You'll learn how to:
What you'll get
- 4 hours of audio lessons
Everything you need to know to get your podcast started right.
- Companion e-textbook
When listening isn’t an option, dig into this text-based PDF.
- Curated resources
Save time searching. We’ve collected the best podcasting resources for you.
- Glossary of terms
Get up to speed on the latest podcast industry terms.
- Lesson summaries
Be reminded of the key things you’ve learned via email.
- Sample documents
Downloadable agreements, releases, and legal guides.
Experts in this course
- Paul ScheerPaul Scheer is an actor, comedian, writer, director, and producer. He is also the Host and Creator of the popular podcasts How Did This Get Made? and Unspooled.
- Jillian WeinbergerJillian Weinberger is a Senior Audio Producer at Vox, where she helped launch The Impact. She previously produced podcasts at WNYC and Reveal.
- Adam SachsAdam Sachs is the COO of Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco. He was previously the CEO of Midroll Media, parent company of Stitcher, Earwolf, and Midroll, and the VP of Digital Audio at the EW Scripps Company. He is also an Advisor to the Obamas’ Higher Ground Audio and sits on the Advisory Board at Northwestern's Masters in Sound Arts and Industries program.
- Sonal ChokshiSonal Chokshi is the Editor in Chief at Andreesen Horowitz and host of the popular business and technology-themed a16z Podcast. She was previously a Senior Editor at WIRED Opinion.
- Rob ByersRob Byers is Director of Broadcast and Media Operations at Minnesota Public Radio | American Public Media, where he has contributed to Pulitzer and Peabody-awarded projects. He is also the Mix Engineer for the popular podcast Criminal and previously led audio production training at NPR.
- John AsanteJohn Asante is the Managing Producer at Neon Hum Media, a former Senior Producer at Stitcher, and a former producer on WNYC’s The Takeaway, as well as NPR’s Ask Me Another and Talk of the Nation. He’s also the creator and host of the music-themed podcast Play it Back.
- Michael MayMichael May is Senior Producer of the NPR Story Lab, a radio instructor at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, and the recipient of two Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence in broadcasting.
- Amanda McLoughlinAmanda McLoughlin is the founder and CEO of Multitude, an independent podcast collective and production studio in New York City. Her career is dedicated to helping other creators make a living by making great stuff online.
- Ashley CleekAshley Cleek has reported and produced pieces for NPR, PRI, Reveal, and Latino USA and has produced serialized podcasts for CBS, Neon Hum, and others. She also teaches radio at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.
- Jeff EmtmanJeff Emtman is the creator of KCRW’s Here Be Monsters, a popular, long-running podcast exploring fear and the unknown.
- Mark PagánMark Pagán is Project Manager of the Google Podcasts creator program at PRX and the producer and host of the podcast Other Men Need Help.
- Mikaela GrossAttorney at Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams, and Sheppard LLP specializing in media and podcasting.
- Brad ListiKnowable Executive Producer, Host of the Otherppl with Brad Listi podcast.
- Jonathan HirschJonathan Hirsch is the founder of Neon Hum Media, a Los Angeles-based audio production company that works with top media brands like Spotify, NBC, and The Ringer. He’s also a recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in broadcasting.
- 01PrologueHear a preview of the lessons you’ll learn from our team of audio industry experts.This lesson introduces you to your host, Jonathan Hirsch, founder of top LA podcast company Neon Hum Media. He’ll explain how this course will prepare you to go from idea to podcast using the advice and strategies of experts. Successful podcast creators, entrepreneurs, and producers will teach you how to:
- Write, record, and mix your podcast
- Set your show apart
- Monetize your show
- Create a podcast that makes sense for your business
- Use best practices to promote your show
- 02About This CourseGet to know host Jonathan Hirsch and learn why he wants to help you tell audio stories.Podcasting can be daunting when you’re just starting out. This lesson gives you a look at your host Jonathan’s background, including how he got inspired to create his first podcast, began working on other shows, and eventually launched his own audio production company. He’ll also cover the format of this audio course and how to use the Knowable app and extra resources that are included.
