How to podcast: A beginner’s tutorial

How-to-podcast-tutorial

Ever wanted to start your own podcast, but you don’t even know where to start? That is how I felt for about 12 months before I finally sat down to figure it all out and then started my comedy podcast ‘Under the News Desk’.

This ‘how to podcast’ article is written from a beginner’s perspective to help you get started with your very own podcast.

  • Part 1: How to record & upload a podcast
  • Part 2: How to set up a podcast

Recording your first episodes and setting up your podcast obviously go very closely together. I suggest reading it in that order to first understand the workflow of recording and uploading (part 1) and then to complete the steps to set it all up (part 2).

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the podcasting service providers or websites I mention.

Part 1: How to record a podcast

Here is the blueprint overview of the 7 steps that I follow to record and upload each new episode plus the types of hardware, software and websites I use.

How-to-podcast-1-CJ-Delling

Step 1. Planning the episodePodcast-plan-how-to
This largely depends on the format of your podcast (topic, length of episode, solo podcast or are you having guests join you for each episode, etc.). You might not need any planning at all. I spent quite a bit of time researching the news item and fact checking.

Step 2. Record
Podcast-record-how-toWhen it comes to the actual recording there are a lot of options, you could record it straight into your phone (with or without an external microphone), tablet, computer or a portable audio recorder (that is what I do: I use a Zoom H5, but there are plenty of other options by Sony, Roland etc.)

Step 3. Prepare
My editing software is called Audacity, which you can download for free on the internet. Podcast-edit-how-to
If you are using a Mac, it comes pre-installed with a program called Garageband.

  • You could skip ahead to step 5, if your audio file already sounds awesome.

Step 4. Finish (optional)
I upload the audio file to auphonic.com, which is an online and automatic audio post production service. It makes sure the levels are not totally off, reduces background noise and works its magic in all the post production areas, that I wouldn’t know how to do. It also adds my podcast artwork and intro and outro music to the finished file. It is also on this website where I add the title and description of the episode.

Step 5. UploadPodcast-upload-how-to
There a lot of alternatives when it comes to hosting the audio file. I am with libsyn.com, but you could also choose podbean.com, archive.org, Soundcloud etc. (best to do a quick internet search for ‘podcast hosting’).

If you didn’t skip step 4, then auphonic.com might be able to push the finished file straight into your account with your podcast host. At the moment that works for libsyn.com, Dropbox, Soundcloud, archive.org etc. This is super convenient and you can find out here how to set that up.

  • You could skip ahead to step 7, if your podcast host provides you with an RSS feed URL that you can use to let itunes know about your new episodes or you don’t want to publish new episodes on your website.

Listening option 1 – Podcast host:  With your podcast host you will also be able to set up your own page for your podcast. This is one of the options of how people can listen to and download your podcast. Mine looks like this underthenewsdesk.libsyn.com.

Step 6. Publish (optional)
You could also publish the link that you will get from your podcast host on your own website. I am with WordPress.org and I use the Blubrry plug in to publish new episodes on my website. It works pretty much like a normal blog post, except that each new epsiode that you post then also updates your podcasting RSS feed, which you will need for podcasting directories such as itunes.

Listening option 2 – Your own website:  The Blubrry plug in also creates an audio player and download option in your blog post. See an example here www.cjdelling.com/podcast/035.

Step 7. SharePodcast-share-how-to
The it is time to let the world know about your new podcast and each new episode. You can use your Social Media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and you need to get onto podcast directories. These are the likes of itunes, Stitcher etc. (there are a lot of them, have a look here.)

Listening option 3 – Podcast directories and platforms: Here are the examples for Under the News Desk:
cjdelling.com/itunes
cjdelling.com/stitcher

More podcasting tips and recources before you start recording your first episode:
  • It is best to record about 3-5 episodes before you start publishing them. And of course: If you don’t like one episode, you don’t have to use it.
  • There is always room for improvement, but it is hard to improve on nothing if you don’t get started.
  • Listen to other podcasts that you like and learn from what they do.
  • Oh, and there are lots of podcasts about recording podcasts.

B: How to set up a podcast

Following the 7 steps above, here is how you set up your podcast. The good news is, that most of these actions outlined below you will only do once.

How-to-podcast-2-CJ-Delling

Step 1. OVERALL plan
First up you need to decide what to call your podcast, the format, and come up with a short blurb, artwork (for more details about the format of your artwork check the itunes specifications) and maybe an intro and outro music.

Let’s assume you have already recorded 3-5 episodes of your podcast as an .mp3 file, which means you have completed these steps:

  • Step 2. Recorded the audio
  • Step 3. Prepared the audio (edited, added music either at this stage or later in auphonic.com)

Then it is time to get it all set up:

Step 5a.
Once you have a few files ready for upload, it is time to sign up to your podcast host (I am using libsyn.com, but there are plenty other options: podbean, Soundcloud, archive.org, etc.) and include all your podcast details there. (Please note: You can could then upload your .mp3 files for your first episode(s) straight to your podcast host if you are skipping step 4)

Optional Step 4.
Sign up to auphonic.com and link it to your podcast host (here is how to do that), so that the final .mp3 files will appear on your podcast host site. This saves you having to download and upload the files . Upload your first episode(s) to auphonic.com and create the final .mp3 file with the episode title, description, artwork, keywords, genre etc.

Step 5b.
Publish the 1st episode(s) on your podcast host – you will get a link for the episode to be used in the optional step 6.
(If you are not publishing the episodes on your own website/blog then you need to copy the RSS feed URL of your podcast for itunes and other directories for step 7.)

Optional Step 6.
Use that link for the free Blubrry plug-in for WordPress when you publish a new post. When you first download that plug-in you will need to set up your podcast with them (Title of podcast, genre, artwork etc.) and the plug-in will also tell you how to create your podcast RSS feed URL that you will need for step 7.

Step 7a.
Sign up to the itunes store and set up your podcast with itunes (follow these steps here http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html)

Once you have given itunes the RSS feed URL, they will check it and a few days later you will get a confirmation email with an ID number from itunes. That ID number is what you need for the last step with Bluberry plug-in, and once that is entered, it is all ready to go.

Sign up with other directories such as Stitcher etc. using your podcast RSS feed URL.

Step 7b.
When have set up your podcast and uploaded your first episodes: Tell everyone you know in the real world and online (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)!

More podcasting tips for when you set it up and get started

This might sound very complicated, but once it is all up and running it is really easy to do.

Final thoughts: The best things in life are… live!

One thing I haven’t mentioned above is how much fun it is to also do live recordings of your podcast.

Want to come to a live podcast recording of Under the News Desk? After great shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the next live recording will be in Sydney on 2, 4, and 6 September at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville. Click here for more details and to get your $10 tickets.

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