Creating A Podcast
Ahhh, the year 2020 brought many new changes to a lot of our lives. It seemed that there was a creative boom while people had to be locked down in their homes. One of the artistic mediums that came out of and seems to be rising exponentially into the new year of 2021, is the art of podcasting. Now you may be thinking, "What the heck is so artistic about podcasting?" Well let me tell you...
Podcasting is the perfect way to explore your interests and learn about topics that you've always been wanting to learn about. Thats right, you DON'T HAVE TO BE AN EXPERT in something to start a podcast! It's as easy as doing a little research, or finding a guest educated in the topic to expand your knowledge wherever you wish for it to go. SO.... let's get that podcast started!
(Stick around till the very end for some BONUS CONTENT about how to podcast safely during the Covid-19 Pandemic!)
Choose A Topic
Probably one of the most daunting tasks of starting a podcast can be knowing what your topic is going to be. A great part about podcasting is that the content can range from absolutely nothing specific, to talking about changes in the market for hand soap.
So what are your interests? What are your passions? What is it that you think about when you wake up in the morning or find yourself randomly searching for on the internet and down the YouTube rabbit hole? I would say that's a pretty safe place to start.
Once you find your niche, its good to develop the idea further into thinking about who your audience is going to be. This is directly based upon your topic. If your main goal is learning about the topic you've chosen, odds are your audience is going to comprise of people exactly like yourself! Another important factor about your audience is that they aren't going to just be your audience. Building an audience is creating a COMMUNITY of people. Be ready to engage with them and listen to their feedback. In this process it is that you discover what your main goal of the podcast really is. This goal will be shaped and change during the beginning stages, but it is important to have all of this in mind so you can have a solid goal and starting point for your podcast. Once you have the nitty gritty front end ironed out, it's time to look into how you're going to get content to your podcast community.
Invest In Gear
Investing can sound like an expensive and scary task, but it doesn't need to be that way! You can easily get quality audio with budget friendly items. First though, it will be good to make a budget to follow. You can get a good USB microphone for less than $100, like this Audio Technica AT2005 USB dynamic microphone. Another great option would be the Samson COU10 Pro condenser microphone. All you need to do is plug in these microphones to your computer and hit record!
Whats the difference between the condenser and dynamic microphone?That's a great question! In short, a condenser microphone like the
Samson COU10 Pro would typically do a better job a picking up the full range of the frequency spectrum, capturing the crispness of a human voice. A Dynamic microphone can handle larger, louder sounds, for other applications such as instrument recordings, and typically won't need an extra power source like a normal condenser mic would. Since the Samson COU10 Pro is USB, you wont need to worry about using an external power source (phantom power) for the microphone to work. Another great feature of the Samson COU10 Pro is that its supercardioid pickup pattern is very direct and will reject a lot of extra noise coming at the microphone from the sides, keeping your recording clean and easier to edit.
If you are new to podcasting, but not necessarily to pro-audio, you might have an audio interface laying around somewhere like this Focusrite digital interface. If not, this would be a great interface to have if you want to take your audio quality up another level. Since this usb interface has an XLR microphone input, you'll have to search for a microphone that also utilizes an XLR connection. My microphone of choice right now is the Presonus PD-70 Dynamic Broadcast Microphone. It is a sturdy built and super affordable microphone that can capture all the right nuances of the human voice. Microphones like the PD-70 and the more widely known Shure SM7B were designed very specifically to capture the human voice in the best of ways.
As far as headphones go, anything can be fair game. The main recommendation is that if you want to monitor the voices of yourself and your guest and want to use over-ear headphones, make sure they are closed back so there isn't any audio bleed into the microphones. Something like these ATM20Xs from Audio Technica should do the trick perfectly (I've been using my M30Xs for 6 years and still love them!).
Create A Schedule
A very common experience with new podcasters is getting burnt out very quickly. Whether you are podcasting casually for fun, or trying to market yourself and educate the masses, proper schedule building and maintaining is KEY for keeping the "Pod-Lag" at bay. This can be as simple as utilizing a calendar on your phone to schedule guest reach-out time, note writing time, and editing time. Obviously you can section out your time into as small of details as you want, but this should be the bare minimum. If you want to go ALL OUT you can look into a project scheduling website like monday.com or asana.com.
