Thanks to the Internet and advances in technology, it’s never been easier to start podcasting. But before you do, here are some tips to help you create a podcast worth listening to.
The Internet has democratised entertainment. YouTube, Facebook, and Amazon’s self-publishing have made it possible to bypass gatekeepers on the path towards becoming successful at entertainment.
At the same time, the Internet has also provided a platform that allows entertainers to easily flourish. This is especially true for talk radio. Podcasting has become more streamlined and easy to do. Initially, you needed expensive equipment, producers and sponsors to get your ideas out to an audience. Now, all you really need is a laptop. Of course, like anything else, if you want it to succeed, it is going to take hard work. So what’s your first step?
1) Find Your Niche
Find out what you’re truly passionate about. But that is not enough, you also need to find a need that isn’t being filled; an information void. Then fill it. It is not good enough to simply talk about ice fishing because you love it. However, if you review the latest gear and discuss tips on when and where to go, you are filling a need in a niche topic that you are passionate about. If your topic is too broad, like ‘education’, whittle it down until you have something more specific. Instead, for example, your topic might be High School European History or Educating K-4 in Biology.
Every topic can and should be narrowed to develop your initial niche audience. Remember, you can always expand after you have had some success.
2) Find Your Gear
It is true; all you really need is a laptop. Nearly every modern laptop comes with a built in microphone and some basic recording software. As you begin, you may want to limit your investment and see if you are comfortable with the format before purchasing anything else.
However, if your computer doesn’t have a built-in-microphone, or you cannot find a quiet enough place and the mic is picking up too much background noise, the logical next step and first purchase would be a USB microphone. You can find one on Amazon.com for as little as $10. A quality mic will set you back somewhere between $40-60 for your beginner podcast.
3) Find Your Software
The only other gear that you may want to upgrade is your recording software. Macs come with Garageband pre-installed and even have a podcast option as well as helpful hints as you record. Windows Movie Maker comes with every Microsoft computer now, and even if you don’t have either of these options, you can use free online software by Audacity. This will allow you to run multiple audio tracks simultaneously. Or if the do-it-yourself route is more than you want to handle you can use a service like Podbean.com, or Libsyn to help you every step of the way to get your podcast published.
4) Find Your Voice
This is by far the hardest step and may only be achieved through trial and error. Think about the first few episodes of your favorite television series. They aren’t nearly as good as the last one you saw. It takes a while to find your voice and get comfortable with the format. However, preparation will prevent you from flopping.
Before you begin, you need to decide the following:
- Will you be solo or with a partner or guest?
- How long do you want your average podcast to run?
- Will it be scripted or free form?
- How often will you release a podcast? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
5) Find a Friend
If you are going to have a guest on your first podcast, let it be someone you know personally. Ideally this person should be patient. There will be issues that you are going to have to troubleshoot. Having a friend be your first guest will also put you at ease for your first ever foray into the exciting world of podcasting.
6) Find Your FX & Art
Once you have your first podcast recorded you are now in the post-production phase. You will need to develop album art and you may want to include music or effects into an intro or outro. This may be something you can do on your own, but it need not take up much of your time.
7) Find a Home
In order to publish your podcast and make it available to an audience, it needs a home. Most people use sites like wordpress.com (free and easy to use) to create a simple blog to allow for an RSS feed. Having a server to host your podcast will make it much easier for you when you load it onto the iTunes store. This is where your podcast is likely to find its mass appeal and you can set it up so that as you add more podcasts to your own site it will be reflected at the iTunes store.
However, as you would expect, Apple has some specific regulations about making and submitting a podcast. Be sure you pay attention to file formatting and cover art specifications. As an alternative or in addition, you could also post your podcast on YouTube to create a larger audience.
8) Find Your Audience
From this point, it is now up to you to continue to create engaging and quality content. Be sure to keep your podcast specific and tailored to your target audience. If it balloons too much it may turn off potential listeners who were looking for specific information. Try to imagine one person in particular who you think is your ideal listener. After you have recorded a podcast, re-listen to it with that person’s perspective in mind. Also, you are going to want to promote your blog through as many sites and communities as possible.
Remember that the actual content is more important than perfect sound quality or other professional aspects, so do not let that hold you back. What makes you a podcaster is that you make podcasts – so get started as soon as possible.
This post was originally published on The Fiverr blog.
Featured Image Credit: Kzenon/ Shutterstock