The tools you need to start your own podcast

The tools you need to start your own podcast

December 5, 2019 0 By Kailee Schamberger


Hello, my name is Dan Quintana and for
this podcast I am getting meta because I am sharing how to create your very own
podcast. Now I think podcasts are an excellent medium to share your interests
and ideas primarily because they’re very easy to consume and they save people
time. You can listen to podcasts while you’re doing other stuff, like walking to
work, like washing the dishes, or commuting, or doing whatever. And I also
prefer podcasts to blogging, because they take less time. Because all you need to
do is just talk. So first, a quick explanation of how podcasts actually
work, and this is assuming that you have an audio file ready to go, which I’m
going to get into soon, but essentially you host audio files on a server and you
include some standard information with each episode, such as the title, and the
description, which is often called “show notes”, and then you send this RSS
feed to a podcast directory, like Apple podcasts or Google podcasts. A lot of
people think that Apple actually hosts the podcast, but they don’t. They work as
a directory so that people can actually find podcasts, and Google works in much
the same way as do the other podcast directories. Now when it comes to the
practicalities, if there’s one thing that you should spend at least a little bit
of money on, it’s a microphone. Of course, you could record using your desktop’s
microphone or your phone microphone, or the headphones that come with most
smartphones, but the sound quality will tend to be poor. I think you are going to have to have something really interesting to say for people to put up
with poor audio quality, week in week out, so it is worth investing in a good
microphone. There’s a fantastic microphone guide that’s been
published, and is continually updated by Marco Arment, who was actually the
co-founder of Tumblr, believe it or not, and he has a fantastic podcast
microphone guide, which suits a range of budgets, but if you’re just getting
started it’s most convenient to get the a USB microphone, because you just plug it in, there’s much less hassle there.
The other major type of microphone that you can use is an XLR microphone, which actually
requires an XLR interface that you plug the microphone into, and then this
interface plugs into your computer via USB. The benefit with XLR mics is they’re
typically built a bit stronger, they’re designed typically to be used by for musicians and on stage, so they can get dropped a fair bit,
they last a very long time, and generally they have better quality sound, but not by much, but if you’re just getting started out I’d
recommend going with a USB microphone, but a really good microphone to get
started out is called the Audio Technica ATR2100, it’s a bit of a mouthful, but the great thing about this mic is it uses both USB, so you can plug it directly, and also XLR, if you
want to upgrade your sound in the future, and this retails for about $40 USD, so
it’s a really good deal if you want to get started with your podcasting. Now, the
next thing that you’re gonna need is a pair of headphones and your headphones
perform three functions. Firstly, it’s to hear your co-host, and any guests you may
have on your podcast, which is important obviously… Secondly, it is to hear
yourself. It’s important to be able to hear yourself to make sure that you’re
not talking too loudly into the microphone and that you’re not making
too many plosive sounds, you can’t really hear that much because I have my pop
filter on my microphone, and it’s a way to make sure that your voice is sounding okay. And thirdly, to make sure that your
microphone doesn’t pick up your guest’s audio. If you weren’t using headphones
and you were just using your desktop speakers, then your microphone would
actually pick up not only your voice but also the voice of your guests and your
co-hosts, which is a pain to edit afterwards, so with headphones you can
actually hear your guests and make sure that your own microphone doesn’t pick up
what your guests are saying. There are a number of different microphones
get, obviously you can use some cheap ones, but the problem with cheap ones is
quite often they bleed a little bit of the audio so your microphone will still
actually pick it up a bit. So if you can, you can get some “over the ear” microphones that actually block the noise coming out, or you can get some “in-ear” headphones which actually also block the noise coming out as well, but there’s
a there’s a range of the budgets… There’s a range of headphones
that suit any budget so check it out. Now when it comes to the actual podcast
recording, If you’re on a Mac you can use the free QuickTime software to
record, you plug in the USB microphone and then you select that USB microphone
when you click record, it’s as easy as that. If you’re on a Windows computer you can also use “Audacity” to record for free, and that is how you can record your files. Alternatively, you can get a dedicated
audio recorder, where you plug in your microphone directly. I actually use the
Zoom H6 recorder, where I can plug in my XLR microphone directly and that record
straight onto an SD card, which saves all the files, so that’s another option
