Have you ever considered starting your own podcast?
I'm sure you have already listened to a podcast once or twice in your lifetime.
They sound so effortless, right?
The audio sounds crystal clear, sounds like the hosts are having such a grand time, and topics seem to flow naturally throughout the session.
Trust me, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes.
Looking to produce a successful podcast?
Podcast production is where it is at.
Production should be one of your top priorities.
It is much like building a house.
If you do not start off with a solid foundation, your house (or podcast in this case) will probably not be around for long.
You want to get your production right in the beginning so that it gives your podcast real staying power.
In this post, I will be going over the essentials in podcast production.
Ready to get started?
Before you begin, you will want to ask yourself these three questions:
"Who will your audience be?"
"What format will your show consider?"
"How long do you intend each episode to be?"
Once you have figured out the answers for each of these, you will be able to create a roadmap that will guide you throughout the production process.
Never forget your end goal.
You will want to keep this in mind throughout the process.
I mean, you wouldn't start a journey if you had no idea where you were going to end up at, right?
Wanting to be a people pleaser?
If so, I'm sorry, it is not going to work.
Orchestrating a podcast with the intentions to please everyone is destined to fail.
This is why you want to carefully study the group of people that you are trying to reach.
Speak only to them.
As long as your content resonates with this group of people, it really does not matter what everyone else thinks.
Thinking about producing a business podcast?
If so, talk about subjects in which your customers want to hear about, not about the company in particular.
Podcasts come in all different styles and formats.
Before you begin planning and structuring your episodes, you will need to make a decision on what format you will be going with.
Once you have one in mind and it makes sense, stick to it.
Take a look at some of the most common formats:
- Solo/Personal Thoughts
There are really no hard and fast rules when it comes to episode length.
It is up to you to decide what will work best.
If you are thinking about keeping your episodes short ( < 30 minutes), those new listeners might actually give yours a try.
Just something you may want to take a note of.
Once you have chosen a time frame, stay consistent.
Listeners will know what to expect from your podcast, making it much easier for them to fit it into their daily routine.
Before you press record, it is a smart idea to go ahead and plan out your first 10 episodes.
Doing this, will make life so much easier later on in life.
If you are having to stop and think about what will come next after you have completed an episode, it will only end up slowing down the entire process.
Having a plan in place will help with streamlining the whole production process.
No need to go into deep detail.
Turn your focus on each one of your episodes along with a rough outline of the topics that you will be covering.
Having a hard time coming up with ideas?
I recommend taking some time to browse through similar podcasts on iTunes to catch a glimpse of what topics they cover.
You will be able to figure out what works and what doesn't simply by taking a look at the number of reviews they have been receiving as well as episode popularity.
Are you thinking about interviewing guests?
First, take a look at some episodes they have already done.
You will get an idea of who they are, and it will help you think of questions you will want to ask during your session.
When coming up with questions to ask, remember to think of things that will only be beneficial and interesting to your audience.
Thankfully, you will not need tons of fancy equipment or technical skills to get started with your podcast.
Most people will need to have some money upfront though, but once the investment has been made, you will not need much else.
If you take care of your equipment properly, it should last forever.
All you really need to get started is a laptop or computer, microphone, headphones, and software on where you will be able to record your show.
Your computer/laptop is the core of your podcast studio.
It will need to be able to store audio files and run editing software.
Make sure that you have enough space and a good processor.
Is your current laptop/computer slow?
Does it crash unexpectedly?
If so, you should think about investing in a new one before you even begin recording episodes.
Sadly, your laptop's inbuilt microphone is not going to work for podcasting.
There are thousands of microphones that you can choose from though!
It may be quite difficult choosing the perfect one.
Microphones typically fall into two categories: dynamic and condenser.
Looking for a simple set up?
If so, I recommend going with a dynamic microphone.
These come with a USB connector which make it easier to set up and use.
Wanting to sound more professional?
Condenser microphones are meant to record professional-sounding audio, but they will have to go through a mixer or audio mixer before receiving power.
Take a look at some microphone options for new podcasters.
Here's a tip: you may want to get a pop filter for your microphone. This will eliminate those hard plosive sounds that "p's" and "b's" make when spoken into the mic.
Wearing headphones helps refine podcast production.
Headphones allow you to hear what is being recorded.
This will give you complete control over sound and you will be able to make adjustments in no time.
Do things sound a bit muffled?
Move away from the mic.
Go ahead and move closer.
Your headphones will also let you know if you are picking up any ambient background noise.
There are so many options to choose from, but comfort should be a priority.
