Podcasting One Step at a Time?
Podcast Baby Steps
Go step by step through launching a podcast. Learn what you need, what it costs, and what tools to use
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). On episode 500 I just started calling it what people called it “The School of Podcasting.” If it's 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) Audio Technica atr2100 microphone $70 ish
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
G) Zoom H6 Portable Recorder $269
H) Windscreen for microphone $5
Total for Solo Podcast: $455 without Recorder $186
For your co-host you need A,C,D,E, H ($167)
For the most up to date list of equipment visit www.schoolofpodcasting.com/equipment
Note: Dave Jackson is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com
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
Step 8-10. 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.
$11/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 it's installed you need to remove the default stuff (Hello World! posts) and start adding your content.
Step 10 is making your website look good. I recently switched many of my sites to the Generate Press ($39). This is a powerful theme that is flexible, but still easy to use. I've also used Elegant Themes, and Thrive Themes
Step 11 is to get your Feed Setup. This means either using the feed from your media host (which is what I recommend) or something like the PowerPress plugin (I use my Libsyn.com feed to keep the strain off my website)
12. Domain Name:
Godaddy.com $12 a YEAR. As I mentioned earlier, you want the name and website address to tie in together.
13. Graphics $50
You need a 1400X1400 (minimum 3000 X 3000 maximum) piece of album art that shows up in iTunes, and a 600 X 600 to put in your mp3 file when people play it.
You need a banner for your website. Check Out Kapa99 and use them for a one time purchase
14. Intro Music.
A) I now like Audio Jungle for affordable royalty free music.
B) If you need a professional intro created check our Music Radio Creative (they did my women singers)
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). Update: after 10 years of being a customer I now work for them.
B)Blubrry.com $20 a month
Use the coupon sopfree at either of these companies and get a free month. For more information on media hosting see this episode.
16. Organize Your Content
Now that you have a place to put your podcast, and software to record it, you need to plan your 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 you are 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 amateur. 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. Please note if you are using Libsyn for your media host, you don't need to do this step.
24. Click Publish
Your podcast episode will appear on your website.
25. Set Up Tags for Apple Podcasts
The information that is listed is not stored in Apple Podcasts. It comes from other websites that you control. Your media host (libsyn) can provide 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 https://podba.se/validate/ and make sure it says “Your feed is valid.” If it's not then you need to troubleshoot the problem. DO NOT submit an invalid feed to iTunes. You also want to manually subscribe to your feed in iTunes to make sure it works.
27. Submit Your Podcast to Apple Podcasts
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 simple.
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.