So it looks like I’m officially a podcaster.
That’s right, I made a podcast; well, two sub-10 minute episodes of a podcast. But still, a podcast. And while it may not be the next Serial, I’d like to think that my experiment in podcasting was a success.
I admit I was a bit apprehensive at first; nobody likes listening to his or her voice on a recording (at least I don’t), but after getting over a few early nerves I took the plunge. For anyone that might be thinking about podcasting, this is what I learnt:
Podcasting is easy
Contrary to what you may think, creating a podcast is not an impossible technological feat reserved only for those with the abstruse knowledge of an audio engineer. If you can maintain a blog, chances are you already have the technical know-how to record, edit, and publish your own podcast.
When it came time edit my audio (and believe me, I had a lot to edit) I was a bit disoriented, but with Colin Gray’s excellent and free How to Podcast ebook, I was fading in intros and splicing audio tracks all within an afternoon.
The hardest part of podcasting for me was simply getting over my fears and hitting the record button; after that it was a piece of cake.
You already have everything you need to podcast
Another common misconception about podcasting is that it’s expensive and requires specialized tools. Adobe Audition costs $19.99/month while a studio microphone set-up can quickly run well over $500, but that doesn’t mean you NEED to spend that much. (Honestly, I can barely afford my $7.99/month Netflix charge…)
Audacity is an open-source audio editor that allows you to import, record, mix, and export audio tracks all for the low, low price of free. It also features an impressive number of effects (most of which I have no experience with) to help bring your podcast to the next level after you’ve gotten the hang of things.
As for microphones, you should probably avoid using the built-in microphone that comes with your laptop (unless your listeners enjoy hurricane-force fan noises), but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on a home recording studio. I spent a total of $12.99 on a boom-style headset and it worked flawlessly. If you do really want to upgrade there are dynamic and condenser microphones to suit your needs for under $100 on Amazon or other online retailers.
You can podcast anyway you want
Just because a lot of my favourite podcasts feature guests, extended interviews, or scripted conversations didn’t mean mine had to. The beauty of podcasting is that, just like blogging, there’s no one-size-fits-all podcast template. Some podcasts are 2 hours long (!), others are under 15 minutes. Some podcasters create weekly podcasts while others release monthly or quarterly episodes. It’s up to you—and your imagination—to come up with a format for your podcast.
You may even feel like taking your podcast to the beach, and with a handheld microphone, you can do just that.
It may be the most fun you’ll have all week
This last lesson was a bit of a surprise considering how nervous I was at first, but after taking the plunge, I found out that podcasting is a lot of fun. I approached my recording sessions with few expectations and a generous dose of jocularity. What I got in return were a lot of laughs (maybe I need a blooper reel for episode 3…) and an enjoyable afternoon.
If you’re a blogger still on the fence about podcasting, I’d encourage you to try it. It’s a great way to add a human element to your content that you simply can’t get with written blog posts and photographs.
You can listen to my podcast here.
If you’ve tried podcasting before, let me know how it went.