From proper equipment to picking a topic, two podcasting pros share their advice.

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If you love listening to podcasts and dream of starting your own, we have good news: With the right equipment and streaming platform, anybody can launch a podcast from the comfort of their own home. "All you need is a computer and a microphone," says Alban Brooke, head of marketing at Buzzsprout. "In fact, a lot of podcasters just use the microphone on their earbuds. The most important part is having something to say!"

Not sure what kind of podcast you want to host? That's okay, too. "There are infinite directions you could take, based entirely on your unique interests and strengths," says Anna Sian, head of marketing for Spotify's podcaster tools. "Don't worry about pleasing a huge audience, just talk about what you care about! A lot of podcasters find they're surprised by how many people connect with them and want to hear what they have to say. Even if your podcast is a conversation between friends, or a daily dispatch to keep family in touch—your voice matters."

Looking for more advice on how to start a podcast from home? We asked Brooke and Sian to share some tips.

Brainstorm podcast ideas.

Before you worry about how to start a podcast, Sian says to take some time to think about what you want your show to be about—that will help you form a game plan. "Keep in mind who your intended audience is and what topics you want to cover in your show long-term," she says. "It's also helpful to have a specific idea of how you want your episodes to sound—for example, you may want to use the same intro every time, which can be pre-recorded."

Pick a format.

While some podcasts just have a single host, others are scripted stories or feature in-depth interviews, so Brooke says you'll need to settle on a format that works for you. "The important thing is to choose a format that fits what your podcast is about and is something you're comfortable with," he says. "If you love improv and banter, you'll need to have a co-host. And if you prefer having everything planned out and scripted ahead of time, you might lean toward an audio drama."

Choose your tools.

While some podcasters prefer to record their podcasts old-school style with microphones, Sian says that others rely on online streaming platforms, like Anchor or Buzzsprout, to simplify the process. "Everyone's needs are different—so try a few different methods and see what feels best," she says. "If you choose to use a microphone—yes, this is optional—smartphone microphones have enough depth and clarity to make most types of podcasts sound great. Also many USB mics, which plug into your computer, are great quality and reasonably priced."

Hit "record."

However your show is structured or whatever it sounds like, Sian says the core of it is that you have something to say. "It's important to try ideas out early, listen to the results, and adapt quickly to what you feel works best," she says. "Don't worry about the audio quality or the polish at the very beginning; just start talking and you'll learn with each new episode. Many podcasters find it helpful to record the first few episodes of their show before publishing the first one, to give themselves time to practice and get a head start in keeping a consistent publishing schedule."

Spread the word.

When it comes to gaining an audience for your podcast, Sian suggests getting the word out the old-fashioned way. "Your community is the biggest opportunity for your podcast's growth—don't be afraid to tell everyone you know," she says. "Creating unique social media accounts for your show can be helpful in giving it a presence and identity to draw in new listeners, while recording a trailer can boost the discoverability of your show and give you the opportunity to hook new listeners by giving them a sneak preview."

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