I recently started a podcast!
… Well, kind of. I recorded the first episode, and I have ideas written down for 33 more beyond that. I’m hoping to make this a weekly show that will go either 6 months or a year (still deciding on that). The reason I say “kind of” is because this podcast is not online yet, as of my typing this blog post. It is called Photosynthesis, and it’s the show where you can “get a light look at growing your content”!
Making a podcast is fun and reasonably easy.
When it comes to making the content, Podcasting falls somewhere between blogging and video work for me. It’s a little harder than blogging, because it encompasses writing, speaking, and some very detail oriented editing. It is easier than video, however, because you don’t have to script everything or worry about lighting, cinematography, locations, or acting.
While some people could wing it and spout off whatever comes to their minds, a good podcast has a solid outline to go off of. This prevents your show from being too short, too long, or too difficult to follow. It doesn’t need to be as detailed as a regular blog post or a video script, but it needs to give you a good feel for what to say and in what order, as well as remind you to cite your sources. Speaking of citing sources- that is another thing that is important for podcast writing; show notes! Show notes are super brief run-downs of important points, links to content you mention, and credits if you have creators involved besides yourself. Your show notes are to be published with each episode of your podcast.
Podcasting is a great exercise for your speaking skills! It is a little like public speaking, but less intimidating because you don’t have your audience right there with you. While it won’t make you improve your stage presence, it will help you improve your ability to speak clearly and communicate ideas with enthusiasm. If you are unable to sound excited about your topic or project your voice in a way that is both pleasant to hear and easy to understand, you will have difficulty engaging listeners.
You may think that you can get away with hitting record, talking, hitting stop, and calling it good. While you can handle your show this way, I wouldn’t recommend it. Using some tools such as a compressor, EQ, and noise reduction can improve your audio quality dramatically. Beyond that, taking the time to edit out pauses, awkward breaths, and that noise you made when you took a drink of water will give your podcast a more professional and appealing feel. If you really want to get fancy, you can even add some intro and outro music! Just be careful with that- having too long of an intro can annoy some listeners. People’s time is precious, so make sure the content you give them is worth those moments of their life!
Publishing a podcast is really freaking hard.
I’ve covered the fun and easy parts of podcasting- now for the part that nobody thinks of: getting it online.
I’ll be honest: I don’t have all of the answers yet. In fact, I am writing this post because I got frustrated and needed a break. So far, I’ve learned that there are a lot of different hosting sites and that if you plan to have more than a really short program (like 3-4 hours of total content), you will probably have to pay at least $100 or more a year for hosting.
My hosting choice requires me to learn to upload my content to my wordpress.org site, where I have unlimited storage. This will save me quite a bit of money if all works out as planned. In the meantime, I’ve been learning how to use the Powerpress plugin so that I can get my podcast up on my site and into the iTunes database. That has been a little trickier. The plugin works great and is laid out really well. Currently, however, I am having trouble getting my RSS feed to recognize my content. So, that’s where I am stuck. Hopefully one of my techie friends will be able to help get me fixed up soon!
As it stands, I plan to release my show this Friday (tomorrow!) with or without iTunes. If all else fails, I will temporarily use Soundcloud and YouTube to stream my show. Where there is a will, there is a way, right?