How to start a podcast – Anchor app hosting review

Estimated read time: 8 minutes



To start a podcast the process also includes the decision on which hosting provider to use.

That means we should consider what hosts make production easy. I’ve shared podcasts on my blog for a while and in 2019 started syndicating my Business Storytelling Podcast via Anchor to 9 channels, including Apple, Google, Spotify and others. Anchor makes it extremely easy to start a podcast – technically speaking.

Why I love Anchor to start a podcast

There are many services out there that allow you to upload, house and syndicate your new podcast. As is often the case, there are advantages and disadvantages to all. Some make it easier to add ads – even retroactively  and for specific time periods. Others have a strong brand and brand marketers are drawn to them. As they say: It’s hard to screw it up when you work with an established player. Others have advantages that I can’t find but yet some people love them.



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I love Anchor for a number of reasons:

  • It’s free
  • I can record directly in the app on my phone
  • Syndication is automatic
  • I can record in the app with guests after sending them a recording link
  • I can trim and edit directly in the app

Anchor doesn’t own my content’s copyright – as some have claimed – but I did agree that they can syndicate my content worldwide. I’m just fine with Anchor distributing my content. I want to reach as many people as possible.

The ability to publish a video podcast version

In late 2021, Anchor rolled out the functionality to publish your video podcast to Spotify as well. I explain this in this article. While this can’t be done from the mobile app, it’s a game changer and a super feature from my perspective.

You can read more about how to do that here. 

Sign up for Anchor

To get started, head over to Anchor and sign up for an account.

  • Upload an image
  • Add a description
  • Set the Anchor url
  • Pick a name

My podcast cover art currently looks like this and I simply created this in Canva:

Business Storytelling Podcast cover art

I use a spin off to highlight guests and promote specific episodes as well:

Business Storytelling Podcast cover art with Fiona Walsh

When it comes to your podcast name, consider what it’s trying to accomplish. The choice often comes back to two areas:

  • A topical name
  • A brand name

My show is a topical name technically speaking: The Business Storytelling Podcast. Though my name is in there too on Apple and you can find it by searching for Christoph Trappe.

A pure brand name podcast example would be: The Christoph Trappe Show.

Read next: How to pick a podcast name – The best ideas for your podcast name from experts

Recording

I at times use the Audio Recorder app on my iPhone for episodes that are just me talking. That allows for good audio

Once recorded in the app, it’s an easy transfer to the Anchor app. Of course, make sure you download the app first.

You can then copy it over to Anchor directly from the audio app.


You can also directly record in the Anchor app.

I have my phone display set to never go to sleep so it stays on the app while I’m recording. You can also set flags when you need to remind yourself to cut something.

You can also record in the desktop app or another app on your computer and simply upload that file.

How to record with guests in the Anchor app

Having good guests on the show can help with listenership and increase quality content. Case in point, 4 of my top 5 podcast episodes all had guests on it.

The process to record with a guest (up to a half a dozen or so) is similar to recording by yourself.

Go to the record section, click Invite Friends

Then share the link with them so they can join:

The recording starts immediately once they join. There’s usually a bit of chit chat before we start. Before starting the official recording, just pause for a few seconds and go. There’s no mute button currently.

Once the clip is processed – which happens automatically after you hang up – you can use the Trim function to cut the clip down.

The day before the recording, I send guests this email:

For the show tomorrow can you please download anchor.fm and sign up for a free account and I’ll send a link for you to join me right before. We will record in the app. Please use your phone, or you might be able to record in the desktop version as well. Hope that works. Looking forward to it.

That way they should be ready to go at the time of our scheduled recording.

Sometimes, we are both on the recording but can’t hear each other. That’s usually fixed by hanging up and restarting the devices. Once disconnected you have to send a new link to record.

Occasionally the connection is lost in the middle of a recording. Just restart, send another link and continue. When that happens, I usually just add a mid-roll ad to break up the conversation.

Anchor recording processingWhere do I find the Anchor recording of a podcast with my guest?

Anchor saves all recordings in the media library and they are usually named like this:

Recording with <guest name>

The processing of the recording can take time – which worried me some before I realized that. I just got done recording a show with a guest and it looked like it didn’t save! Do we have to record again? No, the “Your recording is done processing” showed up about an hour later.

Give it some time. Processing a 30 to 50-minute recording can take time.

 

Publishing your podcast

Publishing from Anchor is easy and can be done completely from mobile.

Once you have the audio in there fill out the title and add a description.

Then publish – or change publish date to schedule it to publish later. You can also easily share to Twitter from here. I love the scheduling function as well. It allows me to record a number of podcasts in a week and then publish them later. I’m a big fan of working ahead and usually schedule a number of episodes out. They all show up in the episodes area with the future publish date.

scheduled podcast episodes in Anchor


So a super easy process. Of course you’ll still have to market your podcast and get people to listen to it.

Making these podcasts part of your Create Once, Publish Everywhere Model makes sense!


Highlighting your podcast headlines on your website

You can also grab the RSS feed for your podcasts and add the feed to your website’s sidebar. The RSS can be found under advanced settings.

Read next: How to stream podcasts on Roku

 


Sponsorships when you start a podcast

Heather Osgood shared on a previous episode of my podcast that podcasts need to have a good amount of listens/downloads before any real money can be made through ads.

Read next: What’s the difference between podcast listens and podcast downloads?

When you start a podcast with Anchor the app immediately gives you access to a sponsorship for Anchor. It’s not a bad strategy for Anchor and maybe consider running it for a few episodes. But – in hindsight – I would recommend to focus on producing a great product first.

Here’s a look sponsorships on Anchor.


Sponsorships on Anchor

Given that I usually record in one take the spots would go at the beginning. If I split my recordings up I can also add an ad mid-roll.

My rule is to have a show up no later than every 7 days, so there’s content being published. And with that lots of ad segments were published as well.

Many of the early shows had and still have an ad segment:

 

The sponsored segment slots are dynamic so advertisers will only run there if you have an active campaign. In two-plus years on Anchor I’ve only ever gotten sponsorships from Anchor themselves.


Do sponsorships matter?

When you start a podcast, there is a lot to think about and I probably wouldn’t recommend putting sponsorships on the back burner. It all depends on what the purpose of your podcast is. Make sure to determine that when you start a podcast.

I don’t think of mine as a direct revenue stream actually.

I podcast – just like I blog – to:

  • Test
  • Learn tools
  • Keep sharpening my storytelling craft
  • Keep sharing knowledge and thoughts (aka – hopefully – thought leadership)
  • Business development

If you are doing it for direct revenue, maybe try the Anchor sponsorships, but also consider:

  • Selling sponsorships direct
  • Using it to drive people to sign up for your emails
  • Share your services that people can hire you for – after being educational of course.


Overall, I’m a fan of Anchor to distribute my podcast. It’s easy to use and I can use it from my desktop and through the mobile app.