[Guide] Starting a Podcast

Random Observation/Comment #690: Don’t get stuck in Analysis Paralysis. The tools are there and mature enough to just get started.

I was writing my 40-under-40 (I’ll publish it in 2021) and one thing I wanted to do was to start a podcast. Given the quieter ending weeks in Dec, I decided to do a little research and just get started. What I ended up with is a zero-to-podcast within 2 hours and then created a sustainable plan moving forward for 30 episodes.


  • Made a substack for my writing and hosting of RSS feed for podcast (for free!)
  • Submitted my podcast to the common directory listing sites like Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Spotify, Apple, and Google (substack’s guide)
  • Tools include:
    • Camtasia – Recording audio and editing – Had this for work, but costs $250
    • Canva – Creating a logo – Free version worked, but wanted to get larger resolution, so got a 1-month free trial.
    • Audio Library on Youtube – For royalty free music (for inspiration)
    • Substack – Free for collecting newsletter subscriptions and sharing audio recordings
    • Google domains – buy listsof30.com domain – $12/year
    • Substack change to custom domain – $50 one time fee
    • New microphone – Blue Yeti – $130
  • Keeping myself on schedule with a spreadsheet with TODO list and scheduling calendar <– This is pretty much all the steps and things I’d do better.
  • Writing all my recording talking points on a running log


Luckily, I’ve got 8 years of Lists of 30 content and a very structured method of writing that might be an easy translation to the audio format. The engineering methodical mindset really helped out here.

  • Have a clear idea of the format and length – Reading lists and hopefully short-form.
  • Guess who your base audience would be and what they want to hear – Probably my friends and family – people into short form podcasts.
  • Write your intro / teaser – I am still working on this, but it’s good to get a high level concept that can be iterated on. Every show has a flow.
  • Make sure you have enough content for a few episodes – I already have a 30 favorite lists of 30 I can cover.
  • Create a title for your podcast – Must be unique and hopefully something that you can get social media handles for – @listsof30 worked out well.
  • Register your social media handles and possible email address (listsof30@gmail.com yay)
  • Design a logo – I personally used Canva to make my own, but you can hire people from sites like Fiverr.

Tech Setup

To create and share your podcast, you’ll need:

  • Good mic setup – I used my Jabra headset of 4 years and it was not good. I just bought a Blue Yeti mic.
  • Audio recording mixing tool – There’s lots of options out there, but I just used Camtasia because I use it for work on making GIFs
  • Some intro/outro music – I will likely ask some friends to help me make something cool, but I was inspired by free royalty music on Youtube from Audio Library

Content Hosting

This is where you can get Analysis Paralysis. You can get lost in the research. I asked a few friendlies throughout my network on recommendations. I was about to pay for Libsyn, but the only reason I went with Substack was because I already had an account I made in July 2019 when I was playing around with migrating my work to a hosting.

I still have seelemons.com for an umbrella of all my work (maybe migrated to just be a jump off home page) and my Medium account / LinkedIn Articles for more professional material.

Why I like substack:

  • It’s lightweight and focuses on subscriptions for newsletters
  • It’s free for providing an RSS feed for sign-up to podcast directors (one-time sign-up)
  • Does not have a paywall like most Medium articles nowadays (although it is encouraged to subscribe to support journalists)
  • I am not super interested in aggregated monitoring and results – I want to focus more on content creation than monetization at the moment
  • Clear steps and pretty easy to follow guide within settings
  • Able to migrate directly to my own custom domain
    • Bought from Google Domain – listsof30.com for $12/year
    • Paid one time $50 fee to register (update CNAME to the DNS)

Submitting to Podcast Directories

I followed the substack guide for submitting the RSS feed created for me to the directories listed.

Before following all the links and submitting, make sure you’ve filled out the substack settings properly! Update the email address and author as needed.

You will also need at least one audio post! I recorded a 15-second intro and found out I have a terrible mic setup. You may want to wait until you get more pieces of the recorded content together before kicking this off (but I got excited and went with good enough).

Prior to submitting everything, you should probably make sure you have the social media accounts setup with added photos and links.

Improving my Setup and Operations

When you start the process, you come up with a lot of little things that you might want to buy. Maybe have a professional design your logo, commission some friends to write an intro/outro to your podcast, or buy a $130 mic. I think this is all part of the process.

I haven’t done a lot of recordings yet, but I do know how to organize and project manage things:

  • In the spreadsheet, I added a README and TODO list of things mentioned in this blogpost (but also future tasks)
  • For writing the talking points, I have a long running log with placeholders for iterating on content
  • When publishing content, I suspect I will post:
    • First post on Substack – includes audio and sends to all subscriptions using the RSS feed
      • Use canva to make a nice intro image
    • Next on seelemons.com account – I pay for backups and like the idea of one place for everything
    • Take one of the images and post onto Instagram (and send to Twitter)
    • Maybe: Post on Youtube in a playlist

Planning a Marketing Campaign

I’m honestly the worst at marketing campaigns. My goal would be to get more parties signing up for the listsof30.com subscription, so I can autopilot just get back to writing. For more clicks and promotions, I’ve considered a whole list of 30 Marketing Activities.

Maybe I’ll do some of these. Maybe I’ll just stick to writing lists. I’ll write another post when I cross the bridge of monetization or furthering adoption.

~See Lemons Start a Podcast