Podcast Bootstrapping

Podcast Bootstrapping

Starting a Podcast on your own can be daunting but here's a guide on things to consider and resources to help you begin your podcasting journey. Well, what is a podcast? All it is either an audio or video programme that is available to download over the internet, the term podcast was coined in 2004 by Ben Hammersley as a portmanteau of iPod, which was a digital music player and broadcast to describe the then new trend of downloadable audio content which today can also include video.

The first thing to consider when starting your own podcast is an idea, what will your podcast be about? It should be something you are interested in, you can listen to other podcasts to see if there is already something out there, if not then go ahead, but even if it is out there think to yourself is there a way you can differentiate your podcast from those and if you have either something completely new to say or something known in a new way then you have your idea!

The next thing to think about is will it just be you or will you have guests as part of your podcast, if it is just you, it will be your voice your listeners will hear throughout, and you have control over every aspect of the episode. However, if you have guests this means you will have many different voices and opinions and less control but then more variety to counter for your episodes.

The format of your podcast will be important, if it has guests will it be an interview or a chat with them, or if your own will you tell a story or cover a subject with the facts. Your idea should hopefully help drive the style of podcast you will create and can certainly take inspiration from other podcasts even if they cover a different genre and subject.

Then it is time to start planning ahead, you might want to get a small backlog of a few weeks or even months depending on your podcast, plus this will give you time to prepare and refine your podcast so pick a date when you want to start creating the podcast and then a date for when you want to launch, you can always move the launch date if you don't announce one until you are ready so that should help to keep the pressure off!

With an idea, who will be involved, and the format of your podcast decided, and you have a plan then you need to figure out how you will record your podcast, the best way is to not invest in too much at the start as you may figure out what you need best after you get started. For an audio podcast the key thing will be something to record the audio on, if doing one yourself you could just use your phone but if you have a headset with that or a computer then this is a relatively inexpensive way to get started, for example pick a headset with a boom microphone that goes near the mouth and record yourself and see how it sounds, plus if recording with others you can advise them to do the same, especially if you have regular guests and may be something they already use if working remotely for example. When recording you will need some software, you could just use the audio recording app available for your computer or phone as long as you can export the file from this, it should be fine.

When recording your podcast you can also free software such Audacity or paid software such as Adobe Audition these applications also allow you to edit your podcast so it is as good as it can be, this includes removing any mistakes, which you can correct when recording my just saying the same sentence again and then removing the incorrect one during editing. You can also remove any unneeded breath sounds, you can keep in ones that sound natural but anything too long or too loud you can remove, plus any other sounds, clicks or anything else, then listen back until you are happy with the results. You can also adjust the LUFS of the audio between -16 and -14 dB, you can look up how to do this in the software you are using, but most audio editing software will be able to support this. Should you be doing a video podcast you will need to consider a camera where a webcam may be enough but if want better quality may want to invest in a good quality camera and will also need to use video editing software which could be something free like Microsoft Clipchamp or something more complex like DaVinci Resolve which is free but can pay for additional hardware and more.

Once your podcast is recorded you will need somewhere to put your podcast, so will need to look for a podcast hosting service, you could use Spotify for Podcasters (formerly known as Anchor.fm) used by RoguePlanetoid Podcast where you can host unlimited episodes and even has support for video podcasts or you could use something like Spreaker used by Scottish Murders where you can pay for features but most if not all hosting platforms will allow you to distribute your podcast anywhere such as Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts and more! You can also choose to upload your podcast to YouTube which not only makes sense for video podcasts but audio only ones can take advantage of audio visualisations such as audio grams to allow a video version of the podcast to be uploaded there too without needing to have much video content to go with it, or you could have a mix of both and include assets and images to go along with an audio podcast when it is a video.

You can also have a website for your podcast, you could have a WordPress website at wordpress.org or wordpress.com or you can even have a self-hosted website on any platform such as GitHub using their GitHub pages feature, but most podcast hosting platforms will have a page with your episodes so that may be all you need. You can also set up social media for your podcast such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to allow you to reach out to your listeners.

Promoting your Podcast will be important so the very first thing you should put together is a trailer, which will effectively be your very first episode and something you can even post well before the podcast itself is launched and you can also put together a promo which can be like the trailer but able to be integrated into other podcasts. You can post about an upcoming episode on social media along with when an episode has been released, this will not only allow those who see the post to check out your podcast but also others who see it can also share the post with others, further encouraging others to check out your podcast.

Launching your own podcast should be fun, you start with a great idea, then decide who you want to do it with and a format that suits your idea, along with a great plan before your podcast even starts, plus you can then decide what you need to start recording your very first episodes, then get them edited and ready to be published on the podcast hosting platform you want, then you can share those episodes with people and get more listeners to your podcast. Once your podcast has a few episodes out or when you are ready you can invest in better equipment such as dedicated podcasting microphone such as the Shure MV7 or RODE Procaster or if doing a video podcast in better cameras and allow your podcast to grow and evolve, plus reach out to fellow podcasters, and ask them for advice and help, many of them will be happy to get a new podcaster started on their journey!