Yellow Brick Road - Podcast

Follow The Yellow Brick Road – 10 Detailed Steps To Starting A Podcast

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Understand why you want to start a podcast

It is important to know that you are going to commit your time and energy into your show. Making great content, being consistent and engaging with the audience are all essential, but time-consuming activities. Ensure you are going to have the motivation, or in the absence of that – commitment & dedication, to continue with your show.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I going to get out of podcasting?
  • How will I know if my podcast is a success or not?
  • What am I going to do with the attention I get? (Examples: sell products or services, leverage the attention into other opportunities, etc)

Your Brand

Name:

Check the iTunes podcast directory and do a Google search to make sure the name you want isn’t taken. Also, remember to choose a name that is both easy to remember and easy to spell. Avoid words of double spellings.

Description:

The people who might end up listening to your podcast don’t care about you. They only care about what your podcast will do for them or its content.

When you write the description (the “elevator pitch”) for your podcast, keep your potential listener in mind. Tell them what they’re going to get out of it. Tell them why they should hit play.

Make your podcast description about your audience, not about you.

Artwork:

Artwork needs to be eye-catching yet simple. You don’t need a master piece. You need something unique and that would stand out in a crowd. Something simple that stays true to your genre or name. Best thing is to look around and see what other artwork is out there.

Plan the format of your show

The importance of planning your show often goes understated. Without proper planning, your show can seem unstructured and erratic to your audience and make un-necessary stress for you, the host. There are several stages to planning the format of your show:

  • Decide the format

This will likely influence the structure of the rest of your planning. Some styles to consider are Monologue, Conversation, Debate, Interview, and Documentary. Choose based upon what you feel is most appropriate to the proposed content you have in mind.

  • Structure of Episode

Here we do not refer to the content of each episode but the sections. Will your show be a continuous rant or will you have strict weekly segments to break up? Define how your episode will flow and your show will have a level of consistency your audience will appreciate.

  • Plan the Series

Now that you have a rough understanding of how your podcast will flow, it’s time to plan the content for the series. If your show is episodic (i.e. continues from a previous episode) it is very, very important to have structure. Define the series specific topic and what subjects should be addressed first.

This is less important if you produce stand-alone episodes, however, can still be relevant if you plan to account for the holiday seasons.

  • Plan the Episode

These can be as detailed or brief as you wish. If you plan on a documentary style then you may wish to have a detailed and strict script to follow. If you are reading content from news articles or plan on holding a discussion on various topics then a more bullet point style is fine.

We will soon have a series of great planners available should you be looking for inspiration. Check out our website to download your copy today.

Invest in some gear

Now the fun part; you get to spend some money on gear!

It is important to note that there is a lot of differences on microphones. Recording patterns, connections, engineering design etc. Please read this article for more information.

The essentials kit:

  • Earphones/ Headphones
  • A Microphone (USB)
  • Pop-Filter
  • Mic Stand

The Pro Starter Kit:

  • Headphones
  • XLR Microphone
  • Digital Recorder / Physical Mixer
  • Pop-Filter & Mic Stand

Get some software

Now that podcasts are becoming increasingly popular amongst the general population software developers are getting behind the movement. This is great for us podcast producers as we gain better software and support systems to make our lives easier and show quality better. Below is a short list of software we highly recommend:

Recording software

Editing & OBS

General Support

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to this list of software. There are 100’s of alternatives (free & premium) for you to choose from. The list above is at the most basic level to get you started, however, you can download alternatives such as soundboards etc. This link holds a comprehensive list of audio software: http://www.jackaudio.org/applications/

Make a few test recordings

You need to get comfortable with the setup and recording process. It’s going to be confusing the first few times you do it, so read or watch tutorials and don’t give up.

The main things to remember are;

  • Make sure your gear is plugged in and turned on.
  • Make sure your computer recognizes your audio interface or USB mic.
  • Set your input source correctly in your recording software.
  • Set the input gain levels correctly (you don’t want to hit the red on the meters).

Give yourself permission to record some demo podcast episodes. No pressure. Take notes. Play around. Record some stuff and practice editing and mixing. Drop some music in.

Also; always wear headphones while podcasting via an OBS. The feedback audio from your computer will significantly reduce the quality of your final product.

Make a few real episodes

After you’ve got some test recordings done, now it’s time for the real thing.

