Podcasts square measure fairly simple to stay doing once you have got them setup, however the beginning a replacement podcast is confusing, poorly documented, and daunting. a giant a part of why I delay beginning Nat Chat for therefore long is that it’s a large number to work out specifically a way to get a podcast started.
Now that I’ve felt it double, I’ve worked out a piecemeal technique you'll be able to run through to begin your own podcast. It’s broken out into eight steps:
Get your gear
Record your initial 3 episodes
Figure out the fun stuff
Prepare your stock material
Edit your initial episodes
Upload your initial podcast episode
Launch your podcast
Systematize your podcast
You’ll need a minimum of a month of your time between initial setup and publication your podcast, and I’ve softened the steps supported that timeline. you'll be able to roll in the hay in less time (for created you're thinking that we tend to did it in three weeks), however it’ll be hurried. For Nat Chat I did it in six weeks. i would advocate that if you actually need to make certain everything is prepared to travel.
Alright, let’s get started!
Step 1: Get Your Gear (4+ weeks from launch)
First off, to be clear, i like to recommend not beginning with naming your podcast. positively begin considering the name of your podcast, however don’t want you wish to possess it fast in nonetheless. If you hear the primary episode of Nat Chat, Adil and that i talked concerning what i used to be about to decision the podcast. It’s not necessary to possess it worked out nonetheless, for reasons that’ll create a lot of sense later.
What you ought to begin with instead is determining what quite format you wish to try to to, and obtaining the gear you wish. There square measure essentially 3 podcast formats:
You speech a mic (solo)
You interviewing someone(s)
You and a co-host(s) talking
Depending on that format you wish, you’ll have to be compelled to get totally different forms of gear to record your podcast.
If it’s simply you, then all you wish to begin could be a basic high-quality electro-acoustic transducer you'll be able to plug into your laptop just like the ATR-2100 USB electro-acoustic transducer. That’s what i exploit, and what several of my podcasting friends use, and it works nice. Whenever you hear ME talking in Nat Chat, that’s what I’m speaking into.
If you’re about to interview individuals, you have got one or two choices. At the terribly least, you ought to get associate degree ATR-2100 for interviewing individuals over Skype. however I’d conjointly advocate obtaining a physical recorder just like the Zoom H4N and a second ATR just in case you wish to try to to in-person recordings. The in-person conversations are a number of my best (check out Adil, Justin, associate degreed Kevin) and whenever you'll be able to do an interview face to face, it’s worthwhile.
For associate degree interview show, I’d devour everything I started with, which was:
A Zoom H4N
A small South Dakota card
And then you’ll conjointly would like the Ecamm decision Recorder for recording your interviews once you do them over Skype. This tool works nice, and it creates it simple to separate the tracks on export which is able to make your piece of writing abundant less complicated.
If you’re doing a co-hosted show, then you would possibly not would like the online software system, however you’ll still would like a mic for every co-host and a recording device to plug into. If it’s simply you and an addict, then you'll be able to use constant combination because the last section (that’s what Neil and that i use), however if you wish over 2 individuals on the show often, you’ll have to be compelled to get a recorder which will take over a pair of inputs just like the Zoom H6.
One different factor you would possibly think about obtaining could be a pop filter in order that you don’t accidentally create “popping” noises into the electro-acoustic transducer by processing a bunch of air into it. you'll be able to edit them out, however it’s method easier to merely not ought to agitate them within the initial place by obtaining the filter.
This is all you wish for without delay. simply get the essential gear therefore you'll be able to start and build some momentum.
Step 2: Your initial 3 Episodes (4 weeks from launch)
Now it’s time to urge a couple of episodes recorded therefore you have got them able to go right once you launch. this may provide everybody United Nations agency discovers your podcast within the starting a couple of episodes to concentrate to, and it'll spike your initial transfer numbers which might facilitate get you into the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes.
For your terribly initial episode, I’d advocate beginning with somebody you’re already friends with and cozy speech (if it’s associate degree interview show). this may create it abundant lower pressure and facilitate with moving into the flow of the interview. you furthermore may may think about doing all of your initial few episodes over Skype, since then you'll be able to have your notes on the answerer open as you’re going.
Whether you’re doing associate degree interview, solo, or co-hosted show, realize a quiet enough area to record wherever there won’t be abundant close noise picked up. the simplest thanks to create your show appear amateur is to possess cars, animals, people, and different noises within the background. The a lot of you'll be able to do to cut back the background signal whereas recording, the simpler your job are going to be with piece of writing later.
