Note to all: this article was initially written 2 years ago and was due for an update. So, here’s an all-in, in-depth 2021 tutorial on how to do a podcast with WordPress. Every step of the way on creating your next best podcast you can host on WordPress, build a solid website for it, and promote it throughout the internet. Like a boss, and here’s how!
About podcasts… As Apple announced at WWDC 2018, there are more than 550,000 podcasts and rising. The number itself is a significant sign that people do love audio content, respond to it well and good quality podcast content is in demand. So, if you’re thinking about whether it’s a good idea or not, I’m here to tell you yes and guide you to start a podcast with WordPress. Here’s why.
Podcast stats and trends
- Did you know that more Americans today know what a podcast is than know who’s the current Vice President?
- And that 12 million people listened to a podcast for the first time this year alone?
- Or that almost 50% of podcasts are being listened at home?
All the more reasons you should consider learning how you can implement a podcast into your business/branding strategy.
Think of this article as your go-to friendly beginner’s guide to podcasting with WordPress and let us know how you did, ok?
But, before we dig deep into the actual steps…
What are podcasts and how do they work?
Simply put, a podcast is an audio format type of content people subscribe to download and listen to. It’s recorded and published as a series of episodes on a certain topic and/or similar ones. Think of it as a modern radio show. To work, you need two main things:
- an audio file (recorded by you)
- an RSS Feed (that target audience download and listen, often subscribe to be updated)
In order for podcasts to work, they need to be uploaded only in .mp3, .m4a, .ogg, or .wav formats. And, there are two ways to listen to a podcast. One is through an RSS feed, and the other via players such as iTunes or a Soundcloud (more on that later). And because WordPress has a built-in RSS feed, it’s only natural most people use it as a go-to tool for starting a podcast. Which is why this article is exactly about that. But, first things first.
How to start a podcast?
Do the research, create valuable content, test and track results, iterate. What do people want to hear about? Why would they listen to you? Who are the relevant people you can interview? How often should you post? Gather as much data as you can and let it be the driving force for making decisions. Why? It’ll help you stay focus and relevant to your target audience and save you from wasting time on topics no one would like to engage with. Find out what your target audience’s problems are. Is it guidance? Motivation? Specific how-to solution or your product or service? Find out then think of ways you can solve them with your podcast.
- define a concept that evolves around a specific niche, topics, as well as a name of your podcast/brand
- define your design: brand logo, brand colors, description, typography, and all that comes within branding your podcast so it’s memorable and recognizable
- test your gear: you can start small, with a phone and built-in mic, have audio and video editing apps (promotion wise), just as long as it’s working well.
- choose the right hosting option and build a website for your podcast business
And, just because it’s that important: know your why.
Why are you starting a podcast, what stories you want to share, who is it for and why should they listen to it?
Answering these questions will clear everything up and help you set up and finish all the steps mentioned above.
Must haves of every podcast
Before we start with every step explanation, one thing to note. Above all the rest, don’t start with a podcast if you’re not fully ready to commit to it. Podcasting needs a serious investment of your time, knowledge, and willingness to share whatever message you might have. It’s not a campaign type of work or something as a spare of the moment. Now that we got that cleared out, let’s see how to launch a podcast and what role does WordPress has in it all.
1. Find a topic
What it is you’re good at, what is your passion, and what is the thing you know much about? How is it relevant to your target audience? Define these things and write down all the topics you could cover as a podcast. Is it something people would be interested in? Let’s say your podcast is about traveling since you’re a travel blogger or thinking of becoming one. Apart from building a travel blog from scratch using WordPress, you can improve it with podcasts as well! So, you could cover topics such as budget-friendly trips, solo travel tips and tricks, interview travel influencers, travel agencies, interesting people you meet on your trips, and so on. The point is – you want to provide additional value to your readers by offering them a new experience. You get the idea.
2. Choose a name
It should be easy to remember and relevant to you and your topics. If you already have a blog, you can name it the same or go with the modification, as examples/recommendations down below did. Either way, make it short, relevant, and memorable. Your podcast is and should be a part of your brand so make sure it has a good name.
3. Episode ideas
As covered in point one, once you set up topics, it’s easier to write down episode ideas. Choose a niche then widen it with all the relevant things you can cover within it. Interviews, how-to’s, tips and tricks, do’s and don’ts, instagramic locations (did you see our post about Belgrade’s?), just to name a few. All that is needed to make your podcast diverse and stand out, every once in a while, have an interview with relevant people from your niche, have your say about a certain topic, do a review or a recap (like we did with WordPress 2018 highlights), and so on.
What do you need to start a successful podcast? First of all, a good solid website (or a blog) – hence WordPress, and good quality equipment, not that built-in computer mic, no way. So, invest some money into proper tools such as a USB microphone and a headphone. Or, if you’re just starting, you can always begin with your iPhone or Android phone and then in time upgrade to an advanced level with more equipment. There are quite a few apps that turn your recordings into podcast worthy episodes:
A free app that helps you create and host podcast episodes in a few clicks.
