podcasting

Starting a podcast

I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast. I just seem to have way too much time on my hands and need something else to do. Right that’s sarcasm. I do have some time and have been thinking about a podcast for quite a long time. Actually I’m looking at starting two. The first one will be a joint venture with a couple of guys from here about whiskey. Surprised? Didn’t think so. The second is going to be more political. A way to blow off steam.

Obviously I’ve been doing some research and thought I’d share it here. Why not? Maybe a few of you have been thinking about the same thing. Maybe you have a story to tell and also have some time on your hands. Well good news. The days of needing expensive equipment and in depth technical knowledge are over. It’s now as easy as can be to get up and running.

A subject

You do need a subject. What’s your show going to be about? You don’t need to be an expert on the subject but you should have a passion regarding your topic. You should enjoy talking about it. Think about it, spend some time researching. Is there enough material to keep you interested? Is there an audience for your topic? Spend some time looking into that.

You should have a good idea exactly who you’re making your show for, and why you’re doing it. Without that knowledge you’ve got no chance of growing an audience. So once you know who you want to reach, how do you reach them? You need to give people a reason to listen. Because if you’re starting out like me– you have a starting audience of 0. But if you’re like me- that isn’t something to be afraid of. Most podcasts start off in the deep expanse of the void. Create content that they will get people on board, and they will. 

FORMAT, AND DESCRIPTION

Think about format. Will you be doing this alone or with a friend/partner? Will you be doing interviews? Accepting calls? You’re not stuck with your initial formatting choice but it will get you started and comfortable. It gives you a template to start with.

When starting a podcast spend some time on your podcast’s description, the show summary. It’s important, it should grab people’s attention and spark some interest. Same with the name of your podcast. Should you go with a clever name? Something witty? No reason not to-so long as it contains or links to the main subject matter. You want your title to come up in searches regarding the topic. Maybe a name that describes your podcast by topic. A little duller but it would certainly make you easier to find.

Don”t forget cover art- make it eye catching-watch copyright infringement.

OK, you’ve got your topic, name, and summary. Start planning podcasts.

questions asked when starting a podcast

Question 1. How long should my individual episodes be?

This really depends on content. How long does it take you to get your message out? From what I could gather- a short episode is under 15 minutes and a long episode would be anything around an hour. Twenty minutes seems to be a popular length, the average commute time. Twenty to forty five minutes is a good range. Once you get started look at data or ask your audience to get a better idea.

Question #2, How Often Should I Release Episodes?

The best schedule for your podcasts is the one you can maintain. If you only have time to make a monthly episode, that’s what you do. Set a schedule you can handle and stick to it. Consistency is incredibly important. As is content. So make sure you have enough time between episodes to develop a quality product. You could even create a seasonal podcast. Each season has a specific topic and duration. This gives you a break between episodes and time to develop material.

Make sure your episodes have good titles. That means searchable, findable titles. Avoid “episode 1”, who is going to know what the heck that’s about. Give people a reason to click and listen. Make the subject matter clear, let people know what they are getting in each episode. And it really helps in search result placement.

ready to record

You’ve done the groundwork, you’re actually starting a podcast, you’ve planned out your show- scripted I hope- now it’s time to get to work recording your first episode. Now there are apps, like Anchor which I plan to start goofing off with, that do most of the work for you. My plan, at the moment, is to record and edit outside of Anchor then upload.

You can get by with your computer, a USB, and of course access to the internet. As a general rule the cheaper you go the lower the sound quality. Fortunately you can grab some great stuff that will make a huge difference without breaking the bank. Search for a decent microphone in your price range, a boom is probably really helpful. Start there, see how it goes. You can always improve equipment as you get settled in and more comfortable with what you’re doing. If you plan on doing interviews you’ll need a bit more at the get go. Two mics and a splitter at least.

If you’re going in my direction you will need some software to actually record and edit your audio. The good news is there are affordable options and Audacity is free. Audacity is a good quality, free-of-charge audio editing application that consistently makes the lists. For the majority of people, it caters to all your podcasting needs. The benefits of open source software- this is where I’ll be heading. 

If you’re going to pay, look at Adobe Audition: a Pro-level production tool – great workflow, and feature-rich. Available through a paid subscription. 

If you’re a Mac user you will probably have Garageband installed. This is popular audio software with podcasters too. Audacity is an option for Mac users also.

a host

You’ve got it edited and ready to go- now you need a host. As I said earlier I’m leaning towards Anchor. This is not an endorsement, I haven’t used them yet. They’re free, I like that and they upload to all the other services.

You need a host because Media or Podcast hosts are services that store your audio and allow your listeners to listen, download, and subscribe to your podcast. The whole point! Do your homework and find one you like and are comfortable with. Any good host will have a decent set of auto-submit or guided-submission tools making it easy to get your show into Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and other popular spots.

That’s what I have so far. Good luck and have fun starting a podcast.

Looking to do a vlog- here is some great stuff to get you started.

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