Record an episode, get it edited, then export it as an MP3 (128kbps is fine). A good note is that the audio file doesn’t need to be a stereo track. If you are looking to save data or time you can downgrade the audio track to a mono-track and still get great quality.

Once you have completed your MP3 it is a good idea to associate ‘Tags’ with it. This helps search engines and crawlers better locate your file with associated keywords. If you are planning to use a hosting service there will be an option to insert tags upon submission. However, if you are planning to submit your file to a WordPress site or other similar output then it is recommended that you manually tag your files. Use this software to help: http://www.mp3tag.de/en/

At this point, you’ll need some artwork for your podcast; a square JPG that’s at least 1400×1400 pixels. If you aren’t a designer you can either hire one, find someone you know or is part of a Podcast Network to help you. Alternatively, you can have a crack yourself with this fantastic piece of free (mostly) software: www.canva.com

You’ll also need to write some show notes for your episodes. Show notes help your podcasts SEO and also can provide context, links and supplementary material for your listeners. If you have various topics covered within the one episode you can also use the show notes to provide subject bookmarks with time stamps. Note: Remember to use keywords in your show notes to help out the SEO and make you rank higher.

Repeat this process until you have 3-5 episodes ready to go.

Invest in a podcast hosting service

This task can seem a little daunting at first and you may be tempted to rush into the first service you see thinking that they are all the same. Be careful and remember to read the T&C’s!!

Some podcast hosting services may claim ownership of your content once you have submitted it. I doubt that there will be a malicious activity with your material but it still isn’t a nice thought. We strongly recommend that you do your own research about hosting services and chat to other podcast producers. Find out what they can offer you. Two services we highly recommend are Libsyn and Blurry. No, we aren’t sponsored by these guys, they just offer a great service at a reasonable cost.

  1. Setup a website and social media accounts.

A website offers your audience a place to find out about your show, subscribe and learn more about the hosts. Some hosting providers offer a ‘mini-site’ when you sign up to them, however, they are very limited. If you really want to stand out we recommend creating a ‘Landing Page’.

You don’t need to be a computer whizz to create your our site. There are 3rd party content management sites out there such as Squarespace & WordPress to allow for easy drag and drop creation. These do hold a small cost but it can be worth having a website.

Alternatively, you can either hire a professional, if you’re keen and have spare money floating about, or learn to use WordPress.org. It is slightly more complicated at first but allows for much more freedom once you get going. Note: You could join a podcast network and be featured on their website. Check out www.Acepodcasts.com to see what we are talking about.

Go ahead and create social media accounts for your podcast too. Or you could just use the ones you already have. That’s up to you. You should probably reserve the usernames, anyways.

Social Media Platforms

  • Twitter
  • Facebook 
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Support Platforms

  • Dlvr.it < Content Curation
  • Quuu < Content Curation
  • Buffer < Management
  • Tweetdeck < Management

 Website Builders

  • Squarespace
  • WordPress.com
  • WordPress.org

RSS & Submission

Once you’ve got a few episodes created, tagged and uploaded to your podcast hosting service, it’s time to find your RSS feed address (your hosting service should handle creating an RSS feed for you). The RSS acts like an address for any podcast search engine to find your content. If you are with a hosting service which provides you with a good level of statistics then you can go ahead and use the RSS they provided you. You may not be interested in the statistics right away but you may be down the line so it is important to ensure they are available.

If you would like extra or more detailed statistics then we can recommend that you use the Feedburner or Podtac services. Our personal favorite is Feedburner. These services append your supplied RSS feed with an extension. You should then use this new RSS feed to submit to your podcast libraries. What this does is allow the additional service to track downloads etc. and supply data upon their site. It’s easy, safe and FREE.

Once you have got your RSS and hosting service and are happy – it’s a hassle to change your RSS and maintain your subscribers – it’s time to submit your podcast to the libraries and search engines.

The following is a list of potential podcast submission sites to get started with:

 

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Daniel Kelsey-Wilkinson

Daniel Kelsey-Wilkinson

CEO of Ace Podcast Network & Science Communicator at Ace Podcast Network | Vaguely Accurate | SciTech
As well as CEO of the Ace Podcast Network, I am also a Science Communicator and Martial Artist. The practical and communication skills I have developed throughout my various occupations have allowed me to adopt a unique approach to the podcasting craft.
"I am curious by nature"
Daniel Kelsey-Wilkinson

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