Over that past few months, I’ve done more and more podcasts. Quite a few people have asked me how to start. It’s far easier than you think.
Podcasting has taken off faster than anyone could have anticipated over the past few years. I attribute the success of the medium to a few things. For one, anyone can do it. It’s literally Scott Free! Gone are the days when you had to talk to someone at a radio station and compromise yourself and your subject matter in order to be heard. There is no middleman. It’s also not an adversarial platform. You can listen to my podcast and someone else’s without having to choose, unlike radio where you have to decide on one specific station to listen to at any given time. Since podcasters aren’t enemies fighting for the same time-slot, we can also help each other with information an even appearing on each other’s podcasts as guests.
My first inspiration to podcast was when my dear friend Brother Dave hosted the now defunct, Shock Of The Hour Podcast. He handled topics often too hot and controversial for others to engage in. Our styles and subject matter differ, but I still cite him as my main inspiration to eventually do podcasts of my own.
Let’s get rolling!
First off, don’t get overwhelmed. A podcast is just a recorded conversation, interview, or talk. Don’t be concerned about iTunes or Stitcher, or any of the other platforms. Just create good podcasts and if you need to move to a bigger platform, we can talk about that later.
The easy part is how to record the podcast:
There are people who will tell you to buy all sorts of complex microphones and mixing tools. If you have enjoyed my podcasts I am proud to tell you everything I used was easy to find online.
Skype is your friend, half of my podcasts are done on Skype. We just sit down and have a great conversation.
To record the audio I used an app called ECAMM. It’s a program that works great with Mac computers. It records the audio as .mp3 so I can edit it the same way I would edit music.
If you have a Windows computer, there are a lot more. Just find one that records Skype calls to .mp3, like a music file. CNET is my go-to place for programs. Quite a few of them are free.
Either way, browse these -> http://www.cnet.com/search/?query=record+skype
A journalist I know introduced me to it. Journalists in dangerous places use it as a tool that lets them call in a story, have it recorded and made immediately available to anyone who wants to listen. When they are in areas where journalists are not allowed any freedom, they don’t have to run the risk of crying a recording device that can get them arrested. it is also password protected.
In short, Ipadio a free, telephone/web-based tool that lets you dial into the system, activate the ability to record and then saves your conversation online for you, or your listeners to download later.
Now I use Audio Hijack. It gives me a vast, robust set of options and tweaks that let me fine-tune my podcasts.
The last option you should consider is a cheap mp3 recorder. They seem like a good idea but unless you have a room that is silent, with no outside noise, it won’t produce quality podcasts.
I talk to people who are constantly on the go! I have never recorded a podcast under ideal conditions, but between Phonecasting and Skype, I have always been able to give you quality content!
The hard part is what to say, now that you’re all set up to Podcast!
I meet interesting and exotic people every day, so do you. You may not know it if you don’t really speed yourself out and talk to the people you know. The trick is this, all that matters is what’s interesting to you. If you have a friend that is into anything you find interesting, tell him/her “I just started podcasting, can I talk to you about (Fill in the blank subject)?” 9 out of 10 people will say “Sure. What are we going to talk about?” Because people love to talk about themselves.
I always tell people I want to talk to the same thing, “It’s any easy, loose form talk about you, (that thing you do) and how you got into it. It sounds interesting.” What I don’t want is people to come with a written, rehearsed list of bullet points to discuss. i just want a relaxed, enjoyable conversation.
“Loose form” doesn’t mean that I don’t have a rough idea of where I want to go with our talk. The first 10-20 minute can be a fun get to know you session. After that, its my job as a host to have a destination for our conversation.
Here is a rough draft that you can use for your first few conversations, after that I hope you change it and expand on it. Be sure to tell me how in the comments.
One Hour Podcast Script
- 10-20 minutes. Tell us who you are, what you do, and what makes you amazing or awesome!
- 20-30 minutes. Have six bullet points ready to segue into. Three can be things that they have been known for, or famous for, or just what you find interesting about them. The other three I enjoy using are: 1) How it changed their personal life, 2) What advice they give people about doing what they do, 3) What is something people don’t know what they are passionate about, so that they aren’t pigeonholed into one easy box or category of person.
- Final 10 minutes. As I wrap up: Who should I talk to next? Anyone, anywhere, that has something interesting to say. What are two songs or pieces of music that they want me to do the intro and exit with. (I use GrageBand to add one of the songs they mention to the first 30 seconds of the podcast as I fade it into our starting the conversation, then I add the other song as the exit music when we are done.)
- Last few seconds as the exit music starts. Thank your guest for talking with you! Tell everyone how to find you on Facebook/Email/Twitter or your website!
Remember, do not read this verbatim, reword it so that it sounds natural for you. Use the words and context that fits you and your situation.
Things I have learned that make podcasting easier.
- Remember that the responsibility for having a fun, upbeat podcast is 100% on YOU as the person who invited them to talk.
- Research your guest! There is nothing more disappointing that listening to a host that clearly knows nothing about the guest. Please, please google the guest that you have on your podcast, even if you already know them. Have a list of bullet points to ask about if the conversation begins to stall.
- Keep a notepad and pen handy. I try my best not to interrupt my guests when they are talking. When they say something I want to circle back to, I write it down and bring it up when it’s my turn to talk.
- Wrap up between 45-55 minutes into the podcast. Very few people can sustain a fun, lively, direct podcast for longer than an hour. If you plan on having a podcast that lasts longer than an hour, be sure to ask them if that’s OK ahead of time, and you need to prepare a full list of notes and bullet points to go over.
- No matter what technology you use, do a test run to make sure it all works the day before. Call someone you love and have a quick chat about how you wanted to say hello, tell them you love them and test your system. After that, see if it all recorded as planned. If it doesn’t, you have a day to fix it and test it again before you have the actual podcast.
- Don’t podcast for money. I have seen countless podcasts (and websites) come and go within a month because they researched what was the hot, trending subjects and decided to try and focus what they create around that. The end up burning out, and ruining their reputation because their lack of interest comes through in what they write, and the lack of enthusiasm the people they talk to will be a result of the same lack of authenticity.
- Don’t be afraid to take bits and pieces from other podcasters and use their style as part of how you develop your own! In Brains Breadcrumbs I talk about my favorite podcasts and what I enjoy about them. When you listen to mine, I am sure you will see shades of them all in the way I present mine.
“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”
~ T.S. Eliot, The Sacred Wood
The best way to learn how to do this is to start. Do a few, tweak your process. Remember that you will get better with time.
When you have fun and talk about what you enjoy, money will come to you because you will spread via word of mouth. I never intended on making money with my writing, but as my website gained traction people who enjoyed my style of writing began to pay me to do it for them.
If you need help with anything, or need me to clarify something I wrote, just leave a question in the comments and I will help to get you up and running.
If what I wrote helps, send $5 in BitCoin to this address.
It’ll buy me coffee to fuel my mind while I write!
YusefWateef (at) Gmail (dot) com