How to get started with podcasts? + [Infographic]
Podcasts are getting more and more popular to use for marketing purposes because it is a personal and effective way to create content. A podcast will build bridges and strengthen customer relations. Starting a podcast is not rocket science, but there are a few things that you need to take into consideration when starting your podcast.
In this guide, we will go through the most essential things to keep in mind while starting up your new show.
- Target group
- Type of content (discussion or interview?)
- How often will you release episodes?
- How long will the episodes be?
- Intro and outro
- Recording and editing program
- Media host
First thing first. You have just decided to start up your very own podcast. What do you need to think about and in what order? Keep reading and soon you will be well-equipped for your first episode.
First off you need to set a topic. Do you want to discuss general trends in your industry or dig deeper into a niche topic? The sky is the limit here and you can, of course, talk about different topics in your episodes, but it is always good to have a steady basis to stand on. That way your audience can fully grasp the main idea of your podcast and stay engaged.
Talking about your audience, have you decided who your potential listeners can be?? To create content that interests your listeners it is essential to know what target group you are aiming for.
You should also decide how long you want your episodes to be and how often they will come out. The first episode will require some time and effort but the more you produce, the easier it will get. A good aim is once a week or every second week but make sure you have relevant content to share in every episode. No one wants to listen to thoughtless content.
This is an optional part. Some music in your podcast can spice up the content but it usually also comes with some tricky navigating in the legal jungle.
There are a few myths about the use of copyrighted material. The biggest one is probably “the 30 second-rule” that says it should be okay to use copyrighted music as long as it is under 30 seconds. If you have not secured the rights to the media you are not allowed to use as much as a second of the copyrighted media.
If you want to use music in your podcast you can purchase the right to use the work or obtaining permission from the copyright holder.
Luckily there are other ways to use music and sounds in your podcast, even for free. You can license the rights to a piece of music or sound. Licensing requires you to purchase the permission to use a piece of the copyrighted material.
If your budget is tight, you can use stock music. There are a number of websites where you can download stock music and sounds for free, just keep in mind that there can be some requirements attached to the usage of the media (free to use, not-for-profit only, requires attribution). Free Stock Music has a large selection of media that you are free to use as long as you put the attribution in the credits.
Regardless if you choose to use music or not you should definitely add an intro and outro to your episodes. That is a nice way to frame the episodes and a signature tune makes it easy to recognize your series.
You might also want to use a voiceover and even some jingle to separate topics within the episode.
You will also need a cover picture. Make sure you choose a cover that suits you and your content. Since there is an unlimited selection of podcasts you should put some effort into creating a good and interesting-looking cover to stand out from the mass.
Do not use a picture lower than 1400x1400px because it will be displayed on different devices: mobile phones, tablets, computers, TV’s and so on.
Cher and Retweet's cover really stands out and draws attention when you are scrolling through podcasts.
Obviously, you will need a microphone, and most preferably a good one. The microphone has the biggest effect on the quality of the recording and that is why it is so important to choose the right one for the purpose. There are many types of microphones to use:
- Your computer's built-in mic
Your computer's built-in microphone doesn't have the required quality for podcast recordings. It will pick up too much of the noise in the room and make the sound fuzzy.
- External web camera with a built-in microphone
These types of cameras are mainly meant for video conference, typically also not good enough quality-wise for podcasts.
- Headset, handsfree
Many smaller podcast or startups often uses common handsfree. This type of microphone is meant for phone calls or video calls.
- External microphone
These types of microphones are very cost-effective and give the best sound. It is highly recommended to use an external microphone for podcasting.
For podcasts the audio is essential and it is a must with a microphone of high quality. You don’t want your listeners to be annoyed by background noises or fuzzy sounds. Many people listen to podcasts through their headphones, and if the quality is bad it does not matter how interesting your content is - people will turn it off anyway.
It’s highly recommended to use an external microphone with USB for podcasts. That is also the most cost-effective way since it does not have to cost a fortune to be good. For the cost of only $100-150, you can get a really good microphone does not only give a clear sound but also takes up sound from two ways which make it ideal for podcasting. You can also use the same mic for webinars, web courses, interviews, presentations, and videos.
A pro tip is to talk close to the microphone, as it gives a closer feeling. Puff protection is also a good complement for better sound.
Recording and editing program
To be able to actually record the sound you get from your new microphone you need a recording program. First of all, you need a device to record the sound with a phone, a tablet or a computer. For Mac’s, you can use Garageband that usually comes with all Mac computers, Logic Pro X, or Audacity that you can download for free. For PC you can also use Audacity, Adobe Audition, or Hindenburg.
In case you want to record together with someone who is not present that can easily be fixed by recording through Skype for example. You should then use a separate program, such as Skype Auto Recorder for Windows as a compliment and Ecamm or Piezo for Mac.
You can also record it straight in e.g Garageband but that takes a little time and effort with the settings and equipment.
In addition, Hangout has a feature for these types of recordings and you can also connect some phone models to your computer during a normal phone call.
Obviously, the best place to record a podcast is in a studio, but if you don’t have a studio available there are other ways to do it. A smaller room with lots of textiles such as curtains, carpets, drapes, cushions that damps the sound works as well.
To manage and deliver playbacks of your podcast episodes to your listeners without interruption, you need a reliable media host. A single episode is not big itself, usually around 50Mb but the problem starts when you gather many episodes in your podcast series. Especially if you store your files in your web host.
Let’s say that 5 people, or 50 or even 500 people want to listen to your podcast at the same time. there are 500 people streaming or downloading your podcast at the same time. The result will be that your web host’s server is not working properly and your (and others on the same server) web page will not load.
Streaming sites like Itunes, Stitcher, and Acast do not store any media, that is why you need a media host to store them yourself. You will then use the RSS feed to distribute your media to the streaming sites.
Now it is time to launch your podcast, finally!
Naturally, you want to share it where people can easily find it. Some good examples are:
- Google Podcasts
Something to remember is that iTunes typically wants to review your media before the launch. You will have to wait for 12 hours up to one week before you can find it in their feed.
You should also announce your new podcast on social media, but it is also a good idea to make a blog post on your web page about the topic of the episode. This way you can offer your audience some extra information about the topic or your products/services. This should be applied to every episode.