Also, whether or not you’re on Skype or face to face, record the show in split channels, not in one mono track. Your physical recorder ought to try this mechanically, and also the Skype recorder can allow you to export split tracks once you’re done. this may create your life infinitely easier throughout piece of writing, since you’ll be able to edit a spit up of 1 track while not losing what the opposite person aforementioned.
A few a lot of general tips for creating these initial recordings good:
Don’t worry concerning pauses and breaks. you'll be able to edit them out later, the audience can ne'er recognize.
Speak slower than you're thinking that you ought to. we tend to speak quite bit quicker once we’re nervous, and it’ll be arduous to know you if you let that happen. Slow down, speak slower than feels natural, and you’ll compass concerning right.
Don’t interrupt. Podcasts sound awkward once you will tell that the host desires to insert their own concepts over regardless of the different person is speech communication. allow them to talk! you'll be able to disagree and keep off, however allow them to end their concepts initial.
Plan them: Don’t script the conversations out, and don’t lead them an excessive amount of, however have a thought of wherever the conversations square measure going and the way they’re about to finish off. If you don’t have discussion topics ready, you would possibly stand still in an ungainly gap that breaks up the flow. attempt to write down double as several topic concepts as you're thinking that you wish. they are going quicker than you expect.
Listen to your initial few recordings to seek out enhancements. Eventually you'll be able to stop paying attention to yourself, however within the starting, hear them and see wherever you'll have improved the interview. raise the guest for feedback later, too, if they’ve been on variety of different shows before.
Do a minimum of 3 episodes to begin out. this may offer you atiny low queue of episodes to begin with on launch, and it’ll force you to try to to a couple of in terribly fast succession to urge snug with interviewing, talking, or operating together with your co-host. It’ll conjointly offer you a awfully fast sense of whether or not you prefer this or not. If you don’t love it once recording those initial few interviews, it’s higher to seek out that out currently and quit before investment a lot of your time into building the location, fixing hosting, obtaining a brand, and so on.
Step 3: The Fun Stuff (3 Weeks Out)
After you’ve recorded your initial few episodes, currently it’s time to work out the fun elements of the podcast. Specifically:
The cover art / brand
The web site
I recommend waiting till you’ve recorded a couple of episodes to try to to these for a couple of reasons:
First, individuals procrastinate the foremost on perfecting their title, description, cover art, etc. and you'll simply ne'er begin if you don’t have already got some momentum.
Second, recording a couple of episodes can assist you form the direction of the podcast and find concepts for titles and descriptions.
Third, you would possibly notice that you just don’t like doing it! It’s higher to work that out early then quit before you’ve endowed cash in a very brand.
Now a couple of notes on the fun parts:
There’s conflicting recommendations on titles. Some say it ought to be extremely descriptive so as to inform individuals what they’re obtaining and to point out up in iTunes, however I’m undecided that’s wholly fascinating. Or that it’s necessary.
For example, let’s explore the highest thirty six podcasts on iTunes right now:
There square measure solely a couple of with “descriptive” titles: Passive financial gain concepts, Stuff you ought to recognize, one thing you ought to recognize.
Most of the titles square measure names, brands, or semi-descriptive (like “Pod Save America”). however if you hear several of the opposite “start a podcast” articles, they’ll say you wish to possess a title like Super Secret assets investment Podcast: a way to create a Fortune Flipping homes cash cash cash continue to exist a Beach Retire Early Follow Your Dreams Inspiration forged.
Descriptive titles square measure fine, however don’t go overboard with them. The safest bet is to choose one thing which will grow together with your interests over time, rather than protection yourself into too slim a distinct segment.
The Cover Art / brand
The best recommendation I will offer you for the brand is to not get one thing low cost. fully don't rent somebody on Fiverr to create it. There’s a reason they’re charging $5 for his or her work. Get somebody sensible on UpWork or from your network, and expect to pay $500+.
To help them, compile some logos you prefer that may provide them a way of your style. And send over any concepts that you just have. For created you're thinking that, we tend to already knew we tend to needed the 🤔 emoji in it, therefore we tend to gave that and also the title to Adil and he ran with it.
When you get the brand, positive|confirm|certify|ensure|make certain|check that} it’s in terribly high resolution (at least 1600×1600) in order that you’re sure it’ll look sensible in podcast players. conjointly confirm you get the colours used for it, since you’ll need those for your web site and the other connected assets.
The last item you ought to kindle could be a Facebook cowl image, and a YouTube optimized version of the brand for posting your recordings to YouTube with a static background. The dimensions for Facebook are 851:315, and for YouTube, 16:9.
