Chris Brogan asked a while back how others do their podcasting, so I thought I'd share a few tips. Though it's not apparent now on this website, I used to do a podcast back in the day called the Financial Aid Podcast, and managed to crank out 937 episodes before moving on to the pure marketing world. I still podcast weekly with my friend John Wall on the Marketing Over Coffee podcast, which I encourage you to check out.
So what's the setup today, in 2013, 8 years after I first tried podcasting? It's remarkably similar. I shared some information about microphones recently, so I won't rehash that here except to say that the workhorse mic I use is the Blue Snowball. I'm on a Mac, so you'll have to make equivalence choices if you're not using a Mac.
The first step is to get clean audio. If I'm using Skype or Google+ Hangouts, I'll use Audio Hijack Pro to grab the audio. AHP is one of the best pieces of software to capture different audio sources on the Mac, because it lets you choose audio from specific sources. For example, if I'm recording a Google+ Hangout, AHP lets me seize audio just from the browser, which means you won't ever hear my email program beeping in the recording. If I'm recording solo, I'll just use Audacity.
Whatever I record in, the voice audio product has to be an AIFF or WAV file. The reason for this is that voice files need to be cleaned up extensively in order to sound consistent and good. There's a piece of software called the Levelator from the Conversations Network that is absolutely mandatory for the best quality audio. You take the raw voice recording, drop it in the Levelator, and what comes out sounds like magic. The only caveat is that only voice recordings can go into the Levelator. Put anything with music in there and it'll come out as audio salad.
A quick side note: people tend to listen to podcasts in the car or at the gym. That means they're in situations where they don't want to be fiddling with the volume controls all the time. Consistent volume is essential, and that's why you can't skip the previous step.
After that essential step, drop the voice files into Garageband, add some bumpers and calls to action, and publish out to an MP3.
Then upload to your favorite podcast hosting service or cloud storage service (we use Libsyn for Marketing Over Coffee, I use Amazon Web Services or Soundcloud if it's a one-off audio project) and link up the file on your blog, and you're done. (hit play to hear this blog post below)
The key to making podcasting seamless and easy is to have great workflow. Once you've done it a few times, it's a recipe you can execute over and over again with consistent quality.
In terms of cost, Skype is free online, as is Google+ Hangouts. Audio Hijack Pro will run you $32. Audacity is free. Garageband is free on the Mac, and costs $599 for Windows (but comes with a free Mac Mini). The Levelator is free. Libsyn starts at $5/month. Rawvoice's Blubrry is another good choice. Soundcloud's podcasting offering is about $9/month. AWS is pay as you go, so if your podcast never gets popular, it'll cost you pennies. My recommendation is that if you are serious about podcasting, use a podcasting service to do the hosting because it's all you can download for a fixed fee.
I hope this post is useful to you, and if you're so inclined, please check out the Marketing Over Coffee podcast.
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