Introduction

Pod­cast­ing is a great way to get your mes­sage to busy, mobile audi­ences. It doesn’t require a large invest­ment or pro­fes­sion­al help. You can record and pub­lish your first pod­cast today!

I’m assum­ing that you already know what pod­cast­ing is. You should also be famil­iar with blog­ging, RSS, and upload­ing files to servers. If you aren’t, there are many fine arti­cles avail­able on each of these sub­jects. Wikipedia is a good place to start learn­ing. I’ve includ­ed spe­cif­ic links in Fur­ther Infor­ma­tion.

Requirements

First, you’ll need a way to record your mate­r­i­al. A sim­ple micro­phone head­set, the type many peo­ple already have, should be fine. You can find USB micro­phone head­sets in most stores for $20 to $50. Of course, you can spend far more mon­ey on head­phones, micro­phones, and mix­ers, but you don’t need to do so.

If you don’t want to pod­cast from your com­put­er, you can use any voice recorder to do the record­ings, as long as you have a way to upload the record­ing to the Inter­net and trans­fer it to an MP3 file.

Because most peo­ple do use com­put­ers to cre­ate pod­casts, you’ll want record­ing soft­ware. Audac­i­ty is an open-source, cross-plat­form pro­gram with near-pro­fes­sion­al capa­bil­i­ties that meets the needs of most pod­cast­ers. Again, you can spend a lot of mon­ey on audio soft­ware, and there are prod­ucts designed sole­ly for pod­cast­ing, but Audac­i­ty will work nice­ly.

Now you need a place to put your audio files, so your audi­ence can down­load them. If you already have access to a web serv­er that includes RSS-enabled blog­ging soft­ware such as Word­Press, that will work nice­ly. If you don’t, or if you are con­cerned about exceed­ing the band­width restric­tions on your cur­rent serv­er, con­sid­er open­ing an account with Lib­syn. Their accounts cost as lit­tle as $5 a month for unlim­it­ed band­width, and they pro­vide excel­lent sup­port.

Preparations

Now you’re ready to cre­ate your mate­r­i­al. You don’t need to write a script, since you want to avoid sound­ing as if you are read­ing. If you would use note cards as a ref­er­ence while giv­ing a speech, make up sim­i­lar notes in a doc­u­ment for your­self. Using actu­al cards leads to shuf­fling nois­es.

Try to lim­it your pod­cast to no more than 30 min­utes. Many lis­ten­ers put pod­casts on their phones and lis­ten to them while com­mut­ing. File size and the length of time required to hear a full pod­cast are impor­tant.

If you want to use music at all, make sure that you have per­mis­sion to do so. Blu­br­ry has a great arti­cle that includes a list of good sources for music for your pod­cast. Remem­ber to allow time for the music when you’re cal­cu­lat­ing the total length of the pod­cast.

Set up your record­ing envi­ron­ment. You want to lim­it back­ground nois­es as much as pos­si­ble. Ask house­mates not to inter­rupt you while you’re record­ing. Turn off or mute your phone. Close any soft­ware that uses audi­ble alerts. Put pets in anoth­er room. Close win­dows and doors. Turn off fans or oth­er machin­ery.

Recording and Editing

  1. Record your mate­r­i­al at a sam­pling rate of 22050 MHz for voice, but go to 44100 MHz if you include music.
  2. Try to stay nat­ur­al and casu­al. Again, you don’t want to read the mate­r­i­al to your audi­ence. You’re hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion, not giv­ing a lec­ture. If you have to stop and start again, or repeat phras­es, don’t worry—you can edit out the paus­es or dupli­cate mate­r­i­al lat­er.
  3. Edit the audio file. Audac­i­ty makes it very easy to do edit­ing, with a cut-and-paste inter­face that will be famil­iar to most com­put­er users.
  4. Con­vert the file to MP3 for­mat. An encod­ing rate of 128 kbps stereo is safe for any type of file, although you might be able to use 64 kbps for a file that does not con­tain music. Be wary of sac­ri­fic­ing sound qual­i­ty for file size.

Publishing

  1. Upload the MP3 file to your serv­er.
  2. Test it with any phone or MP3 play­er to make sure that the file is acces­si­ble and sounds good.
  3. Write a “show notes” post in your blog­ging soft­ware or Lib­syn site, includ­ing links to any web sites or oth­er mate­ri­als you ref­er­enced in the pod­cast. Include the audio file as an attach­ment, so that your lis­ten­ers will be able to down­load the file eas­i­ly through the RSS feed.
  4. Pub­lish your post.

Find Listeners

  1. List your pod­cast in pod­cast direc­to­ries and sub­mit
    it to iTunes
    (you’ll need your Apple ID for that), so that prospec­tive lis­ten­ers will have a chance to find you.
    I’ve list­ed some of the major direc­to­ries below.
  2. List your web site in Google, the Open Direc­to­ry Project, and oth­er search engines to help lis­ten­ers find your show.

Further Information

The fol­low­ing resources may be help­ful if you need more infor­ma­tion, or run into prob­lems.

Here are some of the direc­to­ries to which you may want to sub­mit your pod­cast.

Last updat­ed Novem­ber 28, 2016