It’s a fact that more people are listening to podcasts than ever before, and it’s also true that there are certainly more podcasts available than ever before! But even with podcasting becoming more and more popular, sometimes, particularly if you’re just starting out in the industry, there are some podcast-related questions you just wish you knew the answer to. There may even be some questions you’re simply too afraid to ask. But never fear! We’ve got you covered with answers to some of the most frequently asked podcasting questions. The questions range from simple starting out questions to more in-depth queries both established and newbie podcasters alike may want to know the answers to. So let’s get right to it with the most basic of podcasting questions out there…
1. What is a Podcast?
This answer is brought to you courtesy of the modern wonder, Google. According to the most famous of search engines, “a podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.” Basically, podcasts are topic-focused, pre-recorded audio shows, similar to the radio shows of old, which are usually released periodically, and which you can store on your mobile device and enjoy whenever and wherever you so desire via a podcast directory. There are a variety of different types of podcasts. They can have a single host, or be hosted by a number of people, they can be fiction or non-fiction, interview-based or solo segments, and range from short 10-minute episodes to long-form discussions of over an hour. The only limit to the type of podcast you can create is your own creativity! Podcasts are delivered to your ears via a podcast host and an RSS feed, which brings us to the next question…
2. What is a Podcast Host?
Once you’ve made the decision to start a podcast, and perhaps even recorded your first few episodes, you now need to make your podcast available to your listeners. This is where a podcast host comes in. A podcast host is basically the place where your podcast lives on the Internet and the place from where your podcast is distributed to the vast variety of website players and podcast directories available. There are many options when it comes to podcast hosts, and some of the most popular choices include Buzzsprout, Libsyn, and Podbean. There are different pricing plans available, ranging from free to monthly installments, and so you will have to do a little research to see which company will best meet your needs. Another important function of podcast hosting companies is that they will create and automatically update your RSS feed for you, which brings us to…
3. What is an RSS Feed?
As was mentioned above, one of the main functions of a podcast host is the provision of your podcast’s RSS feed. In a nutshell, an RSS feed is a text file written in XML format which contains all the identifying details of your podcast, namely all titles and all descriptions, as well as the actual web location of your podcast. Your show’s RSS feed is what enables listeners to find and subscribe to your podcast, without having to search for and visit the exact website where it is located to check if you’ve uploaded a new episode. The RSS feed will automatically update podcast directories with all the new content pertaining to your show and will also download this new content to the podcast app or player your listener’s use, provided they are subscribed to your show. I know it may sound a little technical, but that’s the beauty of a podcast host – it will do all of the necessary tech work of getting your show to your listeners for you! All you need to do is keep creating and uploading your episodes.
4. Is It Too Late To Start a Podcast?
Another popular question is whether or not the podcasting ship has sailed and if it’s too late to hop aboard. The short answer is a resounding “No!” In fact, it’s never been a better time to start a podcast! But how can we be sure? Well firstly, let’s look at the data. As of the end of April 2020, there were over 1,000,000 active podcasts, with huge numbers of podcasts joining the ranks on a monthly basis. These figures in themselves serve to show that the podcasting industry is one that continues to boom. As further proof that it’s not too late to join the game, each year we’re finding a new “break-out” show. (Think 2014’s Serial, In The Dark brought to us by 2016, and 2019’s massive hit, The Dropout!) The fact that every year brings us at least one new “it” show is proof that it is most definitely not too late to start a podcast! As the number of people who regularly listen to podcasts continues to grow, the more opportunity there will be to join the industry.
5. Will I Make Money Podcasting?
The best way to answer this question is to give the advice that making money should not be your sole motivation for starting a podcast. Many experts in the industry would likely give you the same advice. If your main motivation for starting a podcast is to find fame and fortune, you’re probably going to be disappointed really quickly and may even give up the endeavor altogether, and you’d be missing out on being a part of the amazing podcast community! The bottom line is that making money perhaps shouldn’t be the sole reason you decide to start a podcast. However, with that being said, it is definitely possible to generate some money from your podcast. As your audience expands, it opens you up to sponsorship opportunities where companies could pay you for endorsing their brand or products in your episodes or could offer you payment for advertising spots between your segments. You could also develop and sell your own products or ask for donations via platforms such as Patreon. Ultimately, making money from your podcast will be in relation to how hard you are willing to work to make your podcast profitable. It is important to remember that podcasting is really rewarding, but in terms of monetary rewards, this is not a given.
