The coach’s guide to launching a podcast

If you're an athletics coach, having your own podcast can be a fun and rewarding venture. If you play your cards right, you can even monetize your podcast to put some extra cash in your pocket each month.

Podcasts have, for the last several years, been increasing in popularity as either live or on-demand listening options. In my conversations with coaches, I've found that many of them listen to podcasts, whether related to athletics or other topics. Have you ever kicked around the idea of starting your own podcast? You should!

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How can I launch my own podcast?

There are really three reasons that you can begin your own podcast, and your show could even fall into all three of these categories at once.

1) Fun

2) Branding

3) Monetization

Sounds good, right? I've hosted, co-hosted, or been a guest on many podcasts over the years and can personally attest to the fact that podcasts can be great for one – or all – of the three categories I listed above. Maybe you're interested, but you simply don't know how to get started in building out your own podcast. There are plenty of questions, for sure. What type of equipment do I need? What's the cost? Where do I host my podcast? How do I push my podcast out to services like iTunes? How can I monetize it? The good news is that TheCoachBridge.com has put together a handy, step-by-step guide to get you started. Anyone can begin a podcast!

Step 1:  Game plan your show

Take it from someone who has made the mistake of wasting time by starting projects without having a clear plan laid out beforehand; you will want to do this.

What do you want your show to be about, primarily? Are you going to have guests? How long do you want each pod to run? What's the recording, editing, and release schedule? Don't get overwhelmed in thinking about these things, it's just a good idea to know so that you can work on your podcast more efficiently and have it ready to roll out sooner than later. For starters, perhaps line up a few guests that you have a relationship with who may be willing to come on the show. Jot down 5-10 topics you could cover on a given show.

Of course, you do need to come up with a name for your podcast, as well. When thinking of a name, consider several factors: what's the show's focus? Which type of folks are in your target audience? Can a potential listener get an idea of what he/she may hear on the show by looking at the title? Is it creative?

Don't sweat too much over your show title. It's important, but don't get analysis paralysis by spending hours upon end researching it. The content is the most important part!

Here's another helpful tip: as you grow your show's presence, you may want to create a dedicated website and have social media channels for it. Use a tool like NameCheckr to see if the name you've come up with is available. I also recommend typing your potential show name into Google and checking podcast directories (like Apple Music) just to make sure the name is not taken, trademarked, or the like.

Step 2: Choosing your podcasting tools

Alright, so we have a name and a general plan for your show in terms of possible content and a schedule. The next step is to pick out a key piece of equipment and grab some important software to help you actually put your plan into motion by recording. Know this: you don't need a fancy studio, expensive boom mics, and a soundboard to begin your podcast. If you want, you can eventually work up to bigger and better equipment. The truth is that if you're just starting out, some fairly simple tools will do. Your listening audience is not going to expect you to have a professional-quality podcast from the jump, but it is important that your sound quality is good enough that it is not going to turn off prospective regular listeners. To get started, you need to think about three main tools:

1. A microphone

2. A way to bring in guests

3. An audio editor 

Let's go ahead and cover number one, and that is choosing a microphone for your podcast. The best option here is to get a USB mic that you can easily plug into your computer. It's more affordable and easier to use for beginners, and still sounds very good if used properly.

Here's a really cool one that's under $50 that you can pick up on Amazon, and that's FIFINE's USB microphone. It's plug and play and compatible with both PC and Mac laptops/desktops. This microphone is extremely well-reviewed and going to be quite comparable to some other higher-dollar microphones that you may find on the market. Feel free to peruse Amazon or look at some if you pop in a store in person, as well. At the end of the day, find a microphone that you're comfortable using and that sounds good. You don't need to break the bank here. I've tested the FIFINE against the Blue Yeti personally on some of my past podcast offerings. In my opinion, the Blue Yeti does carry superior sound and functionality. If you want to spend a little more, go for it, because it's probably a worthwhile investment. The FIFINE, though, is going to do just fine for you, especially just starting out! With USB-style microphones, you'll just plug them in, make sure your computer's settings are set to use that microphone as your audio input, and then you're good to go!

Secondly, you need to find a way to bring in guests. For this, I highly recommend Zoom, which is a great option for video or audio broadcasting, and is going to be free for your purposes. Zoom makes it easy to record the audio from both you and your guest simultaneously, which means less editing for you. It is important to use a higher-quality microphone if you go this route, though, because the audio from Zoom calls may not be great on its own if just recorded through a webcam/standard audio input. I'll show you how to bring in and record a guest later.

Lastly, you need a way to edit your audio tracks together. How much work you have to do on this end depends on how you record and structure your show, but at a minimum you're going to have your intro and your guest interview to splice together. You may also choose to record an “opening monologue”, an outro, and other elements to put together.

There are free tools out there that can accomplish this, with Audacity probably checking in as the best option in this category. However, my preferred editor is Wondershare's Filmora.

