Welcome to Podcasting
Over the past few months (even years), I’ve realized that many of my friends & colleagues are ready to jump out there & leap into the community of podcasting. Well, as a brief two-year member while STILL trying to learn & get my feet grounded in the world, I would like to personally welcome you. I feel bad that I hardly listen to as many shows as I wanna because I’m trying to catch up on an exclusive musical album or something of that sort. I’m glad that my library has no chance to grow anytime soon since I’m streaming. Anyways, this isn’t about music (let the sidetracks begin). We’re here to talk about podcasting. So, you have an idea or topics you’d like to jump into & you may have your equipment OR your passion to record and get shows out there is very high. Now, I will come clean in admitting that I love podcasting now more than I have in a couple of years (aka when I first started). I’ve shared some of this information within a blog before, but I’m gonna do a bit of a refresher course to bring the podcasters who are devoted to how key it is to come into this community with the right mindset. There are a few key ingredients that to make your show flow to your listeners. One of the most important things (there are so many by the way) to have when podcasting is a true topic or basis of what your show will be about. When I initially got into recording shows, I would choose to have one day where I talked about sports. Another day, I would get into music. Then, one of my days would consist of me going into what I called my grab bag & the show would literally be about anything. I feel really bad that I can’t find any of these early recordings where I thought I had a true recording flow, only to realize that I made my shows chaotic & a little unorganized. I can thankfully admit that when going with my previous style of no format existing, it caused me to have a flow and style to my shows now. To this day, I’ll still remember recording my first episode EVER & wondering why it sounded weird due to me using the default mic on my laptop. However, getting back on subject…find & stick to a subject (yeah I went that corny of a route). Second, & this is key, invest in your broadcasting. There are plenty of inexpensive options if you’re looking to start out with podcasting. They have an app called Anchor that does everything for you. Heck, you can even use your phone as the recording source. The problem with this…NO EDITING & mere lack of control. I was gonna broaden this portion by stating the obvious by investing in your brand, but there are different things that tie into this. The first piece of the investing is your microphone. I know I’m a stickler for constantly talking about and promoting the Blue Yeti microphone (still working on my sponsorship), but you may have to budget also in the early stages. You may have to get the Samson meteor (my first podcast mic that picked up EVERYTHING…including that sneeze and t-shirt that I’ll NEVER live down). I know that both Samson & Audio Technica has a mic that can be connected via USB (computer directly) or XLR (if you’re more tech-savvy & comfortable going the mixer route…that’s when you’re more advanced with your recording). All of the options I’m sharing are on Amazon or eBay at very inexpensive prices. Just don’t limit your purchase under 50 dollars with a cheap mic OR run out here buying a microphone or equipment exceeding 150 or 200 dollars & your passion is nowhere near close to blossoming when it comes to podcasting. Place your true recording option in front of you, & then make a wise budgeting decision. This ties into my next budgeting decision related to your recording software. The first thing I will say is to utilize your immediate resources (Garage Band on Mac or Audacity as a free simple recording program on Windows). This means that if you have a stable Windows computer & are able to get a simple recording program, then you’re already putting yourself in the driver’s seat. A very simple starter program for recording is Audacity. Another program I just found out about today is called Tracktion. Now, a simple suggestion I would make is put your thinking cap on with recording, because some programs won’t be as cut & dry as opening, hitting record, & then save it for online storing. You may have to do some editing, mark portions of the show (a feature I LOVE with Adobe Audition), delete a statement or word that shouldn’t have been said. Using YouTube & just reaching out to others will help in figuring out different recording programs. I know that two programs I had to switch back & forth between were GarageBand (free for mac) & Adobe Audition (my baby & love for recording shows…20 per month (annual plan) by itself or 50 per month (annual plan) in a package with Adobe). I look back & think about early shows I recorded…if they were in Audition, then I may still have them. Those were some of the greatest shows that I no longer have stored. One other investment for your podcast is gonna be headphones. Now, for the record, my latest pair of Beats by Dre headphones were far from a priority or even close to necessary. What I’m not OK with is being lazy in hearing your shows. You should always know how you sound live or as you’re recording (which obviously would be live). Another key investment would be a place to house & host your shows. doing this will get you what typically makes a podcast more known through the podcasting weeds…an RSS feed.
