How To Start A Podcast
So you have your blog and some high-quality blog posts. Then you start wondering how you can break into the podcasting scene with your content.
Is it possible?
Is it hard?
Not if you have the right instructions!
The podcast craze of the last decade shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a great time to jump in and start recording, especially if you already have some blog content up and running. That’s some of the hard work already knocked out!
Podcasts are fun and exciting, but they’re also a lot of work. If you’re going to record full-time and produce audio content for your listeners, then you have to be committed. It might sound like an easy task to sit down, record yourself, and let your podcast go live, but there are a few crucial steps involved!
Note that these are the most basic steps to recording and uploading your podcast. Other sources can help you with more advanced instructions and professional equipment recommendations if podcasting becomes your full-time passion!
A step-by-step process on how to start a podcast:
- Choose blog posts to convert to podcasts
- Rewrite your content as talking points
- Buy a really high-quality microphone
- Talk in an evenly paced tone
- Edit your recording for publishing
- Choose a good host for your podcast
- List your podcast on iTunes
Now let’s dive into those points!
From Writing To Speaking: The Process
Start by choosing your blog posts (or multiple blog posts) to convert to podcast form. If this already sounds exciting, you’re going to love podcasting. It’s a chance to turn your written work into a verbal project and reach an entirely different audience.
Look for blog posts with step-by-step guides, a solid outline, or a more conversational tone. These will be more fun to record and offer the most engagement between speaker and listener.
Prepare your content to go from the written form to the spoken form by rewriting. Not a full rewrite! But you’ll want to make your post a bit more speakable. Make it lively! Make it engaging! How would you share the post if you were explaining it to your best friend instead of reading it to yourself?
- Use more conversational words and phrases that will take your formal writing style into a more casual speaking tone.
- You might want to add in more real-life examples or stories into the script by incorporating the phrases, “this reminds me of…” or “a good example of this is when…”
- Tell a joke or two.
- Add “okay?” or “right?” at the end of key sentences as if it were a conversation.
- Overall, know what you’re going to say throughout the podcast. No awkward pauses allowed (unless they’re for a comedic effect)!
Two words that should be banned from your podcast content: Boring and bland. So spice up your talking! People want to hear you, the real you. Our writing voice doesn’t always mimic our speaking voice, so it’s good to change it up.
Emerging technologies have made it possible for you to simply convert your already written blog post into podcast (audio) form. However, this audio often comes across sounding a bit “choppy” and doesn’t have the authentic ring of a natural human speaking voice.
If you’re interested in exploring these options, you can check out Play (WordPress plugin), or any other text-to-speech plugin. Otherwise, it’s highly recommended that you manually record your blog post (i.e. read it out loud and record it live).
Make Your Voice Be Heard Loud and Clear
So now you have a readable script and you’re ready to get started recording! What’s next?
You’ve got to have something to speak into: That’s your microphone! Really any microphone will work for recording, but listeners can easily tell the difference between a good and a bad microphone. If podcasting is a long-term project of yours, it’s probably a good choice to invest in a high-quality microphone to help you provide the best audio content possible.
You can either purchase a USB microphone (plugs directly into your computer’s USB port) or an analog microphone (requiring another device to move the audio onto your computer).
Some microphone recommendations:
- Audio Technica AT2020
- Samson Meteor
- Blue Yeti/Yeti Pro
- Shure SM-58
- Blue Snowball
- Logitech Clearchat Stereo Headset
- CAD 37
- Fifine USB Plug and Play (inexpensive!)
- Always do some audio tests first to make sure everything is working okay.
- Talk in an evenly paced tone about your topic.
- Let your passion shine through – you’re offering something of value to your audience.
Post-Recording, Pre-Publishing: The Editing Process
Unless you plan on recording your podcast in a single take and publishing it just as it is (not recommended), you’ll want to do some audio post-processing. It doesn’t have to be intense! Don’t feel pressured to add in musical interludes or intentional sound effects if that’s not your brand.
There’s a variety of options for how to get started, whether you’re a professional or you’ve never edited anything close to audio in your life.
- Mac users: Garageband might already be your best friend or it might become one now.
- Free: Audacity.
- Expensive, but high quality: Adobe Audition. It’s available as a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud plan or you can buy it as an individual application. Also available as a free trial.
- Other options: Avid Pro Tools, Hindenburg, Acoustica, Reaper
- Audio encoder: WinLame. You’ll need this to convert WAV files to MP3 after you’ve finished editing.
Be sure to tag your audio file, give it an episode title, genre (podcast), artist (you!), album title (your podcast title), copyright, copyright-free cover artwork, etc. These are all important for if you’re hoping to list your podcast in a directory later on.
Host It Or No One Will Hear It
There’s really no point to recording a podcast if no one gets to hear it. You need to have a host somewhere online, a place to store your podcasts so that you can easily share them. Hosting online allows you to distribute your show to podcast directories and apps via RSS feed.
Some hosting options include:
- Soundcloud (free)
- Podbean (considered to be one of the best)
- Podmatic (free)
- Libsyn (plans start at $5)
- Amazon S3
You could always upload to a blogging host like BlueHost but this requires a few extra steps and limits your flexibility.
Once you’ve signed up for a service, filled out all of the necessary information, (including profile and podcast description), you can upload your file(s)!
List It Or No One Can Find It
iTunes is the powerhouse for podcast listings. Once you’re listed in the iTunes podcast directory, you’ll be able to promote your show for the best outreach possible.
- Skim the official iTunes podcast specs for the answers to any detailed questions
- Check and double-check your title, author, description, and cover art that’s associated with the podcast audio file on your hosting service. iTunes uses those fields for search.
- Copy your podcast’s RSS feed URL.
- Make sure it’s valid by checking it at CastFeed (or else your host site might tell you)
- In the Podcasts section of iTunes, find the Submit A Podcast link under Podcast Quick Links.
- Paste in your RSS feed URL and submit! Your podcast will be verified by a team of people and added as soon as possible (assuming there are no issues).
Look at you, the new podcast master! Once you’ve started creating, recording, and uploading, you’re reaching out to an entirely new target audience. Try podcasting and see how it works for you and your blog today!
Mercy Barrial is a senior at Wheaton College (IL) studying Communication Media Studies and Journalism and planning to enter the marketing industry after graduation. She serves as Chair of the Media Team, Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Wheaton Record, and she works as a Media Relations intern for the Marketing and Communications Department.