Podcasts have become a big part of daily life for many. The on-demand format has allowed listeners to switch off their radio and stream the content they want when they want it. These days there’s a podcast for everyone, from gardening tips to restaurant reviews. From news and sports to history and true crime, the growing platform shows no sign of slowing down. At the heart of this are you and your idea. How do you start your own podcast? Can you produce a podcast on your own? How does someone listen to my podcast?
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In its most basic form, a podcast can be quite simple, and yes, you can create a podcast by yourself. A few basic tools that you likely already have are a great starting point to creating your own podcast and getting it out there to be consumed. However, as more and more people delve into podcasting, it’s becoming harder and harder to gain and retain listeners. If your podcast is one of a hundred about popular TV & Movies, how do you make your podcast stand out? Obviously marketing is part of that, but that alone will only get you so far because if the quality of your product doesn’t stand out, you will lose listeners as fast as you gained them. Sound quality, flow, and overall production of your podcast needs to be seamless, transparent and sonically pleasing.
Let’s review what goes into producing an amazing podcast!
Content is King
First priority will always be you and the content itself. No fancy studio trickery, microphone, or editing technique can save a dull, or uninspired performance or topic. So, let’s establish that you have a great idea for a podcast and you’re confident an audience exists, no matter how niche it may or may not be. Are you able to deliver that content in a cohesive, well organized manner? If not, don’t worry! Working with our podcast production team at Porthos Media, we can help you plan and even coach you through how to get the most out of your podcast and your performance. We offer consulting services designed to get you started with both the creative and technical aspects of a podcast production.
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Identify Your Audience
The audio production style of your podcast will largely be determined by the genre. Your audience may expect a certain flow, or audio landscape when listening to different genres of podcasts. For example, a true crime series will want to build suspense by teasing or foreshadowing parts of the story, incorporating eerie sounds and background music, or even with the sound of the narrator's voice itself. A conversational style podcast would require less structure allowing the participants to work off one another. However, this can create other challenges on the production side. Your listeners will want to hear everyone clearly and distinctly otherwise your audio will turn into a colossal, unintelligible mess. A great plan, and a well crafted audio design will ensure your podcast outperforms your audience's expectations. Porthos Media can provide a customized audio design strategy tailored to your podcast and your audience.
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What equipment do I need?
Your content is great, and your audio design is solid, so what’s next? Well, you need a way to record your voice and any other audio you plan to incorporate into your show. For someone just getting started and wanting to do it yourself, you could simply use your smartphone or computer microphone to record your voice. For a step up in sound quality, you could find a decent USB microphone or better still, select from a wide range of broadcast-quality microphones such as the Shure SM7B or Electro-Voice RE20. Next, you’ll need a microphone pre-amp and recording interface. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of options out there when it comes to choosing one that fits your workflow. A basic yet versatile interface like the Focusrite 2i2 combines 2 quality microphone preamps into a USB interface that will connect to most computers. This would allow for up to 2 microphones to be recorded simultaneously into your recording software or DAW (digital audio workstation). If you’re unsure what you need for your podcast, that’s ok! Porthos Media is here to help. We will guide you through the process of selecting equipment, hardware, and accessories not based on brand or trends, but by what would work best for your podcast, workflow, and comfort level. Contact us today to consult with our podcast equipment team!
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Can we record something now please?
There’s a lot of preparation that goes into a podcast production before the record button is ever pressed. It’s funny though, regardless of how much prep work you’ve done, and time you’ve spent rehearsing or researching your topics, once that red light goes on the nerves can often take over. Sometimes that nervous energy can help to fuel the passion in your show, other times it can make you stumble over your words, rush sentences, or even forget to say something altogether. Recording is an art form all in itself, and the truth is the playback never lies. Fortunately, modern recording software allows us to easily track and keep multiple takes, record alternate versions, or even scrap it all and just take it from the top again! Depending on the type of podcast you’re recording, the setup can be anywhere from you in front of a microphone and your computer, to a group of people sitting around a table, or hosting a podcast remotely over the internet. The software needed to accommodate these types of setups can be quite simple, or extremely complex, especially when connecting with multiple people remotely who all need their own local recording systems as well. Coordinating remote recording can involve not only audio production personnel, but also IT systems experts to ensure compatibility issues across multiple platforms and operating systems are resolved. Porthos Media has experience recording podcasts in-house, remotely and over the internet for distribution to the major podcast providers. Consult with us to explore your options on how best to go about recording your podcast!
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How can I record in the field, or on location?
