Whether you want to start a branded podcast to help reach specific marketing goals, hit business objectives, promote a new product or service, or something else, this complete guide is the perfect jumping off point. By the end, you’ll know how to define, design, plan, record, edit, publish, distribute, and promote your own show in the quickest, hassle-free way possible.
Let’s dive straight in…
Think of launching your podcast like building a house. If you don’t lay a solid foundation, your house (or in this case, podcast) probably won’t be around for very long. Taking time to nail down exactly what your show is about, and who it’s for, is one of the best ways to give your podcast real staying power.
So, let's explore how to refine your podcast idea and develop an action plan to bring it to life.
There’s no point creating, recording, and producing a branded podcast if you’re not sure who your target listener is. Who do you want it to reach? And who do you actually want to buy your product or service? Getting clear on these points early on means you can adapt your language, tone, and overall strategy to speak to the right people directly. Failing to do this can result in unclear messaging, and you run the risk of producing a show that doesn’t really resonate with anyone.
If you try to make a podcast that pleases everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one.
It goes without saying there are already a lot of podcasts out there. Carrying out some competitor research on other branded podcasts in your space will give you an idea of what listeners want to hear, and what’s already been covered. You don’t want to simply replicate another brand’s style or concept. Instead, look at what already exists and think how you can add your own unique spin. What angle or perspective can you offer that others can’t? Once you have an idea of what's currently performing well in your niche, you’ll find it much easier to develop a concept that’s relevant yet different enough to stand out.
Once you’ve defined your target audience, brainstorming what you know about them can be useful when finding the right concept for your branded podcast. What topics do you think they’ll generally want to hear about, and find valuable? What part of your chosen topic matters most to them? What do they struggle with? What makes them laugh? As long as your content resonates with those individuals, it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. And if you can find genuine pain points and pitch helpful solutions on your show, you’re golden.
Whatever topic you choose, make sure you’re very knowledgeable about it. If you aren’t, it’ll become painfully apparent to your listeners fairly quickly.
Ask yourself, are you genuinely excited by this topic? Is it relevant to your brand? Could you talk about it for hours? Do you already keep up with the latest news and developments in its niche? And are you happy to build your entire podcast brand around this subject? If the answer to all these is “yes”, then your chosen topic is a good fit.
That all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. But a good rule of thumb to follow is:
If you want to build your brand’s professional network, generate leads, or sell a product or service, an interview-based podcast is best. It’s the quickest way to build new relationships and position your brand next to the leading experts in your space.
If you want to build a personal brand and a loyal community of listeners, we’d recommend a solo or co-hosted podcast. That way your listeners will be entirely invested in you and your personal brand. They won’t just be tuning in to hear from a big-name guest. Over time, you’ll become a voice they trust and the person they want to spend their listening time with.
Plus, think about what sort of podcast format your target audience is likely to engage with the most? A younger demographic will have very different preferences to an older one. It’s your job as the brand to diagnose this.
You need to decide early on whether you’re going to record audio-only or video episodes. Because if you want to record in video, it’ll affect the equipment and software you need.
The advantage of audio-only episodes is they’re easier to record, and much quicker to edit. You won’t have to worry about cameras and lighting setups. And you don’t have to get to grips with video editing and animations.
Recording video episodes requires quite a bit more time and effort. But it has a big advantage. Because of its recommendation algorithm, it’s much easier to reach new listeners on YouTube than it is on Apple Podcasts. Plus, having access to video clips from your episodes also makes it easier to promote your show on social media (in an engaging way).
Note: More information on the hardware and software required to record both audio-only and video episodes can be found in the equipment section below.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding how long your podcast episodes should be. It’s subjective to the context of the show - some will naturally need more time than others. For example, if yours dives into a different conspiracy theory each week, chances are you’ll need longer episodes than a daily news bulletin podcast does.
Make your episodes as long as they need to be, and not a second longer.
The only fixed rule is that episodes should be as concise as possible. If you can cut them down without compromising the quality of your content, then do so. People value their time and have little tolerance for meandering stream-of-consciousness riffs. So make your episode just as long as they need to be to get your point across. and not a second longer. This makes sure that everything is as sharp as possible, which can have a big impact on listener retention.
Once you’ve started publishing, try and fairly remain consistent with your episode lengths. Listeners will know what to expect, making it easier for them to fit your show into their routine. Having some episodes come in at 15 mins and others exceed the hour mark isn’t a good idea.
To find out more about podcast episode length, check out the article below:
Tip: Less is more. If in doubt, start with shorter episodes. You can then increase the length later based on feedback and demand from listeners.