there, which is really handy if you’re recording podcasts out in the field and
you don’t have access to your laptop. Now when it comes to podcast hosting, like I mentioned before, iTunes doesn’t actually host your podcast, you need to host your
files somewhere, and there are several options available for hosting. There’s
“Fireside”, which is what I use for “Everything Hertz”, that’s a really really
good solution, because as well as actually hosting your podcast it also
gives you a really nice looking website as well, where people can get
directed to for more information about your podcast, and I believe is around 17
or 19 or 20 dollars a month and I think that’s value for money, but there’s a
few different options out there, some which are a little bit cheaper that may
not necessarily give you the swanky looking website… “Acast” is another option,
I host some of my podcasts there as well, SoundCloud, you can host your podcast
there. There is a free tier where if you upload a certain amount, I believe it’s
an hour or two hours or a few hours a month, it’s free, so that’s
a good option if you want to get started, and finally there’s also “Anchor”, which is a
new service, which is completely free and has a really nice interface as well, so
that is also worth checking out if you want to get started with podcast hosting.
But I would recommend either “Fireside” or “Acast”, those are two services
that I recommend because I use them and they work quite well. When it comes to
podcast editing there are a few things you need to do with your audio, to improve the experience for your listeners. The first one is to get rid of
background hums and there are various sources for these hums, including laptop
fans, air conditioning, or any other appliance… Lighting can also emit hums,
and you want to get rid of that. You also want to get rid of mouth clicks, these smacking noises, they’re not nice to the ears, so you want to get rid of those as
well, also lip smacks too… Finally, well not finally, but additionally there’s also
plosives those hard “P” and “B” noises, you want to get rid of too.
There’s also audio clipping, so if you’re speaking too loudly into the microphone
then your audio will clip and there are ways to remove that, you also want to
have a consistent volume, this is both in terms of within your recording to make
sure that within a given episode that the volume stays relatively similar, but
also in terms of compared to other podcasts. There are actually volume
standards when it comes to podcast recordings to make sure that podcasts
actually have the same sort of the volume from podcast to podcast. The
most effective solution to do all this is to use a service called “Auphonic”, and
all these things are going to get put in the show notes, and Auphonic takes care of most of these issues. With Auphonic you can reduce background hums, you can
also deal with audio clipping and a consistent volume both within your
actual episode but also compared to other podcasts as you can actually do
the podcast standard loudness. With this, you can use up to two hours a
month of audio processing for free, up to nine hours for $11 a month or you can
purchase an unlimited personal license for $89. The cool thing with Auphonic is
that fans or listeners can also donate “credits” or hours that you can put
towards editing as well, so that’s really nice. If you want to upgrade your editing
another great solution is “Izotope”, the “Izotope RX” software, you can do all
those things [as with Auphonic], but with Izotope you can also get rid of mouth clicks very easily,
and also get rid of the plosives, as well as dealing with those background hums and volume consistency. That’s a couple of hundred dollars, I
haven’t checked recently but it’s a couple hundred dollars so if you do want
to upgrade that is a good solution, but if you’re just getting started, I’d
recommend going with Auphonic, as you can deal with most of the major
issues when it comes to your audio. Now, with your podcast you probably want
to interview some guests and you can do that using video conferencing software
like Skype or Google Hangouts and then you ask your guests to actually record
the audio on their end. Now of course it’s also possible to record their audio
on your end as well when using Skype, but the risk there is that if Skype drops
out then their audio is also going to drop out, whereas if they’re recording
audio on their end the audio is going to be consistent, so I would recommend
actually asking your guests to record audio. I think with with “Everything
Hertz” we’ve had at least 20 or 30… about
20 or so guests, and none of them have had any issues whatsoever with recording
their own audio, that has all gone fine, so as long as you give them pretty clear
instructions on how to do that, that is a good solution. If you want to actually
record video of your podcast, you can record it either using your phone, or you can
use OBS software which is free and which actually uses the webcam and microphone
on your computer, or you can use the microphone you’re recording a podcast on, or if
you’re on a Mac you can use Ecamm, which is what I’ve used for a lot of recordings
as well, it has a lot of handy features, and you can also do live video podcasts
and people can tweet in or send Facebook messages as part of your broadcast.
