If you’d like to engage a certain audience and entertain them with daily, weekly or monthly updates where you talk about your area of expertise, a podcast is one of the best ways to do it. There’s lots of podcasters out there, and the number is always on the increase as this form of casting is quickly replacing radio and the like. Podcasts are usually free of advertisement and things that the listener might not be interested in, making them ideal for audiences who know what they’re looking for.
To run a good podcast, all you’ll need is a microphone and a fast-enough internet connection. But to run a truly great podcast, you’ll need the right combination of talent, software, hardware and the platforms through which you’ll make the content available.
Setting up your podcast
Presumably you already have a clear vision of what the content will be, who will listen to it, how frequent the updates will be and so forth. The most basic thing you’ll need – aside from a connection that allows for timely uploading of larger audio files – is a microphone. Some great podcasting microphones are:
Audio-Technica AT2020USB: A great USB microphone that doesn’t cost a lot($130), this can be a great choice for first-timers and experienced podcasters alike. It’s also a condenser mic: anyone who knows what they’re doing will get a condenser over a dynamic microphone as the former is built to handle finer sound in a studio environment(perfect for someone talking about technical things with no interference).
Blue Microphones Yeti: The funky-named microphone comes with a serious set of features: the already-clear sound is made even better by giving you the option to use one of four polar patterns to get perfect results without relying on editing software. It’s a bit more expensive than many of its competitors($180), but will be well-worth the investment if you’re serious about podcasting.
Speaking of software, you’ll need something to edit your podcast with. Audacity is a great choice for audio-only podcasts, letting you tune the sound in a variety of ways, cut or add audio and reduce the overall size of the file. For video podcasts, you can give VirtualDub a try: it’s quite powerful at processing video files in many different formats and has evolved considerably over the years. It also has a good bit of audio-tweaking features as well. Both of these are easy to use despite a plethora of options – if you’re an experienced editor of sound and video files, though, a professional tool might be more to your fancy.
Lastly, it’s about getting your podcast out there. Other than revolutionarizing the way people buy and listen to music, iTunes also helps podcasters big and small reach their audience through the use of an easy interface. An alternative to iTunes comes in the form of Stitcher: it’s smaller, but no less useful to spread your podcast past just posting it on your website. Stitcher lets small(non-network) podcasters enter their partnership program, which could also provide a bit of additional revenue if your audience ends up being large enough.