Six Steps to Starting a Podcast!

by Someone Who Has Never Started a Podcast

Have you ever been in a class and wondered, “When will I actually use this in real life? Does anyone even need to need to know this?”

Well, my friend Andy and I are starting a podcast to help answer the age-old question:

“When will I need this?”

And in an effort to Show Our Work, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to get to the point where you’re ready to start recording a podcast! (by someone who has not yet recorded his first podcast)

1 – Talk a friend into starting a freaking podcast!

The first step is to get a stupid idea and share it with a friend who might think the idea isn’t completely stupid. And just like the time senior year of high school when Andy told me we should get tattoos, I thought starting a podcast sounded like a thing we could totally do and not regret it later. Here’s what that stage looked like for us:

2 – Make a shared Google Doc.

Great. We knew we wanted to make a podcast. Next question: what the heck will it be about?


No, it won’t be about crickets, but Andy works as a biologist and I studied engineering and work as a science teacher, so we knew we wanted to do something science-y and informative, yet fun. We bounced around a bunch of ideas, and started loading all our thoughts into a shared Google doc.

We’re still loading ideas into the shared doc, refining it, leaving comments…it became sort of our central hub for podcast things. It had sections for potential podcast names, episode ideas, a plan for episode format, questions about recording logistics, podcast hosting platforms, and a ton of other stuff. Here’s an old version of the doc. (Excuse the messiness…like I said, it’s a brainstorming tool!)

3 – Come up with an interesting concept.

Tons of ideas, but we settled on the “When Will I Need This?” because of a few key reasons:

  1. It’s unique. We couldn’t any other podcast answering this particular question. Whereas there are a ton of science podcasts, this idea seemed somewhat novel.
  2. It can be explained in a single sentence. The concept is a pretty straightforward question that takes less than 10 seconds to communicate.
  3. Everyone can relate to it. Every time I share the idea with someone, they get a thoughtful look on their face. It’s like they’re instantly transported back to a time where they wondered this exact thing.
  4. There are plenty of topics to cover. We’ll start with some of the obvious things (mitochondria, cursive, algebra, five-paragraph essays, Eli Whitney inventing the cotton gin (which came up every single year of history class somehow)), but we could really take any topic we’re interested in and turn into an episode.

4 – Make a sweet thumbnail to feel more legit.

I made this in Canva. It wasn’t a necessary step at this point (we haven’t recorded an episode), but it sure makes the whole thing feel more legit and real! I’m sure this will change, maybe even before the first episode drops, but in the meantime it’s a pretty cool placeholder.

5 – Fumble around in Garageband until you have cool intro music.

I’m not a particularly musically-inclined person, but dang it if I can’t teach myself a new skill! Garageband has a steep learning curve, but I resisted the urge to throw my iPad against the wall multiple times and was able to find some pre-recorded loops and finagle them into something usable for a solid intro.

We’ve also considered paying someone on Fiverr to do some music, but free is nice too. Check out the intro music below! (We’ll both be speaking on the actual intro…I was just trying to experiment with how the music would sound with voices around it.)

6 – Record your first freakin’ podcast episode!

We’re scheduled to record our first episode (the powerhouse of the cell, baby!) next Thursday. More updates to come.

Oh! One more thing. Our fledgling, zero-episode podcast is now on social media! Follow @NeedThisPod on Twitter and Instagram!

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