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how to start a podcast

Podcasting has become an amazing and popular way to communicate your message and build your brand.  It’s easy to get started.  And, when done right, it is an extremely personal way to communicate to your audience.  They really get to know you and your point of view.  So how do you get started podcasting?  Today we will cover some basics…and what has worked for me.

I started podcasting nearly 3 years ago.  Though I have done podcasts on my own, I have found the most success with other people.  I enjoy the interaction and it helps to keep me accountable to be consistent.

unScripted Podcast

I record the unScripted podcast with my buddy Bill Petrie every week.  We talk about topics in the marketing and branding world and release the podcast every Friday.  The unScripted podcast is designed to give our honest, unedited opinion on the topics that are relevant at the moment.  What I love about this podcast is that it truly is off the cuff.  I don’t know what Bill is going to bring up and he is in the dark about my topics. It’s fun.  And the audience seems to respond to this authenticity as well.  We have won a few awards for the podcast, and that is rewarding.  But it’s a fun and fairly easy way to create conversation and to build our brand.  You can find the unScripted Podcast at PromoCorner every week.  We have also added it to our website on the blog page as well.

He Said She Said Podcast

More recently, my wife Amy and I have started a weekly podcast called He Said She Said.  Because of our diverse interests, people are often curious about what we are doing.  We thought this might be a way to give people a “behind the scenes” look.  Amy and I talk about a “trending topic” each week and give people insight into what we are working on.  We also try to provide a lesson of some kind and we give a weekly “shout out” to someone we are inspired by.  It’s a fun new podcast and you can find it on our Soundcloud channel or just simply come to our blog each and every week.

So those are our current podcasts…so how do you get started?  Let’s dig into that.

Equipment

One thing that hangs people up on podcasting is the idea that you need a ton of equipment to get started.  You don’t.  Sure, the better the equipment, the better the sound.  The better the sound, the better it is for your listener.  That is true.  But don’t let that stop you from just getting started.  Your laptop has a microphone built in.  That’s not the best, but it records!  If you want a better microphone but do not want to break the bank, the one I recommend is the Blue Snowball USB microphone.  It plugs right into your computer and gives really good sound.  There are always ways to upgrade.  Now that I have been at it a bit longer, I use this Yeti Blue Snowball and I love it.  But to get you off the ground, this is a great start!

Software

The other concern I hear from people who are interested in starting a podcast is, “will I need new software to get started?”  The answer is “yes” and “no.”  You will (most likely) need something to edit your audio file.  But the level of editing will vary greatly depending on the kind of podcast.  If you are doing something like our unScripted podcast, we pride ourselves on the fact that editing is minimal.  If you do a quick google search you can find all kinds of audio editing software.  But I like to keep it simple.  We have Final Cut X, so that is what we use.  I have talked to many people who can get started by using iMovie or Moviemaker to get their podcasts off the ground.  Again…keep it simple.  Get started and you will learn what works and where you need to upgrade.

Hosting

Once you have recorded your podcast, and then edited it into a finished product, you will need to host it somewhere.  In other words, where will you upload it so someone can find it and listen.  Again, there are lots of options. The one I use the most is Soundcloud.  We upload most of our content there and then we have set up rss feeds to send the podcast to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and other places where most people listen.  The other app that I kind of like is Anchor.  What I like about that format is, they make it easy to record directly to your phone and upload directly from there.  Although that won’t create podcasts that are nearly as produced, it does get rid of some of the production hurdles that stop so many people.

Point of View

Beyond the equipment, I think it’s even more important to establish what you are going to talk about.  Do you have a topic where you are a true expert?  Are you in an industry where you can help people?  Do you want to highlight your community?  Whatever your topic is going to be, I think it’s important to have a clear direction.  No one wants to listen to someone drone on with no coherent thought.  Think out what you want to cover.  In addition, have an opinion.   You don’t need to be a “shock jock.”  But so many people are afraid to say anything that might be perceived as controversial.  So…they say nothing at all.

Length

There is no set answer to how long a podcast should be.  That’s the beauty of podcasting.  People listen to it as they have time.  Think about how you listen to them.  You might be in the office, or in the car, or you might be working out.  I generally am a fan of brevity…especially when starting out.  You don’t want to make something longer just for the sake of it.  Say what you need to say…then stop talking.

Getting Started

The biggest lesson I would like to share with you is, you need to get started.  So many of us wait until the mythical time when everything is perfect.  We don’t want to start until we have everything figured out.  That time will never come.  In addition, the way you “figure it out” is by starting.  You create a podcast.  You listen (and you might even cringe a bit).  Then you adjust and get better.  Rinse and repeat.

If I can help you or answer any questions on how to get started, please email me here.  I am happy to help.  I can’t wait to hear about your podcast…and your journey along the way.

P.S.  As a cool side note, I was invited to be a part of the 100th Episode of the Your Living Brand podcast.  You can listen to that here.

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