If you want more information on how to make podcasting profitable, you could check out our posts on How To Monetize Your Podcast By Selling Your Own Products, 3 Easy Steps To Accepting Donations For Your Podcast, or even our post on Host-Read Ads And Affiliate Marketing: Strategies To Monetize Your Podcast.
6. Will I Become Famous By Podcasting?
The answer to this question follows very closely to the answer above, and that being, probably not. The percentage of people that actually “become famous” from podcasting is super small in comparison to the number of podcasts out there, so if you’re only starting a podcast in the hopes of rubbing shoulders with A-list celebs, you probably should reconsider your reason for starting in the first place. However, while you might not become famous, starting a podcast will allow you to connect with an amazing community, and enable you to form real bonds with your listeners. Podcasting is an incredibly special medium that allows the formation of an almost-personal relationship between podcast hosts and their listeners, which, in our opinion, is even better than finding fame!
7. Can Anybody Start a Podcast?
Yup! Absolutely anyone can start a podcast! All you really need is your niche topic, some way to record and edit your episodes, a podcast host, and you’re all set. Recording can be done simply and easily on your mobile device of choice, or if you are willing to invest a bit more into the sound quality, then you could purchase a quality microphone and set of headphones. You also don’t need to be super tech-savvy to get an amazing-sounding podcast. There are so many resources out there that can show you how to master your editing software, but there are also some great companies that can turn your raw material into an audio masterpiece, giving you the time to create your valuable content. Podcasting really is for anyone and everyone who has the drive and desire to start one.
Related read: How To Plan For Recording Your First Podcast Episode
8. Does Podcasting Take a Lot of Time?
This question does not have a simple answer. It definitely does take time to podcast. You have to plan your content, record the episode, arrange and schedule interviews, and edit your raw audio, but how much time is dependent on a variety of factors. Firstly, how often you publish episodes will determine how much time you need to spend on your show. If you release one episode every two weeks, then the time commitment will be considerably less than if you publish an episode weekly. But there are also some time-management techniques you can employ to maximize your time, as well as a whole host of tips and tricks you can learn to speed up the time spent on your podcast. From editing shortcuts to productivity hacks, there are a plethora of clever ways to speed up the time spent on your podcast, ensuring that it remains an endeavor worth your time.
Related read: How To Boost Your Podcasting Productivity
9. How Do I Advertise My Podcast?
So you’ve published your first few episodes, but just how do you get more listeners? Now more than ever, there are some great resources at your disposal to really get your podcast out there and noticed. Obviously, getting your podcast on the different podcast directories is your first step, and sharing your link far and wide with your family, friends, as well as your mailing list is another great strategy for building up your group of loyal listeners. In terms of really getting your show out there, however, the different social media platforms are your biggest allies for advertising your podcast. Audiograms on Instagram, posts on Facebook, as well as tweets, TikToks, live stories, and more, are just some of the creative ways you can get people sitting up, taking notice, and listening to your incredible show. Do a little exploring, create some great content, and get sharing!
Related reads: Best Places To Promote Your Podcast
10. What’s the Best Thing About Podcasting?
The answer? So many things! First up, podcasting introduces you to some incredible people from all over the world. From fellow podcasters to avid podcast listeners, you’ll get to meet some truly great individuals. Whether you actually meet in person at podcast events, or you connect virtually via the World Wide Web, podcasting is a great networking opportunity and is a channel through which meaningful relationships can be formed. Another great thing about podcasting is that it can bring a sense of inner self-achievement and a great feeling of achievement when you’re able to share your content and your content, in turn, helps those who hear it. Getting positive feedback from your listeners is really special and makes all the effort totally worth it! Last, but definitely not least, podcasting is a versatile, creative medium that you can really have fun with. Whether it’s an outlet for your personal passions or a business strategy, a podcast can be an invaluable resource that connects you with so many great people and gives back far more than you could ever imagine!
And there you have it, our answers to some of the biggest, most-asked podcast-related questions out there. Sometimes, we’re just too embarrassed to ask what we think others will deem as “stupid” questions, but as the old adage goes, “The only stupid question is the one not asked.” So ask away! The Internet is full of valuable resources just for podcasters to help you get your i’s dotted and t’s crossed when it comes to podcasting, but don’t neglect the wonderful podcasting community you’re now a part of! It’s full of some amazing people who are more than willing to help you along your journey and answer any and all podcasting questions you might have. You’ve just got to be brave enough to ask!