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How to Start a Solo Podcast: 5+ Pro Tips, Examples & Strategies [in 2024]

July 18, 2024 Deciphr AI
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Starting a solo podcast may seem intimidating. However, with proper preparation and persistence, it can be a very rewarding pursuit. 

As we enter 2024, podcasting's becoming more popular too. You know what that means? There's opportunities for aspiring hosts to find their niche. Now is the perfect time to start a solo podcast. 

In this article, we'll provide step-by-step instructions for getting started. 

You'll get recommendations on essential equipment and platforms to consider. Learn strategies to engage your audience and promote your podcast. Don't get blindsided when common challenges arise. 

Whether you're experienced or new, we'll help you start a solo podcast. We'll cover everything you need for a successful start in the coming year.

Why Start a Solo Podcast in 2024?

2024 is shaping up to be a breakout year for podcasting. Over 424 million people listen to podcasts, more than double the count in 2019. That number may reach 464 million by the end of this year, accounting for 22% of all internet users.

The audience is growing. This provides all the more opportunities and reasons to start a podcast. It's a unique way of directly engaging with target listeners. There are no gatekeepers, plus, it's free to start. Solo podcasts have especially low barriers to entry.

2024 is a great time to begin a solo podcast in a niche you love and steadily build an audience.

Are Solo Podcasts a Good Idea?

Solo podcasts come with advantages that traditional shows lack. 

You have full creative control over topics. You have no need to align schedules or ideas with others. It's also easier to book guests as you set the agenda. Production is simplified with one less person to coordinate with.

Many successful shows like “The Daily” and “Planet Money” are hosted as solo podcasts. Interview formats work especially well for solo podcasters. The key is using the strength of personal back-and-forth conversation with each guest.

Best Solo Podcast Examples

  • "Armchair Expert" - Dax Shepard's free-flowing, thoughtful long-form interviews talk about life.
  • "On Being" - Krista Tippett talks about wisdom in discussion with diverse guests.
  • "The Mindset Mentor" - Rob Dial uses interviews and stories to motivate personal growth.

How to Start a Solo Podcast?

Launching a winning solo podcast takes serious planning. The good thing is it doesn't need fancy skills or experience. Follow these steps to launch your own show:

  1. Discover your niche. What topics excite you and align with your experiences? Brainstorm ideas that fit your passions and expertise.
  2. Research competition and potential listeners. Search for popular and saturated niches using iTunes charts. Find open spaces your unique voice could fill.
  3. Set measurable goals. Do you want to educate, entertain, inspire change, or build community? Defining goals informs topics and formats.
  4. Decide your format. Will you host interviews, fire-side chats, narrative storytelling, or conversational commentary? Match formats to your niche.
  5. Name your podcast. Catchy but clear names boost discoverability, like “Armchair Expert” or “The Mindset Mentor”.
  6. Write episode outlines. Map out first 5-10 episodes, including potential guests, talking points, and episode titles.
  7. Record a trailer. Make a 1-2 minute trailer introducing your show concept and hosts. Publish this in advance to build anticipation.
  8. Launch your first 3 episodes. Don’t overthink perfection. Publish your first episodes to obtain listener feedback for refinements.

3 Things To Keep In Mind Before Starting a Solo Podcast

Solo podcast success requires planning your niche, formats, and release schedule to meet listener expectations.

How to Choose Your Podcast Niche?

Choose podcast niches where you can add value with your unique contributions. This could be based on your experiences, networks, expertise, or personal attributes. Common solo podcast formats like interviews work well rooted in a niche like health, finance, or parenting.

Make sure your niche has a large target audience. However, avoid competitive areas like comedy or true crime unless you can stand out. Use tools like ListenNotes or CharTable to analyze category saturation before selecting a focus.

Once you have chosen your niche, create your podcast identity. Make sure it clearly addresses the needs, pain points, aspirations, or forms of escapism for that audience.

