Hello and welcome to another chapter of our Content Creation Series.
Today we will be talking about Podcasts.
Podcasts are really interesting, because there's a lot of potential here for collaborations and networking, and you can choose from:
Starting your own Podcast;
Putting yourself out there to be a Guest on existing podcasts;
Personally, I do both.
I enjoy being a guest, because that is a fun way of connecting with new people, talk about things I like and create content with other creators.
I am also one of the hosts of the Launchies, a podcast for early-career + non-traditional background, and co-host of a Brazilian Podcast with my friend Levxyca, called Moças da Web.
Despite all of the above I must confess that I don’t have much experience with the production part, so this post will have a co-writer, Leticia, who has experience with producing very well organized podcasts without fancy equipment or software and she has been doing a great job!
Podcasting is an interesting way of putting yourself out there, get some practice with public speaking without exposing yourself as much as in video, while creating connections with the community you care about.
When you are a guest in other podcasts, while the podcast doesn't belong to you, you are co-creator of the episodes you guest on, so you can add those episodes to your Content Creator portfolio.
If we are going to start a podcast, there are some decisions we have to make.
Don’t worry about any technical issues or gears right now, let’s put together the idea for our podcast.
Here are some things we have to ask ourselves:
Format: Are we just going to talk about a topic by ourselves or will we interview people?
Topic: What will be our focus? A programming language? Tech news? A specific stack? You can get that list we made on the writing article, to choose a topic to focus our podcast.
Name: Of course we need a name, this is the hardest part in my opinion, finding a cool name that is not taken. My tip is to write every name that comes to mind, then choose the top 5 and check to see if they are free.
Frequency: Last, but not least, consistency is important. It doesn't matter if it will be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, but it is good to have a set timeline for publishing your episodes.
After we have those 4 points defined, we are ready to get started!
If you have chosen to go solo, create a list with all the topics you can talk about, and add the topics to a content calendar, based on the frequency you have chosen.
Now, if you went to the Interviewing route, I recommend starting with people you know and are comfortable talking to. When you run out of those, go to Twitter! This is where I find most of my guests for Launchies.
Lele says :
“No matter which format you choose, keeping things organized with
dates and episodes statuses is something that can help a lot, and if
you can, you should try it. You can use anything to do that
organization, from paper and pen to a spreadsheet”
My name’s Leticia, but I like to be called Lele, especially because I don’t like how my name sounds in English.
I’m a Computer Engineering student, and it’s been a while since I started creating content, which, I have to say, escalated quickly.
Five months ago, I started watching livestreams on Twitch, and now I write in two awesome websites (dev.to and therelicans.com), have a YouTube channel (all my videos are in Portuguese) and a podcast!
So, let’s talk about producing a podcast!
Producing a podcast is not as hard as it seems. You don’t have to use pro equipment, or know a lot about audio treatment. At least not at the beginning. When you listen to something, you know that it sounds good. If your sound is clear and in a good volume, that’s good enough.
First, let’s talk about what kind of equipment you can use and where you are going to record your podcast. By where, I mean the physical location.
Are you going to record it in your room? Do you have some kind of studio?
For equipment, you can use things you already have, like earphones or headphones (if you have some kind of pro equipment, wonderful, but you don’t need to). As long as it has a mic, it can be used.
If you have a little knowledge about electronics, you can even build your own mic with some old phone’s mic. If you speak close to it (because that’s how that kind of mic was intended to be used) you will never guess it’s a mic from an old phone!
Take a look at the one I made! It’s not pretty, but it’s useful.
I basically soldered that old mic into a wire, and the wire into a p2 connector, then I made that weird thing with a hair clip and hot glue so I can attach it to my clothes.
So you have your mic, and your sound is not that great...
Where are you recording?
The ambient can make a lot of difference in the sound you’ll get from your mic.
Perhaps, you are recording in a place with lots of background noise, or in an open place that doesn't have a very good acoustic.
Choosing where you’re gonna record makes more difference then what equipment you are using. So I’ll ask you a very important question.
Can you fit in your closet?
