Podcasts have been around for almost four decades, and are now more popular than ever. One of the reasons for this is that almost anyone can do it—all you need is a microphone, a computer, and an idea. In fact, because it’s so easy, podcasting has become one of the go-to ways for authors to reach their audiences. What better way to get your voice heard than by recording it? To help you get started with this rising medium, we’ve put together a five-step guide on preparing your first podcast.
1. Prepare your equipment
To record a podcast, you’ll need a microphone and editing software. Some podcasts use multiple high-end microphones, thousand-dollar editing software, and sound engineers, while others use a laptop mic and don’t do any editing at all. Only you know the level of quality and professionalism you’re looking to achieve with your podcast, so prepare your equipment accordingly.
To find the perfect mic for you, listen to audio samples until you find a balance between price and quality. If you’re just starting out, stick to lower-end microphones until you have a better idea of what you’re looking for.
As for editing software, high-end programs such as Ableton can unbeatable in functionality but quite expensive. However, if you only need minimal functionality, you’ll find that free software such as Reaper will be more than enough.
2. Plan your material
Once you have your equipment ready, you need to know what you’re going to say, and what you’re going to say is dictated by your format. Will you be conducting interviews? Sharing industry news? Holding in-depth discussions? Try a couple and see what works for you. If you’re stuck on your format, ask your audience; what do they want to hear from you?
Once you have your format, you can prepare your material. This can include picking a topic as well as preparing notes, discussion points, and interview questions. The amount of preparation you do is determined by you: if you can talk for hours on your topic without notes, that’s fantastic. If you need to script out the whole episode, that’s fine too. Over time, you’ll find a level of preparation somewhere in between those extremes that you’re comfortable with.
3. Record your audio
Once you know what you’re going to say, you’re ready to record! Don’t worry about messing up—you can always edit the mistakes out later. And no, the baritone radio voices of the past are no longer required, so drop all pretense and be yourself! Not only will using your authentic voice be more fun, your listeners will appreciate getting to know the real you.
4. Edit your episode
It’s time to turn your haphazard recordings into an enjoyable podcast episode. When editing, step into your listener’s shoes: how can you make the episode appealing to them? While it’s possible to get away with not editing your podcast at all, it’s worth taking the time to cut out long pauses, misplaced tangents, and any overhead airplanes or ambulances that made their way into the recording. If you’re comfortable with your editing software, try having some fun with the recording. Adding in a few music clips or sound effects can easily take your podcast to the next level.
5. Publish your masterpiece
Once you have an edited podcast episode, it’s time to publish it. You can do this in a number of ways, including placing an audio file download on your website, hosting the audio on a website such as Soundcloud, or getting distributed by podcast aggregates such as Stitcher or iTunes. Once your podcast is published, all that’s left to do is share it with the world—and, of course, start planning the next episode!
Do you have a podcast? We’d love to hear it, along with any tips and tricks you have for those who are just starting out. Leave them in the comments below!
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