Your Technical Guide to Starting a Podcast
So you’re looking to start a podcast? I was in your shoes just over a year ago and I get how it feels - overwhelming, totally new and a little confusing? Yep, I have been there.
When I was looking for help online, I was totally overwhelmed with everything involved in launching a podcast. From equipment, to hosting, to RRS feeds (?!) to how the heck you’re meant to get it onto iTunes, the whole process felt totally new. Writing blogs or creating emails felt like second nature to me, but podcasting just isn’t something I had come across before.
After doing my research, making some mistakes and mostly just figuring it out as I went along, I managed to get an understanding of how the whole thing works. So that your transition into podcasting isn’t as problematic as mine, I’m going to walk you through the 5 technical elements of creating a podcast.
Those are equipment, software, hosting, iTunes and show notes.
Pre-warning: this post is not a short one. The reality is that there is a lot to learn, so buckle in and get ready to know all there is to creating a podcast.
Pre-warning #2: starting a podcast was the best decision I ever made. Now I've got the hang of it, the process feels like second nature - so don't let the technical side stop you from starting yours!
In terms of physical equipment, unless you’re getting super fancy, the only thing you need is a microphone and the rest is done on your computer.
I spent hours reading online reviews of various headsets & microphones before choosing mine because with a podcast, audio is pretty critical. The great news is that high quality microphones are becoming increasingly accessible for lower budgets, so let me share with you what I use.
If you’re going to be podcasting on your own or in person with people, I’d recommend buying a standalone microphone. I use this Blue Yeti one, it cost me £119.99 but the audio is 10/10 and I’m all about investing in the best quality I can afford.
If you’re looking to pay a little less, I see a lot of podcasters using this Blue Ice microphone , which is half the price at £44.99 and has great reviews online.
Alternatively, if you’re going to be interviewing peopleviaSkype, you don't necessarily need a professional mic. Whenever I used to record guest episodes online I would just use my apple headphones and you really can't tell the difference.
On the topic of interviewing people online, I would suggest using Skype to record conversations. I paid £30 for software by Ecamm which allows me to record all of my Skype calls - it’s super easy to install and automatically records all my calls so I don’t have to worry about setting anything up. I have tried Zoom, but in my experience, Skype is the most reliable.
Now you know what recording equipment you’re going to use, it’s time to consider how you’re physically going to record it (unless it’s an interview over Skype and it’s already being recorded, as mentioned above). I’ve tried out a couple of different softwares but the one which I’ve stuck with is Quicktime (only accessible for Mac). You most likely already have it downloaded onto your computer and within 2 clicks you can start recording through whatever microphone is plugged into your USB slot. If you don't have a Mac, Audacity comes highly recommended!
Once you’ve captured the recording via Quicktime, it’s then time to edit the episode. I’m fortunate in that I have some experience in video editing, so already knew how to edit audio through the Adobe Package. I personally use PremierPro but there is no need to get that fancy, software like GarageBand (free in the App Store on Mac) and Audacity (which you can also record via) seem to be the general favourites.
In terms of how to edit, let me tell you, Google is your best friend. Watch a couple of Youtube tutorials, practice editing a test episode and you’ll be comfortable with audio editing in no time. Alternatively, I know many podcasters who outsource their editing. The cost is often super reasonable and if technical stuff isn’t your strength then I’d totally suggest looking into this service.
So your podcast is recorded, edited and ready to be shared with the world. But how do you do that?! Well, you need a place for your podcast to exist. I’m assuming here that you’d like to show up on iTunes (something discussed in the next point!) so in order to do that, you’ll need hosting which enables an RSS feed.
The RSS feed is what stores your podcast and if you're a technical genius or have a great web developer, you can have yours built into your website. Alternatively, you can use a 3rd party platform which does most of the work for you. I did a ton of research into the best hosting platform and I would totally recommend Libsyn. It’s both super user friendly and cost effective - a win win in my book!
The number and length of episodes you’re going to upload each month will impact the pricing package which is best for you. Libsyn is great because you can start with the basic price and upgrade to the next tier as you need to, no costly up front agreement! Libsyn allows me to get my podcast onto iTunes, Google Play, Spotify & Acast.
How do integrate your podcast onto your blog?
I knew I wanted a way for my episodes to be played within the blog posts on my website and Libsyn makes it super easy to do that. Once you’ve published an episode, you can copy and paste the code needed to input the ‘play bar’ into your posts. You can see an example of what I mean HERE or below…
iTUNES / SPOTIFY / GOOGLE PLAY ETC
I spent hours scouring the internet, trying to wrap my head around how I was going to get my podcast onto iTunes. It seemed like something that only ‘proper’ podcasters did, so the fact that I actually figured out how to get mine on there made me do a little happy dance inside.
Another great thing about Libsyn is how it makes linking with iTunes and other podcast apps super simple.
How to get your podcast onto iTunes...
Sign up to iTunes Podcast Connect, which you can do HERE
Ensure your podcast artwork is 3000x3000 pixels max
Submit your podcast for approval, which can take up to a week. Be sure to submit your podcast well in advance of the first episode going out... just in case there's a delay!
Per episode, just input all of the iTunes information such as title, description, author & URL
Once you've published the episode via Libsyn, it'll show up on Apple Podcasts within 10-20 minutes (in my experience)
That’s it! If you ever make a change to your podcast as a whole (such as the title or artwork) you need to refresh it via iTunes for the changes to appear. In terms of getting your podcast onto other platforms (Spotify, Google Play, Acast etc) just head to the 'destinations' section on Libsyn and set it up from there.
The final step to a great podcast is a set of show notes. Show notes work in partnership with each episode and summarise what the episode is about, whilst containing links and references to what was discussed. They’re an important part of creating a podcast because they enable people to connect with more than just the episode, particularly if you’re using it to promote one of your products or services.
Be sure to include a summary of what you talked about, social links for whoever you interviewed or talked with and links to what was referenced within the episode.
I sure hope this post has served you well as you prepare to start a podcast! There is so much more I could talk about, like how to host a good interview or what to consider when planning your content - but hey, we’ve talked about enough for one day.
If you've still got some questions or something I've explained doesn't make sense, please don't hesitate to pop me an email! You can reach me at - firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re interested, you can find out more about my podcast HERE.