These days everyone has a podcast, from your mates who love recapping Westworld to your in-laws and their weird podcast about the sex lives of the elderly. The entry barrier for podcasts is low, and if you’ve got something to say, getting it out there isn’t too difficult. Here’s how to get started.
You need an idea, and something high-concept and specific is more likely to attract listeners. ‘Two guys chatting’ isn’t enough – think about the things you’re passionate about and brainstorm specific angles. Listen to other podcasts and reflect on what you like about your favourites. Try to get a friend on board – you can talk to guests each episode, but a team of two is reliable, easy to manage and makes logistical sense.
WHAT TO BUY
- A decent USB microphone. I recommend the Blue Yeti USB microphone (RRP A$189) – you’ll only need one. It’s very sensitive, so try to record in a quiet room.
- A hosting subscription. I recommend Podbean: It’s one of the cheaper options (US$9 a month for unlimited uploads), and has its own popular app that frequently promotes Podbean-hosted podcasts. The analytics are less detailed than what some hosts offer, but it’ll do.
- Cover art. While you could slap something together in MS Paint it’s better to reach out to an artistic friend and see how much they’ll charge you.
HOW TO RECORD AND EDIT
If you’re recording remotely, using Skype, Google Hangout, or another service, ask each member to record their audio separately. Stitching together multiple files will make for higher quality, and this gives you backup options if your recording software fails (the free recorders out there aren’t always reliable).
If you’re in the same room, I recommend using Audacity for both recording and editing. Plug your mic in, set it as your recording device, hit ‘record’, then listen back to test levels before proceeding. We don’t have space to go over all of Audacity’s functions here, but it’s intuitive, feature-packed, and free. Make sure to cut out your awkward silences and breath intakes.
HOW TO SUCCEED
A social media presence is essential, and joining any Reddit groups that are tangentially related to your podcast – including r/podcasts – can be very useful. Make sure that your podcast is available everywhere. Getting onto iTunes is thankfully easy – Google ‘iTunes Podcast Connect’, submit a link to your RSS feed, and from there it’ll automatically be submitted to numerous other podcast aggregates and podcatchers. Some apps, including Stitcher, TuneIn, and Spotify, require that you submit your podcast directly to them, and can be more selective in what they’ll accept.
It’s worth remembering that unless you solve a murder or land an interview with Barack Obama, your podcast probably won’t become famous. You should take any chance you can to plug it (mine is called Pods in the Key of Springfield, by the way), but expect to peak with listener-per-episode numbers in the hundreds, not the hundreds of thousands. Aim to have fun rather than go viral.