Podcasts are becoming more mainstream. People could be consuming podcasts without even realizing it. It is perfectly acceptable to ease your way into podcasting and slowly grow; start with simple tools and build from there.

Planning a Podcast

  1. Strategize
    • Write down some goals and track your progress
  2. Focus on your audience (the constituents you want to attract or who are already involved)
    • Find out what they are already listening to so you can determine themes you may want to embed in your own messages
  3. Consider your story
    • Look at what has been successful for other podcasters
  4. Consider hardware options (remember: the fancier the hardware, the more complicated it may be to use)
    • USB headset: the cheapest, easiest option
    • Dynamic ($20-30) or condenser mics ($150-500): condenser is powered from external source (mixer or plug), all mics pick up vibrations (use a boom stand!)
    • Pop guard (to prevent popping P’s): make your own out of coat hanger & old pantyhose
    • Soundboard: plugs directly into your computer, allows you to record each individual on a separate track, allows you to back up a podcast to an external device WHILE recording it
    • Mobile devices: perfect for in the field, on the move, or catching events live
    • Video recording: Flip cams
  5. Consider software options
    • Audacity
    • Garage Band (Mac)
    • Sony Sound Forge
    • Adobe Audition
    • Levelator
    • Skype
      • Pamela
      • Hot Recorder
      • Audio Hijack Pro
  6. Production considerations
    • Editing/clean up: when editing, keep file format as WAV (large, uncompressed); only final output is MP3
    • Bit rate: increase bit rate by using mono, don’t go under 32, >64 for best quality
    • Stereo vs. mono: stereo may be distracting
    • ID3 tags: edit these directly in iTunes
    • Images
    • iTunes tags
    • Show notes: write a description of your overall show as well as descriptions for individual episodes; include resources and URLs referenced
    • Overall length: depends on the topic &mash; usually 10–30 mins for a meaty subject
  7. Decide where to host your podcasts
    • Consider bandwidth limits
  8. Hit a critical mass of podcasts before publishing (at least 5 episodes)
  9. Promote your podcasts on social networks
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Blogs (especially WordPress plugins)
    • Digg
    • Reddit
    • LinkedIn
    • StumbleUpon
    • YouTube
  10. Make use of cross-channel promotion: don’t let you podcast become an “island” from your other media — integrate!
    • Website
    • Email
    • Newsletters
    • Press Releases
    • Advertisements
    • Partners
  11. Solicit feedback