If you are wanting to record longer sessions, padded cushions and big headphone ear pads are recommended.
Check out some top headphone recommendations.
Before you turn your podcast into a reality, you will need recording software.
Podcast production programs help you record, edit, and mix episodes together.
Here are a few recommendations:
Audacity is great for those who are just getting started. It is free, simple, and quite easy to use. This software is one of the best well rounded audio programs out there for beginners to record and edit episodes on Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. Once you are comfortable with the recording and editing process, you can decide to try some new software.
Interested in the more powerful audio editing software? Audio Audition has plenty of great features that you can play around with. It is only $20/month. If you are using high-end equipment, it is highly recommended that you invest in high-audio software.
GarageBand is made exclusively for Mac computers. This software is known to be good enough for both your audio recording and editing needs.
Once you have obtained these 4 essentials, you should be all set to produce a professional sounding show that will be hard for others to forget!
Once you have purchased all of your equipment, you will need to find the perfect place to set it up.
Even the best recording equipment out there will end up picking up ambient sounds from busy open-plan offices or noisy cafes.
No need to soundproof entire rooms.
Although, you will want to choose a quiet space in which those pesky background noises can be avoided.
Does your space have computers, fans, or other things that make loud noises?
You will want to move these into another room while recording.
Recording in a room that has carpet helps dampen echoes.
Avoid eating food or chewing gum while recording.
If you need to drink something, go ahead, but remember to move the mic away from your mouth while taking a sip.
Happen to sneeze or cough during your session?
Luckily, this is something that can be removed during the editing process.
We will be discussing this next (post-production).
Make sure that you have an outline handy of the all the things you will want to cover when recording a solo show.
Without an outline, you may find yourself getting lost in the weeds and may even start rambling.
Try not to go overboard.
You may sound pretty robotic if you read a script word for word.
Even if your interviewing guests, you will want to keep a rough outline on hand.
Remain flexible though.
If one of your guest starts going on an interesting tangent, just go with the flow.
Do not interrupt conversational flow just because it does not stick to your outline.
Let's talk about "crutch words" or "filler language".
You know, those "umms" and "ahh's", or other words used out of habit.
Try to avoid these.
These are distracting and will very likely take you away from your intentional message.
In the beginning, it may be somewhat difficult to avoid, but with some practice, you will quickly become better at it.
When it comes to editing your audio, it is one of the most labour intensive steps you will take.
Getting it right will make a big difference to the final product.
Big networks like NPR & BBC go through an extensive post-production process.
This is what gives them their very crisp, clean, and polished feel.
Thankfully, you will not need big network money to get the job done.
You will need to invest time into it though.
Finished recording your first podcast?
You may be one of those who does not feel like sitting back and listening to it all over again.
If you are the only one running the show, this is what needs to be done.
What content will need to be edited? You will want to remove:
- Prolonged silence
- Coughs & sneezes
- Fluff that does not contribute to the show
- Awkward interview segments
- "umms" & "ahh's" (not all of them, but the worst ones)
- Apparent expletives (needs to be done if you want to keep a clean show!)
You may want to add:
- Pre-recorded intros & outros
- Intro & outro jingles/music
Keep this in mind when adding music:
DO NOT use audio that you have no license for.
Implementing copyrighted material may lead to legal problems down the road, definitely not worth the risk.
PUBLISH & DISTRIBUTE
If so, you are now ready to release it to the world!
Before uploading your podcast, you will need to join a hosting site.
This is where your podcast resides.
When uploading to a hosting site, an RSS feed is generated, which in turn grants you access to all of your episodes and other information linked to your podcast.
Found a host?
Now it is time to distribute your podcast all across major directories to extend your reach.
Places like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Pocketcasts, etc. will help you do this.
Distributing is not at all difficult, but it does take some time.
You will need to take note of all your podcasting information, construct accounts with every individual directory, and submit your RSS feed and all other relevant information.
It may take some time before your podcasts gets reviewed and approved.
Life will become so much easier once you get on all major directories.
Information that has been added to your hosting site will automatically be dragged across to directories by the RSS feed.
Meaning, once you upload new episodes, change descriptions, or update titles on the host, all directory information will be updated automatically.
If you have your own blog or website, make sure to add your podcast to promote it!
Social media is a great marketing platform.
Here, you will be able to tag guests or brands.
Wanting to widen your audience?
There are so many other great promotional methods out there as well!
By putting an emphasis on getting the podcast production essentials right, you will set your podcast up for the success it deserves.
Malinda is a Content Creator/Web Designer @ Troyer Websites, a full service Web Design & Marketing Firm located in Orrville, Ohio.