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How Do I Start a Church Podcast?

Get Started

So you want to start a church podcast, huh?

Welcome to the exciting new frontier! Podcasts are all the rage right now and are only going to grow. More than 1 out of 3 people have listened to a podcast episode in the last month and more than 50% of all people have listened to at least one according to the New York Times.

You may be  full of hopes and dreams for your new church podcast but don’t know where to start. That’s okay. There are lots of options for equipment, software, hardware, show types, platforms, and more.

Let’s do a deep dive into everything you need to know to get started with church podcasting. This article breaks it down step by step. You need content, hosts, guest, equipment, a platform, and marketing.

Podcast Content

This is the most important part of starting your podcast. What you talk about and how you talk about it make all the difference. The podcast format and frequency of releasing episodes is important to work out before you start recording.

What Is Your Content?

Are you going to be sharing your weekly sermons? If so, then you don’t need guests. But will you produce it to include weekly announcements at the end?

If your church podcast includes a variety of topics, you will need to decide on a format. Will it be questions and answers? Where will the questions come from? Is it live or pre-recorded? Who will host? How long will the podcast be? Telling stories of redemption and life change is also a popular church podcast format.

How Often Will You Publish?

Coming up with a plan for what you’ll talk about is the start. Will you publish once a week or once a month? Who will plan the weekly content? Is it the teaching pastor or someone else on staff? This decision will make a big difference between your church podcast and another’s.

Podcast Hosts

So you may have just presumed that you would host your church podcast. That might work. But hosting a podcast generally isn’t something that you can just fly by the seat of your pants with. It requires preparation, practice, and research.

Honestly, most church staff already have a ton of things going on. Church staff is overworked and don’t need one more thing to do. So, you need to heavily weigh whether you can invest a few hours per week of preparation into hosting and preparing to host your podcast. This doesn’t include editing, posting, and marketing.

In the long run, it may make sense to work with a team of volunteers — one of which (or perhaps even more than one) could host your podcast. You’re looking for someone who can speak well, is charismatic, and can think on their feet.

The key is consistency and attitude. You don’t want to change hosts every week (this works in only a few specific formats) or have someone who isn’t easy to listen to. Who do you know who can spend the time and has a radio voice?

You may also want someone who is knowledgeable about the subject matter. While this may be easy on things like announcements or event content, it may be much harder to talk about eschatology or Christology, so choose your host wisely. It should be someone your church trusts.

Podcast Guests

If you’re planning on bringing guests into your church podcast for interviews, round table discussions, or any other type of segment, you need to plan ahead. Scheduling, confirming, and preparing guests for their part are the two most difficult parts of having guests on your podcast.

Scheduling multiple people to be in the same place at the same time is difficult. Doing so for a podcast guest can be quite a challenge. Add in a family, other jobs, and possible lack of passion for the topic, and you’ll need to start scheduling guests ahead of time. 

It’s always a good idea to have a queue of backup guests in case of a last-minute cancellation. Think of people who have pocket sermons. You can use programs like Calendly.com to help book time and Google Docs to give guests research and topic information.

Podcast Equipment

Podcast equipment for your church podcast is very important. It shouldn’t be leftover parts from the praise and worship team. 

When we talk about podcast equipment, we include hardware, cables, microphones, arms, shock mounts, and more. The right equipment sets the quality of your podcast from the outset. You can’t improve the sound of a voice with software if it comes in over a webcam microphone.

It’s even worse with a kid screaming in the background.

So let’s talk about equipment.

Microphone

Blue Yeti USB Microphone

This mic is a decent price, comes in a variety of styles, and will connect directly to your computer. It sounds good and has several settings. Best of all, it mounts to any arm and is easy to cover with a pop filter. It’s a good value for the price.

Accessories

If you’re looking to spend a few more bucks that will go a long way, buy a mic arm, desk mount, and pop filter. This allows you to change your mic’s position on your desk (sound bouncing back off of monitors is a thing) and will make your p’s sound less harsh.