- 03Comparing FormatsLearn the basic podcast formats and how to decide which one is for you.This lesson will familiarize you with the five most common podcast formats and why structure plays such a big role in defining your show, the way you present your story, and how your audience receives it. To decide which format works best for your idea, you’ll learn all about the different types of podcasts and hear a few examples of each:
2 resources for further study
- Discussion or roundtable
- 04Finding Your NicheLearn how to develop a unique vision for your show.This lesson will get you asking some important questions to decide on the show you want to make—including how to establish your vision and figure out what makes your idea unique. One successful podcast host will walk you through his story and how he uncovered the answers to key questions like:
An NPR-created guide for podcasters; 1 action item; 4 resources for further study; in-app list of questions to get started
- Why do you want to start a podcast?
- What will your podcast be about?
- Who is your audience?
- 05Documentary StorytellingLearn how to turn your idea into a narrative or documentary podcast.This lesson teaches you how to use narrative in audio. Documentary podcasts are popular, but they require lots of time, labor, and creativity. Expert storytellers and producers from NPR and Vox will give you advice on how to create a great story, including how to:
1 action item; 4 resources for further study; 3 recommended books for aspiring narrative podcasters; 4 links to archival audio tools
- Establish the central question of your show
- Determine the structure
- Keep an open mind and tell the story as it unfolds
- Surprise and challenge your audience
- Find a character who can carry your story
- 06Recording Your AudioLearn which equipment you’ll need and how to make your audio sound great.In this lesson, you’ll learn about the recording process and what you’ll need to buy to make your podcast sound professional. While great audio can be made simply, an expert audio engineer will break down the basic gear you need to get started, including:
1 action item; 5 resources for further study; 5 links to recording tools; in-app list of the basics to buy
- Headphones (and how to choose a good pair)
- Microphone (including your three basic options)
- Recording devices and tools
- 07InterviewingLearn the best practices for getting the most out of your guests.This lesson will teach you the art of interviewing. Experienced producers will give you advice for interviews, including how to prepare, ask great questions, and get the most out of your guests. You’ll learn why listening is the most important part of any interview and receive tips like:
1 action item; 6 resources for further study
- Check your equipment and sound before you begin
- Avoid jumping into the interview right away
- Prepare beforehand
- Bring the conversation back
- Keep rolling until your guest leaves
- 08Writing for AudioLearn how to write for the ear.In this lesson, you’ll learn the best practices for writing for audio, a skill that requires you to ignore many of the rules you learned in English class. Jonathan and one of his trusted producers will explain how they adapted the story of Jonathan’s childhood for the podcast Dear Franklin Jones. You’ll learn to:
Break it into scenes
- Keep it simple
- Keep it simple
- Say the words out loud
- Find the story, the stakes, and the descriptive tape
- Describe the surroundings
- 09Hosting and Recording Your Podcast NarrationLearn to sound pitch-perfect when recording narration.This lesson teaches you how to host and record the narration of your podcast—what’s known in the industry as “tracking.” You’ll learn rules that apply to almost any audio recording, like:
1 action item; 3 resources for further study; in-app resources for vocal exercises
- Get comfortable
- Make sure your microphone is well-placed
- Make it as quiet as possible
- Sound conversational
- Find your style and be yourself
- 10Post-production: Editing and MixingLearn how to increase your show’s production value through editing and mixing.In this lesson, you’ll discover how to shape the sound of your podcast after you finish recording. An expert sound designer and a podcast creator will teach you how to make your show stand out from the crowd by using the six main elements of post-production:
1 action item; 4 resources for further study; 6 links to editing software tools
- Focusing on the lead voice
- Editing for style and time
