How to Make a Podcast – Part 1: Creating Your Show
According to The Infinite Dial 2018 report, we are entering the era of podcasts. Not only are they more popular than ever, but they are also surprisingly easy to produce. It’s the perfect time to learn how to make a podcast and get your message out to the world in a trendy way.
These aren’t empty words. In 2017, only 40% of Americans (above the age of 12) had listened to a podcast, that number has followed its trend increasing to 44% in 2018. That percentage may not seem like a lot, but that works out to around 124 million people and rising.
That’s a lot of people. Before we discuss how to make a podcast, we thought we’d start answering a crucial question.
1. What is a Podcast?
A podcast is typically an episodic show, delivered in an audio file format. The standard podcast will feel a lot like listening to any regular talk radio show. The main difference falls in how the show is distributed.
A radio will broadcast its talk show live to its listeners in a more traditional way. With a podcast, many are broadcasted live, but the goal is to consume the show as though it were another song in your playlist. Since they exist outside the realm of radio, you’ll see there are podcasts out there covering any topic you can think of.
Not only are podcasts an extremely versatile content format, but they also offer an easier way to get started in the industry. Radio requires school, connections and a fair bit of luck just to get in the door.
When you see how to make a podcast you’ll understand why they are effectively replacing the radio format.
2. Develop your Podcast’s Concept
Your podcast will need to be built around a central theme. While there aren’t any hard rules, you want to make sure that your podcast remains consistent in its format. There aren’t any rules about what topics you’ll talk about, but if you want to build a fanbase, focusing on a particular niche will greatly increase your chances for success.
A good theme will provide you with a renewable source of topics. A great example of this kind of content can be found with content focusing on reviews. Whether it’s software, products or even music, each week there will be something new out there for you to talk about, without losing much time researching new topics.
Picking a theme is a great start, but it’s not enough. Your podcast needs to have a core message it’s trying to deliver. If we go back to reviewers, they are making a point to assess the quality of whatever they are reviewing.
You can decide to summarize complex topics, ask provocative questions or simply chit chat about the latest gossip. The beauty of podcasts is that once you decide what your show is about, you can bring it to life.
3. Your podcast name and format
You’ll want to give your podcast a catchy, simple name. Something that stands out, but more importantly, something that nobody else is using for their podcast. As you research this you may realize there are some choices you need to make.
- Will your podcast contain video or remain audio only?
- How long will your podcast be?
- Will you be relying on a string of guests?
- Do you have regular co-hosts or will you be alone?
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions that we can suggest. What’s important is that you choose based on your reality and remain consistent with your choice.
The audience looking for 30-minute podcasts is not the same as the audience looking for a 90-minute podcast. One isn’t better than the other, what’s important is that your audience understands the kind of show you want to produce.
Once you’ve chosen your themes, create a rough outline for each segment of your show. Then you should practice your podcast. Do a couple of dry runs to get a feel for how long it will take.
We recommend not worrying about the length, but you should understand how long your podcast will be. By practicing your format, you’ll be able to structure your show in a way that lets you reproduce it week over week.
Unfortunately, winging it will lead to complications down the line.
4. Gear – What you need to record your podcast
You will need some equipment to create a podcast. You’ll need at least one microphone, ideally one for each host and guest. While sound equipment can get pricey, you can get a starter kit without much investment.
We recommend starting with a USB microphone. All you need to do is plug it in, and your mic will be good to go. These days USB mics provide an extremely acceptable quality level.
Our go to mic is Blue Yeti – USB microphone.
Depending on the mic you get, you may need the following accessories:
- A mic stand – depending on where you place your mic a stand will hold it in place.
- A pop filter – This is a foam screen that will reduce the likelihood of any popping in your vocal.
If you decided your podcast will be in video, you’ll need a camera.
When you are just getting started, a webcam is an ideal choice. The option below is both affordable and easy to use.
We recommend the Logitech HD Pro C920 webcam.
For the price, it captures full HD with crisp image quality. If you want to see what other options are available, check out our list of great webcam choices.
Now we’ll get into how to make a podcast.
5. Recording your Audio
While there is software out there that will capture audio and video at the same time, if you are recording a lengthy podcast, you may run into synchronization issues. We recommend recording your podcast in pieces and editing them together after the fact.
When it comes to capturing your audio, we have two recommendations for software you can use.
While Audacity does the job, you’ll have an easier time using a professional software. Reaper is a fantastic choice since they offer an affordable license option for individuals just getting started.
To get started, it’s easy.
- Right-click in this area and choose Insert New Track.
- Click this button to tell Reaper you want to record.
- Click here to set up your mics.
- In this drop-down menu, you can choose your mic.
- Click this button to record.
- Hit the Stop button to end recording.
- Then choose Save All in the window that pops up.
Now that you’ve recorded your podcast you can edit it. We found this great tutorial that will walk you through the basics of editing your files in Reaper. Once you are finished editing, you can render your audio file.
- Click on the File Menu.
- Choose Render
- In the window that opens, name your file and choose its save location.
- Click Render X file…
6. Recording your Video (Optional)
If you are looking for a software to capture video, we cannot recommend OBS Studio enough. This free to use software will let you capture the content from multiple sources, blending them into a single video. With a little bit of setup, you’ll see how to make a podcast with a video component.
- Click the + to add a new “Scene”.
- Each scene is a specific set of capture sources displayed how you want.
- Enter your scene’s name.
- Click OK.
- In the Sources section click the +.
- Choose Video Capture Device.
- Add a name for this source.
- Click OK.
- Configure any specific settings, like resolution, in the window that appears.
- Click OK.
You can now place the video capture source anywhere in this window.
- Hold down your left mouse button and drag the cursor to move it.
- Hold down the mouse button over any of the circles on the border to resize it.
In the sources section, you can add images or screencasts to customize your video how you’d like.
- Click on Start Recording when you are ready to capture the video.
- Choose Stop Recording when you are finished.
We’re nearly done covering how to make a podcast, the last step is editing your creation.
7. Editing your Podcast
If your podcast is audio only, once you edited your audio file in your audio capture software, congratulations, you’ve already finished this step. If your podcast contains video, you’ll need to sync up your audio and video in an editor.
In our article on how to create a tutorial video, we covered how you can edit videos using a free video editor. The same instructions will apply for editing your podcast.
Free tools are a little clunky and while they get the job done, it may take you longer than using a paid application. The king of video editing is Adobe Premiere, and the real benefit of an Adobe product is the vast amount of tutorial videos available for free on the internet.
Check out this list of available video editors and find the one that’s right for you.
8. Rinse & Repeat
At this point, we’ve covered the logistics behind how to make a podcast. Once you’ve finally created your first episode, the job is not done. In fact, you’re only getting started.
To succeed with a podcast, you’ll need to make sure the show is produced regularly. We advise figuring out how long it takes to make as soon as possible, so you can budget your time accordingly.
You’ll want to publish your podcast at least once a week.
Publishing your podcast is a topic we’ll be exploring in an upcoming article. In the meantime, we recommend making a checklist of each task required to produce an episode of your show.
Using Soda PDF you can create a dynamic checklist that will help you stay on top of things. Feel free to download Soda PDF and give it a try.