It's no great secret, Podcasts are having (possibly have had?) their moment; but if like us, you're thinking about jumping on the bandwagon we thought it might be useful to share how we've gone about it, for a couple of reasons; firstly maybe you'll find it useful if you'd like to get started but have no idea how, and secondly, it will really interesting to read this back in a years time and reflect on what's changed.
1. What do we use to record our audio?
We actually record straight onto voice notes on our phone, which after some research is a fairly common way of recording audio for a podcast. It has it's pro's & con's, it's obviously super convenient, the audio quality isn't too bad if you record in an optimal environment. As I write this, we've just had our 3rd episode in a row not published due to the audio being painfully bad, due to having to record outside and in even a slight breeze the audio is just unbearable to listen to.
We're about to experiment with using a couple of lav mics and an external recorder, so we'll see how that goes and give you an update.
2. Editing the Audio
We use a free piece of audio editing software called Audacity, which doesn't particularly like the audio files my phone creates, so this how I get the file into it in the first place... Record onto Phone > Upload onto my Google Drive > Chuck the audio file into the Google Drive mp3 converter > Download mp3 file onto laptop > hey presto, open it up in Audacity. I guess I'm starting from absolute zero with this stage of the process as I studied Music Tech back in college so have a general understanding basic audio production; from time to time this also manifests itself through strange electronica type music I make at even stranger hours of the night...
I don't know an awful lot, and all the 'industry grade' software I learnt on is now nearly two decades old, but the fundamentals are always the same, and we're not recording the London philharmonic here. That said, a lot of the issues I have at editing stage could have been avoided if we spent some time to record it properly in the first place. So I guess tip 1, is get the raw audio as clean as possible and tip 2, learn about EQ. Or, I mean don't, do not let the pursuit of perfection stop you from starting.
After about an hour of chopping out all the horrible sniffs and the ermmms you should be pretty much good to go. Hit export, and there we have it. Your episode has been born.
3. Getting it 'out there'
Currently we use a podcast hosting and distribution platform called Anchor. It seems to do everything you could want in a very straightforward way. It allows you also do some minor editing on your file once uploaded, and has a library of jingles and SFX that you can add; like the little jingle we have at the start of each episode. It is very user friendly, and once you're happy, click distribute, and Anchor will pump your podcast out across more platforms than you probably know even exist. After that, it will begin to give you analytics for you to needlessly obsess over.
I recently attended a BBC Academy seminar on podcasting, and picked up some really useful tips for this part of your episodes journey; depending on your audience this may or may not be useful. One of the key points was facilitating the conversation further; and another was that according to their research people under the age of 30 really enjoy watching their favourite podcasts too. It really is up to you how you facilitate the conversation further, and will heavily depend on your audience; could be tiktok, could be a FB group, could be a hashtag hour on Twitter; it could even be a meet-up at a room in the local library.
4. and Repeat
These are the three fundamental steps you need to just repeat over and over, you definitely need to allow yourself the time and space to suck at this, just like any new skill you try to learn. You'll eventually find your 'voice', get the audio just-right, and building a community of listeners around your podcast. Of course we would love it if you checked out our podcast after hearing how it's put together (click image below); and you can reach us on Instagram @chalkietalkiepodcast if you have a podcast of your own or want to ask any other questions about it all just get in touch.