So you want to start a podcast? Welcome - you're in the right place! At Captivate, we want to make it as easy as possible to start and grow your very own podcast.
And it's super easy to do - from setting up your show, uploading your show artwork, optimizing it for listeners, and so much more!
Note: You can also import your podcast from another podcast host, too - in fact, you can import as many as you like!
This is a complete, step-by-step guide to starting your podcast:
Click on Create a new podcast and let's get started!
Step 1: Podcast name and author
After clicking the Create button, you'll open up the flow for creating your new podcast. The first step is choosing a name for your podcast. As you can see, we offer some handy tips on making sure you pick a name that sets you up for success. 👊
Your podcast name is what is displayed when it gets published on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and other podcast apps.
Now, you can obviously call it anything you want, but as a best practice, think of a catchy name that people would be searching for when looking for a podcast to listen to.
Let's say your podcast is about boxing. Look at the two examples below.
- My boxing podcast
- The greatest boxers of the 20th century
Which one do you think listeners would choose? Keep your title punchy and attention-grabbing for a better chance of new listeners checking you out 👍
This lets you add some extra detail about your podcast, and will also appear on podcast apps that display subtitles in their search results.
Sticking with the boxing theme, you could use something like, "From Ali to Tyson and beyond, these are the boxers that ruled the ring".
This is the name associated with your show. This can either be your own name, or your brand name. Make sure you only use this area for your name, and not keywords, otherwise you could be removed from the podcast apps for keyword stuffing.
Author email address
This is the email address associated with your show. It can be any email, but it can be useful to use your Apple ID if you have one, so you can access Apple's Podcasts Connect if you wish to.
Is this a private show?
This is where you can choose whether your podcast will be on public feeds and podcast apps, or if it's a private podcast for paying subscribers, employees, online courses, etc. Check our Private Feeds tutorial for more info.
Once you're happy with your podcast name, click Next: Podcast Cover Art
Step 2: Cover Art
As much as choosing the right name for your show is important, so is using the right artwork. After all, this is the image that appears across all the various podcast apps, as well as your podcast player.
We have a handy little guide on podcast artwork specifications here but ideally your image needs to be 3000px by 3000px (with a minimum of 1400px by 1400px), and a file size of less than 500kb to ensure compatibility.
You can use a service like Canva to create an image for your show, if you're not comfortable using something like Photoshop.
When it comes to choosing artwork, it helps to keep words to a minimum, and use bold colours.
Once you've dragged your image into the upload square and it's showing on your screen, click Next: Description and Categories.
Step 3: Description and Categories
Now that you have your show name and artwork, it's time to expand on both of these, and really tell your audience what your show's about.
- What the topic is
- Will it include guests
- Will it be in seasons
- How long each episode usually is
- How often you'll publish
- How to get exclusive content (newsletter or be a Patreon)
- Where to find you on social media
This is your chance to really promote your show upfront for potential new listeners, so have at it and don't skimp the details! 🙂
To help your show be discovered, and to find listeners in the most relevant niche, you can choose what Categories your show falls under. There are usually three options:
- Main category: the one used for all podcast platforms, and the main parent category it will fall under on apps that support more than one category
- Second category: this is the sub-category for your Main Category. Think of it as an extension - if "Business" is your main category, then you could use "Business>Marketing" as your sub-category.
- Third category: again, this enables to you extend your reach, by choosing something like "Business>Entrepreneurship" as your third category.
Using the boxing theme from earlier, this is how you could set up the categories for a sports podcast.
Note: some categories have far less options when it comes to second and third categories, so try and get creative while still remaining in your niche!
Once you're happy with your Description and Categories, click Next: Setup your Directory Settings
Step 4: Directory settings
We're in the home stretch! Now that you have your show name, artwork, description, and Categories picked, it's time to tell the various podcast apps (and listeners) what to expect from your show. Here you can choose from:
- How is your show formatted? This is where you can choose the format of your show. You can choose between Episodic (the default format with episodes displayed newest-to-oldest), Episodic with seasons (still displayed newest to oldest, but grouped in seasons), and Serial (now the episodes are displayed oldest-to-newest, and grouped in the seasons they're set).
- Does your podcast include explicit language?: This is super important! While you might think a certain swear word isn't bad, others may disagree (including Apple, who can boot your show of its platform if they feel it's explicit and you didn't state that upfront). Best approach here - better safe than sorry. You can always update this option on an episode-by-episode basis.
- Maximum episodes on feed: This is simply to let the podcast platforms know how many episodes to display.
- Default publish time: This is the time of day you expect your show to go out each week (and is used when scheduling episodes ahead of time). This can be different on an episode-by-episode basis, though it's good for your listeners to have a set schedule that they can expect to see a new episode on.
- What timezone is the show in?: This is important to set up, especially if you're scheduling episodes, or promoting shows as being live at a certain time on a certain day. Choose the correct setting for your location via the drop-down.
Once you've filled in all the required info, click Next: Confirm Your Feed
Step 5: Confirm your feed
Almost done - we're at the final step. Woot! 😀 Just one more thing to do, and that's to set up your RSS feed.
This is what's used to send all of your show's information to the various podcast platforms and apps, and how listeners can use these apps to add your show to their library.
Captivate sets you up with an RSS feed by default, but you can amend that to something you prefer. Your feed will always start with https://feeds.captivate.fm/ and then it's the part after that where your show will live.
Tip: Choose something reasonably short, and that is relevant to your show. It's easier to promote externally if you're sharing your feed with your listeners. 😄
Note: If you want to know more about RSS feeds head on over to the Rebel Base Media YouTube page and check out this video.
And that's it! Once you've chosen your feed, click Create my podcast and your show will now be displayed in your My Shows section of your Captivate dashboard.
Now you're all set, ready to start uploading your first episode! 🎉
But wait - we don't want to just throw you in at the deep end when it comes to starting your podcast journey, which is why we've created this bonus section for you once you've created your podcast.
As you can see, we've got you covered for anything you need:
- Live deep-dive Q&As and private Facebook group
- Weekly video tips on podcast marketing
- How to engage more with your listeners
- Use our in-depth help center to get the most out of your show
Being the world's first growth-oriented podcast host isn't just a snazzy tagline - we live that mantra every day when it comes to helping you grow. See you in the podcast community! 💯
Recommended reading: How to upload and publish your podcast episodes on Captivate