How to Start a Christian Podcast in Easy Steps
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Have you ever thought you’d like to start a Christian podcast but you’re unsure where to start? I started my Christian parenting podcast on a whim and you can too! I offer these easy and affordable steps to get your dream up and running. You have a story to share – it’s time to share it!
Why you should start a podcast
The average podcast listener listens to 7 different shows each week. I subscribe to about 10 various podcasts.
Each morning I check to see which podcasts have released new episodes, and I plan my morning walk and work routine around which ones I’ll be listening to.
I already know which shows are supposed to have new episodes and which days. If one of my shows doesn’t release a new show, then I wonder what’s going on.
The beauty of podcasts versus reading blog posts is that we can listen to podcasts while we commute, run errands, do chores, work, or exercise. Not so easy to do these things and read a blog post.
When it comes to blogging, I only read blog posts when I’m searching for something on Google or Pinterest, or I see an excellent article on Facebook. Then I click over and read the blog post.
I don’t make a habit of reading my favorite blog authors each day. I subscribe to some email lists of blogs, but I depend on them to send me their best information in an email, and I’ll read it there.
That may sound surprising since I have a blog, but this is the current trend for blogs and the data confirms it.
Infographic used with permission from podcastinsights.com
That’s why RSS feeds for blogs have all but gone to the wayside. Sure, people still read blogs, and as long as the internet exists, people will, but the way we access them is changing.
But when it comes to expecting new content each day, the current trend is towards podcasts.
There’s no reason not to start a podcast
If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you should start a podcast today.
- Do you have a story to share?
- Do you want to grow your audience?
- Do you love interviewing people and want to share your conversations with others?
- Maybe you have a bunch of Facebook Live videos you’ve saved that you want to turn into a Podcast?
- Do you have a lot of blog posts and want to repurpose them?
- You know you’re made for more and God gave you a special message to share with others?
Don’t let the tech side of podcasting stop you
Don’t let the tech side stop you! Most of the tech side is easy. But if it scares you off from the beginning, you have options.
- Hire it out! I’d love to help you with any big or small step along the way.
- Take a course, I love this one by Kim Anderson: Just Start Podcasting. I was able to get my podcast up and running after a day!
- Keep reading!
Why I started my Christian parenting podcast
I first started my Christian parenting podcast, Grace for Single Parents, because I wanted to grow my audience. I knew there were a lot of single moms that needed to hear my message but I wasn’t able to reach all of them through my blog alone.
So although I wasn’t crazy about hearing my voice, my initial goal was to record just 20 episodes. If I didn’t get a good response, I’d quit.
I started my podcast over the summer when my kids were home, and I planned on releasing the episodes in September for Season One. This approach is what most podcasters I follow seem to do, so I simply copied that approach.
The best part of this “plan” was that it’s super easy to change later in your host. More on this later.
How I decided what to talk about on my podcast
It was my goal to find a new audience for my blog, Grace for Single Parents. I knew I had great content that I wasn’t able to repurpose entirely. I figured putting my posts into a podcast would be a great way to repurpose some of my material.
Many podcasters do this in reverse: they create a podcast and then create show notes in the form of a blog post. I was taking my blog post – aka show notes – and creating a podcast out of it.
I went through my blog and found my top 20 blog posts.
Related: How to Start a Christian Blog
Because I was nervous about having my voice recorded, I just read my blog posts from top to bottom. I’d remove anything that didn’t make sense in the verbal form, but that was it!
Each episode ended up being about 10 minutes long. For single moms, this is the perfect length.
I was a little unsure of how my audience would receive my podcast style of me reading my blog posts.
I’ve heard from many professional podcasters (what makes someone a professional podcaster, btw? By any definition, I’m one now too) that you shouldn’t read your show. I have a suspicion other podcasters read their episodes as well, either from a blog post or pre-written notes, they don’t admit it.
But my worrying wasn’t necessary.