Nothing gets me more engaged with an investigative true crime podcast series than when the host is on location, tracking down witnesses in the field to get comments or interviews. It brings a real time element to the show that can’t be replicated by a narrator alone. Confronting someone at their front door, or meeting at a coffee shop for an interview provides an engaging synergy that is sometimes far too valuable to summarize or paraphrase. The challenge is, how can you record good quality sounding audio on a street corner, or busy restaurant? The truth is, it’s all about compromise. You may have to sacrifice some level of sound quality at times in order to provide the most captivating content that best serves the podcast. You could record remotely with your smartphone, or a field recorder like Tascam DR-40X or Zoom H4n Pro. The biggest challenge to overcome when recording in the field will be background noise. You will never be able to control all of the noise, so your goal should be to reduce it as much as possible. A simple way to do this is to have you or your subject speak as closely to the microphone as possible. This will ensure the noise floor is as low as possible, keeping the dialog well above and audible.
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How do I edit a podcast?
Depending on the style of podcast, and how much content you’ve recorded, will determine how much time you’re going to spend editing, and what type of editing will be required. A conversational podcast will likely have a topic, or topics being discussed and if you planned ahead well and kept your conversation on track, you may not need much editing at all, aside from some signal chain processing like EQ, and compression. If you’re producing a self-help podcast you will want to take special consideration to how your message flows to the listener. The order in which the information is presented, the tone in your voice when speaking about sensitive subject matter, or the wording itself may need to be changed or altered to ensure nothing is misunderstood or misinterpreted.
You may have recorded various versions of a segment, unsure how it will ultimately come together. An audio editor can work in tandem with an audio producer to select the most appropriate or most impactful sections to be used in the final podcast. Great audio editing skills can add a cohesiveness to your podcast and ensure it flows smoothly and as intended. Regardless of the genre or style, all audio for your podcast will require at least some basic refinement to make sure industry standards are met and your podcast sounds as fantastic as the content itself. Porthos Media has decades of audio editing experience in various formats and genres. We can take your podcast where it’s never gone before, with an artistic and creative approach to editing where we always have the listener in mind when making audio editing decisions. Chat with us today!
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How do I make my podcast sound great?
Post-production. This is where the creative process meets technical skills. You want your podcast to be something special, something people daydream about at work, in meetings, or in line at the grocery store. They can’t wait to listen to the next episode, or hear your opinions on today's current events.
Nothing will ever be more important than your content, but there are excellent tools available to boost your production up that extra percentile and make it stand out above the rest. Timely sound effects, the perfect background music to draw an emotional response out of your listener, audio bumpers or stingers to help transition or signal the end of a segment, are all great ways to add a polished, complete feel to professional sounding production. Intro and outro music is a great way to enhance your brand and create a familiarity for your listeners. Creating and/or selling advertising spots can be a great way to generate some income with your podcast, and including topically relevant ads will be more likely to appeal to your audience. Post-production for your podcast is our specialty at Porthos media. We have the skills, experience, and creativity to take your podcast to the next level and provide the streaming services with a one of a kind production that is sure to connect with your audience!
Where can I host my podcast?
There are plenty of options when it comes to podcast hosting. Free sites like Soundcloud, Buzzsprout, and Podbean, all of which have limitations, but offer premium paid hosting as well. Others like Captivate and Castos have no shortage of features but will cost you more with every upload or in some cases pricing based on listener downloads. Choose a podcast host that provides features in line with your needs, don’t assume they all do the same thing because they don’t. If you need help navigating through these sites, let us know we would be happy to help!
Where can listeners find my podcast?
Most podcast hosting sites will automatically submit your podcast to the major streaming services, but it’s always best to make sure. You may have a specific need and not all hosting services are the same. Typically, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher, among others will be included, and each have their own platforms and features to keep in mind as a podcast creator such as rankings lists, playback features, and analytics.
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Creating a podcast is not a cookie-cutter process. Your podcast is unique, and will require creativity, attention to detail, and technical know-how to bring it all together to produce something spectacular! At Portos Media, we understand that no two projects are the same, and each one will have its own needs, and feature requirements. We treat each of our projects as such and create podcast production packages tailored to the needs of each client. You may be starting out, and capable of recording on your own, but require some help in the editing and post-production phase. We can help! Perhaps, you need to coordinate interviews with guests all over the world or host a round table debate over who the greatest quarterback of all time is, either way, we’ve got you covered! We serve Kelowna, Penticton and the world! Check out our podcast production portfolio and contact us today to discuss your project, we would love to work with you!