how to start a podcast network

How to Start a Podcast Network: A Step-by-Step Guide



With more than 460 million podcaster listeners across the globe, it’s safe to say that podcasting is a popular form of entertainment. There are literally millions of active podcasts to choose from, and if you want to be a successful podcaster, it’s important to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Why Are People Interested in How to Start a Podcast Network?

One way both independent and larger podcasters are expanding their reach is by starting a podcast network.

A podcast network can not only provide resources and collaboration opportunities, but also a collective audience that can bring increased benefits to all parties involved.

The benefits of starting a podcast network are:

  • Collective advertising and sponsorships
  • Networking opportunities with industry experts
  • Brand recognition
  • Support and mentorship
  • Streamlined distribution and marketing

Starting a podcast network isn’t limited to large corporations or even small to medium businesses. Indie podcasters of old and new can create a podcast network too. So, how do you go about it?

How to launch a podcast network:

1. Plan your podcast network

2. Identify your niche and target audience

3. Define your network’s mission and goals

4. Draft a rough business plan including your monetization strategy

5. Choose a podcast host

6. Get the legal stuff under control

7. Build your team

8. Get your tech in place

9. Launch and market your new network

Okay, now that you have the basic steps for how to start a podcast network, let’s break them down further so you can get ready to launch!

Step 1. Planning Your Podcast Network

Think big picture from the beginning. When Marshall Poe founded the New Books Network he realized that it’s a ton of work. He said, “If you don’t want to do that work, you shouldn’t do it. I would also say that you should not start a network unless you have a goal or mission that is beyond making money. If your ‘Why?’ is ‘I want to make money and that’s all,’ then you should not do it.

The podcast market is very tough, especially right now. There are a couple of million podcasts, so competition for ad dollars and sponsorships is fierce. Most podcasts don’t make money. Most podcast networks fail – financially, at least. You need to be realistic.”

That’s why this first step of starting a podcast network is so important. You need to outline your vision clearly and plan carefully if you have any hope of being successful.

Step 2. Identify Your Niche and Target Audience

This could be anything from technology and gaming to education and lifestyle. Once your niche is defined, research to understand your target audience’s preferences, behaviors, and listening habits. Knowing who your audience is and what they seek in podcasts will guide your network’s content strategy and help you attract the right creators and shows.

Bobby Bonnet is the Chief Growth Officer and Executive Vice PResident of SANDOW which runs the SURROUND podcast network, a collective of shows in the A&D industry. He told us that your audience is incredibly important to the success of your network.

He said, “A strong community can provide a great deal of earned value in building a show – anywhere from identifying guests to production advice.”

Without a clear audience, you don’t know who you’re trying to market to. It’s critical to define your ideal listener so that when you create marketing materials on social media, YouTube, even your website, you have a better idea of what to say. This can also help you come up with topic ideas too for your shows.

Step 3. Define Your Network’s Mission and Goals

As Marshall explains, “Podcast networks are ‘about’ something. The NBN is like this. We are about books and have a mission of public education. That’s all we do: books and public education, and all our podcasts are about books and dedicated to public education.

So this sort of subject-specific or mission-driven network needs to find a subject and a mission. You need to ask yourself ‘What are the podcasts on my network going to be about? What is the mission? Who is the network serving?’”

Setting clear, actionable goals is vital for guiding your network’s development and measuring success. Your mission might involve reaching a particular listener count, influencing a specific community, or becoming a leader in a niche market. These goals will not only motivate your team, but also attract podcasters who share your vision.

Marshall also said you have to think about revenue. “To be sustainable, podcast networks need revenue. This might come from advertising (as with the “download aggregation” networks), but it also might come from sponsorships with stakeholders. For example, the NBN is about books, so we have sponsors in the book industry (publishers). We help them; they help us. We’re on the same team.”

Sure, there are some podcast networks that start with no revenue goals in mind, but the reality is that because it’s so much work, and there will be so many people involved, revenue will have to come into the discussion at some point. It’s better for this to be sooner rather than later so that everyone involved has a vested interest in making the podcast network successful. 

Step 4. Draft a Business Plan

A well-structured business plan is indispensable. In it you should outline:

  • Your financial goals
  • Funding sources
  • Expected expenses, and 
  • Revenue streams

Consider how you will support your network initially, whether through personal investment, sponsorship deals, or external funding. This plan will be crucial for keeping your network on a sustainable path and can be instrumental when pitching to potential investors or partners.

We highly recommend checking out our post “How to Make Money Podcasting” if you need some ideas for monetizing your podcast network.

Bobby told us that another critical factor you need to consider when drafting your podcast network business plan is audience growth. Start thinking now about how you will build communities for your shows and podcast network as a whole. After all, without listeners, your podcast network can’t grow let alone attract sponsors.

Finally, you may want to include a section in your plan about how many shows you want to launch when you launch your podcast network. The more moving parts you have in place, the longer your initial launch may take.

This business plan doesn’t have to be pages long. It should just cover the basics so you know the direction your podcast network is headed. homepage

Step 5. Choose a Podcast Host

When you’re looking at podcast hosting platforms you’ll probably be considering things like:

  • Price
  • Features (i.e. analytics, transcripts, podcast website, etc…)
  • Usability
  • Storage and audio time
  • And most importantly – the ability to host multiple shows in one place

There are several companies out there that offer many of the features podcast networks need to be successful. The trouble is many of them charge exorbitant fees that sometimes don’t even include all the features you need.

When Digital Content Specialist John Matarazzo began overseeing the Charisma Podcast Network he experienced this firsthand. He was frustrated with the lack of features and clunky user interface of the hosting company he was working with.