You need some description for your podcast… but honestly, I’m not sure how many people read these. How many of them do you read before you subscribe? You should give some thought to it, and include some keywords that you want your podcast to show up for, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. As long as it gets the gist across, you’re probably fine.
For reference, these are my two descriptions:
“In this season of Nat Chat, Nat Eliason and guests seek to provide another path for college students and recent grads who feel the system failed them. Each week, we’ll explore new aspects of college, work, independence, and how you can design a post-grad life you’re excited about, instead of one that you fall or are pushed into.”
“Made You Think is a podcast by Nat Eliason and Neil Soni where the hosts and their guests examine ideas that, as the name suggests, make you think. Episodes will explore books, essays, podcasts, and anything else that warrants further discussion, teaches something useful, or at the very least, exercises our brain muscles.”
Last, you should have some website associated with the podcast where you can post show notes, have people sign up, and to give listeners an easy page to share with their friends who might be interested in the show.
This does not need to be complicated. For the Made You Think website, it’s a simple WordPress site hosted on CloudOptimus with the 2016 theme applied. It took us maybe an afternoon to set up.
The website might seem like an unnecessary step, but it’s worth grabbing now and at least posting links to your episodes on it since you might want the website later as you get more into podcasting.
It’s up to you how much social media you want for your show. You could go all the way and set up a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. but I’d start with keeping everything under whatever existing branding you have for now. If you have no “professional” social media, then go ahead and set one up, but if you already have a blog with social media or if you already do everything under your personal social media, go ahead and stick to that.
For Nat Chat, I left everything under my personal accounts, and for Made You Think, we created a Facebook page since that made sharing easier and Facebook pages are simpler to maintain than additional Twitter accounts.
As a rule of thumb: under-engineer for now and you can always add things later. You don’t want to spend a ton of time designing the other pieces of the podcast before you’re sure that you’ll stick with it.
With all of your media figured out (and while probably waiting on your logo), the next step is recording your stock material.
Step 4: Prepare Your Stock Material (2.5 Weeks Out)
Now that you know your title, URL, and have some description copy, it’s time to prepare the stock material for your episodes. These are the pieces that you can copy and paste into each show to give it some consistency, and to make sure you plug whatever actions you want your audience to take.
Typically, this will include:
A call to action, like to sign up for your newsletter (less than a minute long)
An outro, reminding people where to get show notes and about the call to action (1-2 minutes)
Any sound effects you want to use
It could also include any advertisements, but since you’re just starting out it’s unlikely you’ll be able to land sponsors (unless you already have a large audience from another platform).
This is also the point where you should start thinking about workflow and file management. The way I have it organized, I have a folder in Dropbox for all of the audio and media files for my shows, separated into episodes, stock media, and stock sounds:
In each episode folder, I keep the recordings from that episode plus the intro, and then combine those with my stock recordings (in the “Stock Stuff” folder) to make the episode.
If you haven’t already, set up an easy to navigate file system for all of your podcast info so you know where it is and so that it’s easy to move through the workflow of making and editing new episodes.
The final thing you should do at this stage is record a short, 1-3 minute intro to your show. This will be your first “episode” and it will give people an overview of what your show is about. If you want some inspiration, here they are for Nat Chat and Made You Think.
With your stock material and intro prepared, it’s time to do some editing!
Step 5: Edit Your First Three Episodes (2 Weeks Out)
Now for, to be honest, the least fun part, and the part most people quit at. Editing. Editing can turn into a huge operation, so for starting out, you need to keep it simple.
The easiest way to keep it simple is to make a good recording from the start. That means:
Record somewhere quiet
Be careful to avoid using too many filler words
Don’t interject too much (“yeah!” “uh huh” “okay” etc.)
But you still need to edit your episode once it’s recorded. Here’s the easiest way to do that, assuming you recorded in Skype.
Load Your Media in Garageband
I used Garageband for all of my editing since it’s free, easy to use, and fairly intuitive. There are other options for editing software, like Adobe Audition and Audacity, but I haven’t used them so you’ll have to figure out the fine details of using them elsewhere. If you’re on a Mac, though, definitely just go with Garageband.
Drop in all of your media to garageband, splitting it out by the Intro, Episode, and Outro
First, drag and drop in the “intro” to your episode, which you should record immediately after doing the episode while it’s still fresh:
Then add any transition sound effects that you have right after the intro:
To make sure it’s in the right spot, you can drag it on top of the intro so that it makes the sound effect exactly when you want it to:
Next, drag in the two tracks that you exported from Skype. You’ll need to line them up perfectly with each other, and make sure that they line up with when the sound effect ends. This will be much easier if you zoom in a lot.