As the name may reveal, Filmora is actually a video editor by trade. What I've found, though, is that the program makes it incredibly simple to drag-and-drop audio files to turn into a finished podcast product. The bonus here is that if you want to edit videos of any kind, or slap graphics/clips on your podcasts for video offerings, Filmora works perfectly there as well! There's nothing wrong with Audacity; I just find Audacity's interface carries a greater learning curve and is not as simple as Filmora. It's not expensive, either. If you make the “lifetime” purchase of Filmora, it's just $69.99. It's well-worth it if you decide to use it as your editor, and I'll show you how to put together your podcast using Filmora later.

Alright, our tools are now in place and I know you're itching to go ahead and record your first show. We'll get there soon, I promise.

Step 3: Choose your podcast hosting/distribution platform

Having a reliable, effective place to upload your podcast is paramount to the success of your podcast. A quality podcast hosting service is going to accomplish several things for you. First, and most importantly, it will serve as the host hub for all your episodes. Ideally, a podcast hosting service will also make it easy to submit your podcast to important directories like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. Lastly, it should be easy for beginners to upload and optimize their podcasts, and perhaps even give some built-in options to monetize your show.

There are plenty of options out there, with a mix of free and paid services. Even if you're just starting out, it's better to use a paid service because it will always come with more customization and better features. Yeah, you get what you pay for in podcasting, too.

My number one recommendation for coaches looking to begin a podcast is to use Buzzsprout because of its excellence in all the key areas. Buzzsprout does offer a free plan, but there are – as I mentioned earlier – some limitations. Shows are only archived for 90 days, you can only upload two hours of content per month, and you cannot place ads on your included podcast website. None of that is good for you as you try to build your show's following.  However, Buzzsprout's paid plans are very affordable and will include everything you need to get started.

Each Buzzsprout plan includes statistics for your podcast, a dedicated website, custom players for embedding on other websites, a high bandwidth limit, and ability to easily be listed in key podcast directories.

Big bonus here for Buzzsprout: on top of the fact that they will let you try their service for 90 days, you also can nab a $20 Amazon gift card when using TheCoachBridge.com's referral link. You can try them for 90 days, and then once you go through two billing cycles, you get your $20 Amazon gift card.

Step 4: Additions to “level up” your show

OK, now you have your equipment in hand and your Buzzsprout account in place and you're growing impatient as you read this. Don't worry, recording, editing, and dropping your first podcast is up right after this. There are two more things you will need to really make your show pop and to give you the best chance of success. You'll be happy all this is finished before you record so that it's out of the way and you don't have to make it up as you go along or spend time finding it after your show is already recorded and edited. Before you record your first show, it's a good idea to have these things in place:

1. Show intro and outro. If you listen to podcasts now, watch movies or TV, or listen to the radio, all those programs have some type of introduction. To maximize the professional feel of your show, consider getting a custom introduction with music and audio done for your podcast. You can use this for every single one of your shows going forward. This can be as simple as a royalty-free music track that plays as you begin your show, or can be a well-produced track complete with a radio-style voiceover. You can do this for an outro as well!.

I recommend checking out Fiverr – an awesome marketplace of creators – and searching for “podcast intros” or “podcast outros”. You'll see a bunch of results for folks who can produce intros and outros for you. Each creator will have a star rating based on past work, and you can check out samples and pricing by clicking on their profiles. Once you find one that you want to work with, that person will deliver you a completed audio file for an agreed-upon rate and turnaround time. You can then have that audio handy and simply drop it in during the editing process. Below is an image of the type of results you may get when searching on Fiverr:

2.  Cover art. This is a small graphic that is basically an illustration of your show that will show up in directories like Apple Podcasts and Google Play, among others. You'll need this for submission to directories. Here's an example of cover art from some top-rated shows in the Apple Podcast directories. They look just like little thumbnails.

Where can I get cover art? Yep, Fiverr may be the easiest way to do this as well. If you have a design eye and the right software (there are some free options out there), then go for it! If you want to save some time, Fiverr is an affordable way to get connected with a designer that can quickly get you quality podcast art that will easily integrate with Buzzsprout and make your show pop in directories. Below is another screenshot of the type of results you can expect when searching for cover art creators on Fiverr.

Step 5: Record and edit your first show

Alright, it's finally time to record! I know the steps above may have seemed like a lot of work, but the good news is that all of that stuff is out of the way. Now, all you have to do is record your shows, edit them, and drop them into Buzzsprout for your finished podcast. Let's work on recording your first one. By now, the only thing you should be missing is the actual audio content from your show: any type of spoken introduction you want to make, a monologue, a guest interview. You can easily record all of that and then put it all together with your other elements like your show intro and outro during the editing process. I highly recommend creating a folder on your computer with all of the nuts and bolts of your podcast, so that everything is organized and easy to find.

Here's a step-by-step on how to actually arrange your show:

RECORDING YOUR INDIVIDUAL AUDIO

If you want to record some solo audio for your show (a monologue, a custom intro, an ad read, whatever!), Filmora makes that incredibly easy. Just open Filmora and look under the video preview screen, which should be blank. Find the icon that looks like a professional podcast microphone. Click it, and a small window will pop up. There's a list menu under “devices”, and there is where you'll want to make sure that your preferred high-quality microphone is selected. When you're ready to record, hit the red microphone button. You will get a 3…2…1 countdown, and then you can speak and record. When you're finished up, press the stop button. Then, press OK. The program will automatically drop your audio file down onto the timeline. I would recommend pressing the green “export” button and saving that audio file (make sure you give it a name that makes sense and drop it into your preferred folder) so that you'll have it for later.

