The first step to creating your own podcast has to do with identifying your subject, your passion and figuring out how you want to present it. It’s important to think about what journalists sometimes refer to as ‘tone’. How do I want to come across to my potential listeners and how will that affect the way my message is received? Some podcasts are scripted and meticulously edited, while other podcasters simply press ‘record’ and let the monologue or discussion flow freely. Once you’ve made decisions on content and form, you are ready to start recording your first podcast.
Podcasts can be recorded in many different ways. Any digitized sound recording can be made into a podcast, whether it’s been recorded using a cell phone or in a professional radio studio.
Most new laptop computers come with a built in microphone, most of which will certainly be sufficient for many aspiring podcasters. There is also the option of plugging in an external microphone into your computer and capturing sound that way.
Other options include recording sound on mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets or hand held sound recorders. The latter option might in fact be the best option if you are concerned with high fidelity at a relatively low cost, especially if you are planning on doing any recording “in the field”. You can buy a good portable recorder for under $100.
If you are recording your podcast on your computer, you will need audio editing software. There are many options to choose from and as if you see a need for finely tuned editing and overall increased professionalism you might want to invest in something like Adobe Audition. A free, entry level audio editor for PC users is Audacity. Audacity certainly has its limitations, but it is a start. Use the audio editor to mix sounds, to tighten up your content and to add things such as opening theme music. Apple users will likely be equipped with GarageBand, which is included in most Mac installations.
Most audio software will as a default setting have you save your files as wav- or aiff-file. These file types are generally uncompressed, which means that they are quite large in size and not suitable for online sharing. Therefore, once you’re happy with your content, you should convert it to a compressed file format such as MP3. This can be done in most audio editors, but there are also online converters such as Media.io.
Recordings made on external or portable devices will usually have to be transferred to your computer in order to be edited and/or uploaded to the Internet, but a device such as the iPad gives you the option of uploading your audio straight from the device.
Again, there are many options to choose from when deciding where to upload your podcast. LibraryYOU has decided to go with SoundCloud.Their basic plan is free, but they have several premium plans to choose from, should you decide that you need more space.
Alternatives to Soundcloud include Libsyn and PodOmatic.
Creating a feed
By creating a feed you are making it possible for others to subscribe to your podcast. When they subscribe, every episode of your podcast will be automatically downloaded to the subscriber’s computer/device. SoundCoud doesn’t provide you with a RSS feed, but Cloudflipper lets you do that and and your podcast is “then available to be subscribed to directly into your RSS feed reader of choice for podcast delivery”.
You can also apply for a SoundCloud Podcast account and add your podcast to iTunes (or another ‘”podcatcher” via Feedburner.
iTunes is the biggest and most well-known ‘podcatcher’ on the market. A podcatcher is a tool that listeners can use to manage their podcast subscriptions. Other podcatchers: Juice, Zune and Miro.
iTunes has created two lists of Frequently Asked Questions that are very helpful: one is geared towards podcast listeners and the second is aimed towards creators.