Making a Podcast

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I recently started a podcast called Working Well Sometimes and this article covers how I did it. Most of the equipment I already had or available as free software e.g., Audacity. The biggest resource was time. I did not do this in one day or two – altogether it took about 2 weeks on and off. Most of the time was spent in searching for YouTube videos on how to do a single action or in learning how to upload.

I researched a lot and my choices are set out below; that is not to say I have the ultimate set up – merely that I have a podcast fully set up by myself. If you are researching the possibilities for yourself, this might help.

Incidentally, I have no affiliation with any of the products mentioned.

Marketing

Title

Think of a title that will cover of your podcasts, not just the first one. I wanted to use my website name but decided I might broaden my range to cover other issues – hence my title ‘Working Well Sometimes’

figures walking downstairs and one in red walking upwards
Podcast Series

Cover Art

This is hugely important because, just as a book cover attracts us, so does your cover art for your podcast tile. I used Canva to make my cover art using their pre-made template. Getting the right image size is a nightmare if you are new to working with images. This part took me about 4 hours; 3 ½ of which was spent, finding an engaging picture. Be careful with copyright. Don’t use images willy-nilly from Google or YouTube, they might belong to someone who will track you down and demand payment. Image sites I use for free images are Pixabay or Pexels but there are others. Or use your own photo’s.

Branding

You need to have a consistent look across all social platforms so people begin to recognise your stuff. Just like the Nike swoosh or Apple’s bitten Apple. Have look through the lists of popular podcasts in your subject. Note what you like. Choose your colours, mine are turquoise and black. To make sure your colours are consistent note the exact mixture of pigments for each value, for example, my turquoise is hex colour #359f88. Learn all about colours in branding here. 

Software

First you need to record your audio tracks and although I have Camtasia, (there is a free trial if you want to try it) it is quite complicated to use as it includes video production as well. Many use the simpler and free Audacity. It is brilliant, although if you have never recorded sound tracks before there will be a steep learning curve to understand how to edit and make professional. However, if like me, you are experimenting with software, then Audacity does an excellent job. Both offer full video training courses to help. Or watch a Youtube video for Audacity below.

 

Jingles

 I also wanted to make my podcast sound professional so searched for royalty free music sites for my intro and closing jingles for each podcast episode to help with consistency and branding. Check out this blog for some ideas

What to talk about

You need to speak about something that will interest people and making a list of possible podcast titles is a good starter. It’s best to record 5 as a starter pack so that people know you are serious. The first one will be an introduction to the whole podcast. It’s usually numbered 00 and will be shorter than a real episode.

You may decide to talk about yourself, your hobby, travels, a skill you have, teaching a subject or just chatter. Take a look at iTunes list of podcasts for inspiration and see if any appeal to you. Of course you can’t copy what’s been done before but the list will inspire you. Browse the top ranking podcasts overall from iTunes

Microphone

You definitely need a microphone if you want to start a podcast.  In fact, you’ll need one for every voice especially if you do interview podcasts which are popular. The inbuilt microphone on your PC isn’t good enough, so if you’re going to invest money anywhere, choose a good microphone.

It’s also a good idea to get a pop guard which is a little foam sock that stops people ‘popping’ when they say words that start with a ‘p’ or ‘b.’  These sounds are difficult to correct when editing.

Headphones

I am ambivalent about headphones. I don’t use them but it is early days for me. Most people I see recording podcasts have those over ear, noise cancelling ones that make you look like a pilot. I will try them on my next podcast though and see if they work. 

Recording

The easy bit is recording the actual podcast. A few tips:

  • Keep to 10 minutes max for first recordings, learn as you go and don’t worry about making it perfect. You will get better so save the best for a bit later on. A ten minute recording will take me about 3 hours to produce.
  • Be careful with saying words with p’s and b’s they can sound sharp and spoil recordings. Use a filter if you can afford it.
  • Be natural as you talk. Don’t act or be stilted. Smile and laugh as if talking to a friend.
  • Some people write out their whole podcast script and read it. I don’t do this as it sounds boring; I write a few notes as prompts and then improvise. Works for me
  • I also write an accompanying blog to each podcast episode with loads of information links included. See Producing the Perfect Management Report for Managers and the podcast added as a link and vice versa. Linking gets listeners to your website, where they can sign up to your mailing list.

Editing

Editing the recording can be wearing, so try and be mindful of this whilst talking. If you’re not happy with your first sentence, delete it and do it again. If you make a mistake in the middle of a long piece, don’t stop and start again, make a sound as a mark on your recording, (I like to say “Action” makes me believe I am a movie star!) and do it again. Delete the wrong bit later or as you go. Personally, I find editing as I go destroys my concentration on the text and disturbs the flow.

Some pod casters edit their tracks and others don’t, believing that authenticity is key to engaging listeners. For me I have to edit as I tend to get tongue tied sometimes especially with long medical names and crack unfunny jokes which I definitely need to cut.

Saving and Rendering

Now you have a fully edited sound track and must decide how to best save it so that it is accessible to people on the internet. Files can be way too big if left in an unrendered state (that’s what it’s called). When we’re rendering out our episode, we’re trying to make our file as high quality as possible while still accessible to as many people as possible. I save my files as MP3 files and upload them to buzzsprout. There are other ways of rendering depending on what you are doing, for example, music will benefit from higher quality.

It’s important to think about how people are listening to your podcast. Spotty 3G connections make a poor experience. And as podcasts become more popular, a lot more people from around the globe will be looking to tune in and those who are making their shows small enough to fit low bandwidth budgets will reap those rewards.

Podcast Host

  • Your podcast needs to be kept on line somewhere (hosted). After researching options I chose Buzzsprout (first 3 months free) then about 10 dollars a month. This gives you time to see if podcasting is for you. There is also Libsyn, Blubrry, Omny and Whooshka (great name).
  • Upload the feedlink or the actual episodes into a ‘player’ on your website. See my Working Well Solutions front page with the buzzsprout player embedded.
screenshot of my website frontpage

Buzzsprout also lets you have a free website – here is the link to mine: Working Well Sometimes

And there are helpful articles along the way.

Distribution

Anyone can access a podcast feed from your Podcast host. However the main distributors of podcasts are iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify. Google does not provide a way to submit to their podcasts, instead they crawl the internet looking for podcasts – access for me is via my Buzzsprout feed here. 

Promote

Add feed to website, social media, email signature. Instructions on how to do it here (fancy styling) or see video:

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Monitor

Monitor usage, plays and downloads and watch the stats to see which is your most popular download then do a linked podcast on that same subject.

I am off to do a podcast on doing a podcast ( so see you on the other side.) Any other tips I’m missing or have you found some better tools? I’d love to hear about it.

Further Reading and Information

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