It’s precisely why his company made the switch the With he found a user friendly interface, and enjoyed all inclusive pricing that included:

  • Free transcripts with every episode
  • Robust analytics
  • Simplified podcast management

Learn more about John and the Charisma Podcast Network.

Note: Seek the advice of an attorney before making any legal decisions. The text in this article should not be taken as legal advice.

When setting up a podcast network, it’s critical to address the legal aspects to make sure everything operates not only smoothly, but legally. Start by deciding on the right business structure for your organization.

In his video “What it takes to build a successful podcast network,” Podcast Lawyer Gordon Firemark said, “You have to decide on the appropriate legal structure for your network. Now that could be that you operate as a sole proprietorship or a partnership. But more often, after looking at all the facts and the overall situation – issues like risk and liability protection, tax implications, capitalization, management and ownership arrangements – I’m usually gonna recommend a limited liability company or sometimes a corporation.”

Many podcasters find that an LLC, a limited liability company, fits their needs well while providing liability protections and some tax advantages. Registering your business will also give you, your brand, and your intellectual property a degree of legal protection as well.

However, others realize based on a number of factors that a corporation makes more sense.

Before you get started recording anything, Gordon also says you should “Get any necessary business licenses or permits. You have to comply with local, state, and federal regulations that’s crucial to ensure the legal operation of your network.”

You’ll need to look into copyright and trademark laws as well. These will be critical to understand since they pertain to your content and branding. Secure copyright for your original content and think about trademarking the name and logo of your network.

Even if you don’t trademark your logos and podcast network name from the beginning, it’s important to make sure your name is available. Searching trademarks and copyright information could help prevent a future lawsuit since “I didn’t know” is not a valid defense in a courtroom.

You may also want to speak to a business attorney about having contracts drafted for all members, employees, and more, that outline the roles, rights, and responsibilities to help prevent disputes and ensure expectations are clear.

Step 7. Building Your Team

No podcast network can succeed without a dedicated team behind it. The diversity and skills of your team will significantly influence your network’s success. You’ll need to fill several key roles including, but not limited to:

  • Content Creators – Talented podcasters who can produce engaging, high-quality audio content.
  • Technical Support – Specialists who manage sound quality, editing, and distribution.
  • Marketing and PR – Experts who can handle social media, promotions, and listener engagement to boost your network’s visibility and growth.
  • Administrative Staff – Individuals who can oversee operations, manage schedules, and handle finances.

Step 8. Technical Setup Needed for a Podcast Network

Setting up a podcast network is going to take some infrastructure, along with a good bit of planning and investment. You’ll want quality equipment and software that will give you a smooth operation and top-end audio content. Here are some points to think about.

podcast equipment


What equipment do you need to start a podcast network? Because a podcast network is generally expected to have a higher quality, we recommend you don’t skimp on equipment here. 

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to invest in professional-grade mics, headphones, and mixers so that you can record crisp, clear audio in-house. Be sure you take into account the acoustics of the location where you’ll be recording as well. If you’ll be in a location that has a lot of echoing or outside noises, you might need to consider additional soundproofing measures.

Related: Check out our post 6 Ways to Make Your Podcast Mic Sound Better.

Recording and Editing Software

It’s important to choose reliable audio recording and editing software. On the free end you can use Audacity and Garageband. But for more advanced editing and recording, you might want to consider investing in something along the lines of Adobe Audition, Hindenburg, or Pro Tools.

Managing Multiple Podcast Feeds

Running a network means juggling multiple podcast feeds, with each one targeting different audience segments. Use podcast management software like will allow you to manage all of your podcasts from a single dashboard to simplify scheduling, analytics, and social integrations. 


To be successful, you’ll need to generate listener traffic, which means your podcasts will need to be easily accessible from the major platforms. Make sure you’re covering at least Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube Podcasts. Consider a podcasting platform that automates distribution and updates feeds automatically.

Step 9. Launching and Marketing Your New Podcast Network

When all the pieces of your podcast network are in place, and your first episodes are ready to go live, it’s time to launch. This is where momentum will be your best friend. We highly recommend having an editorial calendar in place and scheduling your episodes to drip out over time.

Bobby of SURROUND podcast network said that this was a problem for him and his team at launch. He said, “Our biggest hurdle was maintaining momentum. We heard from other creators that networks fell short by not delivering on their commitments. If we touted our promise to build community [for example], and then fell short of that, we’d have a network of shows that didn’t feel close to their network partners, and listeners that wouldn’t understand the through-line at SURROUND.

We guarded against this by prioritizing member engagement (e.g., holiday gifts, launching a newsletter, bringing partners into our Slack channel), and through an annual live activation that brought our shows together at NeoCon, the largest commercial design trade show in the United States. These efforts drove a sense of community amongst our members.”

To effectively market your podcast network and establish a strong brand, it’s critical to create a cohesive brand identity that aligns with the values and themes of your network. This is going to require memorable logos, well-designed podcast cover art, iconic colors, and unified values across all communication channels, including socials.

Collaboration is also an incredibly powerful tool, and by arranging guest appearances, sharing content, or co-hosting special episodes, you can reach new listeners and add variety to your content, adding to the value your network provides. It’s also important to implement SEO best practices, so that you can attain and maintain visibility in search results. 

In some cases, promotions or giveaways can be effective ways to engage with your audience, though they can generate additional costs. Exclusive access to additional content, like behind-the-scenes material, is always a great way to build interest and boost sharing.

Check out these posts about marketing a podcast for more ideas on growing your audience:

Final Thoughts

Starting a podcast network can start out as an exciting venture that offers creative freedom alongside the potential to build a massive listener base and thriving livelihood. Keep this guide handy, stay consistent, and take the leap; the net will appear.

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