Some important questions to think about from the start are, how many and how often you want to post an episode, and will there be any guests or co-hosts for that episode. This is entirely dependent upon your personal schedule and the type of show you have. Typically most shows have 1-3 people speaking on them. It's always good to have some extra and immediate input on your thoughts and ideas during the recording of a show.
So what happens after you've downed the coffee, gone off on 10 rabbit trails, and finally hit the "record stop" at the end of your show? Well, there's only one thing to do...
Editing Your Podcast
The edit phase is definitely one of the most time consuming parts of the podcast. To a new podcaster and pro-audio user, editing can seem like a daunting task. Fret not, there are plenty of resources out there on the great interwebs! We will dive deeper into the editing process in a future blog. For now we'll discuss the essentials.
Choosing an Editing Software
Your editing software is the middleman between you and getting your podcast being heard all around the world. This software, commonly called a DAW (DIgital Audio Workspace) allows you to upload your files, edit out dead space, pesky "uhs' "likes" and "ums", among many other sounds you never could imagine coming out of your own mouth so, so, so, often. One of the best FREE editing softwares is Audacity. It has a simple user interface and is a goto for new podcasters. If you are more experienced in the pro-audio world you may have access to Garage Band, Logic Pro, Reaper, or Pro Tools, but another very common DAW utilized is Adobe Audition. Audition has been optimized very specifically for the Voice Over/Podcast editor and is very streamlined with a simple user interface. Audition can be great if you are alright with a monthly subscription to Adobe.
The Edit Phase
When it comes to the actual editing, many of the tools and the user interface itself can be terribly confusing. It's recommended to watch some videos or read the software manual if you really want to learn the piece of software you are using. If you are new to the audio editing process, some simple adjustments to even make your first podcasts sound professional includes adding music to the beginning and end of your episodes, cutting out extra space between words or thoughts that may seem too long, and making sure the exported MP3 is at a nice "normalized level" for the distribution host you choose to upload your podcast to. Which brings us to tip #5!
Sharing Your Creation
We wouldn't want to be making a podcast without sharing it to the world right? Fortunately for us podcasters, there is a huge amount of platforms to choose from, and even better, a good pool of hosting platforms to utilize and push our content to those platforms. Each of these "Host Platforms" have different ranges of services and cost for usage. Most have a free entry level and you can get more usage with a tiered payment plan (most of them are monthly plans). With some services you can even MONETIZE your content. This can be a tricky situation though, as the integrity of your content relies upon how you choose to show ads to your community of listeners. Watch out for a future blog post on getting your podcast monetized!
Your podcast can be the platform in which your voice can be heard to hundreds, thousands, and even millions of listeners if you keep at it and build your community right! Casual podcasting is nothing to look down upon either, starting a podcast should be about the learning, self reflecting, discovering experience. Only then will the external benefits start rolling in!
Oh, and since you made it this far, here is some BONUS CONTENT for you!
Safe Podcasting During the Covid-19 Pandemic
During a time where so much in the world is going on, podcasting is at an all time high, but person to person interaction is hard to come by and even dangerous. Fear not, your sanity can be maintained with these simple ways to keep podcasting while keeping your health and the health of others in mind!
If you have a mixer or an interface, you can call your guests and route the audio into the mixer or interface while still being able to monitor and hear their voice and record it at the same time! There are many great devices that can make this an even more simplified solution!
Video calling has advanced rapidly during these times where in person meetings can be very unsafe. Programs like Zoom and Squadcast can capture quality audio and also be optimized for recording and even editing in post. There are many articles on how to optimize zoom calls for quality audio. If utilizing a software like OBS you can even livestream your podcast to multiple platforms at the same time!
Thanks for checking out this blog. If you have any more questions on how to setup and run your podcast send an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be more than happy to help you with all of your questions! Please share this blog and leave a comment down below!
Stay well and create often,
*Mighty Mics is not directly affiliated with any of the software and web hosts mentioned in this blog post*