What is Podcasting?
Podcasting is a recorded audio program on any topic you wish that can be shared widely online to a variety of audiences. It includes the creation of a storyline or concept, audio recording of one or more speakers, editing, distribution, and advertising.
Creating a Concept/Story
What is your purpose? Ask yourself:
- Who do you want to reach and what do they enjoy?
- What do you want people to learn from your podcast?
- What is your mission?
Do you need a script?
- Are you storytelling? Yes!
- Are you interviewing/discussing? Try an outline instead.
Give each podcast episode a theme or structure. For example:
- Teaser (What are you about to discuss/explore in your episode?)
- Intro (Who are you? Who did you bring as a guest?)
- Transitions/more segments as necessary
- Outro (How frequently do you post? What's coming up in the next episode?)
- How to subscribe (promote promote promote!)
Don't Forget: Consider how long you want your episodes to be, so you don't record too much content and have too much to edit down.
Software & Equipment
Recommended recording software (computer):
- Audacity (free, Mac or PC)
- Garage Band (free on Mac)
- Windows Sound Recorder (free on PC)
Recommended recording software (phone):
- Voice Memo (free on iPhone)
- Voice Recorder (free on Android)
- Speechnotes (free with ads on Android)
We recommend using Audacity, as it is an excellent recording software that can double as editing software!
Equipment options (if remote/not near campus):
- Laptop (ideal with Zencastr to record phone calls)
Equipment options (if near campus):
You can check out any of the following from the SMART Learning Commons by reserving them via this form.
- Blue Yeti
- Blue Snowball
- Zoom H2n
You can also check out the following accessories to go with your audio recorder:
- Reflection filter
- PFSS-55 Pop Filter
- Studio Headphones
Information about the above technology and more can be found on the SMART Learning Commons media equipment website.
Preparing to Record
- Room size: the smaller the better (less echoes and possibility for background noise)
- Environment: find rooms made of materials that don't reflect sound (carpet vs. tile or stone, avoid glass/brick as well).
- Environmental sounds: think about the space in proximity to noisy things like refrigerators, HVAC systems, laundry, dishwashers, traffic, and your own laptop's computer cooling system.
Tips for working with ambient noise:
- Do a test recording of the silence in your room before you record audio, so you can hear what noises are there that you may just be used to.
- To mitigate ambient noise, try using a reflection filter or adjusting your mouth's distance from the microphone.
Testing your Equipment:
- Microphone should be about 8 inches away from your mouth.
- Place the pop filter (if you are using one) about halfway between the mic and your mouth.
- Set your sound levels. If you test and the levels shoot to the red, adjust.
- Do a dummy recording. This will help you get used to the feeling of speaking into the mic and what dampens your volume or amplifies it.
Use this time to become familiar with the recording equipment and software before bringing in guests!
Interview-type Podcast Prep:
- Will there be guests? Don't have too many or it will be hard for the listener to track who is talking.
- Decide whether or not you want to send questions to the guests ahead of time. This may lead to rehearsed answers.
- Have a topic/theme so guests can prepare. Ask them to bring talking points.
- Make sure guests know you will be editing the recording. You can tell them later what was cut for time.
Story-type Podcast Prep:
- Have at least one other person edit the script. You may be reading over some errors.
- Do a table read where everyone goes through the script, making edits as needed to adjust for flow, tone, and wording.
- During the table read, check timing. Your script may not fit within the limits of how long you want your episode to be.
General recording tips:
- Take breaks!
- Drink water.
- Stand to help prevent sounding breathless.
- Don't interject sounds while your guest is speaking.
- Keep your mouth a consistent distance from the microphone.
Now it's time to record! Have fun!
General editing tips:
- Depending on the length of your podcast, consider a "midroll" with announcements pointing to your social media, or ad placements if you have them.
- Breaking up your episode into segments keeps it from feeling long, and gives listeners natural breaks if they need them.
- Take out fine details like "um" and other noises.
- In interviews, be careful when cutting parts of answers as this may change the meaning of your guest's response.
- Remember: If you're bored, your audience will be bored! Always give it a listen before posting to catch any last oddball things in your audio.
Need help editing? Set up a 1-on-1 consultation in the SMART Learning Commons.
How does accessibility help?
- Transcription and descriptive ALT text assists users who are deaf, hard of hearing, or those with screen readers.
- Transcripts and captions allow those for whom English is not their first language to see the words you are using in case something is unclear.
- Search engines can index the words in your podcast based on scripts and transcripts.
How to make your podcast accessible:
- Provide the script/transcript for your episodes online.
- Make sure your website is accessible in terms of screen reader friendliness, descriptive ALT tags, and readable fonts and colors.
- Consider video recording to accompany your audio recording and provide the transcript as captions.
- Link to your website and/or transcripts in the summary description of each episode to make the resource easier to find.
- Host your podcast on multiple platforms, as people will listen in a variety of ways.
Be open to feedback and suggestions from listeners with perspectives different than your own!
Create your brand:
- Make the name findable, catchy, and memorable.
- Do a search before committing to a name in case it is already taken or there is something very similar already in use.
- Create a logo! It helps make you memorable.
Ways to promote:
- Social media
- Family and friends
- Word of mouth
- Collaborations with other podcasts
- Notify guests when the episode is ready so they can promote
Remember: Interest in your podcast does not equate to downloads! Many people stream podcasts so you may have more listeners than you realize!
Where to host and distribute your podcast:
Other tips and considerations:
- Look for places that publish to multiple platforms at once. You want your podcast to be on AT LEAST: Audible, Spotify, YouTube, Apple Podcasts/iTunes.
- Be sure to check how much content the platforms will host before charing you for storage.
- You can ask for listener donations through Patreon and provide an additional RSS feed of exclusive episodes.
- Consider an RSS feed whether or not you use Patreon: it allows listeners to access your podcast on any platform they prefer.