Podcasts are important. Even the biblical God had one. Don’t believe us? Here’s something from the Bible –
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”Source[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]God didn’t type it out on a screen or record a video. God simply spoke – possibly into the microphone. And that’s why podcasts are as important today as they were several thousand years ago.[/perfectpullquote]
The good news is, you can set yours up in only 4 easy steps.
Whether you are a business owner or someone who wants to broadcast their ideas to the world, a podcast is an indispensable medium! [tweetthis]Over 42 million people listen to a podcast weekly – and this is the statistic for the US alone.[/tweetthis]
These people are likely to subscribe to Netflix and other streaming platforms, be active on more than one social media platform, and follow their favourite companies and brands on social media as well. Taking these factors into account, you most definitely don’t want to miss out on capitalising on this market!
The interesting thing about podcasts is that they are an on-demand as well as an ad-free resource, and it is for this reason that they win over the radio. Moreover, a listener can play a certain episode of a podcast as many times as they want, without any limitations whatsoever! Additionally, podcasts are not produced according to the criteria selected by those who are paying for its production — podcasts have truly stellar content because their creators are personally invested in their projects and want only what’s best. This is why podcasts are slowly becoming the go-to resource for those who want to learn and be entertained at the same time!
Thankfully, not much is required to get started with a podcast. You can get started with as much as a pair of headphones with a mic and a simple recording software like Audacity, which you can find online for free. Of course, if you have the budget you can also invest in better, studio-grade equipment, which will allow you to ramp up your production value. But these are scalable milestones, and you don’t have to be bothered about them from the get-go.
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First things first: Decide your niche and name your podcast
Given the sheer number of podcasts that are available today, it would be a wise decision to narrow down a topic of your choosing. And we don’t mean simply reaching a specific topic from a broader field; although this is good to start out with, it’s unlikely that this will help you reach where you want to go. Plan out weeks’ worth of content at the outset if you can! This way you’ll know there’s enough depth for you in the topic you want to explore.
From here it should not be too much a distance to traverse to reach the name of your podcast. And of course, a rose by any other name will smell just as sweet – but why not get a sweet name anyway? There are a couple of things to keep in mind while picking out a name – it can only fall in one of two categories: either it should very clearly communicate what the show is about, or it can be something edgy or thought-provoking so that people are tempted to find out what it’s about. Even in the second case, ideally, your podcast should show up when a potential listener searches for the topic your show is about – so keep that in mind as well.
Once you’ve successfully crossed this hurdle – rejoice! This was the hardest step of all!
Step two: Record
The first time you record will probably be a bit awkward – especially if you’re not used to listening to your own voice being played back to you. This, however, is a minor setback which gets resolved with time. Once you’ve finished recording, you can also opt for post-processing, but this will depend greatly on the genre of your podcast. If you’re simply discussing events of the week with your own unique take on them, you might need fewer effects than if your podcast is about music, or if you’re planning to have a narrative with its own soundtrack.
We suggested Audacity as a free software to use while recording, but there are other options available, including professional DAWs like Reason and Pro Tools, but these are better suited for more elaborate setups than just a one-person podcast. If you’re just starting out as a podcaster, our advice would be to start with a free software like Audacity – you can always scale up when you feel like it!
Here are the steps to record audio using Audacity –
- Connect your microphone to check your audio levels. The simplest way to do this is to make a quick recording using the record button on the top menu. You can tweak the recording volume with the slider above the drop-down menu where you selected your recording device..
- Once you’ve found a decent volume at which to record, you can delete your test recording.
- Ensure that your recording space is silent. Once you’ve done this, you can record around 5 seconds of this silence, which you can use to cover up any background noise or other issues you might want to fix as you’re recording. This is called room tone and you can use this to cut out things like swearing or even cover up some background noise that happens while you’re recording. For now, you can mute the track – you’ll find a button to do that on the left side of your track.
- Select File, then click Save Project As, and enter a name for your current project. This will not create a file of your audio which you can listen to; it will only create a project file where you will be able to see your recordings.
