How to Podcast 101: A Beginner's Guide to Podcasting
Back in June of 2017, I decided that I wanted to foray into the world of podcasting. I had listened to numerous, mostly movie related, podcasts for sometime and decided that I wanted my voice heard in the online space. I had my issues with the YouTube community, assuming I could even find success in that wild world and I definitely wasn't good enough to find my way onto an actual news platform. So I turned to podcasting. Hey, it seemed easy enough, and I knew couple of people who did it themselves. When I asked them how to start podcasting I got linked an article that, while comprehensive, I found it to be a little above my budget and a little intimidating. So I've decided to take the information I've gotten from there, plus a few other articles as well as my own experience to put together an article highlighting the things that I think you need to start podcasting as a beginner.
I love music. But even sometimes I need a break, and I know for a fact that many others feel the same way. That's why many have turned to podcasts whether it be on your daily commute to work or at the gym or grinding away in whatever mindless video game you've gotten yourself addicted to this time. Podcasts are changing the game and any good content creator needs to seriously consider venturing into it. And now, following my guide I think I've created an easy way to get your foot into the door. There are, of course, many other aspects to podcasting that are far more complicated and take more time and financial investment such as the podcasting community (check out episode 34 of my podcast for discussion on that, but this post should get you there for the time being.
So what are you waiting for? Get podcasting!
Without a doubt, the most intimidating part, for me, was figuring out what the hell was I going to record this thing on? So I've decided to tackle that head on. Here's the thing that many podcasts say they need but actually don't:
You don't need the fanciest microphone around.
Oh sure, a $200+ mic will make your podcast sounds incredible and make you look super fancy, but who realistically has that type of money to throw around on something that you're starting as a hobby? When starting off a USB mic will do (many turn to the Blue Snowball iCE microphone to start off). You don't need a mixer or a recorder because despite what some videos and/or articles say, they're not absolutely imperative to making a quality sounding podcast. Sure, they may save a step or two and if you have the money to spend? Go ahead and splurge friends. But you really don't need to. I personally bought a Blue Yeti microphone on sale for about $150 CAD. Now this one is super popular and certainly has it haters but (at least I think) I make quality sounding podcasts myself with a simple plug-in USB microphone.
Hell, you don't even have to buy a good microphone. An iPhone recorder will work relatively well with some audio tweaking here and there. I actually don't recommend this in the long run simply because I think there's actually a limit to how cheap you can be, but it does work. I've done it.
Realistically though, to make a good podcast, you're going to probably need to spend some money on equipment. But you don't need to spend as much money as they say you do. A USB mic, no recorder and no mixer. That's it.
Guys, this one is easy. Just use Audacity. Seriously, it's FREE, just use it. Unless you're a professional sound engineer and have the software available or require some next level editing, you don't need anything else. Audacity has the capability to filter out background noise, juggle multiple tracks at different levels, EQ and a whole slew of other effects and adjustments that I myself have no idea what they do. You're in more than capable hands with this software, and I swear I haven't been paid off by them.
As fot what do do when you've actually recorded your audio and need to touch it up? Because you've chosen (or I've told you) to get a cheaper mic, you'll need to do a little more editing. But don't worry it's actually pretty simple. See, Audacity has the ability to create a chain, or a set of instructions that it can repeat every single time. All you have to do is build it. Instead of me telling you how, there's a great video that I've used to help get the best sounding audio out of Audacity. Just follow this guy (skip to around 2:47 for the most useful stuff):
Finally we're at publishing. And I'm sorry to say guys, this is probably where you're going to need to fork over a little cash one more time. The problem is with many podcasting platforms such as iTunes, Spotify and Google Play (really nobody uses this though) is that they all require an RSS feed for your podcast and you're not gunna get that for free. You can get one from Soundcloud, but unless your podcast is a limited time thing, then you're unfortunately going to have to fork over $10-15 a month cuz storage ain't free.
I currently use libsyn.com to help host my podcast. It's pretty straight forward; you just sign up, put your credit card or paypal or however you wanna pay and upload away. They do require you to set up a little website, but if you choose not promote the libsyn site itself, just put down some gibberish where they require you and be on your way. The paid plan I currently use is the classic plan which allows for 250mb per month, which I've found is more than enough at $15 USD per month.
But libsyn is so great because it automatically uploads to YouTube, which really is a secondary source for podcasts because people tend to download podcasts to go and YouTube doesn't allow that, iTunes and all the other platforms once you set those up. And setting them up is super easy as well.
Just click "destinations" and add from the list that pops up. iTunes is a little different (because Apple loves being different) in that you need to go outside libsyn to set them up, but all it requires is the rss link highlighted above. Just paste it where it tells you to on https://podcastsconnect.apple.com and you're on your way. Just gotta wait a couple of days for it to approve!
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