Making of a Podcast


Intro

Hello?  You there?  Ah! Good.


In a recent episode, I talked about the irony of how many podcasts there are about making podcasts - then realised that this might be a good idea for me too!!  I mean; it fits in well with my raison d'etre.... ooh la la!!


So, on this episode, I’m going to talk through my experience of getting this podcast made, the ways in which I promote it and if it's something you're interested in, then just do it!


The Reason Why

I've always been a keen listener of podcasts.  I've subscribed to many over the years, and they've been getting ever more popular.  All of the big broadcasters have broken some of their programmes into smaller chunks, or segments from the main programming.


But it's the independent podcasters that are taking over the airwaves (or should that be bandwidth).  There's space for everyone, whether you want to present all encompassing drama or investigative journalism on a weekly or monthly basis; or if you are short-form presenter, with the ramblings of your mind on a daily basis.  


Do you have hours to talk, or just a few minutes?  It doesn't matter.  There's no right or wrong length for an episode.  There's no scheduling to fit into.  You just need to get whatever you want to say 'out there'.


And you can do it by yourself, Solo style, like me; or you can present with a friend or a bunch of friends.  Invite guests to discuss their passions - that's also another way to promote your podcast.


Getting Started

Now, it can be a little daunting.  There are so many places vying for you to publish your podcast.  Where do you start?


I started with Anchor.  It's a free service that not only publishes on their own site, but also syndicates the feed across multiple other publishers.  This means you only need to upload once, and as long as it meets the criteria (which it usually will do) then it will automatically feed to Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic, Overcast, Spotify, Pocket Casts etc etc etc...


This particular podcast is available on 11 platforms.  And, of course, the more platforms you're on, the broader the audience.


Equipment

Another consideration is the equipment to use. 


Anchor provide all the tools you need in their mobile app - available on iOS and Android.  You can record, edit and upload all from the one device.  It's a good way to get started; and is quite simple too; if a little fiddly.


Just by using the microphone that's part of your phone, you're good to go.  Now - it may not be the best sound quality; but there are plenty of podcasts where this is how they do it; and in some cases, make a feature of it.

If you want to make more of a presentation, then you'll need a microphone and computer - either a PC or a Mac (or laptop equivalent).  There are a multitude of microphones available and this episode is not a review - you can find reviews elsewhere; but popular models are the relatively inexpensive Blue Snowball, to the Audio-Technica AT2020USB (and upwards).


I use the Blue Yeti Microphone; which I bought after only a couple of episodes. I based my decision on cost, as well as the functionality and ease of set up; i.e. there isn't any - just plug and play.  It's a USB microphone, so I don't need additional power. 


As a desktop mic, it easily picks up knocks and even the taps on the table - which is why I now suspend the mic from an arm, to reduce this annoying interference.


Another reason I like the Blue Yeti is for the headphone socket, so I can hear myself directly and can check sound levels easily.


Software

If you're using a laptop or desktop to record, there are a couple of free options to capture your recording.  Audacity is great to use and not too complicated (and this can be used on Mac or PC), and if you're using an Mac, then Garageband is ideal.


You can record what you want, and then edit as required.  Making a podcast isn't quick.  Whilst the end result, for me, is usually around 10 to 15 minutes, it can take an hour to record and edit; then edit some more.  But, I like to think it's worth it?!


If you've never done it before, it can be quite daunting talking, in essence, to yourself.  And unless you know what you're going to say, there could be a lot of 'ums' and 'ahs' and you could find yourself repeating words - which you won't know until you listen back.


Once piece of advice is to talk slowly.  Give yourself time to think; but importantly, you can edit out much of this later.


If you are capable of talking on the fly then that's great.  You might find you need bullet points, to prompt you as you go.  Some may find the need of a full script is better.


That's what I do.  I write a fully fledged script and then use it as a base.  It needs care, to make it sound natural when talking; and that comes with experience and some practice.


Sounds Good

So, you have a microphone.  You've loaded the application to record.  You have script.

How do you make it all sound good?


First of all, make sure that the space you're recording in isn't an echo chamber.  Unless you have access to a proper recording studio, then you're likely recording at home. 


One of the issues is that of an echo. Take the curtains out of a room, and you'll notice how much your voice echoes.  You probably wouldn't notice having a conversation with someone, but listen back to a recording and you'll soon realise how empty it sounds.

Curtains help to deaden the sound.  You need to do the same.  Some people sit under a duvet.  I actually prop pillows up in front of me, to help.


Another, non-essential piece of equipment, is that of a pop-filter.  This sits over the microphone and helps to prevents the 'p' and  'b' popping sound as you talk.