The Actual Recording
Once you’ve set up Audacity to record audio, and have a hang of how to do make recordings, you will be fully equipped to start recording the actual content of your podcast. Now you’re ready to actually record the main part of your podcast. This part is really simple: just hit the record button! Audacity will then start recording audio in a new track. Once your recording is done, just click the stop button. Et voila! You have recorded the first episode of your very own podcast!
But the journey’s not over yet. If you want to add intro and outro music, or you want to equalize or compress your recording, you will require some post-production. But you don’t have to make a big deal of this just yet – your podcast will grow with you, and with time you’ll know exactly how to make small changes which result in big differences. For now, this is more than enough.
Exporting your audio
Only one step now remains between you and the realisation of your podcast dream – you need to export your recording as an audio file. To do this, you have to follow these steps:
1. Select File, then click Export Audio.
- In the ‘Save as type’ menu, select MP3 Files. Then you have to decide a name for your file – which is typically the name of your podcast and episode number – and click Save.
- Now you’ll find the Edit Metadata section. Here you can enter all the relevant information which will help listeners identify your podcast. You can also save this as a template to use for your future productions as well.
- Click OK.
Congrats! You’ll find an MP3 file in your specified directory – which is now ready to be uploaded to any platform you see fit!
Step Three: Cover Art
You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – and neither should you judge a podcast. But the fact remains that your podcast will have a cover and that before people have heard your podcast they are likely to see its cover, so it better be good. You’ll also need a cover image if you want to list your podcast in directories like iTunes and BluBrry, among many others.
You can represent your show any way you want – it can have your face on the cover if the show’s about your opinions, or you can even get a logo made if that’s what you require. Ultimately, it comes down to an accurate representation of your podcast. You wouldn’t want a funny meme as a cover if your show is about serious academic thinking, would you? Or perhaps, if your show converges both these mediums, then perhaps that would be the ideal way to proceed!
And that’s it! You’re all good to go for your podcast for now.
Step Four: Hosting
Once you’ve tagged and exported your podcast, you’ll have to find a host for it. This is important so that you can distribute your show to various podcast directories using an RSS feed. Some of the best options for you if you’re just starting out are:
- SoundCloud: Here you’ll get free podcast hosting which will let you distribute your podcast through RSS. With this, you can also share your podcasts directly to SoundCloud itself, which makes it very easy for you to share on other social media or blogs. SoundCloud also offers two competitive paid options, which you can consider if you’re interested and have the resources.
- Podbean: Another valuable option, Podbean also has a great free hosting option. It comes with its own iOS and Android app for your listeners to tune into your podcast as well as some analytic tools.
Once you’ve done this you’ll have to upload to a directory where, typically, dedicated podcast listeners will be able to stream your show as and when it gets released. There are several podcast directories to which you can submit your podcast, including Miro, Stitcher, and Blubrry. But hands down the best – and also biggest directory – to host your podcast is iTunes.
To get listed in the iTunes podcast directory, these are the steps you’ll have to follow:
- Open iTunes, click the More icon and select Podcasts.
- Find the Podcast Quick Links section. Here, click the Submit a Podcast link.
- Copy the RSS feed URL from the hosting service you have selected for your podcast and paste the link in the field provided. Pro Tip: Make sure that all the metadata of your podcast – including your title, author, cover art, and description – are accurate, since iTunes uses these fields to for search results.
Once you have done this, within the next 24-48 hours you will have your podcast listed on iTunes! Congratulations!
Conclusion: Make some fantastic content
So there you have it – your own podcast set up in 4 simple steps. The first two steps take the longest; between trying to decide a name, coming up with content, and recording it, you’ll have quite a trying time indeed. And once you’ve done this, another mountain to scale would be the cover art – but if you have a good sense of what you’ve worked on, it shouldn’t prove to be too much of a hassle. After this, given your resources and expectations, hosting should also be pretty easy to figure out – especially given that you can always move to better options as you grow. All in all, you’re going to have a very trying time indeed.
But aren’t the trying times the most enjoyable, in retrospect?
So now you have all you need to know to set up your own podcast. The only thing that you’ll have to continue working on even after these steps is making some fantastic content.
Thankfully, we can help you with that!