By the 5th episode, I began getting emails from new listeners. And the emails I received were more positive, personal, and in-depth than the ones I receive from my email list and blog.
Seeing how I’d been blogging for over two years at this point, but after just a few weeks of podcasting, I’d received excellent feedback was encouraging.
Many people feel a deeper connection with you because you’re speaking directly in their ears through podcasting.
After receiving a great response, I began to get some requests for guests. I put some of my episodes on hold and started having guests on the show.
After talking to others on my show, I grew to enjoy the process.
low-cost Tips for creating your own podcast
I record all my episodes in Audacity. It’s free software that’s super easy to use. I save each episode as a .wav file.
Creating the intro and outro file is a little more difficult if you want to add music to it. To learn how to do all this technical stuff quickly and easily, I took this podcasting course. I was up and running after a couple of days.
Overall, I spend very little time editing my episodes.
At first, I would be super critical of my voice and all my little mannerisms. It’s hard to listen to your voice and be objective.
But you’ll spend hours editing and not have any fun if you do this! I suggest editing out any loud background noise and any long pauses that might make your audience think you’ve ended the show and leave the rest. The rest is you!
Besides, you’re giving your audience free content. If someone doesn’t like your “umms” or the sound of your laugh, that’s on them. Move on.
For hosting, which is different from your website host, I suggest Anchor.
- It’s free
- Anchor does all the technical work for you to publish your podcast to Apple, Google, Stitcher, etc. So if you take the class mentioned above, you can skip that technical section.
And yes, you need a host for your podcast. Don’t try to upload your mp3 files to your website host. MP3 files take up too much space.
As I said above, I recorded 20 episodes then I scheduled them all in Anchor and let them go.
One note: I perform all my editing in Audacity instead of inside my host. This allows me more flexibility to save my files locally and create different versions of my show and it’s faster overall.
Advertising for your podcast
In the beginning, the only advertising I bothered with was emailing my list and to use this free plugin, Podcast Player, on my website.
Podcast player, the free version, lets you insert the RSS feed of your podcast to a widget on your home page or the sidebar, so the latest episode is always ready to play.
Additionally, you can embed a specific episode into a post so a listener can read your blog post or listen directly on a page. You do this from Anchor.fm. This helps with SEO because your readers stay on your page longer.
Having Guests on Your Show
Having guests on your show helps immensely for free advertising.
Usually, the guest will share the episode with their audience. After I had a few guests on my show, I reached out to some authors asking them to come onto the podcast, they all said yes, and I was able to do a giveaway for their books as well. Again, great for advertising your show.
Software to use when you have a guest on
When having guests on your show, I recommend using Zoom. If it’s just you and your guest, you can use zoom for free.
You can record the call and save the file to your computer. You’ll need to then convert the file from a .ma4 file to a .wav file.
I use Zamar to convert the file, it’s free and fast. Then it’s ready for you to edit in Audacity.
I like to have my guests on zoom and have a video call, but I only record the audio. It helps to see each other. You can read each other’s visual cues, and it feels more personal.
If you also have a YouTube channel or Facebook page and you get the guest’s permission, you could repurpose the content and use it there too.
Creating a blog post and a transcript page for your podcast is great for SEO but can take a lot of time.
Transcribing your audio to text can be sped up using Temi, they charge $.25 per minute. You have to do a little bit of cleaning up, but this option is cheap and easy. You can then use this transcript to publish directly to your blog, which is great for SEO.
I then suggest you take a little bit of time, to extract some highlights from your interview that you can use to post to your blog for promotion to social media and to entice listeners to listen to the entire episode.
Check out this example here.
When promoting your episodes, I like to use the Headliner app to take a small snippet of my podcast to post on social media. You can do this free up to 10 times per month.
Start a Podcast today
If you’re still reading then there’s no reason to not start a podcast.
You don’t need any special equipment or software.
You don’t need a lot of time or money.
You do need a message and motivation to share your message with others. That’s it. Take that first step today.