You've probably already listened to a few podcasts and, with podcasts recently sprouting like mushrooms after a rainstorm, you're wondering what does it take to produce a podcast? It's easy enough to find information on what kind of equipment to buy to flesh out your studio - but what about all the other stuff that goes into creating and maintaining a successful podcast?
Well, of course you'll need some tangible and in-tangible items first. Without these basics, you won't be able to get off the ground.
- Recording interface;
- Editing software.
- A place to record. Ideally this is sheltered from excessive noise. Or maybe you can record in the middle of the night.
- A server to host all those audio files. Two popular ones are Soundcloud and LibSyn.
- A bit o' music. Whether you use it for your intro/outro or throughout your podcast, music can really take your podcast up a notch in quality. Not all may consider this a "basic" podcasting item - but we do!
- There are a TON of royalty free music sites you can use. Two of our favorites are YouTube's own audio library and CCMixter.org. There's also a really good site called PremiumBeat; they sell a nice array of music and all the music is royalty-free, but you do have to make a one-time purchase in order to download any music.
- Branding. This includes, but is by no means limited to:
- An intro and outro for your podcast - to establish the voice and vibe, as well as provide listening markers for your audience (a "start" and "stop" or "begin" and "end").
- Visual brand elements. These visuals serve to make your podcast stand out in a sea of other podcasts, and provide your listeners with a visual trigger.
- An image that represents your podcast, to be used both as the graphical representation on your podcast hosting site and distribution channels. This image can also be used as part of your social media collateral.
Do you want your podcast to be audio only or do you want to share video content for it as well? For example, you can record yourself while recording the podcast, then share that content on video platforms, like YouTube. Or, you can use the audio from your podcast episode to create a slideshow (or even a still/promotional image to use for the duration of the video) and put that video up.
In reverse, you can also strip audio from a past video you've done, and tweak it so you can use it for your podcast episode.
Topic or Focus
What is the focus of your podcast - or what we call the "So what?" factor. As we mentioned before, there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there! Why should anyone listen to your podcast?
Your focus will dictate much of the podcast - from its name, to its marketing, to its very format and structure. For example, some topics lend themselves to interviews better than others. Other topics are better left for a general discussion or opinion sharing.
Title, Name or What Nickname You Want People To Call It
The name, of course, is just as important as the name of a company (a podcast really is its own SMB). The focus of your podcast will likely influence your title the most. Think about your audience - what words will make them react the way you need them to?
Do a bit of market research beforehand and see what other podcasts in your industry or similar topic area have for titles. What works? What doesn't?
Remember to be authentic. What you have to offer is uniquely yours to offer - don't be afraid to go with your gut. Even if someone else has a similar (or the same!) title as what you want to name your podcast, they will not have your style or production execution.
Format or Structure
Think about the structure of your podcast - from the overall format to the individual episode structure.
- Do you want to have a co-host?
- Do you want to have featured guests, or interviews?
- Do you want to have a scripted topic or keep the episodes more conversational?
- Do you want to have a podcast focused on one subject for the whole episode, or do you want to do segmented episodes? Here are two examples to give you a better sense of how each flows:
Intro and Outro
Since both the intro and outro set the tone and markers for your audience, it's important that they remain as "consistent" as possible - in whatever way consistency works for your particular podcast.
Do you want to do live intros/outros or do you want them to be fully pre-recorded so that they are the same every time? Pre-recorded intros/outros are the norm, but there are cases where you may want to use live intros and outros depending on the structure of your podcast.
The podcast Branch-Out uses a mix of pre-recorded and live intros, and a live outro. You can listen to a few episodes to get a sense of what that sounds like.
Head over to Part 2 of this article to read more.
Want to learn more?
Listen to the rest of this podcast to hear our tips in action, and learn more about audio content.
Started in December 2015, Branch-Out is a bimonthly podcast that covers digital media and digital marketing topics. Featured guests include industry influencers and experts. New episodes of Branch-Out come out every Wednesday, and are available on Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher and more!