Rejoice! Edison Research have proved that podcasts are here to stay. If you’re familiar with them, you’ve probably already eagerly raced through This American Life, Mysterious Circumstances and S-Town. So, it follows that at some point, you’ll begin to think you could start your own podcast.
The good news is you don’t need much to cast your voice into the net. At its core, your podcast will survive on your information, and your unique personality. So, what next? To help, we’ve put together a list on how to start your very own podcast.
Choose your topic
If you’re going to give yourself a voice, you’ve got to figure out exactly what you want to say. These days, you’ll find podcasts on every subject imaginable. But don’t let that get you down! That abstract hobby you’ve had since you were small? It now has a voice. Be sure to make this as niche as possible, for example – a podcast about blues music will not do as well as a podcast about the early buccaneers of bluegrass, pre-1950. The beautiful thing about the internet is that it connects us from all corners of the earth; so, trust us, no niche these days is too small. What makes your podcast perfect, and you unique? If it’s that you’re discussing retro bluegrass whilst sipping on a fine vintage whiskey, let your listeners know. The more obscure, the better!
Get the right equipment
We all know that a bad worker blames their tools, but in the podcast world, getting the right microphone is key to sound success. Very few podcasts can pull off the low budget, late night radio feel. Unless you’re aiming to create a surreal sensation, then when you start your own podcast, steer well clear of grainy, low-quality sound.
These days, they make microphones with USB connectors. You simply plug your piece in, and get to recording. With spoken word, it’s probably best you also invest in a pop-shield to help you reduce bumps and thuds on the recording. Unless, of course, you want your listeners to jump out of their skin.
Get the right software
The most sensational piece of Software to use when you start your own podcast, is the mighty Audacity. Much loved and much heralded for many years, it’s simple interface and drag-and-drop ability helps it to be simple, smart and help you reach success. There are other options, like GarageBand, and Adobe Audition – but these require payment; so, you’re only best using these if you’re seeking radio-safe audio quality.
If your podcast is one which you fly solo, then a single microphone will do. Audacity will only support single track recording, which works with one-person-bands, but if your show involves Skype collaborations or interviews, then you’re going to need to get creative. Software like MP3SkypeRecorder or Pamela will record your Skype sessions, allowing you to collaborate without the cost of flights.
What’s true of writing is also true when you start your own podcast. No, not write drunk, edit sober (although, you may like to have a glass of wine to loosen your nerves), it’s just hit the record button, relax, and start chatting. The best podcasts are those that express the strong spirit and perfect personalities of the hosts alongside their passion for their chosen subject matter. Try and imagine a friend in the room with you. No matter how much you record, you can always edit, re-record, or chop out pieces of information that should remain precious, or private. What we’re saying, is go with the flow.
Who are you?
Next, you’ve got to think of a name. Make it something short and snappy, but that is also searchable. Sure, your podcast will have tags, but it’s also going to get way more hits if it has the name of what you’re talking about is in the title. In the great sea of podcasts, make it easy for your listeners to find their fish. Also, create an icon that catches the eye. Remember, it’ll be displayed one inch by one inch on a mobile phone – so, keep it bright, simple, and brilliant.
The host with the most
So, next, you’ve got to find a host – a place online that’ll store your audio files, create an RSS feed, and offer you other fun add-ons like a podcast website and SEO tools. As you can guess, there are many different hosting packages, all built to serve your unique podcasting needs. Some popular choices are PodBean, Podomatic, Lybsyn, Soundcloud and Fireside – and for this one, you’re just gonna have to do some groundwork. Trust us though, if you’re on the hunt for a specific set of conditions, then there’ll be a way to get them.
There are a whole host of libraries you could submit your polished podcast too, but the one with the widest range is iTunes. Click here to check your tags meet the iTunes spec, then copy your podcast RSS url. Download iTunes, and locate the “submit a podcast” link. Hit next, and your podcast will be reviewed by a team of real-life people somewhere in-between 24 hours and two weeks. It’s a good idea to have three or more episodes up, as this will give you a better chance of being validated.
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Also published on Medium.