Step 1: Pick Your Topic
Whatever you will talk about when you’re tired, had a bad day, and you STILL want to talk about it should be your topic. Don’t worry if other people do a podcast on your topic, they do not have your background, perspective, and history.
Step 2: Decide if you’re podcasting solo or with cohost(s).
When you fly solo, you get to make all the decisions. The bad news is you get to do everything. If you have more than one host, you should make sure these people have the same passion you do. Make sure to put into writing what you will do if you make money, who is going to promote, who will record, etc. Figure out who owns the name, and what happens if Ernie wants to quit, and Bert still wants to podcast. The bottom line is, once all the details are nailed down you can focus on making good content.
Step 3: Pick how you will podcast.
Are you going to be mobile and recording things from the road? (you’ll need a portable recorder). Are you going to be doing interviews? You will need a skype account, or some cash for a phone interface. Will your co-hosts be with you? Are you going to mix in music while your podcast or do it in “post production.”
Step 4: Pick where will you podcast?
Do you have a quiet room in your house?
Step 5: Pick a name.
When picking a name, make sure:
The website is available
A) If its not available try tacking on “show” so if datesfromhell.com is not available try datesfromhellshow.com or datesfromhellradio.com
B) Make sure its easy to say. I used to have a service called Podcast Fast Pass. I had to repeat it over and over as people couldn’t understand it.
C) Make sure it “looks right” for example evangelizeeveryday.com may confuse people when they look at it. Also avoid using numbers (is it timetopray.com or time2pray.com). If you need those words, by both versions of the domain name.
Your Name Makes Your Podcast Obvious
Names like Music News Podcast, This American Life tell you what to expect when you hear it. My podcast is called “The Morning Announcements” from an outsider point of view they would not guess “The Morning Announcements” is about podcasting (which is why the full name is now The School of Podcasting’s Morning Announcements). If its not obvious, it should make people go,” I wonder what that is?” and click it. Typically inside jokes do not work.
Step 6. Buy the Hardware;
Look I know it would be great if podcasting was free, but you didn’t complain when you put out the $400 for the Xbox with the Kinect system so don’t start complaining now.
You don’t need to spend $1000 on equipment (it will make you sound better, but its not a necessity).
A great start package is for a solo podcaster:
A) Sure SM58 Microphone $99
B) Behringer 802 Mixer $48
C) 10 Foot Mic Cable $14
D) Behringer Headphones $25
E) Table Top Mic Stand $24
F) RCA to 1/8″ cable $5
H) Windscreen for microphone $5
Total for Solo Podcast: $450 without Recorder $220
For your cohost you need A,C,D,E, H ($167)
Step 7. Buy Software:
There are free options available. I know a lot of mac people that use garage band. I know a lot of PC people who use Audacity. There are many titles available, and most of them do the same thing.
Mac: Audacity or Garageband $0
PC: Audacity $0, or Sony Acid $45
Step 8-11. Your Website
Step 8 is purchasing web hosting. This is hosting for your website. You want to make sure your web host has an easy way to install WordPress. WordPress is a free software that you can use to manage your website and has tools to help you podcast.
$7/month with company I’ve used for years. and you can go month to month.
Step 9 is installing WordPress which can be done in a few mouse clicks. Once its installed you need to remove the default stuff (Hello World! posts) and start adding your content.
Step 10 is to get your WordPress installation ready to podcast. To do this you need to add a plugin called “PowerPress” which makes podcasting super easy with WordPress. It has a lot of features that you may not use, but don’t let the control panel freak you out.
Step 11 is making your website look good. I use Thesis theme for WordPress http://www.schoolofpodcasting.com/thesis Its a great theme, very customizable, and has a great community around it. To purchase a License is $87 for one website. If you want you can purchase it through me for $45, but you won’t have access to the Thesis forum. The alternative is to spend time trying to find the needle in the hay stack of themes for that free one that not only looks good, but makes it easy to customize the look of your website.
12. Domain Name:
Godaddy.com $12 a YEAR. As I mentioned earlier, you want the name and website address to tie in together.
Go to http://schoolofpodcasting.com/domaincheck to see if its available (use the search box, if you have your name, and its available – BUY IT.
13. Graphics $50
You need a 600X600 piece of album art that shows up in iTunes, and in your mp3 file when people play it.
You need a banner for your website.
14. Intro Music.
A) musicalley.com free (you have to find the needle in the hay stack).
B) schoolofpodcasting.com/freemusic ($8 for a full CD of music).
15. Media Hosting (for your mp3 files)
There are two companies I recommend when it comes to podcast hosting.
A) Libsyn.com $15/month (I use them).
B)Blubrry.com $20 a month
16. Organize Your Content
Now that you have a place to put your podcast, and software to record it, you need to plan you episode. This could be your life experience. This could be you talking about something you read. It could be whatever you want it to be. Welcome to podcasting as you have complete control over your content. I’ve noticed that the content I consume on TV typically made me laugh, cry, think, or groan. It entertained me, or educated me.
17 . Record Your Content
I recommend recording into a portable recorder, but many podcasters record directly into their computer.
18. Edit Your Content
As I said before, you are in control here so you decide how much editing (if any) you do. I will say this: Everyone hates the sound of their voice the first time they play back a recording. If I make a mistake in recording, I pause for about 10 seconds and then say continue with whatever I was saying. This makes seeing where the edit spots are super easy.
19. Assemble Your Episode
If your podcasting “live” you don’t do this step. Instead you would add a step of “Make sure all audio levels are set up correctly.” For me this is adding in my intro music and outro music. I also add transition music between segments (but that’s just a personal preference).
20. Add ID3 Tags
ID3 Tags are the information that is stored inside the media file. For example when you play an mp3 on your iPod and a picture shows up on the screen that image is an ID3 tag. If you don’t do this, your podcast looks very amature. I use mp3tag software (free) for this. If you are on a Mac check out ID3 Editor
21. Upload your media
You’re almost done. Now you upload your media to your media host. It’s a lot like attaching a file in email.
22. Write Your Show Notes
While your media is uploading, you can start writing your show notes. This is typically a paragraph or two.
23. Copy the Media URL and Paste It Into Your Post
If you understand how to copy and paste, this is a breeze. It takes all of four seconds.
24. Click Publish
Your podcast episode will appear on your website.
25. Set Up Tags for iTunes
The information that is listed is not stored in iTunes. It comes from other websites that you control. Many people use Feedburner.com for this. Other people use the settings in the PowerPress plugin mentioned earlier. You will use the graphics that you had generated, and provide a description and other items.
26. Check Your Feed Validity
Before submitting your feed to iTunes, go to feedvalidator.org and make sure it says “You’re feed is valid.” If it’s not then you need to troubleshoot the problem. DO NOT submit an invalid feed to iTunes.
27. Submit Your Podcast to iTunes
Now that you have all the details for iTunes set up, you go into the iTunes software, into the store, into the podcast section and submit your podcast to iTunes. This will give you a summary screen. If everything is correct, you submit the information and you are done.
Past the Hurdle
Now that your podcast is up, and listed in iTunes you do not have to do most of these items again. Now the process is simply.
Steps For your Second Podcast Episode
1. Organize your episode content
2. Record it
3. Edit it / Tag it
4. Assemble it.
5. Upload it
6. Write Show notes.
7. Copy and paste the Media URL
8. Click Publish
If the first 27 steps seem a bit much, there are two ways to get through them. You can Join the School of Podcasting and use the step by step tutorials to walk you through the process, or you can hire me to do it for you (and you can take over after everything is set up). Keep in mind any job is easy when you have someone to show you, coach you, through the process.
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