Podcasting 101: A Student's Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1: Choosing what you want to do a podcast on
Perhaps the most basic and tricky element to creating a podcast is choosing what exactly you want to do a podcast on. There are millions of podcasts available for general consumption with every possible idea being covered, but what suits you? A podcast could be as simple as a random day in your life or as complex as an explanation of quantum physics. You could choose to do a podcast on an interest, such as sports, or some type of entertainment, such as movies, TV or music. With podcasting there are no limitations only choices. For example, one could also do a podcast for a written piece by transcribing and editing the article for audio. Here is an example: http://www.rowan.edu/today/news/index/FS/106
Step 2: Choosing where to display your podcast
Next, you must choose where your podcast will appear. Your podcast, of course, is not confined to only one site and could be distributed in many places, such as websites, blogs, social media sites, etc. Try and place your podcast somewhere it will get the most attention from the audience you are intending to reach. For instance, place a sports podcast on a sports blog or, taking the site above from step 1 as an example, place the podcast above the written article to give readers a choice. For example, you could also place all your podcasts on a particular page like Rowan University did with its podcasts.
Step 3: Choosing when to do your podcast
Try and make your podcast “of the moment.” Meaning, don’t wait a week to podcast about a story that was only relevant a week ago. Also, don’t post a podcast of an article after it has been written and delivered. Unless the story was riveting, most readers won’t come back to check for the podcast of an article they’ve already read. Make sure your podcast is accessible at a time when people are looking for different opinions on a matter via audio. For example, here is Rowan Radio’s podcast page for its weekly news show called “The Rowan Report.” The page is updated almost weekly with a podcast of the show.
Step 4: Choosing an open and a close for your podcast
Many podcasts use an open and a close to differentiate it from others and create familiarity with returning listeners. For example, the “Rowan On The Go-Casts” all use the same open and closes to first identify what’s to come and then to push listeners where to go for more after the podcast finishes.
Step 5: Choosing which sound effects to use in your podcast
Different sounds attract a listener’s attention and keep them involved in the podcast you are delivering. Try starting off your podcast with a sound effect to engulf your audience in the world you are trying to create. This may make them respond more positively to your podcast by passing it along to others, commenting, or returning for more. For example a podcast about person shocking the auto world would likely include a car starting at the beginning.
Step 6: Choosing a variety of voices for your podcast
Again, different sounds attract a listener’s attention and keep them involved in the podcast you are delivering. Try to keep your podcast ladled with multiple voices other than your own. This allows you to jar your audience’s attention every so often in case they are beginning to drift off and think of other things.
Step 7: Choosing where to record your podcast
With so many different technological advancements many people can afford to buy their own microphones and recording software. Attachments can be as simple as a microphone attachment for your iPod and free editing software can be downloaded on the internet or bought for a relatively cheap price. Another smart investment, which would make your podcast sound more professional, would be to purchase recording studio time after you have written your podcast. Problems, for those using external mics on phones, exist because room noise can cause too much interference and loose an audience’s attention.
Step 8: Choosing a program to edit your podcast
I would suggest programs such as Adobe Audition or Cool Edit to edit your podcast, but prices for these programs range greatly and may not be purchasable for all. Free programs can be garnered online for those unable to use the above programs. Also, there are professional editing studios which could edit your podcasts for you, but the expense would be so great that it would be more economic to just purchase a program to edit yourself. Here is an example of the Adobe Audition editing suite.
Step 9: Choosing where to promote your podcast’s location
After completing your podcast, do not assume that your audience will know that you have podcasted. You must make it known where your podcast is to gain attention from both old and new audiences. Do this by posting on social media sites, such as blogs, message boards, or Facebook.
Step 10: Choosing a possible follow up podcast
Once an audience enjoys your podcast they will want more—sometimes choosing to follow your podcast as one of their favorites on iTunes. Track the views that your podcast is receiving, if they are substantial and you feel there is an audience for what you are podcasting about then plan follow up podcasts and tell your audience about when they will be available via social media sites.
Attached to this post on podcasting are mp3 examples of opens and closes for podcasts, sound effects used in podcasts, and a podcast of this article for those to busy to read.