Now, practice what you want to say.  Speak in your usual voice.  Be natural.  And when you do this check the levels on your recording software.  You'll notice some green bars flashing as you speak.  The louder you get, the further up the range they go, changing colour through amber, then red.


Red is bad.  It's too loud and will sound distorted to your listeners.  You need to remain in the green area - so you'll need to adjust the input levels (also known as gain).  And you need to speak in your normal voice to make sure you get it right.


Once you're happy - press record and off you go.


Recording

Now, you can either record the entire podcast in one go, or, and this is what I do, record in sections.  It makes it easier if you make a mistake and helps with the editing later.  But, it's a personal choice; and you might want to experiment to see which is best for you.


The more parts you make, the longer it will take to edit; on the other hand, if you record in one go, then you'll either have to re-record the entire thing again, or take a lot of time editing.


Editing

OK.  You've finished recording.  Congratulations.  That wasn't so bad, was it?


Now, save it.  Before you do anything else.  You don't want to suddenly lose everything.


Now you need to listen back and cut out all those mini stumbles, the 'ums' that you didn't know you were saying and those often repeated phrases, that are a habit, and don't sound too good in a broadcast.


Publish

Once you've done the editing, and you're happy, then upload the file.  Here you can also add the show notes - the information that your audience will read about the episode.  On the main Anchor website you can choose to schedule the episode to be published in the future.  This functionality isn't available via the app.


You're almost there.


Promote

Your episode is waiting to be published.  Now you need to promote it.  There's no point spending all the time writing, presenting and editing your podcast, and then not tell anyone about it!


So, where do you go?  Instagram and Twitter are two of the best places, and if you have Facebook, then there too.   Search out the hashtags to use, that will get your post noticed.  Experiment with different ones - your audience will probably change as you do; so you'll get heard by more people.


I create specific artwork for each episode, based on a template, that I update each time.  It makes it quick and retains a sort of brand image.  I use Canva (which is free) for creating the artwork, and I use Buffer to schedule posts so that they automatically post at relevant times to the audience.  There is a future episode about this; so remember to follow this podcast.


You might want to use other tools to help promotion, such as Headliner, to create a short trailer.  It's also free to use, and adds an element of professionalism to your podcast.


Artwork created.  Buffer loaded with posts to advertise your new episode; at a time to coincide with the release of the episode on Anchor.  Now, you just need to wait.


But - even when your podcast has been released, and people are listening to it, you still need to continue to promote it.


It's a big world out there, and the audience is ever growing and changing. So don't sit still.  Keep promoting, try various hashtags to see which ones work the best and get the bigger audience.  Try posting at different times to see which works best.


Remember, your audience is global - so whilst your sleeping, others are awake and reading your blog, tweets, instagram posts and listening to your show.  Notice how I've also embedded a player into this website, so making listening even easier for my audience.


Podcast of the Week

This time my Podcast of the Week is Hacks and Hobbies.  Hosted by Junaid Ahmed.


Junaid offers a series of hobbyists and guests who teach us lessons.  Guests include Steve Sullivan on the subject of being a gentleman, Marylyn King talking about personal branding and David Calvert, from CarThoughtsWithDavid, who has talked about his book and Juliet Herman on what it means to have inner happiness. 


Or his episode about buying a bike...     


It’s one I recommend you go and have a listen.


Making Money

Making a podcast is enormous fun.  Whether you're doing it for pleasure, or whether you have a business you're promoting.  You just have to do it.


It's about consistency.  Putting out content on a regular basis, to build a following.  Tell your friends and family about it.  Don't be shy.  And listen to feedback.  Take on board any constructive criticism to help improve your episodes.


Monetisation comes later.  If you're doing it to make money, you'll have a very long wait on your hands.  I recently started a 'Paid Listens' programme with RadioPublic.  It means a small pre-roll advert and then on-with-the-show.  For every 1000 listens I will earn a whopping $20 (that's only for those listens via the RadioPublic app) not the other podcast apps.  This is not a get-rich-quick scheme.


If you are after the money; then you'll also need to look at other avenues, such as a blog, with advertising, or getting your show sponsored.  Again, this needs numbers; although Anchor does have a sponsorship program, but only if you're in Canada or the USA!


So....

  • Do it for love.  

  • Do it for your audience, but mostly, 

  • Do it for you. 


Thank You

I hope you’ve found this episode interesting.


If you have any questions about anything I've said, then please get in touch via the Contact Me button at the top of the page.


Don’t forget to follow me where you normally listen to your podcasts.


Thank you very much for listening and until next time, remember, Productivity Matters.

Equipment I use to make my podcasts:


Blue Yeti Microphone

Pop Filter

Professional Microphone Boom Arm


If you purchase from these links then I may receive a commission.  This does not affect the price you will pay.  Thank you.

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