Now, I’m gonna go ahead & write about this while it’s fresh & on my podcasting mind. So RSS stands for Rich Site Summary. Bryan, why are you sharing this with up & coming podcasters along with everyday people? I’m glad you asked. This becomes relevant for you to be able to share your podcast to sites like iTunes (or Podcasts for Apple), Soundcloud, Google Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, & Stitcher to name a few. That’s what I think becomes important here…just because you’ve uploaded your podcast to Spreaker, libsyn, Podbean, Podomatic, or wherever you store them (I haven’t forgotten to address that part either), you’ll still need that RSS feed to get on iTunes & other sites to become part of the community & possibly get feedback on your show. I know I kinda whisked by RSS, but I will give an even greater example. Most people read the news online. When you got a news site (won’t say a specific one for simplistic purposes), you see the stories & pictures with the image related to the article. Well, you might be shocked to believe that the condensed & less user-friendly version of the site has a bunch of links that are available for…you guessed it, an RSS feed. What we see online vs. RSS version of the site. That will break it down pretty clear. So, it’s relevant to know that it may look weird to you, but the RSS feed is literally where all of the magic happens (can’t believe I put a “Cribs” reference in this blog). If you just look for the RSS feed to submit your show, then you’ll get on the right track to get your show out there.
Sticking to the “getting your show out there” theme, I’m gonna get into the importance of the social media presence. If you are afraid of or uncomfortable with Twitter or Instagram, then I’ll whisk you back NOW regarding your NOW regarding your possible social media presence. You can get your show out there by word of mouth. However, with this being a hashtag era and trend-based society with social media, having some way of others knowing that your show exists is HIGHLY useful. I will admit that I have a page on Twitter, & I don’t tweet halfway the way I’d like to, but I still use the page for everything and anything going on related to my podcast. You literally begin to realize that your podcast is your brand or business & no one will know that it exists if you’re not getting it out there to others. I’m even to the point of getting business cards to share with others what I have in store. I feel like every piece of sharing gets you in the right place. Also, networking is key. You’re one podcast in a huge podcast pond trying to get others to know that you have a show.
I slightly stated this, but I will go over it more in-depth. You will definitely want to make sure that you find a site that works for your hosting. Each podcast site that was mentioned has their pros and cons. One constant with many of them is that investing will be beneficial. You will truly have to go based on your preference for show storage and spacing. Those are the factors that I will look at with being a podcaster. I chose Spreaker because I know that based on the style of shows I have, I can go back and remove older episodes that are talking about sports or stories that may not be in existence. With that being said, you do have recording hosts that can be beneficial regarding how much you can record per month based on the storage space of your shows. I emphasize this…DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! I will tell you…I think that between the pricing and the storage basis of how long my shows, I haven’t even reached 1/4 of the storage with Spreaker, & I have been recording episodes that have gone well past 2 hours. I know that I will NEVER record a show past 3 hours in one sitting first and foremost. Also, the amount of gigs I have for storing is why Spreaker is my hometown. That’s just how it works for my shows and my process. You’ll find your home for storing your shows & go from there.
The final and most important component is consistency. I know that I may seem like a stickler for this, but if your listeners or followers expect content on every Sunday, then you should be recording and have a show uploaded every Sunday. Regardless of how tired or drained you are with doing your show, it’s YOUR new job and you may feel like you’re volunteering, but you might have a message that someone may need in your show. I know that for me, most of my shows are based on what’s going on in the world of sports, tech, music, gaming, etc. It varies by week and show. You may have an interview-based or discussion-based podcast. If you do, don’t let your show become stale. Also, if you don’t seem or feel passionate when recording, it will show. Anytime someone hears you on a show, they will feel or hear the excitement when listening or hearing your recording. Also, be sure once you hit stop that you go back & listen. Now, some of you may record live, & that’s totally fine. If you do, be sure to have a plan and agenda when going to your show. If you sound fumbled or disorganized, your listeners will pick up on that.
All in all, HAVE FUN & avoid podfading. Now, podfading is different from taking a break. I know many of you are wondering what podfading even is. It’s basically when you are recording shows and you suddenly run out of content and just podfade. If your listeners are prepared that you’re about to take your showdown, let your fans and listeners know and appreciate their listening. If you think followers have no clue what’s going on, then you may wanna think again.
I just realized something that can help you with podcasting that many people don’t do…LISTEN TO OTHER PODCASTERS. If you wanna know what has worked for others, then see what they’re doing and learn from their rights and even wrongs. Sometimes those who are doing it right might have done it completely wrong, & you’ll never know it. Also, NEVER…NEVER expect to record a perfect show. If you are wanting your shows to be perfect and have no mistakes, STOP RECORDING NOW! This is what the benefit of editing and listening to your recordings and taking notes while recording goes into play. Learn that editing and having show notes won’t be the worst idea whatsoever. If you write them by hand or write them in a program (such as Workflowy for me), you’ll see that the process will truly come together full circle.
These are all of the key tips and tricks I’ve learned when it comes to my podcast flow along with what you will learn along the way with being a podcaster. Now, if you have questions, please leave a comment. Also, you are welcome to send me an e-mail here. I check my e-mails and make it my goal to respond. I thank you for reading this & despite the length of the message (pause), there’s plenty to learn when checking out podcasting. Enjoy the rest of your day.