With a 150% increase in podcast-listening habits from the US public alone, podcasts are back in the spotlight. More and more people are starting to enjoy podcasts, relishing the information as well as the entertainment that they provide.
In this climate, a lot of new content creators, from celebrities to authors, scientists, and political figures, all joined in to bring people together with their stories, through their voice, and by unique interviews and comedy. Knowing how to start podcasting has never been more valuable.
If you’re not sure about where to start, or if you have no knowledge at all of how to start podcasting, this article is the one for you.
The Big W: Why?
With a lot of content competing for a limited amount of attention from people all at once, your podcast must have a unique tone. Scott Aukerman, a comedian whose podcast launched into a sketch show on cable television as well as multiple live shows and spin-offs, encourages people to ask what they can do differently as his first tip for starting a podcast.
Finding your unique voice (no pun intended) allows you to have something people would want to lend their ears to, as well as lets you be excited about it yourself.
The Microphone Question
On the technical side, the first question people who want to learn how to start podcasting would ask themselves would be of wondering what the best microphone for podcasting is.
While it might be tempting to go with the biggest and the best thing, the tradeoff between cost and benefits is important. Before your podcast starts making money, you might not want to make big investments that might not pay off.
A lot of microphones today, even those in some high-end smartphones, are actually good enough to produce audio clearly (with entire music albums being recorded on iPhones sometimes), and with a little padding, sound editing, post-production, and a little trial and error, you can start a podcast with minimal cost.
The most important thing would probably be to understand microphone polar patterns: cardioid, omni-directional, figure-8? Knowing which one(s) work best with your budget, setup (room or otherwise), and voice is essential. From there on, you can narrow down your options.
Microphones now don’t need a lot of setup. Most microphones are directly connectable via USB! On top of that, there are podcast-creating apps – from free to paid (more on this in the next section) that just require a mic and can even do some basic editing for you.
The Best Places To Record
Knowing “how” to start podcasting also includes where to start podcasting: what app records audio, and, in the same vein, what place in your house captures audio the best?
Wherever you record needs to be a relatively soundproof room. White noise from fans, electrical devices, or external noise from outside the house (or inside the house!), when captured, can be very distracting at the least and very annoying in the worst-case scenario. Some simple precautions, such as having a dedicated room, making sure to record in a small and cozy room, padding the walls, windows and door, installing soundproofing measures such as hanging up fabrics around you, will all go a long way.
In terms of applications and software, read on.
Where To Host Your Podcast
You now know the bare bones of how to start podcasting. From here on, the question is of where to host your podcast, or, in other words, how to make sure people can actually access it and listen to it easily.
The same platforms that allow you to host your podcasts also have tools to help you record them. Namely, Anchor.fm, a partner of Spotify, allows you to record podcasts via your app, and even collaborate remotely, take calls, or monetize your podcast with ads and Listener Support – all for free.
There’s also Audioboom and Spreaker, although different platforms have different pricing models and different rights of ownership.
Retaining The Rights
Finally, before you start your podcast, knowing your rights is important here just as it is in any other place. Different platforms, and yes, that includes both that distribute your podcast for free like Anchor or those that take a fee or a cut of the profit, differ in how much control you have over your podcast. This is important for you to be clear on with yourself or your collaborators and co-creators, since this means that your podcast might not totally be your property, meaning if terms and conditions change tomorrow (or you change your mind and want to change distributors), you might be limited in your rights to do so.
These are the basic ABCs of how to start podcasting. Get out there and be heard!