If you’re serious about branded podcasting, a consistent release schedule is essential.
Fans like to know when they can expect new content. So don’t keep them guessing. If you do, you’ll lose a lot of listeners along the way. Decide on a release schedule and stick to it. Are you going to publish weekly? Bi-monthly? Monthly?
The frequency doesn’t really matter, you just need to make sure you can sustain it. Be clear about your publishing schedule, whether it’s every Wednesday, or the 15th of every month.
If you can’t commit to publishing new content all year round, you might want to consider releasing your show in seasons. It lifts the constant pressure to release new episodes every week. And it also gives you time to reflect and plan upcoming content. However, it inevitably slows down the rate at which you can grow your audience. So it’s a tradeoff to weigh up.
Once you’ve defined the above, it’s time to start making some creative decisions. These are:
In the ever-growing world of podcasting, nailing your podcast name is key. It’s the first thing people usually see, and it should describe (in 5 words or less) exactly what listeners should expect from your show. A captivating and memorable podcast name will help you attract your target audience, and create a strong identity for your show. Here are some tips when choosing:
For more help on choosing a podcast name, check out this article.
Your podcast artwork (or cover art) is one of the first things the potential listener will see. And the quality of it will absolutely aid their decision on whether they hit play, or keep on scrolling. It will be judged, so it needs to be good.
Before we get into the creative aspects, let's cover the basic file requirements first. Your artwork needs to meet this criteria to be accepted by directories:
Use this free tool for a preview of how your artwork will display on the various listening platforms such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and more.
So with the technicalities out of the way, here are some tips when it comes to creating unique and distinctive podcast artwork:
For more help on designing your podcast artwork, check out this article.
Next it’s time to think about how you’ll structure your episodes themselves. It’s important to have clarity here before recording, otherwise you run the risk of your first episode sounding disorganised and meandering.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is stumbling across your show for the first time. Is the content easy to follow? Have you quickly introduced yourself and the concept of your show? Is the information accurate and presented in an engaging way? Could you use jingles or audio transitions to break up long periods of talking? How long will your intro and outro segments be?
There are lots of things to consider here. So the best approach is to learn from the masters when planning your own episode structure. Listen to some of the top-performing podcasts in your category with a critical ear. Are there any common trends or themes they all tend to use? What things do they do to create an optimal listening experience that flows seamlessly from one segment to the next?
There are a lot of podcasts on the market. But an awful lot of them are very poorly produced, meaning they give off a distinctly amateur vibe. The good news is this makes it easier for you to stand out. If you invest in the right equipment and spend the time required to produce high-quality, professional-sounding episodes, you’ll instantly be ahead of much of the competition.
Production quality speaks volumes when it comes to branded content. It does require an upfront investment. But it’s definitely worth it if you’re serious about podcasting. Below is what you’ll need:
Having a decent computer or laptop is key for any podcast. It’s what will hold all your files and audio, plus what you’ll be doing your editing on. It doesn’t need to be the best of the best, but it should be reliable, have fast processing speeds, and a good amount of memory.
Ensure whatever device you’re using has enough storage space and processing power to store large WAV audio files and run editing software.
Podcast microphones come in all different shapes and sizes, so it’s important to find the right one for you. There are two types to choose from - dynamic or condenser.
A dynamic microphone is typically the cheaper option. This is because they pick up less ambient noise. A condenser microphone will cost you a bit more, and is suited to professional studio settings. They’re a bit more sensitive to ambient noise, meaning they deliver super-crisp and clear audio.
Depending on which type you choose, it’ll either be a USB or XLR connection. USBs plug straight into your computer, and XLRs into your audio mixer. Make sure you check the connection before purchasing, to make sure it’ll be compatible with the rest of your equipment.
The models we’d recommend are:
Rode NT-USB Mini (Amazon UK, £108)
Rode NT-USB Mini (Amazon US, $99)
Rode PodMic (Amazon UK, £102)
Rode PodMic (Amazon US, $98)
If you opt for an XLR microphone, you’ll need an audio interface to plug it in to. It basically works to digitalise the audio input, and without it, you won’t be able to transfer your recordings to your computer.
If you have guests on your podcast, investing in one with multiple inputs is handy. This is because it will let you connect more than one microphone at once.
The model we’d recommend is:
Audient EVO (Amazon UK, £159)
Audient EVO (Amazon US, $129)
Note: If you choose a USB microphone, you don’t need to worry about buying an audio interface. They’re purely for XLR models.
