The Internet and an ever-widening range of affordable tools has created a multitude of ways to be creative. Once upon a time, being a musician would mean buying expensive instruments, and recording material would mean expensive studio time. These days, instruments can be remarkably inexpensive, and you can record from the comfort of your own home. The same can be said for a number of mediums, but we’re going to look at one in particular; how to start a podcast.
What is a Podcast?
If you’re reading an article titled “how to start a podcast”, you probably don’t need this explaining. But just in case, think of a podcast as an on-demand radio show. These typically take the format of a talk show, but there is no restriction to what you can do in a podcast.
The show is then exported to a downloadable file (usually mp3), uploaded somewhere, and syndicated to podcast players across the Internet where people can listen to it at their leisure.
How to Start a Podcast
So we know what a podcast is, now let’s get into the different aspects you’ll need to know about in order to start your own.
What do you Need?
First and foremost, you need an idea. The ease of entry into the world of podcast creation means that there is a lot of competition for ear time out there. The more original your idea, the more likely you are to succeed in finding an audience. The most crucial aspect about your idea is that it should be something you enjoy. This is really important. If you don’t enjoy it, you’ll soon lose interest. Not to mention, listeners can usually pick up on this sort of thing.
Do you have a friend who you regularly spend hours deconstructing movies with? Try putting a mic in the room and see how it sounds. Perhaps you have a field of expertise you can put to good use? Record it.
Speaking of recording, the next thing you’ll need is audio equipment. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. Microphones are quite inexpensive these days. There’s a lot of research you could do that this article won’t go into, but broadly speaking, look at your needs. If it’s just you talking into microphone, you don’t need much more than a USB mic and your computer. If you plan to interview people, you’ll need a way to record the conversation. If your podcast is a round-table format with everyone in the room, you’ll need multiple mics and a way to connect them all up.
You could also be considering live streaming your podcast, but I would suggest this may be a little ambitious for a first time.
Once you have your idea primed and equipment set up, it’s time to record. Try to resist the urge to just upload it once it’s done. Listen back to it, have others listen to it, get opinions and suggestions. Most people’s first experience with your podcast will generally be the most recent one you uploaded. But if they first listen to an older podcast and it’s not very good, they might not come back for the more recent stuff.
Once you’ve got a podcast your happy with, you need to find a home for it. There are many services out there that will take care of the hosting and syndication for you. Of course, there is a cost for that convenience, and one your podcast won’t cover for some time. If ever. Alternatively you can handle it all yourself with free blogs and file hosting, but it’s far more work. You’ll need to decide where your balance is.
Once your podcast is up you want people to listen to it. If your podcast is incredibly niche, there’s good chance it will be found by the people who are looking for that niche. But if there are a lot of podcasts in the genre you’ve chosen, you’ll need to make it as visible as possible. It should go without saying that this doesn’t mean spam your Twitter followers or Facebook friends, but you should definitely mention it there.
Also consider commenting on blogs and videos of related topics, but make sure your comment has value in and of itself. If you just post “check out my podcast” links, people will almost certainly ignore you.
Paid advertising is obviously an option, but an expensive one. And you’re really putting faith in your podcast to do this. A paid-for click will only yield long lasting results if the clicker likes your podcast. To that end, make sure any paid advertising is well-targeted.
It’s worth mentioning twice. The more fun you have making your podcast, the better you will sound as a podcast host, and the more likely you will be to stick with it.
So that concludes this post on how to start a podcast. You can find a wealth of information about specifics, such as recording and hosting, or just more detailed guides. Now, go and start podcasting!
An eclectic range of occupations and interests, expect posts on guitars (because I like them), automatic transmissions (because I fix them), and a host of other interests including game development, science fiction and fantasy novels, music, and occasionally sports.