3 Key Elements To Get Right When Starting A Podcast
The first question I get asked when someone wants to start a podcast is, what microphone should I use? The microphone isn't the hardest thing to get right, as even a cheap microphone from eBay with a pop shield does a very good job. Here are my 3 main elements to think about when setting up a podcast.
- Host: This is where you store and distribute your podcasts. There’s quite a few out there and with most, you pay a monthly subscription, depending on storage size, episode lengths etc. I use Anchor as it is free. I think it is fine and in hindsight, I wouldn’t have clicked on the button to allow Anchor to distribute the RSS feed on my behalf. Instead, I would have taken the RSS feed Anchor generates and distribute it to the main directories such as Apple and Spotify myself manually. I say this because (i) Apple podcasts already takes awhile to approve podcasts. There are reports that setting it up yourself speeds this up to a week, tip to speed this up below. (ii) You get immediate access to your Apple analytics. Anchor support team will help you get access if you request it but it involves a few emails back and forth. Which is what I did.
- How you record the podcast. You can use free tools such as Audacity or Garageband. I use garage band with not too many problems. You can record direct to Anchor via the desktop interface or on the mobile app. I think I’ve only used it once to re-record a segment quickly and didn’t have too many problems. My review on editing can be found here. I prefer to record on Garageband as it makes me feel that the content is my own as you cannot download the audio files if you record straight to Anchor. When Spotify bought Anchor and changed the T&Cs slightly, there was a lot of fuss over one part of the clause which sounded like Spotify/Anchor owned the content you created. However, I followed a Facebook Group discussion on this and the CEO jumped in and said that the clause was being misconstrued and anyone still not satisfied could email him direct and he provided his email address. When I saw this I decided it wasn’t worth being precious about.
- Content: You need to make sure the content you are delivering is honest, intentional and inspiring. Consistency is key to the longevity of a podcast. That means regularly producing and publishing content.You need to give people a reason to either binge-listen to the episodes or continue to listen regularly. It also means it is content, YOU need to want to produce every week. I spoke to the Director of One Fine Play, James Bishop who spoke openly about how his company initially set out to help businesses with their podcast strategy. They invested a large amount of time developing strategies but they were not delivered as it relied on the client delivering the content. Therefore YOU need to be committed to producing the content and not assume it just happens. There are ways to keep that commitment and be consistent, for which I am happy to chat through if you get in touch.
There it is, my 3 key elements of setting up a podcast. Notice I didn’t mention the microphone there. I’ve used a cheap golden microphone from eBay and that worked perfectly well. My guests use the apple earphones you get with the phone and they work very well. I do find that headsets with microphones used by gamers/recruiters (sorry for stereotyping!) don’t really work. To motivate me to record, and because there was an offer on Amazon, I did treat myself to the Rode NT USB Microphone. I have nothing bad to say about it except I have yet to find a decent case to hold all the parts in it as the pop shield and stand doesn’t fit in the little faux-leather bag that comes with it. Basically if you are testing podcasting out stick to the cheap eBay microphone. Check out my handy tips below. If you have any specific questions or feedback, I would love to hear them, do reach out to me. I also want to hear from you if you set up a podcast after reading this blog post. Good luck!!! Handy tips:
- Speed up Apple approval of your podcast by having a soft-launch a week before you actual launch. Publish a trailer a week before launch so that Apple can get to work approving your podcast and be sure that your podcast is available on Apple by the time you launch.
- To record interviews remotely, use Zencastr. It saves the separate audios on the local drives of each of your machines, should the internet go down at either end, the other person can send you their audio file for you to combine in Garageband.
- Use Calendly to set up recordings of interview. It allows the other person to view their options, depending on your availability, and choose a slot that suits them best. Since I adopted the system it has saved a lot of to and fro.
- Distribute the RSS feed yourself and don’t ask/allow the hosts to do it for you. By distributing the RSS feed yourself, you set up the logins and passwords for Apple, Spotify etc and then you can access the analytics yourself. The analytics you get access to, can be insightful. I found that Looking at my own podcast, I've already learnt that 78% of the listeners are aged 35-44 and 46% female. They also tend to listen to Robbie Williams and Take That and Jonas Brothers (Are they likely to be my friends? :)) .