A good pair of headphones is vital when recording a podcast, as they let you hear what’s actually being picked up. And although you will be able to hear what’s being said in front of you, headphones detect more subtle noises. For example, any background sounds that may affect the quality of your recording.
It’s important to find a pair that’s comfortable, too. You don’t want to be distracted or constantly re-adjusting during your recording. There are two different types to choose from. A closed-back pair is typically better for recording audio, and an open-back pair is more suited towards mixing and mastering.
The headphones we’d recommend are:
RØDE NTH-100 (Amazon UK, £150)
RØDE NTH-100 (Amazon US, $108)
Note: For a branded podcast, we wouldn’t recommend using normal earbuds, like Apple AirPods. They have particularly bad sound bleed.
A microphone stand sits on the floor, and a boom arm attaches to your desk. They make positioning your mic easy, so you’ll be able to find the most comfortable position to record optimal sound (whether you’re sitting or standing) without ever having to hunch over.
You’ll only need one of these if you’ve purchased a mic stand or boom arm. Without a shock mount, if you move or accidentally knock your stand or arm, a loud rumble will be heard in the audio. A shock mount prevents these annoying noises from being picked up.
These help eliminate the hard plosive sounds “p’s” and “b’s” make when spoken into a mic. They create a smoother, softer sound overall with minimal abrupt “pops”.
A reflection filter allows you to eliminate echo and reverb without having to sound-treat an entire room. It sits behind your mic and absorbs stray audio waves. Reflection filters are usually quite big and bulky though, meaning they’ll block your face from view. Because of this, they’re unsuitable for video podcasts.
You need some recording software to turn your podcast into a reality. The type you need depends on the format of your show. If you’re recording solo or interviewing a guest in-person, any basic recording tool will do the job. But if you’re recording interviews with guests remotely, you need software that will record both sides of the conversation (audio & video) for you.
Here are the free and paid options we routinely use and recommend to others:
For recording solo podcasts and in-person interviews:
Podcastle is a great tool for recording solo, or remote video interviews straight from your laptop. Thanks to its intuitive interface you can create publication-ready content without switching between tabs.
Free, simple, and easy to use from the get go. Audacity is probably the best free audio program for recording and editing shows on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.
Free and Exclusively for Mac computers, GarageBand is good enough for most of your audio recording needs. It’s more flexible and has a more modern user interface than audacity.
For recording remote interviews:
Thanks to in-built recording functionality, Zoom is perfect for remote podcast interviews. All you need to do is click the “Record” button on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Keep in mind the audio and video files will be automatically compressed so the quality will be noticeably reduced.
Riverside.fm allows you to record much higher quality audio and video in comparison to Zoom. The audio is recorded locally which means it doesn’t undergo compression, and it also prevents poor WiFi connections from causing audio dropouts and glitches.
SquadCast offers similar functionality to Riverside.fm, with lossless audio and video recording quality. Its interface is cleaner and easier to navigate, and it also has a “Green Room” feature which allows you to organise and manage everything with your guest before proceeding to the interview. But it’s significantly more expensive if you want to record both audio and video.
For more insight on the best podcast recording software, check out this article.
We strongly advise using a paid editing tool specifically designed for podcast post-production. The two platforms we use and recommend are:
With a simple and easy-to-use interface, Alitu automates much of the editing process for you. Simply drag and drop your recorded files into the correct slots, add your music, fade it out at the right time, and you’re done. Once your episode is ready to go, you can publish it straight to all the podcast directories with a single click. The subscription fee more than pays for itself in terms of time saved. As an added bonus, you can also use it for recording too, but keep in mind it doesn’t have video recording functionality (yet).
Descript turns your audio into text, broken up by who’s speaking, and it then lets you manipulate those audio files as if you were editing a text version of the script in a word processor. Delete a sentence or two, and Descript will automatically shorten the file to make the recording sound smooth and natural. It won’t automatically build and publish your episodes for you like Alitu, but if you need to do fine-tuned editing, it gives a greater degree of control and flexibility.
For editing video podcasts, we recommend Adobe Premiere Pro. It’s basically photoshop for videos, so it will take a bit of getting used to at first. But it’s the most popular video editor for a reason. You’ll be able to create your full length videos, and create shorter highlight videos for promoting your episodes on social media too.
For many entrepreneurs and businesses, launching and editing a weekly podcast just isn’t feasible given their time constraints. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an option.
By working with a podcast production agency, you can outsource the entire production process. All you have to do is get behind the mic and talk, and they’ll handle everything else - from editing and branding through to distribution and marketing.
