For those that have never produced a podcast before here are 6 facts every rookie podcaster should know before they get started.

1: You Don’t Need an iPod to Listen to a Podcast

The podcast publishing model has changed drastically since Apple coined the term. That being said Apple iTunes is still a huge player in the podcast publishing model. I would say about 80% of podcast downloads still happen on iTunes but even then you don’t have to be an iPhone user to get access. Anyone with the free iTunes software (available on Mac and PC) can start using podcasts right now.

More recently podcasts have exploded onto other publishing platforms for even wider distribution. Stitcher Radio is quickly becoming a podcast leader and they publish hundreds of new podcasts every week. Media hosting providers like PodBean, Libsyn, Blubrry and PodOmatic focus specifically on podcast publishing as a service allowing thousands of podcasters across the globe to stream their audio recordings on their websites. Soundcloud is even pivoting from music to more of a podcasting model, and they have a gorgeous embeddable audio player. You may not realize this but YouTube is also a popular place to publish a podcast. To put it simply you aren’t just speaking to the iPhone user anymore. Anyone with internet access can listen to a podcast.

2: Producing a Podcast is Essentially Free and Publishing is Cheap

Radio shows like Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh have huge budgets and six figure studio setups to produce their shows. Don’t be fooled. You need none of that. Many podcasts are produced with incredibly modest technology. Technically all you need is the built-in microphone on your computer. If you want even just a little better audio quality you can get a Blue Yeti for a small investment. That being said, don’t let the equipment be a hurdle to starting your podcast, it’s negligible.

You may want to edit your podcast to remove any unwanted sounds like “um’s” and “uh’s”, add an intro and outro or get rid of awkward fumbling with technology at the beginning and ends of the recording. All of these artifacts can be easily edited in and out of your recording with basic audio editing software. iMovie has enough firepower to edit any audio track and there are plenty of free editors out there for download. Just google around.

Look into the publishing platforms mentioned above. I would start with Soundcloud. It’s free.

3: You Need to Build a Community Online AND Offline

Don’t expect hundreds of people to start rushing to your podcast as soon as you publish an episode. You have to get the word out just like anything else, and the best way to market anything is still in person. Go to local networking events, conferences and meetups and proudly announce your podcast to everyone you meet. This is in addition to regular updates on your newsletter, blog and social media outlets. Never stop talking about and mentioning your podcast.

One of the beauties of a podcast is that it’s mobile. Do some live recordings at industry dinners and schedule time for a round of quick interviews with other experts at a live event. They will likely let you record them so long as you send them a free copy of the podcast. Also ask them to distribute it do their own audiences. It’s a great way to leverage their networks rather than building your own from scratch.

4: It’s OK to Ask for the A-Lister’s Interview

Don’t let your meager audience stop you from catching those big fish. You will be surprised who will say yes to a podcast interview. Authors of new books, public speakers, business owners, internet moguls. All these people are either trying to sell something or they love to hear themselves talk. If given an opportunity to market their product to another network they will.

Try to time your ask at critical junctures in their career if possible. Did they just launch a book? Do a TED talk? Receive an award? Giving them an opportunity to talk about their latest big win is a great way to get an easy “Yes”. Although it may be intimidating, the worst thing that could happen is that they say no.

5: Promote and Market your Podcast in Multiple Outlets

Always post the podcast in as many places as you can. Of course it will on iTunes or Soundcloud first, but make sure it’s on your website, social media and email blast. Also, the only way to make a podcast searchable by Google is to transcribe it into text. Take the time to do this and post the transcription on your blog, or you can have Rev do it for you for $1 a minute. You will attract organic search traffic and now they have an option to either read or listen to your podcast. Then, each new podcast becomes a new page of content.

Add the link to your podcast on your email signature and business card so that every email you send you market your podcast. Mention it on Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis (use Bit.Ly to track link clicks). Register your podcast with various podcast directories – there are at least 50 directories if you do a few Google searches.

If you are serious you can even do a PPC campaign and write a press release for your podcast.

6: SEO Optimize your Podcast’s Name and Description

Use Google Keyword Planner to find out the best keywords to include in your title and meta description. Don’t just go with what sounds good, go with what people are actually searching for online. Do this same thing for the description of each podcast and be sure to include names of your guests, where they work and other “hooks” that might draw people into your content. Also think about categorizing your content in more than one place in iTunes. For instance a business podcast could live in “Business > Business News” as well as “Business > Management & Marketing”. iTunes allows up to two categories.

Don’t Forget…

The most important thing to remember is to just do it no matter what. Don’t let technology or lack of experience stop you from putting the thing out there. Imperfect action is better than no action at all.

Hope this helps!