By Stephanie Ciccarelli
June 20, 2007
Want to make your own podcast?
Follow this recipe, being sure to account for all of the ingredients ahead of time.
If there is anything that most podcasters will tell you, it pays to be prepared!
Learn how to make your own podcast at VOX Daily with our Small Business Podcasting Kit.
We spent some time and methodically broke down the steps necessary to build a framework around your podcast production.
These tools below will help you to lay the foundation of your podcast.
1. PLAN YOUR PODCAST
With anything, including a podcast, it truly benefits you to be prepared. Whether you are in podcasting for leisure or business you will need a plan.
Planning topics to discuss, possible guest interviews, and the duration of your show in advance will go a long way when producing a professional sounding podcast. Since you'll be recording your podcast in an almost live fashion, you will have the flexibility of going back and re-editing sections before committing your show as "podcast-ready".
Before you started, you'll need:
* A web publishing tool ( Try Blogger, TypePad, WordPress or MoveableType )
* A file hosting service ( Try LibSyn for free, AudioBlogger is also a good choice )
* Recording software ( Try Audacity for Window-based PCs or Garageband on Mac - both are free )
* Microphone ( Try a good headset microphone or better yet the Marshall Electronics MXL 006 Condenser USB Microphone for only $129 )
Identifying The Theme of Your Podcast - The Nucleus of Your Podcast
Developing your podcast description is a necessary step in the branding process. When you are brainstorming your podcast description, make sure that it explains the purpose of your show and accentuates the theme of your podcast. This description should be no more than two to three sentences in length.
Selecting a Name - Personify Your Podcast
When selecting a name, be sure that the name of your podcast reflects the content that you are recording. For example, if your subject matter is about travel, your podcast name should be branded to complement your show. To illustrate, a podcast about travel might be called Globetrotter, Passport Podcast, The Travel Guide, and so on. Make sure that the name you choose is also available as a domain name online. Try to make your name unique but easily understood and recognizable.
Acquiring a Domain Name and Blog Name
Once you have picked a name for your podcast, purchase the domain name for your podcast. This is extremely important because interested listeners and inquisitive searchers will be able to find your podcast in Search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN and others. As a reward for consistently branding your podcast, search results will display your website and podcast accordingly.
2. WRITE A SCRIPT
So, you've got the voice or at least a voice in mind for your podcast. What's missing? A script or your game plan! Take a look at a typical outline that will help you to plan out the duration and distribution of content throughout your podcast.
Sample Show Outline
- Show intro monologue (who you are, what you're going to talk about): 30-60 seconds
- Intro music jingle (repeat for each show so listeners identify the jingle with your show): 30-60 seconds
- Topic 1: 3 minutes
- Topic 2: 3 minutes
- Interlude (music or break): 30 seconds
- Topic 3: 3 minutes
- Topic 4: 3 minutes
- Closing remarks (thank audience for listening, thank guests, talk about the next show briefly): 2 minutes
- Closing music jingle (suggest same as Intro music jingle): 2 minutes
3. SET-UP RECORDING EQUIPMENT
Now, in with the hardware! Experimenting with recording your podcast can be done with your existing computer, some free software and online tools. Experimental is the key word here, as you do get what you pay for.
Bear in mind that this set-up won't give you or your audience a good indication of your vocal quality and may reflect poorly on your business. Yikes! For this reason, I'd strongly recommend investing a modest amount ( less than $500.00 ) in some basic recording equipment, specifically a microphone and a book about audio recording.
4. RECORD YOUR PODCAST
Recording a Long-Distance Interview
For interview-style podcasts, you can record using Skype to record or plan to record via a conference call with free services such as FreeConference.com. Both services allow multiple people to participate on a call.
Recording an In-Person Interview
For those of you who intend to record on-site interviews, I'd recommend visiting the location of the interview ahead of time to become familiar with your surroundings. Scope out the best place to setup shop and minimize any extraneous or background noise (unless that's the atmosphere you are trying to create).
Recording One-Person Shows
If you are hosting the podcast and are speaking directly to your audience, life becomes a lot easier because you are in control of where you record, how you record, and the material you present. Simply have your show outline ready, plug in your microphone, set-up your recording software and hit record. Be sure to record in a quiet environment and let anyone present in the office ( or house ) know that you are not to be disturbed until the recording is finished.
5. EDIT, MIX AND EXPORT YOUR PODCAST EPISODE
Room Tone - Natural sound temperature
A location™s room tone is its auditory fingerprint. These are non-specific sounds generated by the natural acoustics of the room.
Editing may also be required when sounds overlap. If they occur while you or another individual in your podcast are speaking your editing can be more challenging. To preserve the original performance, try to find another take of the word(s) in question (the one you want to replace) and edit or splice the word in to replace the unusable take.
Automatic Dialog Replacement - Replacing unusable lines with pre-recorded audio
Automatic Dialog Replacement or ADR, is simply re-recording specific lines that could not be salvaged in the edit. The sound and performance of the lines must be matched to the original performance. For a successful re-take, attempt to create the original take by recording in the same tone of voice, through the same microphone.
