I am an experienced blogger who loves travelling, food and fun, currently living in Brisbane.
Published August 11th 2011
What is Podcasting?
When it comes to expression, the human voice is without rival. Podcasting is a fantastic way to access all the extra emotion and expressiveness that text just cannot convey. If you have never heard of Podcasts, or podcasting before, it is a way of sharing audio content, similar to a radio show, over the internet. It is the perfect companion to a Blog or a unique way to share your hobby. From making regular podcasts to an audience you carve out of the internet masses to getting the kids together to make a family show for relatives far away, it is far easier than you might think to start your broadcasting career. All you need is an idea and a few pieces of free software to get started.
A cheap headset is a cheap way to start your podcasting career.
The first thing you will need is an idea, or concept. The most common podcasts are hobby related where podcasters will discuss topics relating to their passions and expertise. From travel to fashion; video games to movies, topics are as numerous as the people creating them.
Once you have an idea, it is important to have a microphone. Headsets can offer the best results as if you have a co-host you can hear them through the earpiece without the microphone picking them up a second time.
Next is a piece of software to record with. Far and away the most popular and easy to use piece of software is Audacity. It allows you to record multiple tracks, add in background music and sound effects as well as edit out any mistakes. For your first few recordings though it is a good idea to keep it simple.
Finally, a website to publish your podcast. There are several free options out if you Google 'Free Podcast hosting'. Make sure to read all the conditions however as some of these have strict limits on the size and duration of your podcast. They also limit how many people can listen to your podcast in a 24 hour period. This can be ok if you expect a small listener base (just friends and family for example) but can be too restrictive if you are attempting to grow your fan base. If you wish to avoid these restrictions, a paid service, such as Podbean can offer your podcast a home for US$4.95 per month as well as the space for growth as you expand your show library.
Recording your first show
Recording your first show can be an exciting and also daunting experience. The best way to start is to remember to be yourself and just chat as if you were talking to friends. Just a discussion between co-hosts about a given topic is a common, and successful format. As you become more comfortable doing this you may want to experiment some more in the future as your confidence grows. Just relax and have fun. A good idea is to show notes up on your screen with some basic points to help guide the conversation to cover the topics you wish to cover. Also place a time limit on the show, it can be easy to ramble for an hour or more, particularly if you start having fun. Unless you are confident that the content is unique enough to hold listeners' attention for a long time, thirty minutes to an hour should be your goal.
A common mistake of new podcasters is poor microphone technique. Be very aware of the location of your microphone and test it before you record an hour long show. Be careful of the 'Shh' sounds distorting and harsh letters like 'T' popping. Talk around the mic and not directly into it so your voice is recorded naturally and without the pops and hiss of breathing directly into it. Also keep the distance from the microphone even throughout the whole recording to maintain an even volume. Do those two things and your recording should sound great, even on a cheap microphone.
Publishing your show
Once the podcast is recorded, most podcasters will edit the show to a final format. This usually involves adding some intro and outro music and editing out any mistakes. If you are new to editing audio keep it simple. Just edit out severe mistakes and try not to worry about stray coughs or sniffs. A natural podcast can sound better then a podcast edited to become discordant and listeners will pick up on it. Don't be afraid to record again if you have to as all podcasters inevitably produce a show that just doesn't click. Often a re-record will highlight things you missed the first time and result in a better show. The wiki at Audacity is a great place to start learning the tips and tricks.
Once you have a final cut, follow the directions on your chosen publishing website and before you know it, you'll have a link to share so people can download and listen to your new show. Make sure you pick a catchy and unique name so your show stands out as well. Most publisher websites will also allow you to add your show to the iTunes store for free. The first episode will be subject to approval and following episodes will update fairly quickly. Just remember to avoid copyrighted material and search for copyright free music.
Now promote, promote, promote. Share your links on Facebook, twitter, Google plus and your blog. Even forums, as long as the rules allow for advertisements and you post in a relevant thread. Pick a schedule for the shows, whether monthly, fortnightly or weekly and keep being creative. If you are active enough in the online community you might even find you are able to secure special guests from within the topic you pick. It is not uncommon if you promote yourself in the relevant groups.
Enjoy it, have fun and remember. Practice, practice, practice.