Podcasting has proven to be one of the most relevant new platforms in today’s media. The openness and accessibility of podcasting allows for anyone to create one, and there’s no better time to start than now. “It got to the point where I was making stuff that I really liked and wanted to preserve it,” says Ayesha Barmania, a podcasting specialist with both production and consulting experience.
“My personal experience with podcasting does not come from a place of a lucrative income, but rather a committed hobby and transferable skill set.” Barmania used their journalism and broadcast background to break into the realm of professional podcasting.
If you’re looking to tap into the popular podcast market, there are a few things you’ll need to get your show off the ground.
1. Do you know what you want to say?
The rule of thumb for podcasting is the same for any media type: content is key. It’s important to distinguish what the goal of your podcast is and how you will meet it.
“Podcasting doesn’t have to be taken seriously, I can tell you mine has never been, but if you want to build an audience, you need to think more concretely about strategy,” says Barmania.
2. Does it sound good?
Yes, you can record straight from your phone. But this will leave you with audio that no amount of editing can save. The simplest choices are a USB microphone that plugs right into your computer or a handheld recorder.
My personal journey began with a USB microphone, specifically the Blue Yeti.
Another option, leaving you with more freedom, is the use of analog microphones which I utilize in my setup now, specifically four Audio Technica AT2020. These are side address microphones and if that’s not exactly what you are looking for the Audio Technica AT2100.
The reason for my switch was the desire to do fully in person podcasts with multiple guests. In person because that is the best possible circumstance to achieving even, quality sound.
“Even if it takes longer, I will choose to do an in-person interview because, if its going to live online forever I want it to sound polished,” says Barmania.
Remember analog microphones mean you now need an audio interface for your microphones to record off and this can be achieved with a variety of products. A basic audio interface will allow you to connect analog microphones directly into your computer and record as you would a USB microphone, a field recorder with analog inputs allows you to record to a SD and a mixer, giving you the most control over your audio as you record, that has the potential to work with both USB and SD. Some products I could recommend would be the Focusrite Scarlett Series, the Zoom H6 field recorder and the Rodecaster Pro.
Never underestimate the power of a pop filter. For as cheap as $10 this simple add on can turn your audio around in a huge way.
Next, you need to think about possible recording and editing software. A great place for anyone to start is with the free sound editing program, Audacity.
3. Can people find it?
Now you need to think about where you want your podcast to live. Believe it or not, platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify don’t offer any hosting services for your podcast.
Hosting platforms like PodBean or SoundCloud produce an RSS feed, essentially a web address, that you can then submit to platforms like those mentioned above. Your RSS feed is used to constantly read and update your content on podcast platforms.
Hosting isn’t cheap, it is possible to do it yourself but without a background in this area it might prove more work than its worth to host yourself. I personally chose Soundcloud despite it being one of the more expensive choices because of Soundcloud being a popular listening platform on its own and my desire to be fully available there.
4. Is there a reason for people to come back?
Engagement with your audience is what can put you above other creators. This is how you form a community of listeners who will return for each episode. Barmania says to imagine that your audience is in the room with you when producing a podcast to make the connection more personal. This goes hand-in-hand with promotion and social media marketing like Instagram.
Finally, what determines the longevity of a podcast is its consistency and your commitment in its creation. If you abandon your project, you can’t expect anyone to still be there when you get back.
This story was originally published in the print version of Emerge magazine.