Yes, we know. Podcasting is all the rage. It happened before and fizzled out. ‘It’s just a fad’, we hear you say. Well, we don’t agree.
Technology, smartphones and sharing platforms have become so accessible now that we reckon podcasting is here to stay. Let’s face it, it’s just voice. The human voice has been around for a while, but sometimes we underestimate it’s power.
Voice connects you with the listener. It’s human, plus it takes very little effort to consume.
If you are the one doing the recording, you have the added benefit of not having to sit in front of a camera (eek!).
But, have you thought seriously about how to make a podcast?
If you are running a business and want to plan, create and deliver consistent, high-quality communications (without the risk of poor streaming connections, people not showing up or you fluffing your lines), then podcasting is an incredibly obvious option.
Is there much to know about how to make a podcast?
Well, here’s the rub. There’s a little problem with podcasting compared to blogging. Though many make it out to be easiest thing since sliced bread, it’s not quite that straightforward. Especially if you want to produce something of high quality and value.
Yes, most people can have a go at it. I wouldn’t dispute that due to the availability of many different platforms and technology that can streamline the process.
However, it doesn’t mean that they are immediately going to be good at it. Let’s face it, most people can kick a football, it doesn’t mean they will derive as much value from it as Cristiano Ronaldo.
Like most things in life, it takes hard work and practice. Lots of it.
But don’t fret, we’re going to walk you through a simple process to get up and running to test the water. Before we do that though, let’s talk a little about why you should spend the time to how to make a podcast in the first place….
Why learn how to make a Podcast?
Maybe you’ve looked at how to make a podcast, but been scared off!
Here’s a short video on why I think you should consider using podcasting as part of your business communications strategy (internally or externally)…
Most online tutorials go into depth about hosting platforms, podcast feeds, creating websites, album artwork, complex editing processes, digital marketing etc. etc…
That’s enough to put most people off. Particularly if you were looking to use podcasting for internal business communications, for which it can be an excellent medium.
How to make a Podcast for business - what next?
Now, we don’t think the process needs to be quite as complicated as some are making it out to be. That’s why we crunched it down into a simple 6 Step Process for you to try out. Assuming you have a short (5-15 minute) communication ready to record for your audience and some basic equipment, this should only be a few short hours of work.
Something to Record into - grab your Mic!
OK, so when it comes to microphones, there is lots of choice, almost too much.
The important thing here is getting one that provides good enough quality for your needs. Listen to our sample below to hear what the different options can provide in terms of sound quality.
Dell Laptop – Sound Test 1
Huawei P20 Pro – Sound Test 2
Rode PodMic – Sound Test 3
Although we like RODE equipment, the Blue Yeti (we are not an affiliate) is a popular choice for many beginner’s and has a handy feature which can change the recording focus to suit one person or multiple people.
Once you have selected a suitable microphone, don’t forget, you’ll also need a decent pair of headphones/earphones to listen back to your recording. A regular Skype-style headset should do the trick, though regular ear buds can be used. The really fancy ones allow you to listen to your sound as it’s being recorded, but you don’t need to worry about that option at this stage (that’s the setup we use here at Safeti).
Something to Record On
Next, you need to figure out a way to record your sound file – this could be using anything from an app on your phone, a dictaphone, or your laptop. Once you have it the sound file, you need to be able to save it as an MP3 file and export it.
Then you need to get some software to edit it on. For both recording and editing, we recommend using Audacity as an excellent first option – here’s an online tutorial on how to use it – it will teach you everything you need know about editing your clip. It’s definitely best to familiarise yourself with your audio software in advance of doing any recording.
Plan the Session
Make it as simple as possible for your first try – think about what it is that you are trying to say, or get some help from friends or colleagues. It’s usually more interesting if there’s more than one person involved in the recording, so our advice would be to get a small team of 3-4 people to contribute if you can.
This will take the pressure off you as the project leader, and provide additional accountability.
In terms of creating your first podcast, we would suggest getting the team together and outlining the structure of a conversation at a high-level. 4 or 5 main bullet points should be enough to guide the conversation, and it’s entirely up to you how as regards how long it should be. I would suggest a 15 minute piece should be easily enough as a pilot podcast. But this depends entirely on your own specific context.
Here are some tips on creating a relevant and impactful piece of content.
- Understand your audience – what are their needs, wants and preferences?
- Ask – reach out prior to creating your first piece of content
- Tell a story – has something happened recently in your business that you can use?
- Collaborate – engage with multiple people for different perspectives and to add depth
- Keep it focused – make sure everyone agrees on the focus for the content – figure out what you want to achieve from the piece and use it to guide the creative process
OK, so by this stage you should have a reasonable plan of what you want to get out of the recording session.
You’ll want to get all of your contributors together in a quiet room to record the podcast. A few tips on picking a suitable room are as follows:
The smaller, the better – this reduces the chance that the risk of echo on your recording.
Soft furnishings are a good thing – if the room is well insulated that will help with the sound. Any materials that can absorb sound, such as sofas, soft chairs etc. will do wonders for the sound quality. If there are too many hard surfaces without absorption, you may find that the sound quality is poor.
Limit external noise – it’s best to pick an area where there should be no interruption (put a sign on the door) and also minimal foot traffic/other external noise that will interfere with the quality of your recording.
We’re not looking for perfect here, quality will come with time. So don’t get too hung up on your sound at this point. With that said, it’s very worthwhile doing a quick test before your session is scheduled to make sure that it’s acceptable.
Then just press record and go for it.
Have a Listen 🙂
Although there are some renegade’s that will release a podcast without editing it (sometimes this is entirely fine and plausible). That said, it’s probably not ideal if you are using for direct business purposes. You don’t want it sounding like a boring webinar with lots of pauses, fumbling and awkward silences.
You’ll probably want to let someone listen or run your ear across it to sharpen up the quality. You can also take bits out that don’t add value, remove any fluff and add more if you need to – of course, you could just leave it as it is if you are happy to do that!
This is where Audacity or a similar audio software program becomes very useful. If you want to come up with something of really nice quality, then the editing process is will take proportionately longer. There are always options to get help with this part of the process, such as our own podcast production services.
Once you get some confidence around how to use the editing software, you can start to think about putting music, intros/outros or anything else you want into it.
For the purposes of how to make a podcast in its most basic sense, we would encourage you to leave that until later.
All you have to do now is share it – it’s up to you to identify which platform is best. BUT, to test the water (which we recommend), why not just send an email with ‘THE 1ST (BUSINESS NAME) PODCAST’ as the Email Title and a ‘High Priority’ flag to get peoples attention.
You’ll also want a method to encourage and listen to feedback. How will you do that? Well, there’s plenty of options. For example, you could ask as part of your email communication, ask for it in person (get some helpers) or start a convo on a shared internal comms. channel e.g. Slack, Yammer, Whatsapp etc.
It’s important to take the time to consider the best way to share your content.
A simple piece of advice would be to use an existing communication channel that already has people’s attention. However, it’s likely that an established communications channel contains lots of ‘noise’ that gets ignored. You need to figure out how the podcast communication can be presented to your audience in a way that grabs their attention. It would also be beneficial if they know/hear about it before arrives in their inbox 😉
That’s it! Now you know the basics of how to make a podcast, it’s time to take action.
How to make a Podcast - how did it go?
Hopefully we’ve given you enough information here to get your first podcast recording up and running.
We would love to hear how it went!
Do we need to add anything else to help you further? Let us know and we’ll add it, and don’ hesitate to get in touch if you need assistance with your podcast production.
You can drop us a message via firstname.lastname@example.org, or using the contact form below.
Wishing you the best of luck, Richard@Safeti.