A professional audio/video recording app to help you produce great content for your podcast.
An iPhone-only app for creating, editing, and sharing your audio content as podcast episodes.
Also, invest your time in learning your way around audio editing tools. To mention a few:
- Audacity, a great audio recording/editing tool that is completely free to use. There’s a bit of a learning curve but certainly worth your time to get to know this tool.
- Alitu, another great and beginner-friendly podcast production tool that has (almost) all of your editing, processing, and publishing work for you.
5. Podcast optimization
Just as any other type of content, podcasts need optimization as well. That means to include proper keywords in your title, podcast description, make sure to include your publisher name, and that every episode has the intro description. That way, you’re helping people find you among thousands of podcast episodes that are published each day. And, just as in written content form, make sure your episodes cover well-researched and high-quality content, that the recording is good and that you have the proper visuals. Talking about that, every podcast and its episodes need to have a Cover Art, the right image aligned with the iTunes specifications, which are:
- a minimum 1400 x 1400-pixel resolution, recommended 3000 x 3000 pixels
- JPEG or PNG file
- must be in the RGB color space
Make your visuals memorable, aligned with your brand, and visually appealing. You don’t need a designer or design knowledge to create them. Simply use any of the photo editing apps we mentioned in our article, they’ll do the trick just fine.
While we’re on the subject of publishing, can’t go without talking about doing a podcast with WordPress so…
How to start your podcast with WordPress?
Now, as explained in the Equipment section, you really need a good website or a blog to start a successful audio show. That is why we made this guide on how to start a podcast with WordPress as it is the most reliable website building platform out there. Not to mention it comes with so many features and tools you’ll be running it in no time! Here’s how to do it.
Find the theme you’d be most comfortable with (might as well check out some of ours), choose the right plugins(s), define settings, upload your podcasts and submit them to iTunes. Easy, right? 🙂 Now, let us explain step by step.
Once you choose the right theme (worth mentioning we do have just the perfect ones, named Vlog and Voice, and some even more aligned described below), it’s all about setting up the proper plugin. But, before we dig deeper into plugin explanation, just to go over the Vlog theme, since it comes with a built-in podcast optimized subtheme so you can pick and use it as you please! The podcast theme option is designed to fully enhance your audio/video recording content and is easy to implement and use. The theme supports various audio/video player options, as well as a built-in one so you’ll have no trouble setting your podcast up with this theme. For more details and real-time tryouts, visit our demo site and explore some more!
WordPress podcast plugins
Podcast plugins are the tool that transforms any ordinary blog or a website into a real-deal podcast machine. And they do it much easier and efficient than you’d do with any other website-building platform. But, with so many plugins on the WordPress directory, which one to choose? Here are the ones we recommend.
Easy to use a plugin that publishes your audio content with minimal settings to go through. It offers you all you need to start a podcast as well as a good number of features to further improve your podcast business. As podcasts are heavy and can mess with your site severely, this plugin is integrated with Castos, the podcast hosting platform, which saves you space on your server and gives you the ability to manage everything within your dashboard.
All you need to do to set it up is install it, then go to Podcast>Add New to upload your episodes, then to Podcast>Settings to customize it and you’re good to go.
Worth checking it out for sure.
Another great free WordPress podcast plugin that comes with the full Apple and Google Play support. Moreover, it has an SEO feature that helps you customize and optimize your podcast episodes so they can be more visible in iTunes and Google. And you get the basic podcast metrics within your WordPress dashboard.
Pro tip: If you don’t have the means or will to invest money into premium media hosts, you can always use archive.org to upload your audio media files. Sure, it has limited features and not-100%-accurate stats, but it’s a go-to tool for starts. And talking about stats, you can use Blubrry’s free stats feature that helps you track the engagement and download rate of your episodes.
One of our free plugins that can make and transform any blog or website into a podcast worthy WordPress site. In case you don’t want to start podcasting with WordPress from scratch, Meks Audio Player comes with several smart options that automatically detect audio inside the content and play it in a full-featured sticky audio player. Initially created as a support for our Megaphone podcast theme, but is now open for use on any WordPress-based site.
7. Podcast submission
Now, there are many podcast streaming services but iTunes is still the biggest one which is why we’ll explain to you how to submit your podcasts to this service. As written in their own tutorial, there are several steps to go through with submitting a podcast. After you record your podcast, make sure to save it in iTunes supported format, such as .mp3, .mp4, or .m4a, .mov, .m4v, .pdf, .epub. Upload it to the dedicated audio host, use one of the plugins to feature your podcast episodes s a link within your post and you’re nearly there. WordPress itself automatically includes the link to the file in your RSS feed that is needed for podcast submission. Open up an iTunes account, submit your podcast feed for validation, and after you get the green light, it’s time for the last step which is submitting the podcast. Yes, a bit complicated but that’s what is needed. And of course, all steps are explained in detail within Podcast Connect Help.