It may sound weird, but closets are places with a wonderful acoustic. Most of the outside noise is filtered and your voice sounds really good. Try it. Record your voice inside your closet and outside it to see the difference.
Another thing you can try to do to filter outside noises, is to cover yourself (and your mic) in a blanket, and record underneath it. Just make sure you can breathe if you do it.
Does it look silly? A lot.
But nobody’s gonna see you, and the sound quality is more important at this moment.
Remember to keep a “safe distance” from windows and keep them closed, cause you never know when a loud sound can come in from the street.
Now decide how you will record your podcast.
I have a google meet’s license, so for me it’s easier and more comfortable to record my episodes in it, and edit the audio. But I know that’s not the best way, especially because it’s paid, so I’ll focus on some free alternatives.
If you like discord, you pretty much have it done.
There are some bots that can record audio channels, such as Craig, so all you have to do is to invite your guest to an audio channel and invite the bot as well. That’s the easier alternative, but not the only one.
If you cannot record a google meeting, you can always record it in a remote way from your pc with some screen recorder such as OBS studio.
You can also use some platforms like Zencastr which allow audio recording, and separate the recording giving you one audio file for each person talking.
One good practice is to keep a local backup of your podcasts as well.
Sounds fancy? Just turn on your phone’s voice recorder app and record
the episode in it as well. Assuming that your guest is somewhere
else, ask them to do the same, and now you have a safety copy if
anything goes wrong.
After recording, you must edit your episode.
But hold on. I want to talk a little about the identity of your podcast.
Do you have some effect sounds you would like to add? Transitions music perhaps.
A standard beginning and a standard end?
The podcast is yours so you can choose as many extra sounds as you would like, EXCEPT the ones that are copyrighted. Copyright is something very important when we are creating content. If you are not sure you have permission to use that sound/image/text, don’t use it. Maybe now you won’t have any problems with it, but better safe than sorry.
That said, it’s now time to edit your episode.
If you do your research, you can find a lot of paid and free audio editors, just like video editors.
I’m fan of open source, so I always try to use OS alternatives for my projects production’s.
For audio, the editor I use is Audacity, it is free, open-source and has lots of features, as well as some effects for you to treat your audio and make it sound a little better if you need to.
You can even use some video editor and export the podcast as an audio file, but I prefer an audio editor.
No matter what editor you’ll choose, you need to learn three things.
- How to paste audio (include your extra sounds),
- How to delete audio (cut out some parts like silences) and
- export your final audio.
That’s the basics for editing a podcast.
Anything you need other than that, is just a google away.
“How to on ” is what you need to go on.
Of course you can always find some courses for the audio editor you are using on the internet if you have the time to do it. This, by the way, is something I strongly recommend. Editing is crucial and the more you know about the editor you are using, the better.
Now, on publishing.
There are lots of platforms to choose from, but I’d recommend Anchor because it’s a very popular platform and you must post your things where people will find you.
Just one more thing before you send your podcast to the world: Have a nice visual image.
It’s not rare for people to be searching podcasts and give a chance for that one that has a nice cover picture. You want your podcast to be the one that chance is given to.
And how do you make a nice image? You can design it yourself, but I’d just say use Canva.
I’m a complete newbie when we are talking about design and things like that, but even I can do something pretty using Canva, so you can do it as well!
Alright, the podcast if published, so we are done!!
Well… not so fast.
Let’s talk about one final topic.
How will you tell people your podcast exists? Do you think it would be a good idea to have social media accounts for your podcast? Or you would like to use your own? How will you reach the public you want to reach, and what social media are they using?
These are things to consider, and I recommend you invest some time researching it.
So now we are done!
That’s my basic guide on producing a podcast.
Hope it helps!
And that is it!
I hope that you will find our advice helpful and if you do start a podcast, let us know!
We would love to be your guest !!!
If you are thinking about sticking with being a guest yourself, we have 3 podcasts that are always looking for guests:
Drop me a comment if you would like to be a guest in any of these podcasts and I will make it happen!
Thanks for reading!
And don’t forget to follow Lele, because she is awesome!