Basics For Solo Podcasting

Basics For Solo Podcasting

Podcasts are extremely popular since they allow for everyone to share their opinions, to inform others, and entertain others. In most cases, they can do all three. Personally, podcasting can also serve as a creative vehicle.

A number of hosts have found that they are natural entertainers and presenters by exploring podcasting–yours truly included. While the process of putting together a podcast and maintaining it can be grueling, it’s rewarding and depending on what you’re trying to do and your budget, it can be easy to set up.

We’ll start with the very basics of how to start your own podcast, what you’ll need, and how to get it hosted–all on a low budget.

Your Voice

No, not your actual voice but do you want your podcast to be about. This is the most important part of doing the podcast because it will dictate if you actually want to do a however-long show. Depending on what your topic will be–politics, gaming, history, etc.–you could have a show that you’ll do for a long time or just a few episodes.

When you know what your podcast will be about, you’re going to want to lay it out. Do your research, do a script, all of that. The script doesn’t have to be word-for-word what you will say but it will definitely have your talking points to keep something resembling a flow. You might not even want a script and just want to speak.

That’s fine too! As a matter of fact, sometimes when doing a show with a host or multiple guests, that script will be a hindrance or a help.

It all depends on what kind of show you want to do with the topic you want to do it on. Some topics have expectations of delivery and flow. For instance, if you’re doing a gaming podcast, it’s not recommended for it to be stodgy, over-rehearsed, and dry. That can be a boring listen but there are people out there would love it.

That’s another thing to remember: there’s an audience for everyone. The size might vary but you will get some people who enjoy your show and will listen regularly. If you’re doing it to become a big successful show, you might come off as trying too hard or not genuine in your interest in the topics.

In short: pick something you’re both passionate and knowledgeable about and go with it. You’ll have fun with your show and want to nurture it instead of simply improving it.

Basic Equipment: Mics

A microphone and something to record your voice and save it into a file. That’s basically it. Now you’ll want a decent microphone for good quality audio. When I started my first podcast back in 2016, I used a really cheap call center-style headset. Then I used a microphone that you stuck into the audio jack of your laptop or PC.

Needless to say, the audio on those initial shows was bad. It sounded like I was recording inside a trash can and there were a lot of “pops” in the audio.

What you’ll need is either a condenser mic or a dynamic mic. Both are good with giving good sound but a dynamic mic tends to be more durable and better used for live events. Also, it doesn’t need an extra power source. Condenser mics give you the sound you’ll really want for recording. The con here is that it needs another power source.

While it’s often said that condenser mics will run you more money, that’s if you’re looking for a name brand condenser mic. I use the Neewer NW-800 (which didn’t come with a mount) and it works extremely well. I get strong, clear sound, no popping (thanks to the wind guard) and it comes with knobs to control the volume and add an echo. I prefer to add an echo in editing but it’s there just in case.

Basics For Solo Podcasting

       My mic of choice

The thing is, you don’t have to dig deep in your wallet for a reliable mic.

Also, with a condenser mic, you might need a USB dongle as a backup just in case something goes wrong while trying to use the microphone and headphone jacks in your PC or laptop. Luckily, mics tend to come with one such dongle!

Recording

So you’ve got your mic, you’ve got your computer, now you’ll need to record your voice. You have some premium software and additional equipment out there that you can use for this if you’re adding things into your show or if you’re doing a live show.

Since this is for recording a solo show on a budget, your best friend will be Audacity. It’s free, doesn’t take up much space, and the only extra thing you will need is the LAME Encoder. LAME makes it so that you can export your vocal files and whatever else you add as an mp3.

In Audacity, you can edit your recorded sound to remove pops, long pauses, and whatever other audio issues might arise. All you do is highlight the area of the audio track you want to get rid of and press “Delete.”

You’re also able to import music to allow for open music, an interlude to break up the show, tunes to add if you’re doing a music program, mood music, or a closing song.

You can add whatever audio you want and it’s easy to rearrange them according. Just use the small arrow next to the name of the track and select “Move to Top,” “Move to Bottom”, etc.

After that, you’ll want to select the track and move it over according to where you want it to appear in the recording. There are extra things such as fading out audio and adding effects that you might want to play around with.

Just remember to save your project regularly and that shortcuts are your friends!

Once you’re done recording, editing, and arranging you’ll want to export your audio–basically, you’re saving it as a sound file so you can upload it. Your best option will be mp3 since most hosts will allow you to upload mp3s with no problem.

Hosting

Now that you’ve exported your show’s audio into an mp3 file, we have to get it somewhere so that others can listen to it. There are a number of hosting options available and almost all of them require some amount per month. If it’s within your budget go with one of them. Many offer features that make the price worthwhile.

If you’re trying to host your podcast for $free.99 (meaning hosting it for free), Shout Engine is your best choice. At the moment Shout Engine is still in beta–and has been for years now–and allows you to put as many shows and episodes as you want for free until it gets larger in size.

After that, the payment options are $10 for 60GB of bandwidth and $20 for 160GB.

If you’re just starting out and growing, you should be fine for a while. The site also keeps your archive of shows up forever. On that note, Shout Engine has your analytics there under “Publish” so you’ll have an idea of who is listening, where they’re listening from and what devices they use.

You will also get information on how many downloads you’re getting daily and monthly as well as for the year.

Once you have your show done, you’ll want to go to “Publish” and “+Add Podcast” in the upper right corner. Fill out the details about the show, the tags, iTunes categories, description, and other things like show logo and you’re ready. When the show has been created, you’ll want to “Add An Episode.”

Basics For Solo Podcasting

There’s more stuff to fill out but it’s all similar to filling out the info for the podcast itself.

Basics For Solo Podcasting

Upload your recording from storage and select the quality. Press “Upload Episode” and just wait. On Shout Engine, the progress bar hangs after 100-percent so open another tab to see if the show has been added. If so, congratulations, you have a podcast for everyone to listen to.

Organizing Multiple Podcasts

If you’re doing multiple podcasts–meaning you want to do a network. You’ll want separate feeds for each show and the main feed to include all the shows on. As it happens, as soon as you create the show, you’re given an RSS feed. This helps if your show is just starting out, hasn’t popped up in any searches or you don’t have the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or elsewhere.

You’ll need the RSS to add to some services but on Shout Engine, there’s an option to submit your podcast to iTunes already. For example, my network of shows is called Danger Zone ’92 or DZ92.

That serves as the main feed, all my newest podcast episodes will be there. I’ve had several different podcasts on it between 2016 and now but the two current ones are That Murder and Mystery Show (a true crime podcast on Southern U.S cases) and DZ2099 (a comic book show). Both podcasts have their own feeds.

This is done simply for listeners who either want all of the podcasts in one place (the main feed) or they tend to listen to one particular podcast. When a new show is released and they’re subscribing to it, they will get an update in their favorite podcast app. It just makes things easier on your listeners.

Basics For Solo Podcasting

In the next entry, we’ll explain how to get it on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. We’ll also go into what genres tend to get listens and basic promotion. If you have any questions let me know in the comments below!


Starting with Kabir News in 2013, James has focused on tech, gaming, and entertainment. When not writing, he enjoys catching up on sci-fi and horror shows and comics. He can be followed on Twitter @MetalSwift.

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