How to start a podcast: everything you need to record one [Mini Guide]

Here is a tutorial guide on how to start a podcast. Are you wondering what a podcast is all about? Are they for a fee? What ideas/topics should be used for a podcast? Read on for more about:

  • all necessary podcast material (microphone, panel, headphones):
  • podcast registration software and programs;
  • the cost of podcasts;
  • how to record a podcast with Audacity;
  • how to launch an apple podcast on iTunes;
  • spreaker;
  • practical recording tips.

What is a podcast and why create one

Before going over how to create a podcast, it’s important to know what podcasts are and why they should be created and integrated into a social media marketing and content production strategy. Podcast comes from Podcasting, a term coined in 2004 by the British journalist Ben Hammersley in an article published in The Guardian newspaper, and is a digitally recorded content (audio or video) that is made available on the Internet and that can be:

  • listened to directly on the website that makes it accessibile;
  • downloaded from an aggregator (e.g. iTunes or Stitcher) and saved to a device to later listen to it freely;
  • listened to through platforms or applications (e.g. SoundCloud or Spreaker).

In a Content Marketing strategy, this medium has grown in importance over the years. Communicating not only through blog articles, but also through the recording of content (audio or video), offers an opportunity to be more articulate and present ideas and considerations in a more direct way. What perhaps holds back those who would like to approach this way of communicating a little is the technical aspect, especially because of the difficulties one might encounter in using podcast equipment.

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Podcasting topics

The topic is fundamental. Before you consider how to create a podcast, reflect on the topic as it can make all the difference. You should talk about something you are passionate about and on which you have expertise and can be of interest to listeners. For inspiration, you can browse iTunes, Spotify and Spreaker to listen to the different types of audio content available and choose the right topic for you.

The cost of podcasts

Are podcasts payable? The answer is no. It is, in fact, a free content distribution methodology for listeners. For publishers, however, they represent a means of reaching audiences and disseminating their topics. For producers, creating them has costs ranging from a few euros to even thousands of euros, depending on the equipment used (microphone, panel and headphones), the programs and software used and the distribution platforms chosen (paid or free). We will analyze everything in the next steps of this tutorial guide.

Podcast equipment needed to start one

podcast microphones tools needed

How to start a podcast? To initiate one, you will need the necessary podcast equipment and software programs to record the audio.

Creating good quality audio without being a professional is possible. Without spending too much money, you can easily find affordable equipment on the market that allows you to record it on your own, at home, with excellent results. Of course, in addition to a computer, you need the basic podcast equipment specifically for creating them:

  • A microphone;
  • An acoustic treatment panel;
  • A headphone.

Podcast equipment: the microphone

Of all the podcast equipment needed, the microphone is undoubtedly a very important element in achieving great results. There are essentially two types of microphones: dynamic and condenser. Dynamic microphones are mainly used for live events; condenser microphones are used for studio recordings. When selecting a microphone, consider a template that can be attached to a table stand and that allows you to accommodate one or more people during the recording.

For a professional podcast (and one that allows you to record with multiple guests), we strongly recommend using a condenser microphone. Various models can be found on the market, with prices varying widely. For great result, it is not necessary to spend a lot of money. The advantage, apart from the sound quality, also lies in the possibility of finding models that connect directly to the computer via the USB socket, which makes everything much simpler, as you do not have to install any software or set up any adjustments. Here I recommend three models:

behringer c 1u usb microphones for podcast

The first one is the Behringer C-1U Usb, it has a very low cost to which you must add that of purchasing a table stand. It is a cardioid microphone, for front-facing recording and therefore not suitable for multi-voice recordings.

samson c01u pro microphones for podcast

 

A very good value for money model is the Samson C01U Pro, which has a headphone input and a table stand. It has the characteristic of being a supercardioid, i.e. it has good reception, not only at the front but also at the back, which is useful if you have guests on a recording.

 

blue yeti podcast microphones

Finally, I would like to point out the Blue Yeti, a slightly higher-end microphone than the previous ones, again with a USB connection, equipped not only with a table stand but also with a headphone socket and a directivity selector, which makes it usable whether if you are recording alone or with guests.

 

Acoustic treatment panel

acoustic panel for podcast recording

Although not strictly necessary for recording, I recommend that you also add to your podcast equipment an acoustic treatment panel to go with your microphone. This panel, the cost of which is not excessive, when properly fitted, improves the performance of the microphone and above all improves the quality of the recording by reducing sound refractions.

The headphone

podcast microphones

The podcast equipment must also include headphones. This does not need any special features, the important thing is that it is not very ‘open’ (i.e. not club DJ headphones). It must have the earcups ‘closed’ externally, to avoid annoying audio feedback. A good solution is the Samson SR450. Avoid using iPod-type earphones.

How to create a podcast: audio programs

Having seen what podcast equipment is needed to create them, let us now go into the details of how to create a podcast: the recording of our digital content is done using an audio recording program. In addition to recording, the software allows editing, i.e. the post recording phase, in which the file is cleared of noise, pauses, errors. There are several software packages on the market, many of them are free and easy to use, even for those who are not familiar with this kind of activity.

podcast recording programmes

The first one I recommend is Audacity, a free and opensource software for editing and recording audio files. It is available for Windows and Mac and is very simple and intuitive to use. To export Audacity recordings in Mp3 format (the most commonly used format for recording audio), you should also download the Lame Mp3 plugin.

