Podcasting 101: How To Get Started with Podcasting
In this day and age, podcasting is increasingly becoming a regular means of communication. It can be an effective way for both businesses and individuals to convey their ideas to groups of people without being physically present. Lots of people may be interested in the idea of podcasting, but many may not know how to podcast or find the process overwhelming. Here are a few easy-to-follow basic steps to help you learn how to podcast if you’re just starting out:
1) Make a Plan
What is the topic for your podcast going to be? How often are you going to podcast? What sort of format are you going to use? Are you going to have a co-host? Are you going to use music?
The best podcasters stick to a schedule and focus their podcast on a specific, unique subject about which they are knowledgeable. Note that if you’re going to use music that is not your own, you’ll need to obtain permission–it’s illegal to use copyrighted music without permission.
2) Obtain Equipment for Recording Audio
Your computer is probably your best bet for recording audio. Make sure that it has a mic and broadband internet access.
The additional minimum requirements are generally the same for Macs and PCs:
- Soundcard (most computers come with this)
- In/Out or Mic/Headphone Jacks (many computers come with microphones)
- At least 512 MB RAM
- At least 2-3 GB of free hard drive space
For PCs, you should have Windows XP, and for Macs, you should be running OS 9 or X.
3) Obtain Software for Recording Audio
- To record the audio: Audacity is one of the most popular and easy programs for people who are just learning how to podcast.
- To convert the audio to MP3 format: You’ll need to convert the audio in order to upload it to the internet. Many people use iTunes, and LAME is also considered a popular program used in conjunction with Audacity to convert audio. Download it here.
- To test your audio: It’s a good idea to have either the latest version of Windows Media Player or iTunes to use to test the sound of your audio. Many computers come with one or both of these, but if not, they’re easily downloadable.
- To upload the audio to the Internet: SmartFTP is a common program for uploading files, and is free for non-commercial uses (commercial users can pay for it).
- To store your media files online: This isn’t really software, but is still something you need to have. Ourmedia is a great place that lets you store your media files for free.
You can find tutorials online for how to download and run these programs, if you’re unfamiliar with them. Once you have the software, you’re ready to begin recording!
4) Putting Your Podcast Online
There are a few steps involved in this process:
- First, you need to register a chosen domain. This will act as the home for your podcast. There a number of sites on which you can do this free, including WordPress.com, Blogspot and Google’s Blogger. You can also register your own domain for only a small yearly fee.
- Next, start a blog. This will act as a place where you can post notes to your show, links, etc.
- Finally, create an RSS feed. This allows people to automatically subscribe to you and become informed about new posts without having to continue to check your site. It’s less complicated than it sounds, and there are a number of websites that can show you how to easily do it. Feedburner is an example of a site that is podcast-enabled.
5) How to Generate More Listeners
The most important thing is to make sure your podcast is on podcast aggregate sites. Many websites contain lists of and links to podcast sites, organized by topic, that allow interested persons to subscribe to your podcast. Put yourself on a few of these lists to increase your traffic flow.
You should also consider transcribing your podcast. This will make your podcast more search engine-friendly and allow you to reach a wider audience (including deaf individuals or those who prefer to read). It’s possible to transcribe it yourself, but while free, this is incredibly time-consuming.
These are just the bare basics on how to podcast, and some of the instructions may require additional research if you’re unfamiliar with working with audio. When you first begin podcasting, there may be a lot of trial and error as you figure out what works best for you, and the first few may take significantly more time to put together. Don’t get too frustrated–with some practice, you can easily get the hang of it!
Do you have a podcast? Are there any other useful tools that you use and would like to share with us? Tell us in the comments below or share this post with your network.
Written By Chirag Ahuja