Since starting my podcast some 70-plus episodes ago, my business has benefited immensely from the exposure that having a podcast in the iTunes store has offered. Each month the volume of downloads increases significantly, and as a result, both traffic to my blog and new subscribers to my list continue to grow.
More importantly, having a podcast gives my readers a way to consume my content while they are on the fly…which I suspect is most often during their commute.
Over the time that I’ve been producing the show, I have received some helpful tips, and a lot of very positive feedback. Needless to say, I’m extremely grateful for both.
I’m also extremely grateful for what I’ve learned from the guests on my show; many of whom had never heard of me prior to receiving an email from me asking if they’d like to be on the show.
Much to my surprise, one of the greatest benefits of being a podcaster is the networking I get to do with other smart folks who, otherwise, probably wouldn’t have sat on the phone for an hour giving me free advice!
Have you ever wondered how to make a podcast? Well, wonder no more, because in today’s post, I’m going to address a question that I seem to be getting asked a lot lately: how do I produce my podcast?
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Setting up a podcast is pretty easy to do when you first start.
When I started out, I was using only a $25 Logitech microphone and Skype. My show didn’t sound great, but it was better than not having a show at all.
It didn’t take me long to realize that the podcast was going to become an increasingly important part of my business, so I invested in it accordingly.
Here is a list of the equipment that I use now (links below are affiliate links):
- Heil PR40 Mic (costs about $300)
- Heil PL-2T Mic boom (costs about $100)
- Behringer 1202 Mixing Board (costs about $100)
- Roland MP3 Recorder (costs about $200)
- Audio Technica Headphones (costs about $50)
- Plenty of wires to connect it all together (costs about $50)
Total cost of Podcast equipment: about $800
How to Record a Podcast
In addition to the hardware, there are also a few software apps & services that are a part of my production:
- Levelator – used to make my and my caller’s voice the same volume in case I screw it up while recording
- ID3 Editor to tag the .mp3 file with the right image and name, etc…before uploading to my S3 account
- GarageBand (Mac) to handle post production editing (which is minimal)
- Bluebrry Powerpress WordPress plugin to ensure it’s uploaded to iTunes as well as displayed on my blog
- Amazon S3 to host the .mp3 files (do NOT try to use your web server)
- Skype for the calls themselves
- Call Recorder for Skype as a second method of recording in case my primary method fails (Speaking from experience, nothing is worse than asking a guest to repeat 10 minutes of conversation because your recording failed)
Most of the software is either free or costs less then $20. The cost to host your files on S3 is negligible and Bluebrry charges $5 a month if you want access to your stats, which isn’t a must, but I sure like seeing all that growth in downloads!
Actually recording the show is the easy part. I record to both Skype Call Recorder and the Roland MP3 Recorder just in case one of the recording systems fails. Believe it or not, this has happened to me, and nothing sucks more than having to ask your guest to repeat what they said for the last xx minutes. Lame.
Editing in Post Production
To save time, I like to keep my editing to a bare minimum, and generally do the show “in one take”.
As soon as the recording is done, I give it a quick listen to ensure that the levels are equal, which they usually are because I keep both channels input gain on the mixing board roughly the same. I can also tell by watching the level bars on the Roland MP3 recorder bounce back and forth when each of us talks prior to recording.
The range I’m looking for is -12 to -6 db on the display window.
Assuming the levels are ok, I then import the main file into GarageBand. I also import the intro that I paid a guy to make for me (it cost $100), along with my own intro to the episode itself, which I actually record right after the interview is over, while the main points of the interview are still fresh in my mind. And finally, I make sure that I have also imported the outtro into GarageBand.
Check out the video below to see what it all looks like prior to exporting it from GarageBand.
How to Connect Your Mixing Board
Trying to figure out how to connect the Behringer 1202 Mixing Board was a little bit tricky, so I thought I would share this photo with you.
The basic idea here is that you need to get all the sound into the board, and then output it to the Roland MP3 Recorder.
So, for your mic, it goes directly into the board. For your guest’s voice, which is coming from Skype, it needs to come out of the computer and into the board.
Now you have both voices coming into the board, with each one going to a separate channel. The board will then mix the voices and output it to the Roland MP3 recorder.
Voila, mixed sound that sounds far better than it otherwise would.
How to Upload a Podcast to iTunes
Once my podcast has been uploaded to my S3 account, I simply use the Bluebrry podcasting plugin to handle the upload process.
Once you have installed the plugin, you will need to go to the settings page to configure a few items; the first of which is getting your podcast setup in iTunes. To do that, you must first get your feed approved.
Once you click the hyperlink in the image above, the iTunes app will start and you will be taken to the screen below:
Once you submit your feed, approval will take a few days. Once approved, you will get the URL that I have highlight in red in the next image. You need to paste this URL, along with the other items I’ve highlighted into the iTunes tab of the Bluebrry Powerpress settings. Most of the settings on the other tabs can be left at their default values.
And finally, once all this is done, if you go to the actual post that you are editing and scroll down, you will see a box like the one below where you will paste the URL of your actual episode:
That’s it, you’re done
If you’d like more information on producing a podcast, check out my interview with Podcast Answer Man Cliff Ravenscraft.