The title of this post is a bit misleading. Creating a podcast is actually incredibly easy. All you really have to do is to record material onto your computer using a microphone and you’ve got a podcast. Instead, I’m going to show you some best practices in creating a podcast for your website which will actually get listened to.
A Word about Podcasts
I’ll assume that by now pretty much everyone knows what a podcast is. Basically, it’s just a recording of sound, either music or words which can be played back in MP3 format on someone’s iPod or other MP3 player.
It can also be broadcast using a kind of RSS feed to make it available as a push service rather than as an item to download from your website, but more on that in a moment.
Start With Clear Recordings
Okay, so the first thing you need to do when you create a podcast is to start with clear recordings. This means you need to make sure there’s no ambient noise.
This is one reason by the way I haven’t started doing podcasts yet – I live in an apartment building and at least four of my neighbors seem to think that they don’t live in an apartment building but instead live in a discotheque. I find the only time I can guarantee I’ll have uninterrupted quiet is between 2AM and 5AM.
If you have a similar problem, you’ll need to either figure out the optimal time to record your podcasts or arrange to get people to shut off music and other devices and to stop making noise while you’re making the podcast. It’s not a crazy idea to hang a sign on your door saying “recording, quiet please” when you are working on your podcast.
Have a Script
This is something I’ve found quite useful. If you want a podcast that sounds professional and interesting, you need one of two things. Either you need to interview people, or you need to read from a script. Since I don’t have anyone to interview, I plan to write a script.
The idea is that you put the script in big letters on your screen and that you can then scroll as you speak so that you sound smooth, like newscaster rather than someone sitting in front of his computer and stuttering through what they want to say. Speaking of that though…
Get Some Interviews
If you can, get some people to interview. Interviews make things much more interesting in your podcast. The key with doing these kinds of interviews however is that you need to play off the person you are interviewing.
This means having some readymade questions to get the conversation going and then asking new questions based on what someone says. I.e. if you interview a genteel mom about her housekeeping and she starts talking about how she likes to take apart cars and put them back together again, don’t ignore that and move on to the next question.
Mix it Up, Add Effects
Yes, you can just record using any old program to record. However, professional podcasts also include several sections and have effects in between. The beep, beep, beep before the news for example is a great effect to add to your podcast. You can add such features with podcast software.
The three programs I’ve looked at which seem good for this include WildVoice Studio, Adobe Soundbooth and Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio. I had trouble with WildVoice (which is free) though so I’m currently working with the Sony software, even though it costs a few dollars (it’s a lot cheaper than Adobe’s option).
Getting it Out There
A final note regarding creating podcasts for your website: while you can sign up to be on Apple’s official podcast list, it’s not as effective as it once was since there are now millions upon millions of podcasts. Instead, I suggest promoting your podcast directly on your website and on Facebook and even Twitter.