These days, it seems like everyone has a podcast – from television personalities, news outlets and celebrities to your neighbor down the street. Once thought of as obscure, they’ve morphed into unique outlets to explore topics you love, have questions about or may just want more insight on. Podcasts open up topics that aren’t always covered by the mainstream media for discussion. They also allow fields that are more regulated – like healthcare and education – an outlet to broach any topic they’d like. While it’s possible to share this kind of information across many social platforms – like Facebook or Twitter – podcasts allow for experts to provide more focused and in-depth information about a topic. Many podcasts also develop accompanying websites where listeners can go to pull even more information and visual examples of what was discussed on air. And of course, they’re convenient. To tune in, all your audience needs is a smart phone. The best part is, creating a podcast is much less complex than most people think, and can be done in just a handful of steps.
The first step is deciding on a theme and format. For most podcasts, there will be a host who invites guests to have a conversation on a specific topic chosen in advance, but you’ll need to plan if it will be conversational, scripted or freeform. You also need to decide how long each ‘episode’ will run – that way, both you and your guests can determine what you’ll say accordingly. This is often a trial-and-error process as your podcast is established.
While you don’t need to break the bank buying recording equipment, a good microphone will go a long way. Many electronic stores even sell podcasting kits that come with a microphone, headphones, microphone cable and a mixer in one package. The next step is to figure out what kind of recording software you should use. If you’re unfamiliar with the recording process, an easy-to-use (open-source) recording and editing platform is Audacity, but there are many recording programs out that work just as well.
Once you have the podcast planned out – both in format and with your equipment, it’s time to record. Make sure you’re in a quiet location and you have headphones plugged into the mic so you can hear exactly what is being picked up at all times. Most microphones are more powerful than you think and will pick up on the smallest sounds from chatter down the hall to a clock ticking on the wall. If you’re taking the time and effort to produce your podcast, be sure that’s the only thing being recorded.
Post-production is a relatively quick process because a podcast is more of a conversation, and generally requires fewer edits. Software like Audacity also provide helpful guides, tips and tricks to ensure your podcast comes out with the best possible quality.
Finally, once it’s edited, your recording is a podcast and all that’s left to do is share it with the world. Platforms like SoundCloud are great for posting content, and it’s important to promote your podcast via your social channels to help get your message out to a wider audience.
It’s amazing what happens when you sit down with an expert in a particular field for a casual discussion. In addition to the podcast itself, ideas for bylines, campaigns, pitches and future interviews often come out of the woodwork, leading to additional placements for a client.
Next time you’re brainstorming bigger and better ways to promote a client’s thought leadership, program or want to weigh in on a hot-button issue, consider taking to the digital airwaves with a podcast.
What are some of your favorite podcasts? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @solomonmccown.