Read More: How To Find Your Podcast Niche in 2024 [Complete Guide]

How To Structure Your Podcast Episodes

Every episode should offer compelling value matching listener expectations. Use formats suiting your focus area like interviews, narratives or commentary. For example:

  • Parenting shows may organize narratives based on challenges that arise when a child hits age 5, 10, 15.
  • Finance shows could have an advice-giving forum, where they answer a listener's query.
  • Fitness shows might offer critical commentary on over-hyped workout strategies or diets.

Recurring segments can also be structured. Examples include Q&As, book/film reviews, and listener stories. These segments boost engagement, letting listeners contribute and know what to expect. 

Make sure episode titles and descriptions clearly communicate unique value. This will compel clicks, regardless of the niche. 

How To Establish Your Podcast Cadence

Podcasts often play while multi-tasking during commutes and chores. Longer shows can lose listener attention. For a solo podcast, aim for 20 to 45 minute episodes unless the format needs more time.

Regardless of episode length, stick to your release schedule be it weekly or monthly. Consistency builds listener habits. They know when to expect your next episode and exactly when to tune in.

Essential Equipment To Get Started

Hosting a solo podcast doesn't require expensive gear, especially when first starting out. Focus budget on a few key components that vastly improve listening experience before upgrading over time as your audience grows.

Podcast Recording Equipment

  • Microphone: The Blue Yeti or Audio-Technica AT2100USB mics offer superb quality under $150. Ensure your mic uses a USB output for easy connectivity.
  • Headphones: Invest in good monitoring headphones like Sony MDR7506. This helps you hear your vocal audio quality when recording.
  • Pop filter: This foam shield prevents distracting percussive “p” sounds when speaking.
  • Editing software: Audacity is free, beginner-friendly editing software for basic audio cleanup. Over time, graduate to more advanced programs like Hindenburg or Adobe Audition.

Podcast Equipment Setup

  1. Place the microphone on a stand about one palm’s distance from your mouth. 
  2. Position pop filter between your mouth and mic grill. 
  3. Use a boom arm to maneuver the mic closer as needed.

This setup enables you to read notes, see guests on video chat apps, and switch recordings on and off with ease.

Before launching, record a few test episodes. Re-listen closely on headphones to tweak the setup as needed. Hear any pesky background noises? Reduce that with sound dampening materials so vocals stay the main focus. 

Before launching, you must register your solo podcast with a hosting platform. This platform will distribute your show to a wide audience. Compare options with care. Consider ease of use, pricing, market share, analytics, and money-making capabilities.

#1. Anchor

The free entry-level option for beginner podcasters owned by Spotify. Offers creation tools, analytics, ads integration, and distribution across major listening platforms. Easy migration if you outgrow starter features.

#2. Apple Podcasts

Apple boasts over 40% market share thanks to native iPhone app integration. It is a must for distribution reach and analytics insights. The downside is it lacks editing tools or website hosting.

#3. Google Podcasts

Pre-installed Android app provides direct Google search visibility and integration with Google Assistant. Robust analytics dashboard helps track listener data to inform planning.

#4. Simplecast

The podcast CMS is polished and offers valuable marketing tools. It also has dynamic ad insertion and a custom analytics dashboard. 

The dashboard provides information on listener geography, retention, and traffic source. Additionally, it offers other features as well. Ideal step-up for growing shows.

#5. Captivate

Top podcast hosting pick if considering gated content for subscribers only. Powerful platform tools plus built-in support for premium subscription tiers make monetization seamless.

Engaging Your Audience with Compelling Content

Crafting compelling content is essential for podcast planning, recording, and marketing. It should resonate and offer value, regardless of niche or format chosen.

Podcast Audience Engagement

Matching episode formats to listener interests and needs is crucial. This lays the groundwork for engagement. Like magazine features tailored for their readers, finance fans expect actionable money advice. New parents want parenting hacks. Same rule applies in podcasting.

