Apart from the growing population of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube users, there is also a small budding community in podcasting that offers a wide variety of unique contents. It is more convenient compared to blogs and vlogs as you can tune in to a podcast episode while doing other activities. This new medium caters a huge spectrum of topics such as fiction, lifestyle, and even different areas of science.
Now, if you want to give it a shot, no matter how big or small your goals are, starting a podcast is quite a straightforward endeavor – but not as easy as you think. Right when you have decided what type of content you will showcase, you need to have the right tools and tips to start a podcast.
For starters, here are 10 important tools – including both gear and software – that you have to consider when launching a podcast:
You might want to invest in something better than your smartphone or the built-in microphone on your laptop when recording your podcasts. A good and clear audio quality should be your primary concern, with podcasting being very aural in nature. This means a high-quality microphone is a must-have. Since you are just a rookie in this field, it does not have to be top of the line. However, make sure that the microphone you will purchase would be able to pick up your voice just fine, give you better sound control, and cancel out background noises.
- Microphone stand
You can’t just hold the microphone during the entire time you are recording your podcast. For your convenience, you need to have a microphone stand. Luckily, most microphones available in stores come with a desk stand. However, if you have spare for an instant upgrade, it is recommended to further use a boom arm along with the stand. Unwanted noise coming from the movements of the table or the things on it can still be picked up by the microphone when you only use a mic stand.
When you are recording your content, you will want to hear the quality of your voice better to assess how you sound. Sound isolation is important for you to monitor your recorded speech and avoid audio bleed if you use external speakers instead. This is why a good-quality headphone should also be part of your shopping list. It plays a much bigger role when you conduct interviews over the Internet, as you’ll need clear communication for you to have an uninterrupted conversation.
- Pop filter
Do you notice how your P’s sound louder when you speak before a microphone? This popping sound is caused by the mechanical impact of the rushing air coming from your mouth, bursting towards the microphone as you talk. To eliminate this, you can speak to the side of the microphone or buy yourself a pop filter. Also called a pop screen, this is a noise protection filter that typically comes in a circular shape. It is affordable, and will definitely improve the audio quality of your podcast.
- Recording software
The type of recording software you should use will depend on whether you will just speak and share stories alone or you will have a remote interview. When recording solo podcasts, most of the recording applications already incorporate an audio editor. On the other hand, when you want to conduct a long-distance interview, there are software such as Skype and SquadCast where you can record the entire discussion. You just have stitch and edit bits of the interview afterwards using another program.
- Script-writing and collaboration program
When you are planning to record a podcast with a co-host or answer questions from a pool of participants, you would want a script which you can revisit from time to time to keep the discussion on-topic and not lose track of the direction of the session. By installing a script-writing software, it would allow you and other people to write and make changes in the script even while recording your podcasts.
- Audio editor application
Like any other software, this one usually comes with free and premium versions. It is up to you which one to choose as it depends on your budget. Nevertheless, make sure that it has the capability of doing even the simple tasks of segmenting the audio file, fixing the volume, changing the tempo, adding transitions, intros, or song clips, and cleaning out unwanted sounds. The post-recording phase of creating a podcast, which is audio editing, usually eats up more time and effort than shooting the actual content. In order to maximize your audio editor software and deliver a polished and well-prepared podcast, you have to study the functions of the program of your choice.
- Hosting account
Surf over the Internet, and you will find sites where you can publish your podcasts. While there are sites where you are required to spend some cash to get your podcast published, there are also free hosting platforms out there. If you want to air real-time, there are social media websites such as Facebook and YouTube that can facilitate your live sessions — be it a monologue or an interview. This is a good approach to connect with your audience and attract more listeners.
- Design software
If you are really that committed to embark in this new space, you would want to level up your game by adding a podcast artwork. If you want to do it on your own, you will need a design software to create a cover art that would appear with your other podcast details as your audience listens to your content. This helps in establishing a brand, so time and effort are vital for podcast cover designs as well.
Lastly, if you are thinking of ways to improve accessibility to your audiences, it’s a good practice to get your podcasts transcribed. This way, you can expand your audience reach by letting hearing-impaired people understand your content.
There are three ways you can achieve this. For one, you may plug your earphones, listen to your recorded content, and transcribe it yourself. Secondly, you may opt to look for a machine-generated transcription service, upload your record, and wait for it to generate your transcript. However, the accuracy of the document with that of your podcast cannot be fully guaranteed. This is where the third option comes in. You can hire a transcription company, and let them do the job for you. In an affordable and flexible price, along with your podcast, you can get and share the transcript to whatever format you want it to be.
Today, more and more people are catching up on the hype for podcasts. With hundreds and thousands available on the web, it is easy to get hooked on a show or even get inspired to create one. Once you find yourself crossing all, if not most, of these items, you are all set and ready to hit record!