So, after you validate your podcast, go to Podcast Connect, click Submit for a previously validated podcast, then OK and if all is right, you’ll see your podcast in the dashboard along with the Submitted for Review status. Afterward, you’ll receive two emails from Apple – one as a submission confirmation and the other one as a confirmation email with the link to your active podcast.
8. Podcast Promotion
Podcasts are a great way to build more personal relationships with your community, enhance your brand message, and build and improve the authority position within your niche. So, how to promote it? Use the power of Social Media, of course! Share your podcast links to Facebook and Twitter, ask your friends to help you spread the word about it, don’t shy away from Facebook advertising – it’s a great investment that gets you to the right target audience. Also, it’s good to have a transcript of your podcast episode or a summary as a blog post. That way, you’re helping people inform themselves about the topic and optimizing it for search engines. The power of SEO is big there 🙂 Or, you can create a short teaser or intro video, describing what the podcast is about, publish it on YouTube or as a Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn post. Include y link to your podcast within your email signatures, in Social Media bios, newsletters… Every little bit helps.
WordPress podcasts to subscribe to
We couldn’t finish this guide without WordPress-related podcast recommendations so here are several we listen to regularly.
A podcast dedicated to WordPress development and brought to you by Brad Touesnard and Pippin Williamson. A must-subscribe if you’re a WordPress developer since it’s a podcast that covers everything about code, theme, and plugin development.
If you’re a freelancer, product creator, agency owner this podcast is for you! A WordPress-related weekly podcast made for digital businesses with plenty of actionable advice, interesting industry interviews, and the most relevant WordPress/business tips and tricks.
Want to learn WordPress? This is the right podcast for you! Your Website Engineer is a podcast started by Dustin Hartzler who is a Happiness Engineer at Automattic so he really has plenty of experience to share with you. Everything from the needed skills to master WordPress to learning how to create a WordPress website, Dustin will teach you.
An all things WordPress live weekly podcast that comes from the WP Tavern’s kitchen. It’s led by the WP Tavern’s owner Jeff Chandler and a WordPress marketer Marcus Couch. Everything and anything from the WordPress ecosystem you’ll find in this weekly roundup.
Created wor the WordPress consultants this podcast provides you with tons of business-related materials, tips and tricks, and solid, actionable advice on how to run your growth. Whether you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur, or an agency/small business owner, this is a must listen and subscribe podcast. Troy Dean is the man behind this podcast, but not just that. He’s the man behind the Agency Mavericks training program for WordPress consultants so you might as well check that too.
We couldn’t end up this podcast with a WordPress guide without mentioning specific niche developed podcast WordPress themes. Nonother than our pride and joy named Megaphone and Roogan. So, what’s the catch with them?
Knowing how the podcast industry is well developed and diversified, we came up with the idea of creating two similar yet very different WordPress podcast themes. Why? Because there are brands, and companies, and other legal entities and then, there are individuals who both want their stories to be heard, with or without video content as a backup. With that in mind, Megaphone and Roogan are created to be of use to all of these categories.
On one hand, we have Megaphone, a fully-featured WordPress theme created to help you set up and manage your audio podcast website in no time.
And then, we have Roogan, which is a personal podcast theme, made for creatives, corporate players, doctors, journalists – just anyone looking to start a podcast website, but also have video content to accompany it.
Depending on your needs and ideas, you can go with either one and not regret it – we guarantee it! And, just in case you’re still wondering, there is a 7 days free tryout period to make sure if any of them suits your needs before purchasing. Give it a go and let us know how it works – our support team is more than happy to hear and walk you through it.
What are the advantages of having podcast WordPress themes?
One of the main ones is that you don’t have to do any additional work in changing and optimizing a theme to suits your podcast needs. With a podcast-made theme, you get the final product that showcases your episodes in the most useful, engaging, and pleasant way. The very first glance on your site clearly states what it’s all about and visitors are not confused nor misinformed. Furthermore, it gives you a more professional look and sleek vibe people like and enjoys. Not to mention, having your webspace, a dedicated site is a good way to promote other podcast-related stuff, like bonus content, or even expand with other types of content, products, and services as well. It’s all about building a good perception while building and nurturing your brand. And a good WordPress podcast theme sure helps with that.
As you can see from the podcast recommendation section, all of these podcasters have a website as the base of their podcast business. So, don’t just take our word and this guide for it, see first-handed how podcasts and WordPress (yup, they’re built on it) go well with each other. And when you decide to start, let this guide help you with each and every step towards starting a podcast business with WordPress.
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