It’s really cool, you should check it out. I think they have a free trial period
but it’s a nice piece of software. When it comes to episode frequency, your
listeners will appreciate regular episodes, so I recommend to do your best to have a schedule and to note your schedule on your website or your social media
profiles, and the schedule is up to you, but I think a month between episodes is
probably the longest you want to go, if you could do more that’s fantastic but I
think a month is a really good start. Finally, it’s really important to be
sharing your podcast on social media. There’s a lot of podcasts out there so it’s very difficult to just put your podcast out
there on the iTunes directory and hope people are going to listen to it.
Now of course you can share your link, a link to the podcast episode directly on
Twitter or on Facebook, but there’s a there’s one way that you can actually up
your game when it comes to sharing your podcast, and that is using a free service
called called “Headliner” and what you can do with Headliner is you can take a
short clip from your podcast and then it will automatically take the clip, it’ll
create an audio wave so when you’re sharing a video you can actually share a
little video on Twitter or on Facebook and people can see the audio wave and
then you can either add an image from your podcast, be it of your guest
or your podcast logo, and on top of that it will automatically transcribe the
audio and create closed captions or create subtitles of the little video, and
these look fantastic and the accuracy of the transcription is about 90% I would
say, so you do need to go through and double-check and make a few little
corrections. So what Headliner does is, it creates a
little video, I think the I think the limit is is 10 minutes, but you don’t
want to be doing it longer than two minutes, because two minutes 30 seconds is the Twitter limit… So you can create a little one-minute video clip, which
includes the audio wave so people can see at a glance that you’re actually
sharing audio, but on top of that a lot of people don’t actually like
listening to stuff when they’re scrolling through social media, maybe they don’t
over their headphones and they’re on public transport… but they can still
actually see the preview because the words are coming up… and this
this is a free service, it’s one of those things that I can’t believe is free,
but it is free and and it works really well for sharing your podcast on social
media. Before I finish, I want to cover a few typical points of hesitation
that people have when it comes to starting podcasts the first one is, “I hate
my voice”. Yeah, that’s gonna happen and I still do, when I hear my own voice,
but there’s no way around that, your voice is always going to sound
different than what you think it sounds like when you hear it back when it’s
recorded. That’s just something you’re just gonna have to get over, no one likes their
own voice so join the club… The second common objection I get is,
“My research or my idea is too niche”, but I don’t think there’s an idea
that’s too niche, you’re always going to have an audience out there who actually
want to listen to what you have to say about your topic of expertise so don’t
let the the the potential “niche-ness”, if that’s a word, of your topic to scare you
away from doing a podcast. And finally, it’s this idea of, “I’m not going
to start off with any listeners”, but the reality is every single podcast started
with no listeners so everyone has to start from somewhere, and it just
takes a lot of consistency, I read a statistic that most podcasts, the
majority of podcasts, don’t get beyond ten or eight or nine or ten podcast
episodes, so if you can get beyond that threshold you are well on your way, it’s
just important to be to be consistent with your episodes, but at least make
the goal of getting to ten. So, I hope that has helped you, if you have any
other questions when it comes to podcasting please let me know, the
best way to contact me is over twitter @dsquintana.