Since starting Creative Living with Jamie, I often hear from aspiring podcasters who wonder where to begin. I so get this! When the idea sprung into my heart, I hadn’t a clue what to do! As a part of the Hands-Up How-To Project, I’m sharing what I’ve learned with the sincere hope it will give you a hand up in making your podcasting dreams come true!
A Little Note: There are probably a gazillion ways to create a podcast, so don’t feel you have to do it just like I did. Take what’s helpful and use it as a springboard. Make a start and little by little you will figure it out.
I honestly don’t use anything special. I work on HP laptop, using a computer headset. I also use my telephone for recording interviews.
Recording Your Podcast If It’s Just You
If you’re not going to have guests, you can record good quality sound just using a mic and your computer. The program I use for this is Audacity and it’s free.
Recording Your Podcast with Guests
Skype & Call Graph: Many people use Skype to connect with their guests and record using Call Graph. Both are free. The reason I choose not to use Skype for recording is that not all of my guests are familiar with it, plus I find the quality inconsistent. Often it’s great but then suddenly you can get echoes or static or drop a call. When I’m talking to a guest who’s been gracious enough to share his or her time, I don’t want to drop the call. Still, many people use this with great success and I do still use it when I’m interviewing multiple guests.
Blog Talk Radio: Another quick and easy way to get started would be to use Blog Talk Radio. I haven’t used it but have been a guest on a number of shows. It seems relatively easy to use, quite professional in its setup, allows you to be live and I believe also submits your show to iTunes. Plus, it’s free. Myself, I chose not to use it because (at least at the time) you had to host your show live at a designated time and that just didn’t work with my schedule. I’m much more comfortable recording at a time that works for me and my guests and then sharing it with you all on Tuesdays.
Audio Acrobat: The service I use to record interviews is Audio Acrobat. There is a monthly fee for this service but you can record your interviews over the phone, host your audios on their site and they provide a player and the html for you to put it up on your site – easy peasy. Also, you can set up your podcast so that it submits it directly to iTunes, which is wonderfully convenient. You have to go through a process with iTunes first, but once it’s set up, it’s simple. They also have great additional features like guest lines – that’s how people sent me wonderful Happy Pod-a-versary messages!
To use Audio Acrobat for interviews, you need to have three-way calling on your phone (one line for you, one for your guest, and one for Audio Acrobat). You could also use a free conference line, though I found the quality of the calls to be very unreliable that way. (PS If you do decide to go in this direction, I am an affiliate and it would be great if you could sign up through me.).
Editing Your Podcast
Again, the software we use for editing the podcast is Audacity. It’s free and I’ve found it pretty easy to use. By just selecting and cutting you can remove coughs, big pauses or anything else that you feel doesn’t enhance the show. You can change the levels, combine files and add music. On our show we put together five different pieces: the musical intro, my introductory thoughts, the interview, the extro and closing music.
One of the smartest things I did for Creative Living with Jamie was hiring an editor. My sister Shannon takes care of all the editing for my show. It is such a delight to send her the pieces and know that she’s going to shine it up and get it ready to go. This has made all the difference for me. Thank you, Shannon! You can find out more about hiring Shannon here.
Now, keep in mind that some people don’t edit. They freestyle their podcast and then share it. It can be faster and simpler that way and a lot of people like the “realness” of it. Personally, I like something concise and polished and I think my guests feel more comfortable knowing that if they blank or bawk, there’s nothing to panic about. We can fix it.
Music & Sound Effects for Your Podcast
A great way to start off your podcast is with some music, something that sets the tone for what is to come. Though a lot of people use popular music, this isn’t actually legal. When starting a dream project, I encourage you to keep the energy clean and invest in the music you’re going to use. Surprisingly, it doesn’t have to cost a lot. I’ve found my tunes at Audio Jungle. On my show, I only use music to start up and wrap up but I love how Shannon and Suzie also use sound effects in Hexed: Sisterhood of the Supernatural to signal recurring topics like “News” or “New Shows.”
Make a Start
Sure, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to podcasting but the learning begins with making a start. Make a simple start by just recording some thoughts you want to share. See how it feels. Try a couple of different tools or services. See which ones feel easy and helpful to you and go with those. There isn’t one right way. There is only the way that you’ll actually take. Look for that one and go! We can’t wait to hear your voice