work’ Podcast Host Amantha Imber

How Often Should I Put a Podcast Out?

Daily, fortnightly, monthly, weekly: what’s achievable to you? With a busy family, including two kids under five, and his own gardening business, Ben suggests making things easy for yourself to avoid burnout. “It’s important to get ahead as much as possible and that involves planning, planning and more planning,” he says. 

Whatever you choose, the most important thing is to upload your podcast consistently. This not only helps with people knowing when to expect it but with building your audience.

What Equipment Do I Need for a Podcast?

A GIF series of podcasting equipment including the Blue Yeti 3-Capsule USB Microphone, the Otto Wireless Lapel Microphone, Skullcandy Hesh EVO Wireless Headphones and the Lenovo 14" Yoga 7i 2-in-1 Laptop EVO Core i7/16GB/512GB.  

Time to start recording! Find somewhere quiet and distraction-free, then get your podcast equipment set up. 

“You want a microphone that works for you and that’s within your budget,” says Simon. “For those with very pronounced Ps [when they speak], a pop filter [to eliminate ‘popping’ sounds in speech] can come in handy.”

“If you aren’t in a soundproofed environment, I recommend getting a dynamic mic,” says Ben. “It focuses on the sound directly in front of it [whereas] condenser mics will pick up lots of noise around you.”

You’ll also require recording and audio editing software on your laptop or computer, and a good pair of headphones can help, too. Popular software options include Audacity, Descript and Spotify for Podcasters, formerly known as Anchor. A boom arm can also hold your microphone in a sturdy position. 

What to Try 

SEE ALSO: Real Review: Blue Yeti 3-Capsule USB Microphone

A Gluten Free Podcast host Ben Hampton wearing a grey shirt and dark denim jacket walking on a sidewalk, smiling slightly and looking into the distance.
Fit your podcast planning around your life to avoid overdoing it, says A Gluten Free Podcast host Ben Hampton. Photo credit: Jim Skouras.

Putting in the Work

Starting a podcast will require a solid time commitment, says Emma, whose own podcast was delayed between full-time work, two side hustles and running The Broke Generation brand on social media. 

“Often, an episode will take me three to four times the length of the episode to actually record due to cutting bits out, re-recording over mistakes, fleshing out ideas or losing my train of thought,” she says. “You get faster at doing things over time, though. It’s not all new and scary forever!” 

Test-driving your podcast before going ‘live’ with it – researching, planning and recording a few episodes to publish-ready stage – can iron out kinks (and reveal how much actual time it takes to produce). 

Domain Names, Social Media and Image

An associated website and social media accounts add authority to your project, so check if the domain name is available. Blog posts to support your podcast content that are optimised for online search engines can help you build your audience further – especially when figures show that in 2023, both organic and paid search accounted for 80 per cent of all website visits

And don’t forget branding and artwork. “Make sure the logo, podcast cover and all social branding set the tone for the kind of podcast and content you’re making,” says Simon. Online graphic design software such as Canva can make the process quick and easy. What’s more, creating and printing marketing materials is even easier thanks to free Officeworks x Canva templates.

Uploading Your Podcast

Podcast hosting sites will store your large recording files and help to streamline uploading episodes to platforms such as iTunes, Spotify and Google Podcasts, writing show notes, inserting links and promoting your show. 

“I use Buzzsprout – they make the process extremely easy,” says Ben. “You can do it yourself through free podcast hosting sites, but it’s a lot of work.” 

Building an Audience

Putting in time and effort into attracting listeners is just as important as planning and producing your podcast. “People won’t just give you their ears without good reason,” says Emma.

Posting in relevant online groups and on social media channels is a good way to spread the word. After your podcast has aired, take the time to reply to comments and engage with your audience. Creating a short-form promotional video for Instagram Stories, Reels or TikTok is also rising in popularity.

“Video content for podcasts – such as short clips of your best moments – has taken off massively on social media,” says Emma. “Some podcasters also create trailer-type videos for their podcasts.”

Simon branched out into video last year and cites it as one of his biggest successes. “We decided to start a YouTube channel to complement the podcast, and one of our videos now has over 30k views across a few different platforms,” he says.

Hot Tip: Make sure you’re passionate about your topic. Huge audiences don’t materialise overnight, so your podcast is likely to be a labour of love for a while. “Any good podcast won’t find success within its first few months, so you’ll need to be patient with seeing some form of interest or return,” says Simon. “Having that passion makes being patient easier.”

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Making Money From Your Podcast

First comes passion, dedication and effort, then you may start to spin a profit – maybe. This is no get-rich-quick scheme. “Monetising a podcast isn’t easy,” says Emma. “There are people making very good money from their shows, but you do need a substantial audience to even begin making a few hundred dollars.” 

There are a few ways to monetise your podcast:

  • Sponsorship: Brands pay you to mention them on air.
  • Affiliated links: You promote a coupon code or a trackable link from a brand and earn a fee if a listener clicks to make a purchase.
  • Advertising: “You can monetise your show by joining an ad network that serves ads into your show and gives you a split of the revenue, or you can sell ad space manually to companies yourself,” says Emma. 

But, it’s all about numbers, numbers, numbers. Podcast expert Rachel Corbett suggests download figures of 10,000 per episode to potentially monetise – which can take considerable time. “I’m only currently working on this myself now after podcasting for just over two years,” says Ben. “It’s definitely a marathon and not a sprint.”