This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Podcasting is a lot of fun and it's surprisingly cheap and easy to set one up. I started The Worried Writer in January with absolutely zero experience, and if I can do it, anybody can!
I did, however, follow guidance from excellent established podcasters. In particular, I found this series of tutorial videos from online entrepreneur, Pat Flynn, absolutely invaluable. Thanks, Pat!
I also got advice from friends who know about recording and broadcasting sound, who were kind enough to pass on their top tips and answer my questions.
So, here's what I found out in a handy quick-start guide!
I got a few recommendations and went with a RODE NT-USB microphone. It comes with a stand, making it a cost-effective option.
I'd recommend you invest in some headphones, too. The big kind which fully enclose your ears. They make a massive difference when editing your audio – if your show sounds good through your headphones, you can feel pretty secure it's going to sound good to your listeners (who will probably be using computer speakers or less-sensitive headphones).
Next you want to think about the environment in which you're recording. Lots of hard surfaces make sound very echo-y and 'hard'. My garden office has blinds and a laminate floor, so I hung up some material along the back wall to soften the sound.
If you want to interview guests on your podcast, then I recommend you use Skype for the interview and call-recorder software (I use Ecamm).
Once you've recorded your show, you will need editing software to tidy it up. I use Audacity, which is both easy to learn and free.There's also a fabulous online tool called Auphonic, which automatically levels your sound so that you don't get loud and quiet parts in your show. Especially useful if you have different sections such as a musical intro or interview.
You need a blog (I recommend WordPress) as your podcast's 'home' and a media host to store your podcast files. Do not use your regular blog host for your podcast, use a separate, dedicated provider. If you don't, you run the risk of crashing your website.
I use Amazon S3 storage as a media host as it is very affordable and you only pay for what you use.
Here's a very brief overview of the production process:
1. Record your show.
2. Edit your show using Audacity or similar.
3. Save your show as an MP3 file fomat. (And tag it with show information and artwork – more on this below).
4. Upload the file to your media host.
5. Copy the file URL into your podcast media player on your website (I use the excellent WordPress plug-in Bluberry for this).
6. Hit publish!
However, if you want your podcast to appear in iTunes, there's another step you'll need to take. You will need to set up a feed and submit it to iTunes, so it will automatically 'grab' each new episode when you publish it and whack it into the iTunes store.
The good news is that you only have to set-up and submit your podcast feed to iTunes once and then it's done. As this is a an overview, I'm not going to take you step-by-step through that part of the process, but I will be adding a (free!) in-depth tutorial to The Worried Writer site soon. Do sign up for the mailing list if you want to know when that's available.
Tagging your show and artwork:
You need to tag your MP3 file with the show information and artwork.
Your podcast image should be square, 1400 x 1400 pixels and look good when viewed at a very small size (imagine it displayed in a playlist on a mobile phone or iPod).
You can tag your file in iTunes. Import your mp3 file to iTunes and select it. Under file options you click 'get info' and then you can type in all the relevant stuff such as show title, name of artist (you!), show description and genre (choose 'podcast' in the drop-down menu). There is a tab labelled artwork and you click here to upload your square podcast image.
I hope that gives you an idea of what is involved in setting up a podcast. If you're new to audio production, it may sound a little daunting, but the learning curve is definitely worth it.