If you want to have guests on your show – and you should – then you'll need a method for bringing them in and recording. The two tools I have experience with are Zoom and Streamyard. Zoom is free to use, and StreamYard is a paid tool. I've attached tutorials for both below, although I can tell you I use StreamYard in my ventures for reasons that I'll go into below.

RECORDING A GUEST INTERVIEW USING ZOOM

To bring in a podcast guest and record using Zoom, here are the easy steps:

1) Open Zoom and click “New Meeting” (you can have the video on or off, according to your preferences. Zoom will automatically give you a separate audio recording at the end regardless).

2) Click “Join with computer audio”. Test your audio connection by speaking (make sure you have your high-quality microphone hooked up and selected within Zoom's preferences) and you'll see green waves on the microphone icon in the bottom left-hand corner. Note that you can start your video if you'd like as well. This allows you to be “face-to-face” with your guest, which could help your conversation. Once you finish recording your interview, Zoom will give you a separate file with audio only either way, which is what you'll need to save for the editing process.

3) Click the icon that says “Invite Others”, then choose email and your preferred email service. Send the invite that automatically populates to your guest's email address.

4) Once your guest joins the meeting, you'll see the “Participants” tab on the bottom go from 1 to 2. Click there, and you may need to hit “Admit” to bring your guest into the meeting. Make sure nobody is muted and that audio connections are good on both ends.

5) Now, hit record on the bottom tab to ensure that your meeting is being recorded. Do this at the beginning so that you don't forget, you can always edit later!

6) Once your interview has concluded, hit the “stop” button on the “Pause/Stop Recording” option on the bottom. Then, click the red “End Meeting” button, and select “End Meeting for All”.

7) Zoom will automatically populate a window with three files. The one you'll need for your podcast has a file extension ending in .m4A. Rename it to something that makes sense, and then drop it into your podcast folder.

If you prefer a video tutorial on this process, check out the one I've created below!

 

 

MORE ON STREAMYARD

StreamYard is a tool that you can use to livestream and/or record guest interviews. A paid plan removes StreamYard's watermarks, can stream simultaneously to Facebook, Periscope, and YouTube, allows you to add custom branding/logos, and records your streams for later usage.

Once you're finished with your interview (whether it's a livestream or not), StreamYard has an easy-to-use tool that gives you an audio recording to download. You can then drop that recording right into Filmora and edit it into your show! Again, StreamYard is something I use multiple times a week for a live streaming sports show, and we convert the recorded audio into a podcast. When you use TheCoachBridge.com's referral link to StreamYard, you get a free $10 credit to use toward your monthly plan. 

You're now ready to drop your interview into the editor! 

PUTTING TOGETHER YOUR ELEMENTS FOR A FINAL PRODUCT!

Almost finished! Don't be afraid of the editing process; Filmora's drag-and-drop format makes it very easy!

Remember that you should have all your separate audio files already in a folder on your computer; for example, your show intro, your monologue, your guest interview, your outro. Once you get the hang of this part, it's very simple. For your convenience, I put together a quick video tutorial that shows exactly how to put together and export your show. Check it out below! Once you complete this process and export your final podcast file, you're ready to upload it and get it out to the world!

Step 6: Submit and publish your first show on Buzzsprout!

 Like I mentioned earlier, we're going to use Buzzsprout as our vehicle of choice to publish your podcast. Here are the easy steps to follow:

Log in to your account, then click the green “Upload a New Episode” button.

Drag and drop your .mp3 audio file, or click the green “Choose a file to upload” button and find your file on your PC. 

You'll then have the option to title your episode, enter your show description (you can include links, if you want!) and to upload your episode artwork. If you're breaking your podcast down into “seasons” and want to include episode numbers, Buzzsprout lets you do that as well! My guess is that your coaching podcast isn't going to be explicit, but if it is, make sure you mark that, too!

You can choose to publish the show immediately or schedule it for a later date, but make sure you check your preferred option on the right hand side. Then click the green “Save Episode Details” button!

Congratulations, you've just launched your podcast! Remember that Buzzsprout shoots out your podcast to all the major services and that you also have your own unique URL where your show can be found.

One other addition you could make? Consider connecting your show link to a custom domain name, or even creating a website to feature your show.

Be sure to tell your friends – and us – about your show!

I would love to hear your feedback or answer your questions in the comments!

Chris Clark
Chris Clark

I'm a sports media professional with over 11 years of experience, having built lasting relationships across the coaching profession. I want to help you reach your goals in the coaching industry and learn how to make side income in just like I did!

Hey, I'm Chris Clark!

Hey, I'm Chris Clark!

I’m a sports media professional with over 11 years of experience, and I started TheCoachBridge.com to help athletics coaches level up in the industry and reach their personal and professional goals!

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