Start a podcast today easy and free. Among the free options for podcasting, Anchor is one of my favorite options out there. And no, I have no affiliation with them. It has everything you need integrating into one place from editing with the mobile app to creating segments with its episode builder.
Registering On Anchor
When you click the Sign-Up link in the upper right corner of the landing page, you are taken to a standard form asking for a name (yours, not the podcast’s), password, email, and reCAPTCHA.
If you’re moving from a different host to Anchor, there is also an Import link at the bottom, which gives you a place to paste your RSS feed from your existing host, and then Anchor will import that media for you and go through the process of getting your information and redirecting your feed. That said, most people won’t be going that route, so we’re going to focus on creating a new podcast from scratch.
Free Podcast Number #1
Once you’ve signed up for the account, Anchor shows you a chart of the next steps you’ll take. The first one on the list, strangely, is Make Your First Episode. To some (we too), this seems like an odd first step. But there’s a method behind the madness here.
Immediately upon clicking Let’s Do It, you’re brought to one of the main pages within Anchor: the episode audio creation page. You get 4 options here for the audio, all of which are important, but some that are used more than others.
- Record is exactly what it says: “Capture audio right from your browser”. You won’t need external software if you don’t want it. You can just press record and make a show.
- Messages let you add a voice message a listener has left for you.
- The library is any audio that you have previously recorded or uploaded, and it can be inserted into an episode at any point.
- Transitions are the Anchor catch-all for music and sound effects that you can use for background audio, etc.
To the right of the screen is the Your Episode box, where you can upload pre-recorded audio (what most people will do, honestly). It will also show a timeline of any audio clips or sections in that episode, and you can reorder them as you want.
Note, however, that you cannot move into the next section of the episode without at least some audio on the right side. So if you don’t have anything recorded yet, but want to enter show notes or set up the episode details, you can either Record a snippet as a placeholder or you can simply put in a sound effect from Transitions and click Save Episode to move on. This will not publish the episode. Don’t worry.
The next screen is where your title, description, season, episode number, and episode art will live. This is the screen from which you can either save the episode as a draft or publish it to your Anchor Podcast RSS feed.
The only required fields are Title and Description because all podcast platforms have to display something about the show. The other fields, found below as you scroll down, are optional. We suggest filling them out, however, because iTunes algorithms (and UI) loves episodes with full information.
If nothing else, fill in Season Number. (Always put something here, even if you don’t use seasons). If this is left blank iTunes and other platforms will show Unknown Season, so even without seasons, having it set at 1 will make it a better experience for listeners. At this point, you can either save the draft for later or publish it.
Starting Free Podcast: First Episode
When Anchor submits to the podcast directories for you (or you do it manually), they require you to have episodes in your feed. None of them (Apple Podcasts especially) will not approve an empty feed. So Anchor wants to make sure that you are set up for success as soon as you can be.
After saving the episode as a draft or publishing it, you can go back to your Dashboard to find the chart still there.
Set Up Your Free Podcast On Anchor
If you just save a draft episode, you can come back here at any time to click Finish Episode and get your feed up. Either way, click on Go To Podcast Setup to put in the details of the overall show — not individual episodes.
A modal will pop up asking for the Podcast name, description, category, and language. These will show up on every single podcast directory, so make sure that you follow the rules they lay out (no keyword stuffing in titles, appropriate category for the content, etc.).
After this, you will work on your podcast art. Again, you need a podcast art for submission. But you don’t necessarily need to have your art ready. There’s a placeholder generator that Anchor has. We strongly suggest not using this art for production. Only for submission and approval purposes.
You can search for a photo via Unsplash, upload your own, or let Anchor choose for you. If you let Anchor choose (and for this, why not, since it’s just for approval purposes), you can put the title of your show on there and approve it yourself. After you click Update Cover Art, you can make your podcast live!
Starting Podcast On Anchor: Free Submission
The next modal that pops up will tell you that Anchor is submitting the podcast to all of the major directories. Apple Podcasts being the main one, but Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and so on are on it, too. At the time of this writing, there are around a dozen places for submission.
Moreover, you would like to maintain complete control of your feed and directory submissions. Click on ‘Rather Do It Myself’. You will have a series of fields of settings in which you can post the URLs for where they can be found upon approval. That will make the icon appear on the Anchor.fm home page for your show. But is not a requirement. They show up automatically using the Anchor-submitted feature.
Managing Your Anchor Podcast
Gain unique insights into when and where your podcast is being heard the loudest. On your Anchor dashboard. You’ll find detailed analytics so you can learn about who’s listening and how your episodes are performing. Analytics are available on mobile and web, so you can track your success no matter where you are.
The starting podcast process for free on Anchor is complete! Easy, right? And free! Now, there are other settings that you can explore. Such as enabling Anchor’s monetization options. However, in terms of just setting up a podcast and going live…you’ve done it! Whenever you need to create a new episode, simply click New Episode in the upper-right corner. Go through the exact same process as Step 2 above!