Listening becomes immersive when episodes are formatted as stories, adventures, or games. It transforms into a "theater of the mind" experience, rather than a passive activity. 

Use descriptive language and sound design to depict scenes, characters, and situations. This will transport audiences and make them feel immersed.

Invite listeners to share their own stories as fodder for future episodes. You can include their "voices" in your show through voice messages or interviews. This will give them a deep sense of creative ownership.

Connecting With Listeners

Podcasters must connect with audiences through email, social communities, and events.

Share behind-the-scenes details on episode development. Highlight listener contributions on social media and within new episodes.

Spotlight standout fans as case studies for how your podcast provides value. Share their transformation stories as testimonials.

A solo podcast creates audience loyalty when listeners feel an intimate connection with the host. This connection happens when hosts are seen as friends instead of distant celebrities. 

Learn about who they are as people, what challenges they face, and what aspirations they hold. Integrate those insights into episodes that are tailored for them.

5+ Tips to Promote Your Solo Podcast

With over two million podcasts around, new shows need tireless promotion. Use these proven tactics to stand out:

#1. Promote On Social Media

Conduct research to find where your target listeners gather. Create custom posts and graphics for each platform instead of a generic approach.

#2. Share Audio & Video Reels

Create reels of short audio & video clips to tease episode highlights. Use on-screen text and captions to orient viewers.

Not a video editing whiz? No problem. Get customizable reels in a few clicks.

#3. Optimize Podcast for SEO

Create show descriptions and episode summaries with keywords for better search visibility. This will help you appear in search results.

#4. Write Blog Posts

To increase search visibility, write blog posts expanding on podcast episodes. These posts should focus on chosen niche topics to establish authority. It should also use keywords for SEO.

Not a writer or SEO expert? Get a podcast blog without writing it, free

#5. Collaborate With Other Podcasters

You can propose crossover guest appearances to reach new audiences. You can also suggest co-produced mini-series with other hosts.

#6. Build Community Around Your Podcast

Create exclusive online communities for your fans to interact and connect. These can be in the form of private Facebook Groups, Subreddits, or Discord servers. This allows for deeper engagement and conversation beyond the episodes.

Top 3 Common Solo Podcast Challenges

Solo podcasters encounter a few predictable obstacles in their journey many veterans cite. Awareness of these hurdles makes overcoming them smoother.

#1. Content Creation & Consistency

Solo podcasters often find it exhausting to create, edit, and publish episodes on a fixed schedule. This is especially true if you also have a regular job.

Pace yourself starting out. As you build efficient systems and workflows, increase output without compromising quality. Stockpile evergreen “backup” episodes for breaks or hectic periods.

#2. Maintaining Listener Engagement

Podcasting requires understanding the needs of your audience. It also requires constant reinvention to provide renewed value. As their lives change, so must your show.

Launch surveys to learn what works or what’s missing. Notice engagement patterns across episodes and use that to inform your game plan. Give beloved formats more focus. Retire underperforming experiments graciously.

#3. Production Quality

Early episodes often have poor sound quality. Hosts improve by refining their technical abilities, audio editing workflows, and equipment capability.

However, temper instincts for rapid innovation. Introduce major format changes gradually while mastering existing approaches. Seek listener feedback on experiments before fully pivoting shows. Invest in quality gear over time.

Launching Your Solo Podcast in 2024

As podcasting keeps booming in 2024, no time has been better to start a solo podcast in a niche you can speak to.

Follow the game plan discussed to nail your solo podcast concept. Produce quality episodes. Tirelessly promote to your target listeners. In so doing, chances for solo podcasting success will increase.

Pressing publish on episode one is worth any temporary struggle ahead. Why not make 2024 the year your listeners finally hear your one-of-a-kind voice?

While you’re at it, consider repurposing your show for maximum exposure. Get a full podcast content suite in a click