Podcasts are now a very popular way for people to consume content and stay informed on a wide range of topics. It’s not hard to fathom why. Similar to radio broadcasts, podcasts are cool digital channels of entertainment. The significant difference is that people can listen to podcasts on various platforms, at any time. Consider some of these great pointers below if you’re a beginner fascinated with podcasting and have no idea how to start a podcast.
What Is A Podcast And How Does It Work?
To put it briefly, a podcast is an audio or video file accessible on the web for either streaming or downloading. It is pre-recorded; unlike radio broadcasts, you can listen to or replay podcasts on the go, at work, while cooking, etc. Either on smartphones or computers. Podcasts are episodic and this makes it easy for users to stream them whenever they want. When users also subscribe to podcasts, these episodes can be automatically sent in installments. Immediately a new series is published, they’re distributed to the various platforms the user subscribed to.
Aside from learning, and entertainment, podcasts are great avenues for organizations and entrepreneurs to promote their businesses, services, or products. Brands utilize podcasts to reach and connect with their target audiences as well as to drive engagement.
Who Can Start A Podcast?
Can anyone start a podcast? Yes, anyone can start a podcast. There is no specific group who are assigned the role of podcasting. Neither are there particular layouts, rules, or platforms for podcasting. All that is required is the right physical and digital tools, as well as a platform to host the podcast. You know the old saying ‘go with your guts’? There’s no better place to apply it than podcasting. Those who are interested in starting a podcast don’t require manuals on the kind of topics they wish to talk about. They simply find the topics that fascinate them, choose the podcast equipment, and get weaving.
With that squared away, let’s move on to the various platforms for podcasting, the necessary equipment, and a guide for beginner podcasters.
First, start by knowing the different podcasting platforms for uploading audio or video content. They’re called podcast hosts and allow podcasters to upload and distribute podcast series. Podcast host providers are either freemium or premium. Monetized hosting platforms offer different pricing plans depending on bandwidth, storage, and analytics. And typically provide tools for podcasters to upload, manage, and publish episodes, as well as to generate RSS feeds and statistics on listener engagement. Some of the popular hosting platforms for podcasts include:
Meanwhile, another platform where podcast listeners search or discover these uploaded podcasts is the podcast directory. After searching for information about desired podcasts, users can subscribe and start listening to their favorite podcasts. Here are examples of podcast directories:
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
It is imperative to emphasize that some platforms can be podcast hosts as well as podcast directories. Meaning people can upload on the platform and search or listen to their favorite podcasts at the same time. Examples of podcast platforms that are both hosts and directories are YouTube and SoundCloud. A set of people on YouTube for instance are uploading videos, another group is just there to watch them.
Tech Items You’ll Need To Start A Podcast
While you don’t need to rob a bank to start a podcast, it’s really important to go for podcast equipment that gives your podcasts good quality. Essentially, there are lots of cool tech items for podcasting, some are physical items, and others are virtual. Depending on your budget, we’ll be reviewing a few of them.
A good microphone is the first thing a podcaster will need to start a podcast. There are also a few key factors to consider before purchasing a microphone for podcasting. The audio quality for one; you need a microphone that gives life to your content. People will abandon your podcast if the audio quality is bad.
Another thing to consider is how cost-effective, and easy to use the microphone is. if you get a gizmo that you’re not quite familiar with or that takes a long time to get acquainted with, it’ll end up stressing you. Most microphones are built into a computer and usually can’t capture sounds, which is why beginner podcasters should steer clear of them.
Getting a good microphone depends on your budget or what you hope to achieve with it. There are tons of affordable microphones available in the market for podcasting with good audio quality instead. Here are some of them; Audio-Technica AT2020, Blue Yeti USB Microphone, Rode Procaster, etc.
You need a good pair of headphones before you start a podcast. Headphones are important for recording and editing content; you can monitor the audio quality of your podcast and make necessary adjustments. Also, a headphone is great when conducting interviews with guests on your podcasts. Some good headphones for podcasting are Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro, Sony WH-1000XM4, Sennheiser HD 660 S, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, Shure SRH440, etc.
A boom arm is another cool item you need to start a podcast. It’s an adjustable stand attached to a microphone that swivels in different directions. You can adjust it to the position you want to record your podcast in. The boom arm is also called a boom pole or arm stand.
A shock mount keeps the microphone steady and prevents external noises, or vibrations when recording. That web-like thing clamped around the microphone in the image above for instance is a shock mount. It comes in different shapes and designs and is designed to hold the mic in place. Some good shock mounts for beginner podcasters include Sabra Som SSM-1, LyxPro MKS1-B Condenser Spider Microphone Shockmount, Rycote 44901 Invision USM, etc.
Pop filters help to eliminate plosives—the popping sounds you make while recording. They also improve the audio quality of a podcast and are pretty much inexpensive. Most people confuse pop filters with foam balls or foam covers. The difference between a pop filter and a foam ball or cover is that pop filters eliminate harsh popping sounds while a foam ball is a covering that reduces external sounds or vibrations, but it does not remove the plosives. Good pop filters to purchase if you want to start a podcast are Shure PS-6 Popper Stopper, Nady MPF-6, etc.
Today, podcasts are not just limited to audio only, there are video podcasts as well. This is where a good video camera comes to play. Depending on your budget and the quality of content you wish to produce, you can use camcorders, webcams, DSLR cameras, or even smartphones. There are varieties of video camera brands to choose from such as Sony FDR-AX43, Nikon COOLPIX B500, Panasonic HC-VX981K, etc.
This device allows you to connect your microphone or other audio equipment to a computer. It has mixing software, a converter, amplifiers, etc that gives your audio better sound quality. Some audio interfaces you can use to start a podcast include Midiplus Smartface II Audio Interface, MOTU 8pre USB, etc.
A Digital Audio Workstation or recording software is great for audio podcasts and helps to record and edit your audio. They come with other cool features and impressive effects that provide better audio quality. There is free and paid recording software available for podcasters. Example Adobe Audition, Audacity, GarageBand, etc.
You need a good lighting setup when you’re starting a podcast and in most cases, natural light won’t cut it. You’ll need ring lights, LED lights, 3-point lights, etc. Here are some of the best lighting for video podcasts. For LED light one good option is the Aputure Amaran HR672 LED lighting kit. For the 3-point you can use the CFL lighting kit. And lastly, for ring lights, you might consider the Joby Beamo 12-inch ring Light.
Last but not least equipment you’ll need to start an audio podcast is a digital recorder. Some of the affordable ones are ZHKUVE Rechargeable Sound Audio Recorder, DYW Portable Digital Voice Recorder, etc