- 11Preparing for LaunchLearn how to create an RSS feed and publish your show on the major podcast platforms.This lesson teaches you how to launch your podcast so anybody can listen to it. You’ll learn from an experienced podcast producer how to make a show successful, from production to distribution to sales, including how to:
1 action item; 3 resources for further study; 7 links to tools for hosting your show; 8 links to tools for building your website; in-app guide to getting your RSS feed to Apple Podcast
- Set up an RSS feed
- Decide where to publish and host your podcast
- Use apps like Apple Podcast
- Get your podcast to non-Apple users
- Build a website for your podcast
- 12Your AudienceLearn how to engage and grow your audience.In this lesson, successful podcast creators will teach you how to receive and process feedback from your audience to make a show they want to hear. You’ll learn how to:
1 action item; 2 resources for further study; 4 links to tools for gathering feedback
- Conduct an online survey of your listeners
- Think about your own listening habits
- Be authentic, even when you read ads
- Be consistent and set achievable goals for new episodes
- Ask for feedback and reviews
- 13PromotionLearn how to expose your show to new listeners.In this lesson, you’ll learn how shows make it onto Apple and Spotify’s lists of top podcasts. An expert podcast producer will teach you strategies for maximizing promotion and gaining traction like:
1 action item; 3 resources for further study; 8 links to logo design tools
- Knowing the lists you want to be on (curated or popularity-based)
- Feed-swapping with other podcasts
- Making sure your podcast name is great
- Having the right image or artwork
- 14Podcasting for Your Small BusinessLearn how to use podcasts as a marketing tool — without alienating your audience.In this lesson, you’ll learn how to promote your small business with a podcast—something that’s becoming much more common these days! A podcast host for a major venture capital firm explains how to do this authentically by:
1 action item; 3 resources for further study
- Considering your brand’s values
- Asking why your brand should tell this story
- Promoting your brand without selling
- Thinking about who you want to reach
- Earning and keeping your audience
- 15Monetizing Your PodcastLearn how to make money from sponsors and fans.In this lesson, the founder and CEO of a podcast collective and production studio will walk you through the steps of podcast monetization, including:
An example press kit; 2 action items; 2 resources for further study; 5 links to tools for direct listenership support; 4 links to sponsorship tools.
- Creating a show with an audience that cares about it before contacting brands
- Reaching out to partners for advertising opportunities by pitching, cold emailing, and networking
- Anticipating and resolving issues that might discourage a potential partner
- Sharing audience demographics with potential sponsors
- Setting rates and expectations for ads
- 16Media Ethics and LawLearn the legal issues related to podcasting, including copyright law and booking guests.This lesson breaks down the legal and ethical issues you need to consider as you create your podcast, including copyright issues, release forms for interview guests, and how to avoid defamation suits. An entertainment and media law attorney will explain:
A podcasting legal guide; example contractor agreement; example interview release form; example limited copyright license agreement; 1 action item; 7 resources for further study; 7 links to music and sound effect resources
- Fair use
- Permission, informed consent, and release forms
- Libel, slander, and defamation claims and defenses
- Issues with investigative podcasts
- Basic ownership and contracts
- 17Developing Your Podcast Over TimeLearn how to grow and sustain your podcast over time.In this lesson, an experienced podcast creator will discuss how his shows, as well the podcasting industry, have changed over time. He’ll give you advice and strategies to make your show flexible and long-lasting, including how to:
1 action item; 2 resources for further study; 9 links to resources for connecting with other podcasters
- Start out by experimenting and taking risks so you don’t get boxed in
- Know when to bring in help
- Come up with new ideas
- Avoid feeling burnt-out about your show
- Prioritize self-care
- 18What's NextWhat to expect as the industry evolves.This lesson discusses the past and future of podcasts with the COO of Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco. He’ll give you insider insight on the industry, including the biggest changes happening in:
1 action item; 5 resources for further study
- The current market
- The advertising process
- Podcasts themselves
- Challenges for podcasters going forward