Another really simple software is AVS Audio Editor, which is also free of charge, but there is only a Windows version. It allows you to export audio in the most popular formats. About twenty effects and filters are included in the program, which are very useful when editing.

For Mac users, there is GarageBand, Apple’s native software, which was created for making music, but is also perfect for recording just your voice. It also contains a library with various audio effects, useful for giving your audio content a more professional edge. It exports to a variety of formats, including Mp3.

How to create an audio podcast

how to start a podcast now

Once we have the podcast equipment, we are good to go for our recordings. How best to start a podcast? Firstly, the microphone must be placed with the sound board with the headphones attached: take into consideration the fact that you will probably have to read, so take into account the necessary space.

  • Connect the microphone and the headset to the computer’s USB input: through this connection the microphone is powered and no further configuration is required.
  • Start the recording software, installed earlier. Before we begin, we must set the external microphone (and not the computer’s internal microphone) as the input source. This configuration is usually done in the “Settings” section of the software. In the case of Audacity, this is a drop-down menu with a microphone symbol and is located in the top left-hand corner.
  • Start the recording (or put it on stand-by) and do some tests to check the levels. To obtain good quality recordings be careful not to exceed the -1dB threshold at the input, i.e. do not let the red LEDs of the level indicator light up.

Upon completion of the recording, save the file and clean up, removing errors, pauses and background noise, using the editing functions of your software. When you are done, export the final version of the file in Mp3, the ideal format.

Recording an audio podcast with audacity

start a podcast with audacityTo record an audio podcast with audacity you will need to go through the following steps:

  • download audacity from the website and proceed with the installation;
  • Open the program on your computer;
  • connect the microphone and headset to the PC;
  • configure audacity settings: From the ”edit” menu, select on ”preference” and then on ”devices” select the name of the microphone you have connected and on ”mono” channels;
  • start recording by pressing the ”record” button (red button) and stop it by pressing the ”stop” button;
  • edit the recorded audio by removing unpleasant noises and errors by simply selecting the part of the recording you want to remove and then clicking the ”scissors” icon;
  • Save your recording in mp3 format by selecting ‘export audio’ and then ”save as”.
  • Before saving the audio file, it is advisable to establish all the information necessary for it to be recognised by the various directories. To do this, go to the ”file menu” and then to ”edit metadata”. This way, you can tag your creation (artist name, track title, album title, track number, year, genre, comments) and make it unique and immediately recognisable by distribution websites.

Create an apple iTunes podcast

In iTunes, you cannot create podcasts but only publish them via RSS feeds. To do so, you will need to follow the steps below:how to start a podcast itunes

  • go to iTunes connect and log in with an Apple ID;
  • click on ”podcasts connect” and enter your Apple ID data;
  • You will be asked to accept the terms and conditions of use only the first time;
  • insert the RSS feed, validate it and send it.

It will take approximately 48 hours for it to be validated by the Apple platform. To check the status of the submitted audio files, simply click on ”My Podcasts”.

The prerequisite for publishing them on an apple podcast is that you have previously uploaded them to the web. How? By turning to dedicated, paid or free hosting services such as: Google, Yahoo and others. Once you have your own web space, you will upload all your audio files there and can publish the show notes (summary and transcript of the audio file plus links to useful resources). Then you can send the RSS feed to iTunes by copying it from your hosting site and pasting it into iTunes connect and confirming with ”validate”.

Spreaker

podcast with spreakerSpreaker is an Italian app especially designed for podcasts. Another method to create one and distribute it across different listening platforms is to use paid tools like this application. Creating with Spreaker is easy and simple, as this tool has been created precisely for this purpose. By enabling a paid plan, you can use Spreaker to create and release, but not only that, with this software you can also:

  • Upload podcasts already created using programs such as audacity;
  • record an episode or broadcast live directly from the platform;
  • importing all your episodes thus maintaining your listeners and your reviews;
  • monetise.

The monthly cost of this web platform varies depending on whether you choose a ”professional” or corporate account. The professional account has four types of membership: ”free speech”, ”on-air talent”, ”broadcaster”, and ”anchorman” with prices currently ranging from zero to less than 50 euros.

The ”business” account, on the other hand, is the most complete and costs over one hundred euros per month. The features that this website provides you with according to your membership are: keeping multiple podcasts for one account, customisable RSS feeds, monetisation, statistics, colour customisation.

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How to set up a podcast: registration tips

We have seen in this tutorial how to start a podcast. In this last section of the guide, I want to give you some practical tips for recording a podcast. Creating a successful podcast is achieved not only by using professional podcast equipment as described above, and suitable programs and software, but also by applying a few simple rules.

1 – Choose to record, if possible, in a small room with a carpet and furnished walls (bookshelves, shelves, curtains). This greatly attenuates sound refraction and reduces the ”booming” feeling typical of empty or very large rooms.

2 – Read your text calmly and above all concentrate on what you are reading, without ”rushing”. Don’t worry about mistakes or small noises, you can eliminate them later in the editing phase.

3 – If you can, record everything in one session and not in blocks, spaced out over time: this gives a uniform result, both in terms of the quality of the recording and the tone of your voice.

4 – Check the input level well before you start recording, neither too high nor too low (ideally at -1dB as maximum peak): better to check everything beforehand, than to realize an issue later when you have already recorded everything!

5 – Try to keep the same distance from the microphone throughout the recording and not to move too far away. In this case, using headphones instead of earphones helps a lot.

It will all seem complicated at first, but I am sure that after a few sessions, if you apply these tips, you will be able to make your podcast professionally.

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