Now, listen through the interview and make any edits!
At this point you should exclusively focus on things that need to be cut–don’t worry about volume differences or audio quality. We’ll fix that next. Just listen through and see where pieces need to be cut. This will fall into two categories:
Parts of the whole conversation that need to be removed (awkward pauses, etc.)
Parts on one track that need to be cut (coughs, interruptions, etc.)
If it’s the first kind where a section needs to be cut, just line up the play line at where the cut needs to start, select both tracks (holding SHIFT), and then type CMD+T to split them:
Next, go to where you want the track to resume and do the same thing:
Then delete the chunk in the middle:
And drag the part on the right back so it lines up with the part on the left, and so the audio flows smoothly. You may need to make some smaller cuts to get it sounding just right.
If you need to cut out part of just one track, do the same thing while only selecting the track that needs to be cut, but don’t move it forwards or backwards at all. If you do, your tracks will be out of sync. Just delete the part that needs to be removed and leave it as an empty space while the other track runs:
That’s really all you should worry about for editing right now. Once you get to the end of the track, drag in your sound effects and outro, and then do a quick listen through at the transition points to make sure everything lines up:
Then go to the top, click “Share,” then “Export Song to Disk”
And save it as an MP3 file at the highest audio quality to your folder for that episode.
Now, we have to handle the sound quality, leveling, and other little audio details. This is kind of advanced audio processing, so the best thing to do is not do it yourself. Use Auphonic instead. Once you sign up and add some credits, you can upload your track and they’ll handle all of the leveling and background noise reduction for you. It’s fairly straightforward, and it will make a HUGE difference in how your show sounds.
Don’t worry too much about the metadata options that Auphonic gives you, except for the logo. Go ahead and upload your logo if you have it so it gets included in the episode metadata. It’s not necessary, though, since we’ll also do all of the metadata updates through our hosting.
As for the other settings, you can use what they recommend for improving the audio and leveling it out. Be sure to listen through at the end the first couple times to make sure everything came out fine.
Go ahead and do the editing for your first three episodes and your intro. Once that’s done, it’s time to move on to hosting your podcast.
Step 5.5: Plan Your Next Episodes
One quick thing first though. If you made it through recording your first three episodes, editing them, and setting everything up online, then it’s time to start planning your next episodes. You need to do this now, before you launch, so that you can keep a steady schedule going once you get started.
I try to keep at least a 1-month lead time going between interviewing and publishing, which means I’ll have 4-5 episodes in the queue at anytime. This saves me from scrambling to get an episode out, and gives me and my team plenty of time to take care of editing and show notes.
Step 6: Upload Your Intro Podcast Episode (1 weeks out)
With everything edited, you can start setting up your podcast hosting service. This might take a week or longer, so it’s better to start it soon. Apple can take a few days to approve your podcast, so don’t leave this step for the last minute or you’ll miss your goal launch date.
I’m going to use Libsyn for my explanation, since it’s the service I use and so many other popular podcasts use, and they do a great job at a low price. You can also use Blubrry, and even SoundCloud, but I’m going to focus on Libsyn.
Setting Up Libsyn
The first step is to sign up for a Libsyn account. You can get one of the more basic packages for now, it’s easy to upgrade later.
Once you’re signed up, you’ll need to plug in the basic info for your podcast. Specifically, the:
Any social profiles
The square, logo image
The widescreen image
Next, we have to set it up for the iTunes store. Click on the “Destinations” tab, then click “Edit” on the Libsyn Classic Feed destination:
Here you can fill out the additional information for iTunes. Once you’re done, click Save at the bottom left.
You’ll get a confirmation box with the RSS link to your podcast feed. Save this link, we’ll need it for adding your show to iTunes and other distributors. It’ll probably look something like mine:
Now before we send your show to iTunes, we need to upload your podcast.
Go to Content -> Add New Episode:
Upload your intro episode and check the “Updated ID3 Tags” box at the bottom.
Go to the “Details” tab and plug in the Title, Description, and other information from your episode.
Go to “Artwork” and make sure your logo is there. If it’s not, upload it.
You can leave “Scheduling” as it is, but if you want to schedule other episodes for future releases, this is where you’d do it.
You don’t need to do anything in “Advanced,” either.
This will publish your intro episode to your RSS feed and your Libsyn page. Now we need to send it to iTunes and the other podcast directories.
Adding Your Show to the iTunes Store
Go to Podcasts Connect, sign in or make an account, and then click the little “+” button in the top left:
Copy in the RSS feed for your podcast, and then click “Validate.” Hopefully, all of your information will show up and it will say “Passed Validation,” but if you fail, it should tell you what you need to fix on Libsyn’s side.