Here are my recommendations:

Microphone Arm – Heil PL-2

Microphone Arm Desk Mount

Pop Filter

Podcast Platforms

So you have podcast recordings that you’re ready to upload, but where? Here are a few of my favorite platforms that offer large audiences and easy tools to listen to your church podcast.

The most important part of this process is where you choose to upload the sound files. You can upload it to your website (see the Website section below) or a hosting service like libsyn.

You will also want to create album art, enter in a title, description, date, and the names of any guests. These can be added to the podcast episode on your website or to the hosting service you are using.

Apple Podcasts

Head to https://itunesconnect.apple.com and sign into your Apple account or create a new one.

From there, you’ll be able to create a new podcast by clicking the “+” symbol to add your podcast.

This will ask you for the Podcast Feed URL to your podcast.

Apple will verify that this podcast belongs to you and that the information they get from your feed URL is correct.

Once that is verified, you can submit your podcast. Apple then verifies all the information you’ve submitted and confirms your content adheres to their terms of service. That process can take anywhere from a few hours to two weeks. Be patient.

Spotify

Head on over to https://podcasters.spotify.com/ and click “Get Started.”

Log in to the account you want to use to upload the podcast. Click Get Started.

Add the URL to your Podcast’s RSS Feed from the hosting service or your website.

Once it confirms your feed, you’ll need to confirm your ownership of the podcast by entering the code they send to your email address on file.

Then you’ll need to provide a few more details.

Finally, confirm everything and your podcast is good to go!

Podcast Marketing

Getting your church podcast out to the masses isn’t as simple as “build it and they will come.” That almost never happens. It takes effort to get people to come to your show. 

The great thing about the internet is that it gives a platform to anyone who wants it. The problem with this is that everyone has a platform. So, getting people to listen takes effort and an intentional message that is well-packaged and directly benefits them. Thankfully, the Gospel is both of these. So, let’s look at a few ways to spread the word about your podcast.

Website

At the very least, your podcast should be placed, episode by episode, on your website. If you don’t have a website, check out this post. You may want a website just for your podcast. You can set something like that up quickly with WordPress or even a service that does websites and podcasts like PodPub. Regardless of what method you use, you need to have your podcast on a website that you control. 

While unlikely, it is possible that Apple or Spotify et al decides they don’t want to be in business anymore and simply closes up shop. It’s even possible that you do something to offend them and they simply close your podcast down. In these situations, you have little recourse and can lose thousands of hours of content and hard work because you didn’t own your platform. Get your podcast on your website. Ensure your website has backups.

Email

Email marketing is one of the best converting options available. It converts better than people coming from Google, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. The key is to only email people who are interested. Sending it to anyone who has ever given you an email address is a good way to lose the ability to contact those people ever again. 

Use a service like ConvertKit to segment your list and only send your episodes to people who are interested. You’ll waste far less time and money doing this and won’t make parishioners unhappy.

Social Media

While it should go without saying, you should share your podcast episodes (really all your online content) to social media. I recommend automating this using tools like Missinglettr.com or TweetDeck. How you do it isn’t as important as getting it done. 

While social may not convert as well as a Google search or email marketing, it is an important marketing avenue for your church podcast. The goal is getting your content in front of as many people as possible for maximum impact.

Start Your Podcast

So how about it? Are you ready to rock the podcast world? Is your church taking the next step into the digital content game? 

I’d love to hear about it. Share your church podcast name, any questions you have, things you’d like to see covered in more detail, and anything else.

I can’t wait to hear your first episode!

By Matt Pritchett

Matt is a Christian, a husband, a father to four, and a software engineer at Saturday Drive, the makers of products like Ninja Forms, Caldera Forms, and SendWP. He also helps clients solve complex problems with code, consulting, and more. He occasionally blogs.

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