18/100 Just Jump Into Podcasting – Heres How

This is one that I’m going to be learning as I write. Technical The technical side of things is possibly the easiest to fix. Apple has a quick guide to Podcasting on their support site which covers a sample recipe for Podcasts and the bullet points in how to actually record sound and get it … Continue reading “18/100 Just Jump Into Podcasting – Heres How”

This is one that I’m going to be learning as I write.

The technical side of things is possibly the easiest to fix. Apple has a quick guide to Podcasting on their support site which covers a sample recipe for Podcasts and the bullet points in how to actually record sound and get it published via RSS. It’s a little high level but I guess this means that my mum would find it easier than me as I tend to overthink things.

I’ve left the non-technical issues until last. This actually involves the content itself and is best covered by the Podcast Recipe on the link above.

Talking for 15-20 minutes is a tough job for a lot of people which is why you have to plan it. I’ve only ever been involved in one Podcast as a guest (The Spodcast (#28) and it wasn’t hard to fill the time – mainly because it was a conversation about interesting stuff that was timetabled and, at the end of the day, there were four people talking. 20 minutes of talk-time is a lot easier to fill when there’s four of you.

Accessibility Issues
Not to be sniffed at, there are real problems if you’re producing podcast content and that is simply accessibility. The first issue is obvious – anyone who is deaf or has a severe hearing impairment will probably not be able to access your content. In the US that’s possibly 2% of the population (link). If you include any kind of hearing impairment it rises to almost 14%. The solution here therefore is to offer a transcript which, as you can guess, is a poor substitute, but if your content ain’t rubbish then it shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Another problem related to accessibility is what is required to listen to your content. MP3 and AAC formats should be fine because one is a defacto standard and the other is an actual standard. Once you start making a political statement (like Ogg Vorbis) then you’ve just thrown away another chunk of listeners. This becomes even more problematic when a format is owned wholly by a company, like WMA, and is poorly supported on other platforms.

There’s also the problem of file size. A minute of conversation might take 512Kbytes, which is the same as about 500 pages of plain text (or seven and a half lines of text in Word 2008). Using plain text means you can feed it into a braille machine or a screen reader or magnify it to ungodly levels without much distortion. A 20 minute podcast is a much higher bandwidth and storage sink compared to the same amount of content as text.

My recommendations:

  1. Get a Mac – using GarageBand will just make your life easier. If you’re in love with Windows, then keep using it I guess but you’ll have to find your own killer podcasting app.
  2. Find a Friend – I don’t think Podcasting is a lone activity and some of the least interesting podcasts come from people who do it alone. Look at popular talk radio shows – Chris Moyles seems to have about 17 people stuffed into his booth.
  3. Do it regularly – Weekly is probably what people expect. Don’t disappoint them.
  4. Careful with Commercials – no-one likes commercials. Everyone wants to skip them but if you do accept sponsorship then make sure you don’t ram them in your listeners faces. Try to be objective about and don’t just think of the “free” money. It’s not going to score you a Mercedes or anything.

I don’t know how useful this was, taking podcasting advice from someone who’s never really done it. A lot of it is common sense. But I’m going to be starting topic 19 from Chris Brogan’s 100 blogging topics. If any of my readers (yeah, both of you) do a podcast, chuck the URL in the comments as I’m interested to listen.

[Chris Brogan’s 100 topics]

0 thoughts on “18/100 Just Jump Into Podcasting – Heres How”

  1. Definitely good basics! Just two minor comments from this podcaster:

    1) Audacity is a good way for us PC users to podcast, and less expensive than switching to a Mac! 😉

    2) I think podcasting is an activity you can choose to do alone or with others. It’s all in the content and presentation. That’s what makes it enjoyable. Plenty of single-podcasters have excellent shows, and are very popular. (Sorry, but as a podcaster with no co-host I have to defend it!) 🙂

    I like your thoughts- a good post for those who want to get started. Just wouldn’t want your recommendations to scare those who perhaps want to start podcasting and don’t want to do it with someone else.

    If you want to podcast- then podcast!

  2. A good basic article overall but as a long-time podcaster I want to make a couple of points for anyone considering getting started:

    1) There are probably more people producing podcasts at this point with Windows than there are with Macs. It’s just as easy to record and edit a show on Windows as it is on the Mac. The only thing you lose is the ability to put together an enhanced AAC show.

    2) Providing a transcript does more than just address accessibility, it also provides fodder for the search engines (which can’t index audio).

    3) I also agree with Dani’s comment that you can do a perfectly good show by yourself it you’re good at it. In fact, I prefer a good solo host because I feel like they’re talking directly to me…if done well the show is far more engaging than one where I feel like like a fly on the wall listening to someone else’s conversation.

    The biggest advice for someone thinking about starting a podcast…start it! You can always hold of promoting the show until after a few practice ones are under your belt (which can be discarded if you want).

  3. I agree with Dani and Craig, I use Audacity (great cross platform, free application) on a PC for my podcast. If you want to spend money, spend it on a good microphone.

    In some ways Macs were downright unfriendly for podcasters. For one, the internal microphones were not a good choice because of their location (picked up noise), and two, they didn’t come with a microphone-in port so you’d have to buy a USB microphone (more cost less choice).

    In fact, Macs still don’t come with microphone in.

    If you’re starting a podcast I really do NOT suggest buying a Mac if you already have a Windows or Linux PC. One app is hardly worth the switch. There are other choices, and heck, you can even use a social network like Utterz now to create a podcast (no editing capabilities though so I’d really only use it if you were doing a “live” type show).

  4. this isn’t a debate about Mac vs Windows. In my experience I will never ever again recommend a Windows machine. My MacBook Pro has line in which works fine.

    There’s nothing stopping someone from using a digital voice recorder as the entire recording studio and only turning to Garageband or Audacity or other apps for editing.

    The point is, yes, get started. My recommendation to ‘find a friend’ is because it makes if easier to fill the time. I will sub to all of your podcast for a listen later this week.

    I admit at the start that I’ve not been involved in the production of a podcast. That’s not why I wrote it.

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