Once it passes, hit Submit, and wait! Like I said, it can take a few days, so be patient. While we wait, we can handle the other submissions.
Submitting to Stitcher
Stitcher is the other major podcast player, and one of the few that doesn’t pull from iTunes. Most other popular players, like Overcast, just use the iTunes API to get their podcasts and will take care of themselves, but Stitcher you’ll have to connect your podcast to manually.
You’ll need to go to the Content Providers page and sign up for an account. Once you’re in, you can click “Add Shows” at the top, and go through a similar process like with iTunes.
Type in your info, paste in the RSS feed, add some categories, and then submit. Stitcher is quite a bit faster than iTunes, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long.
The last one we need to do is Google Play.
Submitting to Google Play
Go back to Libsyn in the Destinations section, click “Add New” then select “Google Play Music”
Fill in the information for your show, and hit “save.”
Then go to the Google Play Podcasts Portal, sign up if you need to, and then select “Add A Podcast”
Add the new Google Play Music RSS feed URL that you just created, verify ownership, and you should be good to go!
Now you just need to wait until you get approved everywhere, and check that your intro episode came out fine in the different podcast players. I’d recommend downloading iTunes Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Overcast, and Pocket Casts to make sure it showed up everywhere. I’ve had some issues with Pocket Casts, so if you don’t show up there, you can submit to them directly at this link.
You’re almost there! Now for the best part.
Step 7: Launch!
All you need to do to launch is upload your first two podcast episodes, go through the Libsyn setup from before, and hit publish on them. Assuming your intro episode went out fine, then the new episodes will go out fine too and all you’ll have to do is upload them to Libsyn, add the information, and hit publish in the future.
This is also the time to start publishing your show notes that you can send people to (and hopefully rank on Google for). The easiest way to reduce the amount of work you do is to write your show notes in Google Docs, upload the doc to WordPress using Wordable to make the blog post, then copy the HTML from the blog post to Libsyn so it’s already formatted.
As for how to launch your episodes, I’d do two on the first day that you “announce” then show, and then the third a few days later. This way you get a bunch of downloads right away and people have a few to check out.
After your launch, you can decide what cadence you want to publish at. Some people do it whenever they feel like, some do weekly, some 5 days a week, do whatever works for you. But definitely start with an easy schedule and then see if you want to increase it–don’t quit from taking on too much in the beginning.
Congrats, you now have a podcast! But there’s one last step to consider before you leave…
Step 8: Design a System
There are a lot of moving parts to run a podcast, and it’s easy for things to get lost, so I recommend designing a system to make it easy to keep publishing everything. This will help immensely with keeping yourself organized when it’s a solo operation, and if you get people to help you out, it’ll make their lives much easier too.
There are many ways to do this, but here’s how a podcast episode goes from start to finish for Nat Chat.
I keep on the lookout for good potential guests, then I’ll usually email them or get an intro asking if they’d like to be on the show. These aren’t crazy pitches, here’s a sample one:
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If they say yes, I’ll send them a Calendly link where they can pick an interview time that works for them. Once they pick a time, it’ll be on both of our calendars, and they’ll automatically get sent a short document on what they should know about coming on the show (common topics, length, and so on).
Then, their name goes in my Trello board with the due date set to their interview date, so I know that I need to start prepping for their interview:
I’ll go through my typical research and prepare some topics for us to talk about, then do the interview. As soon as it’s done, I’ll record the intro, then drop all of the audio files in the corresponding Dropbox folder for that interview.
Next, I’ll take the link to the Dropbox folder, attach it to that guest’s trello card, and move them from “Future Guests” to “Editing Episode” and tag my editor, Andrés, on the card. I’ll set the due date for 1 week before the publish date.
Once Andrés is done with the episode, he’ll attach the final version to the card. I’ll remove him, move the card to “Prep for Publishing,” and tag Grey who helps out with all of the other pieces.
Grey will write up the show notes, send them to me for a final edit, and once they look good on my end he’ll take care of uploading them to the blog and Libsyn and scheduling the release of the episode and show notes.
The whole process typically takes 3 weeks, but we can do it in 1.5 if we’re rushed. There are checklists every step of the way to make sure we catch everything, and it’s been running without incident for the last ~20 episodes since I stopped doing the editing. At the very least, set up checklists for each step so you know exactly what needs to be done for quality assurance.
I wouldn’t recommend starting with getting help with this much of it, but I’d definitely recommend switching to it at some point to free yourself up a bit. Whatever part of the show you don’t like doing, get someone to help