It seems that almost everyone today has their own blog, website, Youtube or Internet Radio channel and many more have or are getting into Podcasting as well. Although there are numerous tutorials and sites that offer a broad range of information related to Podcasting in depth, this article will deal mainly with Ten tips that can help you get up and running with your own Podcasts fast and with a minimal of equipment.
If you have ever wanted your own talk show or you have a topic that you are passionate about such as travel, books, spirituality or parenting, etc., Podcasting is one way to open up a whole new way of interacting with others via the Internet. For those who gain a dedicated following, their shows often find their way to media players that are then taken with the listeners on their daily walks, while relaxing or any number of other activities where listening to something they are interested in is possible. Some Podcasters even enjoy the income that accepting advertisers can afford them.
There are a number of services where you can upload your Podcasts for free and your listeners can then listen to them online or download them for later listening. Some of these services also offer the ability to record your podcast through their proprietary tools for no cost or for a small monthly fee. Some of these sites are listed below.
For those who are interested in creating their Podcasts on their own, this can be accomplished by using nothing more than your computer, recording software such as the free Audacity program and a good quality mic.
Perhaps the following ten pointers will help to get you up and running smoothly. They appear in no particular order and are geared toward setting up your own recording option:
1. Purchase a quality mic: There are mics out there that are specifically for Podcasting. Some of these are headsets with mics attached while others are stand alone mics such as the Blue SnowBall mic. Speaking to a professional who knows their mics or checking some of the online forums that specialize in this will help you choose the one best for you.
2. A quiet room: Many Podcasters take the time to add "deadening" acoustics to their recording rooms. Something as simple as egg cartons can be used on the ceiling and walls or, if this isn't feasible, setting up your computer and mic in your closet (believe it or not) can assist you in creating an acoustically acceptable environment to help give your recordings a clearer and more pleasant listening atmosphere.
3. Plan your topics: Regardless of the method you choose to use for recording your Podcasts (home-based or via a provider), unless your Podcasts are related to random or off the cuff content, having an outline of your show's content is a good idea. Writing down everything word for word is not necessary and is actually not recommended due to the fact that you want your podcast to have an air of genuine spontaneity. Your audience will appreciate your authenticity.
4. Choose intro and outro music wisely: The most important aspect of using music in your Podcast though is to ALWAYS use PodSafe music. There are a number of sites that offer Podsafe music. Using music from your favorite band or singer is one way to cause yourself unnecessary Copyright Infringement problems. If you are musical then by all means using your own music is a great idea. Your intro/outro should be no more than 20-60 seconds at the very most.
5. Introduction: Short and concise is best. Always mention the name of the Podcast, the host(s), the topic for that particular episode and "brought to you by" any advertisers you may have. You can repeat this information at the end of your segment if you wish but then change your topic to the one you will be doing in your next episode.
6. Length of an episode: Podcasts normally run about 20 to 30 minutes. Those that run longer usually have a lot of information to pack into one segment at a time. If you aren't certain of length, it's better to err on the side of less is more. If your audience begins suggesting they'd like to hear more per episode then you can increase your shows in accordance with the popularity.
7. Keep disruptions and noise to a bare minimum: Recording your Podcasts should be during a period of time when you know that your home will be free from most noise. Again, if necessary, hide yourself away in your clothes closet because this is a great place to not only shut out the noises from the street and other areas of the home but gain a little acoustic adjustment as well.
8. Keep your mouth "pod-ready": While talking it's not unusual to suffer from dry mouth. This usually causes you to trip over words or simply feel uncomfortable or thirsty. Just prior to going on air suck on a Eucalyptus mint and have a glass of Green Apple juice to sip on. The green apple generates saliva which keeps your mouth more moist and the Eucalyptus mint opens up the nose and throat passages to allow for clearer vocals. Some suggest eating a banana before recording but personally I have found this to be rather valueless in comparison to the above. Another tip that some suggest is to rub a little bit of petroleum jelly across the front teeth. Concerns about doing this however, encouraged me to use a little lip balm which works just as well. This helps your lips move easily over your teeth so there is no tripping on vocals because your top lip got trapped on dry teeth.
9. Consistency of episodes: In order to gain a popular following ensure that you set a consistent recording schedule that your audience can attend and depend on. For instance, if you cater to young moms you will want to gear your show during times when they are able to take a few minutes to relax to listen. If your show is geared toward business people you may want to hold your program after 6 pm. The frequency of your program is also dictated by your audience's interest. Some Podcasts are ideal for daily production while others are designed to work best on a weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly schedule. Ideally, you will also want a way for your audience to be able to listen to your shows after they are recorded. Some Podcasters also upload their programs to places like iTunes to provide listeners with a more convenience schedule that is not as restrictive.
10. Enthusiasm and passion are infectious and your audience can sense when you are passionate about your topic. If you are interested in Podcasting the most important thing you can do is create one around those topics that interest you the most. If more than one topic is involved, don't be afraid to make Podcasts specific to each. If you can, have a co-host as this will also help to make your shows more interesting. You can also schedule interviews or special guests. Having others as part of your Podcasts can be accomplished by each party having a free account with Skype and using free software that records both sides of the conversation such as PowerGramo.
There are sites such as BlogTalkRadio, TalkShoe, etc., that provide space and tools to help you to create your shows easily. Although these services aren't without their limitations and issues, they are ideal for the new Podcaster to get started and learn the ropes. They also provide you with the opportunity to have call-in shows to allow your audience to join in the show by calling an assigned number. Usually you can advertise this number on your own website or other social network sites or on the site where your podcasts will be hosted.
This article has only scratched the surface of Podcasting. The most important thing to keep in mind however, is to have fun because your audience will enjoy your show that much more!
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