How to Start A Podcast for 2020 The Definitive Guide Part 3
What Recording Equipment do I Need
The bare minimum of equipment you’ll need to record a podcast is a laptop with a built-in microphone and access to the internet. However, the more limit- ed and low-cost your setup and equipment are, the lower the sound quality of your show.
The good news is if you choose the right mic, simple USB microphone setups can give great results. Generally, it’s a good idea to start where you are at and then see how things work and whether you enjoy your podcasting, before you start spending big sums of money on fancy audio equipment.
If you are intending to have a co-host or do an interview style show, it would be a good idea to invest in
some lapel microphones and a splitter. Trying to interview someone with one big microphone
in between you may be a bit unwieldy and make for patchy audio when people move off mic.
Even if you are podcasting in a solo format, buying a lapel microphone is still really advisable. Once you clip it in place it is one less functional thing you have to worry about when you are focussing on creating a good presentation.
By using simple recording & editing software you can keep costs and complications to a minimum.
For basics, you can use your phone with the microphones plugged in via a splitter. You have to weigh up if using more expensive and sophis- ticated equipment will be worthwhile in the end and whether it will make enough of a difference to justify the extra cost.
As to where you record, be aware that sound will tend to bounce and echo if you are in a sterile room with bare walls. Look into the best ways to create a welcom- ing sonic atmosphere for your listeners and guests. Using sound baffles / acoustic foam can help to reduce the level of airborne sounds and reverberation in echo- ey spaces.
Do I need A Script?
Before you hit the “record” button you’ll want to have a fair idea of what you are going to say. The last thing your listeners need is to hear you fumbling over words before you have even launched into your show. So, yes, starting with a simple script will help, (unless you have a real ‘gift of the gab’ and are confident you know what you will be saying and how you’ll be saying it.)
Bear in mind though, that it is not advisable to write a detailed, lengthy, essay-style script and then read it out monotonously. If you are just reading long screeds of
words it will bore your listeners and lack that fresh, “live” quality that is so much more desirable.
If you are wanting to create highly-produced and heavily-edited shows, then more detailed scripts might be in order, but generally, you want to use your script as a prompt to speak more naturally.
Also, it is worth noting that script-writing takes preparation time and ultimately you don’t want the whole exercise to become a chore, or a barrier to getting your podcasts out regularly. Use your sense of balance to decide the level of detail you feel you need to present your information in an interesting and engaging way. Your listeners will appreciate it if they don’t have to listen to someone read- ing a long, pre-written script.
Have fun and create an engaging show! Aim for conversation, rather than a drea- ry sermon. Using a script consisting of bullet points lets you list off the things you want to cover while so you can speak more naturally, in your own words, around those points. Don’t worry! It gets easier as you practice over time and eventually you may not even need a script.
Talking into a mic
It can take a little getting used to talking into a microphone. As we’ve said, people can feel like they are just talking to themselves and their concentration can trail off, as if no one is listening.
The main thing is to focus on talking to your ‘listener persona’ – your ideal customer/listener. Imagine you’re holding a conversation with them,
rather than talking to the microphone or the empty air. This will help you to sound much more natural
and engaging. People who listen will feel more like you are talking directly to them, which helps to build and strengthen relationships with your audience over time.
Also be aware of not going “off mic” by swaying back and forth, or walking away from the mic if it is in a fixed position. The sound quality needs to be consistent, so keep an even distance between you and your equipment so you are not fading in and out of range.
Recording remote guests or co-hosts
Sometimes your co-host or guest might be in another building, or even another city. Don’t worry though, this doesn’t have to be a problem and can be as easy as talking to
someone on the phone. They don’t have to be face to face with you for you to record your chat with them.
Skype and Zoom are the most common ways to communicate online and record calls. Be sure you familiarise
yourself with which buttons to click, well before the time comes for recording, so you are comfortable and conversant with how it works and don’t need to get frazzled when the time comes to record your call.
Editing your podcast
We’ll keep this part short and simple! Perhaps the easiest way to edit recorded calls is to use the
Audacity program. It’s free and once you get the hang of it, the software just works.
Here’s a link to all you need to get your editing started: https://www.audacityteam.org/
Do I need music for my podcast?
You don’t have to use music. Ultimately it is up to you and it depends on what sort of mood or atmosphere you want to create on your show.
Broadcasting music will bring up copyright issues, if you don’t own the rights to use the music. So, you either need to make sure you have the appropriate permissions to use music that belongs to artists or labels, or stick with resources that you pay for, or which are free to use.
You can get podcast music from several places online. One free option is Incompetech. It works well and will likely serve your needs. Bear in mind that since it’s one of only a
few free sources, you might hear the same music popping up in other places online, so you won’t have a unique sound unless you record your own music or make special arrangements.
Specifications of cover art for podcasts
The cover art you use for your podcast will be one of the things that attracts peo- ple to click and listen or to just scroll by. Because the artwork is often viewed in a smaller format, it doesn’t serve you well to clutter up the space with a lot of details that are hard to read. Often a simple photo of yourself, coupled with your logo works well. It is unique and shows you are a real person that listeners can engage with. Another alternative is a picture that relates to your subject matter or theme, with your name or logo.
As to the dimensions, ideally your cover art should be 1400 x 1400 pixels, in JPG or PNG form, and under 500kb in size. If you are using iTunes is important to stick to these specs.
Ready to publish your podcast?
Ok, so you have your recorded and edited material. What do you do with it to get it up and out there?
Just as a website is hosted by a server, your podcast will similarly need hosting. You can choose from many free and paid options which you can find
by searching ‘podcast hosting’. One host we can recommend is https://www.whooshkaa.com/
which is straightforward to use and, importantly, free.
Set up your account and create your show with the media host of your choice, and then you can submit the
podcast to various directories. From there, listeners can discover and listen to it. They might also choose to subscribe and/or download your show.
You can also post the show on your own website and direct listeners to your web- site itself.
After you Launch
Congratulations! Well done! You’ve got your podcast out there launched it into the world. So, what happens next?
- Share the link by email, with your customer database and
- Post it on your social media pages and generally spread the to subscribe for future episodes and to share the link
for your convenience the podcast is also below.