Here at Cue Podcasts we offer complete done-for-you podcast production packages. If you want to tap into the power of podcasts without the hassle, outsourcing to a team of experts allows you to skip the awkward years and launch a great show right away.
Check out some of our work in our showreel below:
Whatever your requirements, we can handle everything for you including:
If you want to create an incredible show that resonates with the right listeners, get in touch for a free proposal to see how podcasting can help support your broader business goals.
Once you’ve nailed down all of the above, it’s time to hit record. Here’s what you need to do to get your show ready for launch.
Podcast trailers are important for winning new listeners and giving your show the best possible chance of success.
A trailer is a short audio (or video) clip that serves as an elevator pitch for your show. The goal is to entice potential listeners without them having to read a description. It gives people a taste of what to expect, and encourages them to tune in and subscribe.
In addition, publishing a trailer can give your podcast a presence on directories like Spotify and Apple Podcasts before your first episodes go live. You can then promote your show and generate interest and subscribers in advance of the official launch date.
The ideal podcast trailer is 1 minute long (2 max), and should answer who you are, what your show is called, what it’s about, why people should listen, and where they can find it.
Editing and post-production are the most labour-intensive steps in the process. But getting it right makes a big difference to the final product. It’s what gives your episodes that crisp, clean, and polished feel.
When you’ve finished recording your first episode, you’ll need to sit back down and go through it. So what content needs to be edited? Well, you’ll probably want to remove:
On top of that, you might want to add in:
Once you’re happy with your final edit, you need to export the audio in the correct file type and bitrate for distribution to podcast directories like Apple Podcasts. The file type should always be MP3, and for the bit rate, use 64 kbps (mono) for speech-driven podcasts, and 128 or 192 kbps (stereo) for podcasts featuring multiple sound design elements.
Once you’ve recorded and edited your trailer and first episode, you need to upload the files and get them on the internet. And this is where a podcast host comes in. On Podcast.co you can upload unlimited episodes and distribute your show to all major podcast platforms (including Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, and more) in a single click.
There are lots of podcast hosting providers out there. And the cheapest options aren’t always the best. Many lack the additional features and tools needed to maximise growth.
Podcast.co was designed to help creators of all levels succeed - from solo podcasters to established brands and media networks. From just $19 per month you can get access to a whole host of professional tools for gaining more listeners, including:
Once your podcast is live and available on all directories, it’s time to let people know about it. Here’s how to do it.
Setting a launch date at least two weeks in advance will give you time to coordinate and execute a plan to give your show the best possible start.
When working out what date to launch your show and post episodes, keep your audience in mind. When, where, and how will they be listening to your show? And how will they build your show into their lives? On the commute? At work? Think about what time of day will work best, and go from there.
Once you’ve got a date in mind, don’t forget to factor in the timing of your marketing plan.
Having a good roll out plan is the best way to build excitement and momentum around your episodes. Below is a list of 10 actionable tips to help you maximise your podcast promotion.
1 - Share your podcast trailer the week before your launch date
2 - Release more than one episode on launch day
3 - Encourage ratings and reviews
4 - Encourage word-of-mouth referrals
5 - Remain consistent - stick to your publishing schedule
6 - Create an editorial calendar & plan out the entire production process
7 - Batch record episodes in advance so they’re ready to go
8 - Track your podcast analytics (download numbers, subscriber count, etc)
9 - Repurpose episodes to get the most mileage out of your content. Such as:
So there you have it. The complete guide to starting a branded podcast.
In the end, the best branded podcasts give businesses a fantastic way to connect with their target audience, boost brand awareness, build strong customer loyalty, and become thought-leaders in their industry.
And with a clear goal, a solid strategy, the right equipment, and a good roll out plan, companies can create high-powered podcasts that help them reach their marketing goals.
That being said, there’s no denying that producing a branded podcast takes a lot of work. And that’s why it’s always smart to invest in your show and do it well. For businesses who are serious about growing their show, this might look like outsourcing certain production tasks to a producer or various freelancers. It can be anything from sound design, to visual assets, to scriptwriting. It’s completely up to you to figure out what you need help with.
If you’re a bigger brand with a production budget to work with, you might decide to partner up with a production agency. An agency will handle everything from the initial concepting stage, right down to promotion and distribution. That’s exactly what we offer at Cue Podcasts. You can check out our showreel below:
If you’d like to speak to a member of the team about launching a podcast for your brand, just fill out this form and someone will get back to you.
Similarly, if you’d like some inspiration from some of the best branded podcasts out there, click here.
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