Podcasting for Beginners

Podcasting is two parts: Recording + Hosting & Delivery

Recording:

  • SOLO: If you are starting off with just yourself (no co-host or interviews) you can do this really simply without having to buy tons of gear. Just one… a good mic. You CAN use just your phone and get passable audio, but you didn’t start this so you could give people a passable experience. Spend a little bit of money and get yourself a quality mic for not much money. I’d suggest, and have used alot, an ATR2100 ($79). For now, all you have to do is hook it into your mac via the USB cable and use garageband to record, add music, intro, bumpers, edit, etc. If you don’t have a mac, try Audacity, a free Windows and Mac app. The mic comes with a tiny stand you can record at your desk.

 

CO-HOST/INTERVIEW CHEAP: When you want to start doing interviews or want to bring in your bff to chat with you, you’ll need to buy a second mic. Get the same one if you like. Starting off, just sit them across from you at a desk or table  and plug both mics into the laptop. However, your computer will at first only recognize one mic or the the other as the audio input, so follow these steps to set it up properly.

CO-HOST/INTERVIEW ADVANCED: If you are thinking, “I want to have a more relaxed feel, on a couch somewhere we can relax,” then you are going to need to buy more gear. Specifically 2 boom mic stands ($18 a piece) and a midi controller. The boom stands will give you more freedom to sit down comfortably wherever and you can pull the mic up to you because you aren’t having to lean over a desk. The reason you need a midi controller is that to go over the long distance between you both, you’ll need to use the included XLR cables that came with your ATR2100 (and if they aren’t long enough you can purchase longer XLR cables as well). These you will run into the midi controller into your computer.  The midi controller I like best is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 ($159). dfdf

Here’s a helpful setup guide for the Scarlett 2i2 and Garageband.

Once you are done editing your episode, just click at the top menu SHARE>EXPORT TO DISK. Name it and choose the filetype MP3. This will create your final file that you will upload.

Hosting:

You might think, “Wow, I’ve spent money on the gear, so now there must be a free place to upload and share all my new podcasts episodes I’m about to create!” Well, sorry. It doesn’t exist. There is no “YouTube for Podcasting.”

What you need to know is that iTunes, Stitcher, and all those places you listen to your favorite podcasts don’t actually host anything. They are just a directory, an index. You have to host the audio file and create what’s called an RSS feed you submit to them. Then every time you post a new episode, your RSS feed is updated and iTunes/Stitcher/Etc. updates your subscribers.

So you need a place to host your content and create the RSS feed. There is an easy way and a do-it-yourself hard way.

Easy Way: Just use a podcast hosting company. You don’t have to create a website, use coding, etc. Just upload your content, they create the RSS for you.

Most hosting sites have “free tiers” that you can use to get started, but all of them have caps (3-5 hours of total time you can upload). This is a waste of time because most podcast episodes are about 30-40 minutes on the conservative side. So you can get 6 episodes, then you gotta start paying. So maybe you can begin the show on a free hosting plan and see how you like it, but just know after you accidently find yourself with an hour and a half rant with your friend about Pokemon Go, that it’s gonna cost you at some point.

My favorite place to tell people to use is Soundcloud, because you don’t need to create a website, their player is great if people want to go there directly, you can embed them later on a site if you want, and they have good stats. Go ahead and try it out for free (up to 3 hours), then after that it’s gonna cost you $124 a year for the Pro Unlimited (or $16 month to month). Don’t mess with the middle “Pro” version, you only get 6 hours. TOTAL, not monthly.

HARDER ROUTE: Create your own, self-hosted WordPress site and use the PowerPress plugin to create your feed. Hosting it yourself in the long run is really cheap ($15 a year for the domain, minimal per year for the storage) in comparison to SoundCloud, but it’s a lot more work and expertise. And if you own the site, obviously, you can customize the entire website experience (although most people stick to just using their podcasting app of choice when they interact with episodes). If you are technically inclined, you might enjoy this route. Otherwise, I’d pay for the ease of use of SoundCloud.

Submission

The final step is submitting it to the directories. I’ve only ever done iTunes, so we will use that as an example. You will need to do something similar for Google, Stitcher, etc.

*ONLY DO THIS AFTER YOU HAVE POSTED AT LEAST 1 EPISODE.

Go to https://podcastsconnect.apple.com. You’ll need to use your Apple ID to submit, so make sure it’s the one you want to be linked to for the entirety of the show’s life. Not sure if you can change it later on.

After logging in, make sure you are on the MY PODCASTS section. When I tried this it opened up to PODCAST ANALYTICS first, so I had to click at the top to choose my podcasts instead. There is a “+” button at the top. Click this.

RSS Feed. With SoundCloud and PowerPress, they will provide you with an RSS feed URL that is the exclusive one for your channel. Copy it and enter it here. After submitting it, iTunes will show you what your channel will look like, how many episodes, etc. If you don’t like how it looks, it’s not iTunes fault. You need to go back to your podcast host and change the info, cover art, etc, then start again. You can also change this stuff later at any point.

Once you like everything, then submit it. iTunes takes FOREVER to get it finalized. Might take 24 hours or longer. I think one I did took a week for some stupid reason, but that is an outlier.

TUTORIAL

I created a tutorial several years ago for how to use both Soundcloud AND PowerPress to setup a podcast. There’s alot of other things like creating Metadata, Leveling, etc. But use it as a resource for the things you need. Some things might have dated since 2016 but alot is still good.

DOWNLOAD TUTORIAL

J.B. Waggoner

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