The definitive guide to podcasting has arrived

Posted by Catherine Mackie

Award-winning podcasters and journalists from the UK, India, Kenya, Australia and South Africa have joined forces to create what’s believed to be the first global and expert-led guide to podcasting.

There are more than two million podcasts worldwide* but in reality, only a small percentage of those break through and find an audience. The best podcasts connect with their listener. They achieve an intimacy and, above all, they know how to deliver a great story. 

The Thomson Foundation guide uses examples from some of the best podcasts currently available, and includes tips and advice from senior journalists from around the world on how to make your podcast work. 

The Guide’s first course: Prepping the Big Idea, explains the importance of planning. Using a mixture of interactive exercises, video inserts from our experts, and best practice guidance, those taking the course will learn how to present their big idea, find an audience and choose the right podcast format. A downloadable Thomson Foundation Podcast Planning Checklist is provided which covers key questions to ask and answer before you hit the record button.


Hopefully using this course you will be able to develop your voice, to find it and to get it out there.

Dr Louisa Lim, University of Melbourne

Without proper podcast planning, it may prove impossible to get through a commissioning editor’s door. Award-winning podcaster Dr Louisa Lim, who teaches podcasting and audiovisual journalism at the University of Melbourne, advises on what editorial executives want to hear and James Smart, podcast editor for Nation Group Media in Kenya, reveals what he’s looking for from someone pitching a podcast.

“I think that can be incredibly powerful...the opportunity to really find your own voice. And hopefully using this course you would be able to do that, to develop your voice, to find it and to get it out there,” said Dr Lim.

The Guide’s second course: Making It, is an essential ‘how to’ guide; from how to understand sound, to how to record, edit and promote your podcast. The BBC’s North of England correspondent, Nick Garnett, shares great tips on getting the best out of your smartphone when recording audio, whilst the award-winning podcaster Paul McNally, who co-founded South African podcast production company Volume, reveals how they hope to monetise their podcasts. 

Other experts, including John Shields who launched Checks and Balance, a weekly podcast on American politics for The Economist, and DVL Padma Priya, editorial lead at podcasting house Suno India, give their invaluable insights into what works and why.

At the end of the two courses in The Guide to Podcasting, people will have the chance to upload their own podcast trailer for our experts and other users to listen to.


The Thomson Foundation’s Guide to Podcasting can be found on our Live Courses page.


*Source: Figure end of 2020. Source: The Guardian - Spotify credits podcast popularity for 24% growth in subscribers


Catherine Mackie

Catherine Mackie

Editorial Associate

About: Catherine is responsible for designing training programmes for Thomson Foundation and has been a senior journalist for more than 30 years.

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