Tuesday, 29 December 2015

So You Want to Host a Podcast: Part 2 - The Nuts and Bolts

Today on Bookaholics we continue with the second part of the excellent article on podcasting by Andrew Chamberlain. I listen to Andrew's podcast on writing - The Creative Writers Toolbelt. I can assure you he knows what he is talking about. The link to the podcast is at the bottom of the page. If you didn't read the first part of the article here is the link

So how do you launch a podcast? In this blog I want to take you through the technical aspects of setting up a podcast, from planning to recording and releasing you work.

1.     Preparing to host a podcast
Once you have thought about why you want to create a podcast and what you want to say, you can move on to the issue of how you are going to make your podcast a reality. Here are some questions to think about:
-       Where are you going to record your podcast, and what equipment will you need? You’ll need to find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted and you can speak.  Then you’ll need a computer (PC or Mac), some recording software, and a microphone.  For recording software I’d recommend Audacity (www.audacityteam.org). Also, get the best microphone you can because sound quality really does matter with podcasts. For interviews I recommend using Skype, and Free Skype Call recorder software (www.voipcallrecording.com )
-       How will start and end your podcast?  Do you want to use a jingle? If you want to use some music you’ll need to create some or buy the rights to some. At the start of each podcast you should introduce yourself, and say what the podcast is about.

2.     Recording, editing, and saving a podcast

-       Plug your microphone into your PC/Mac and turn it on, ensuring your machine ‘recognises’ the microphone.
-       Open your recording software
-       Make sure the input and output devices are set to whatever you are choosing to use,
-       Press the record button and start speaking! Just a few words to start with.
-       Experiment with your microphone, where it’s placed, how you speak, and sound levels.
-       When you’re all done, record your podcast and then save a copy
-       With that copy you can now start the process of editing, clipping out all of the “ums” and “ahs” as well as any gaps or external noises. In my experience you should allow three to five minutes for each minute of finished podcast material.
-       Once you have your recording polished and as good as you can get it, save it as an MP3 file.

3.     Releasing a podcast

-       Once your podcast is recorded, choose a podcast host. Their main function is to ‘host’ episodes of your podcast on their servers. They will also provide an interface on the internet for people to download and listen to your podcast. I use a company called Podomatic, but there’s also others: Libsyn, Archive.org, Ourmedia.org, and Podbean. They will charge you for this service.
-       You will also need to create some artwork for an image to accompany your podcast. This is a square, 1400 x 1400 pixel image, representing your podcast.
-       Your podcast host will give you a web address for your podcast, and an RSS feed. This is the link that you have to give to a podcast client or pod catcher.  Their primary function is to promote your podcast and allow people to download it. The best example of this is iTunes, but there are others, their service is free and you can link to more than one.
-       Once your podcast is hosted, and the RSS feed is linked to one or more podcast clients, your podcast host should be able to provide you with stats for the number of interactions with your podcast, these could be plays, likes, or downloads.
And there you have it, your podcast is launched and out there!
The most important piece of advice is: podcasting is a marathon not a sprint. Before you start, think carefully about what a sustainable plan looks like for you, both in terms of content and consistency of production.
Good luck!

Andrew Chamberlain (www.andrewjchamberlain.com) is a writer and creative writing tutor. He is the host of “The Creative Writer’s Toolbelt”, a podcast that gives practical, accessible advice as well as occasional interviews with writers, editors, and other artists. You can reach the podcast on iTunes here.

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