In the past few years, Podcasts have become a craze. Every net savvy individual wants to get out there and start a podcast. Thus has started what we call ‘podcast wars’. The competition is stiff and you have to be creative, different and unique to make your mark.
Podcasts are a great way to get heard and listened to. You can find a niche audience if you are good at it. You can even make some money through advertisements once you have a big enough audience base.
So let us understand the basics of what a podcast is and how to make it successful.
WHAT ARE PODCAST
Podcasts are like audio Blogs. Just like in a Blog you choose a particular theme and write articles about it, in a Podcast you select a theme and a topic and speak about it. Podcasts are a fun and engaging way of getting your voice heard and more and more individuals are joining the Podcast bandwagon.
For example, you can use a theme like Hip Hop Music. Then you can speak about it and also play some numbers on the Podcasts. Thus people interested in Hip Hop will come and listen and subscribe to the channel and they will get notified whenever you release a new Podcast.
Since it is audio, it is more engaging and thus more people would prefer it over the written word.
BEING DISCIPLINED AND COMMITTED
Just like in Blog writing and Video Blogs you need to commit and disciplined in your Podcasts. You need to be organized and release podcasts at regular intervals without fail. Also, the Podcasts you publish should have the same theme and topic and you can cover different aspects of the same topics with different podcasts.
The more committed you are the more regularly you will create fantastic podcasts and thus you can surely create an audience who subscribe to your podcasts. Also once you have a big enough listener base you can earn money through your podcasts through advertisements.
EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR RECORDING A PODCAST
It is very important that the audio quality of your podcasts be great. Thus you need certain important equipment which will help you in recording great quality podcasts.
You should use a good quality mic as the listeners can easily make out the difference between a cheap audio microphone and a good quality one. Thus it makes sense to go for the best microphone you can afford as good quality audio will surely pay dividends in the long run.
Next, you will have to choose whether you want a USB mic or an Analog mic. With a USB mic, the microphone directly converts the analog audio into digital when recording on your computer and with Analog you need extra equipment to record on.
It all depends on your choice and preference and you should go with the one you are comfortable with.
A GOOD COMPUTER
You can use a Windows or a Mac computer. Luckily uploading, recording and editing do not take a lot of computing power and any decent machine can do it.
Also, there should be a USB port or an audio port through which you can easily connect the microphone.
AUDIO EDITING SOFTWARE
You will need a Digital Audio Workstation or a DAW for editing and recording the podcast. Reason and Pro tools are expensive and can come for up 900$ while other cheaper ones like Hindenberg come for $100. Also, Reaper is a good editing app and comes for $60.
If you are young and just starting out then it makes sense to go for free editing software like Audacity.
Although all this equipment is expensive they are a once in a lifetime purchase. If you are serious about Podcasting then you should definitely go for them but it is a good idea to test the seas before you take the plunge and thus you can use the free software and your regular desktop or laptop to create your first podcast.
- HOW TO RECORD A PODCAST
It is a good idea to use Audacity for recording your Podcasts. Before you start recording you should check these things first:
- Is the Mic compatible
- You should test your mic
- Do a test recording
- Save files in .mp3 format and check if the quality is good
Now once you are ready you are ready to record.
- Test record a small file
- Check the recording Volume
- Record 5 seconds of silence to check that there are no background disturbances
- Once you have finished recording save the file in .mp3 format on your system
- Use an audio player like VLC to play and check your audio file.
WHERE TO GET EDITING SOFTWARE FOR FREE
AUDACITY is a great DAW and a recording and editing software and it is available for free and is open source.
As a beginner, it makes good sense to test the waters with free software. It will also give you enough practice to upgrade to better quality editing software.
You should check whether your Microphone is being detected or not in Audacity and if it is then you are ready to go.
CHOOSING THE THEME AND THE TOPIC OF THE PODCAST
It is true that there is a podcast available for everything under the sun already. But that should not discourage you. You should choose a theme and a topic and give your own spin to it. Create a new perspective on old content and think differently.
You can choose any topic you like. Like Music or current affairs or psychology and more. It’s your baby and you can create a podcast about anything you love to talk about.
Whatever topic you choose to give it a new twist, this way you will attract more listeners.
MAKING CHAPTERS OF THE PODCAST
It is a good idea to make chapters out of your Podcasts. You need to be disciplined, committed and regular with your podcasts even if you are not finding many listeners initially.
If you post good quality Podcasts then listeners will notice and your Podcast will definitely become popular and listeners will take note of it.
FINDING A NICHE AUDIENCE
Next, you need to decide who is going to be your target audience. This is a very important step as this will help you decide on the theme, tone, and background of your Podcasts. A podcast for adults is very different than that for teenagers and so on, thus your Podcast should be targeted at one audience segment. Then you need to stick by it.
EARNING MONEY FROM THE PODCAST
If you are talented and serious about your podcast then you can even earn from it. But the first and most important thing is to create a regular and loyal user base and target audience who will follow all your Podcasts.
Once your podcast becomes popular and you have many subscribers then you can allow marketers to advertise on your podcast and even earn money from it.
To earn money from podcasts you need to be focused and committed and be at it for a long period of time. You also need to post regularly so that the audience doesn’t lose interest and sticks to your Podcasts.
CREATING A GREAT NAME AND AN IMAGE FOR YOUR PODCAST
Once you have some recorded files then you need to select a great and catchy name for your Podcast. You will also need to choose an image for your Podcast.
Use good quality images and also make sure that the name is great and different. This is like your visiting card or signpost and it needs to be attractive if you wish to attract listeners.
FINDING A PLACE TO HOST YOUR PODCAST
Now is the time to host your MP3 files on the server of some file hoster. These are some options:
- AMAZON S3
Most of the above have free hosting options with paid options also available. But if you are a beginner then it makes sense for the free options first.
LISTING ON iTunes
Next, you need to submit the RSS feed of your podcast to iTunes. It takes almost 2 weeks for it to show up in the podcast directory and thus you need to be patient. And once you are on iTunes then you are up and running.
Although it is difficult to get your Podcast noticed today, it certainly is not impossible. You need to be unique, different and have a USP. Moreover, you need to be committed and regular and disciplined.
Once you get people to like you Podcasts then the sky is the limit. You will get fame and also can earn loads of money.
Thus it is a great idea to start a Podcast today and give wings to your creativity and at the same time also earn loads of money from your Podcasts.