Production Techniques - Mixing in your show intro, imaging, and musical transitions
Remember when you wrote your podcasting script? Now is the time to mix in your show intro, the section that announces the name of your podcast and the episode number. It is most effective if this is the voice of an announcer, distinct from your own. Try fading your background music in when a new segment beings. Lower the volume level of the music when you are speaking so that your listeners can hear every work you say. At the end of the segment, fade your background music out. Use musical transitions between the various segments of your podcast. These musical transitions are known as bumpers, stages or sweepers.
Your finished podcast should flow seamlessly from one sentence to the next. If your editing has caused abrupt interruptions, or simply doesn™t make sense (not a good thing), then perhaps you should reconsider your editing style or seek help from a professional to fine tune your production and achieve a "podcast-ready" podcast.
Key points about mixing
In this section you balanced the volume levels of the voice-over(s), music and sound effects. You are now ready to export your podcast recording into an MP3.
6. UPLOAD YOUR EPISODE TO A WEB HOSTING PROVIDER
Next, you'll need to upload your MP3 file to a web hosting service. By doing so, you'll be making the audio available for download by anyone with Internet access. Sounds great, doesn't it?
The easiest solution is to host your MP3 at a podcasting hosting service, such as LibSyn.com or AudioBlog.com. These are wonderful web services that will not only store the MP3 file of your podcast, but also provide you with some statistics including number of downloads.
If you currently have a web host, for example, the company that is already hosting your website, you can just as easily work with this set-up. You may need your webmaster to assist you with configuring this part, however in short, you'll need to create a new directory on the server called "podcasts" and upload the MP3 file to that directory using FTP, short for File Transfer Protocol, which is the standard means of adding new files to a website.
At the end of this step, you should have your first episode uploaded to a web hosting provider.
7. CREATE YOUR PODCAST EPISODE AND SHOW NOTES
This is where your web publishing tool comes into place. For simplicity, we'll use Blogger as the example. In essence, you'll be creating a "New Entry" just like you would when posting an article on your blog.
How does it differ then from a regular blog post?
You'll be including a media player and code in the file path from your server where the MP3 is hosted.
Tips for a Podcast Episode Entry:
Give your podcast a title
Number your episode
Add a short description for your episode
Add a hyperlink to the MP3
Add tags to help search engines identify the contents of your podcast episode
Once you're done creating the episode, click Publish and you'll see your post on the Internet.
8. BURN YOUR PODCAST FEED
FeedBurner is an excellent service that manages your RSS feed for you. What exactly is RSS? RSS, commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication, is a subscription mechanism that enables you to receive new content as it becomes available, either downloaded to your PC or media player. RSS files are used to summarize the contents of the audio programs.
At FeedBurner, you add your blogs RSS feed ( i.e. http://yourdomain.com/yourpodcastnamehere/index.xml ) and burn that URL into FeedBurner, which makes your podcast available for subscription using any feed reader such as Google Reader, FireFox Feed Reader, Bloglines or hundreds of others.
This feed is also used to submit to iTunes, so it's best to use FeedBurner to make the next step. If you do, the marketing and promotion of your podcast, a whole lot easier.
9. ADDING YOUR PODCAST TO iTunes AND OTHER PODCAST DIRECTORIES
iTunes - How to submit your podcast to iTunes
1. Open the iTunes program.
2. Sign-in to the iTunes Music Store. You may need to create an account if you don't have already one.
3. Within the Music Store, there is a section called "Podcasts" on the left hand side menu bar. Click on "Podcasts".
4. Click on "Submit a Podcast" on the left hand side menu bar.
5. Enter in your podcast feed URL.
6. Follow the simple on-screen instructions provided.
There are also a few dozen great podcast directories that we've listed below.
BlogExplosion Podcast Directory
Submit here: http://www.blogexplosion.com/members/podcast_main.php
BlogUniverse Podcast Directory
Submit here: http://www.digitalpodcast.com/add_anywhere.php?cat=1
Submit here: http://www.podcastdirectory.com/submit-your-podcast.html
Submit here: http://podcasthost.com
Submit here: http://www.podcastpickle.com/actions/addCast.php
Submit here: http://www.podcastshuffle.com/submitpodcast.cfm
Submit here: http://www.podcasting-tools.com/submit-podcasts.htm
Spain Podcast Directory
Get reviewed at Podcast411
Once you've got your podcast listed in all the top podcast directories, remember there are millions of people on social media websites who may be interested in your new podcast. We covered Social Media websites last week, so be sure to circle back if you missed those posts.
Time for a Check-Up
Now that you've released your podcasts and are gaining an audience, give yourself the opportunity to measure and evaluate your success, thereby taking your podcast to the next level and expanding your audience.
There are a number of key areas that you'll want to evaluate. Here's a list to help you get started.
- Number of Subscribers Vs. Number of Listeners
- Website Hits
- Promotional Efforts
- Web Presence
- Elements of your Podcast
Now that you fully understand the process and psychology behind creating and promoting a podcast, you are ready to go!
If you'd like to download a copy of the Small Business Podcasting Kit, you can do so here!
Let us know about your success by leaving a comment.