Podcasting 101: all you need to know before starting your podcast

From Brexit to how to make the perfect Sunday roast, there is one for everything  you can think of.

Podcast is the new heat wave in broadcasting, and it looks like it’s here to stay.

According to a report published by the Office of Communication (OFCOM), in September 2019, there are 7.1 million Britons that listen to one podcast each week. That is 1 in 8 people, which is an increase of 24% over the past year and double over the last 5 years.

“It’s the rebirth of audio” says broadcast journalist and Birmingham City university head of journalism: Marverine Duffy.

According to OFCOM , YouTube is the second  most used platform to listen to podcasts after BBC websites and apps.

But what’s exactly is a podcast?

A podcast is an audio recorded show composed by a series of episodes. They are easily accessible, as you can listen them from your PC, your smartphone and even on a smart speaker through different platforms such as: YouTube, Spotify, BBC Podcasts etc.

Their recent popularity and the fact that everybody and their mum is listening to at least one, might make it seem like podcasts are a “new” thing, but this assumption is incorrect.

Podcasts have been around for 15 years; the word itself, was accidentally first coined in 2004, when journalist Ben Hammersley, had to write one more sentence to meet a deadline for an article he was writing for The Guardian.  By combining the words “iPod” and “broadcast” he came out with podcast. iPod’s, which I am sure Millennials and GenX’s still remember, were the device that people would use to download podcasts and music and listen to them at their convenient time.

However, they started to receive a bit more of attention in 2012, after Apple created a podcast library app for iPhone.

Technology has played a big part is making podcast more popular among youngsters.

In a report published by OFCOM in September 2018, 49% of podcasts listeners are under 35, while only 29% of under 35’s listen to radio. The report stated that young adults aged between 15 and 24 are the most avid podcast listeners with 1 in 5 (18.7) that listen to a podcast every week.

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iPod was the first device used to listen to podcasts

“I think young people prefer podcasting to radio for few different reasons. Its more accessible as every young person has a mobile and podcasts can be more easily accessed than most radio stations.

With podcasts, young people can find topics that they can relate to as with radio there are only few channels that currently exists to serve young people well. Podcast has also more appeal than radio, as appears to be old fashioned and podcasting is the “new cool” thing. Says blogger and founder of Trusting The Process podcast, Debra Oludare.

However, Represent Radio presenter Glory Beyi said:

“I don’t think podcast is taking over radio because they are two different experiences. In radio, radio presenters are having an intimate experience with one person at the time even when there are thousands of listeners. A podcast at the other hand is a “fly on the wall” conversation with the person.

Podcast episodes can always be listened and still make sense, radio at the other hand deals with current facts, the news of today. They are two different great things” she added.

I had the chance to have a one on one, with blogger and Trusting the Process podcast founder Debra Oludare about the importance of podcasting and its challenges.

What makes podcasting so special and why do you think “everyone” is launching a podcast?

“I think the beauty of podcasting is that it allows us to use our voices to tell our own stories. For so long we have only been able to digest storytelling – whether through TV, radio or other forms. But what’s exciting about podcasting is that it is a new way to content create. It is accessible and it’s available to all. Being an audible platform as a listener- the appeal is that you can listen whatever, wherever whilst doing other things (i.e. driving) if you wish. Which is ideal for a generation who are often occupied and busy.

I think a lot of people are launching podcasts now for few different reasons:

  1. It’s trending!
  2. Representation – with podcasting such a diverse platform, different cultures and people are able to see themselves in it. This representation empowers us to believe that we can too.
  3. Storytelling – we want to be the authors of our won stories. Podcasting is just another way to share what matters to us with our communities.

Most listeners don’t know what goes on behind the scene, but is it easy as it looks like, to launch and host a podcast? And is it worth the hustle?

“With podcasting you need to decide to get out from your own way! There are loads of online resources that can teach you step by step how to start. (Google is amazing). I think, continuing, consistently for me has been the hardest challenge. Coming up with new ideas, keeping the momentum and continually engaging an audience are some challenges any podcaster may encounter but it is entirely worth it. When you are able to see the impact that your content can have on others, that fuels you to keep going.”

Top 5 things you should consider before setting up a podcast:

  1. What’s the purpose?
  2. Who’s your audience?
  3. What equipment do you need?
  4. How do you promote yourself?
  5. How do you stay consistent?

What’s the purpose of your podcast?

Identifying your why, will not only keep you motivated when things are not going so great, but it will also help you to understand the people you might be doing this for.

When I asked the founder of FabWoman Podcast Marverine Duffy the aim of her podcast here is what she said:

“The aim of FabWoman Podcast was to give women more of a voice. I have met and know lots of interesting professional women, and I know they know others with stories too. I wanted to help them with their confidence around speaking to the media and to give them a chance to promote their own charities or business.”

Who’s your audience?

The second big question you need to ask yourself is: who are you making this podcast for?

After understanding your aim and knowing the direction you want your podcast to take, knowing the type of people you are making this for is important.

If your topic is Brexit for example, you know that many people that have an interest in politics would be interested, but also EU residents in UK would like to know in which ways they are going to be affected by this political climate.

A good practise to adopt while planning an episode would to create a listener persona. Try to imagine the type of person that would be interested in the information that you are releasing. How do they look like? What’s their daily activities? This will help you to be focus in creating engaging content for your audience and hardly lose your track.

What equipment do you need?

gray ad black condenser microphone
Image by Jonathan Farber

You will be glad to know, that you don’t necessary need expensive machineries to record or edit your podcast.

If you are on a budget, a laptop with inbuilt microphone and internet access are enough for you to start recording. However, rumour has it, that a bad sound puts off people from listening to any audio, so you might want to take that into consideration and invest in a simple microphone headset such as the Sennheiser PC8.

With editing, there are few great programmes that you can get for an affordable subscription plan such as Adobe Audition and Alitu. But again, if you are trying to cut all costs, Audacity is a great podcast editing programme that you can get for free, and in case you have a Mac, Garangeband is a great editing tool installed by default on your pc.

How do you stay consistent?

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Set a reminder

The most annoying thing is an inconsistent content creator. People lose interest easily if you don’t keep them engaged. But consistency can be a challenge sometimes. Juggling life, having a job and podcasting altogether can be quite overwhelming.

A good practise would be to set up a podcast calendar that will alert you about when you should be recording an episode, when you should be editing and when to release it.

Try to stick to what you can normally release on a regular basis. But remember that quality is always better than quantity. You can upload every month, but if what you produce is good, your audience would still be very happy.

Promote yourself

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Twitter and Instagram are you free promotion friends

Lastly but not least, you need to learn how to promote yourself. Social media is a great tool to let the public know about your amazing content. it’s free, efficient and easy.

Create a page for your podcast on your preferred social media platform, and let your friends and family share, retweet and like. You will be amaze on how far a retweet can make your podcast go.

 

If you had any doubts about starting a podcast, I hope this article has given you enough reason for you to start.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/features-and-news/rise-of-podcasts – used for data information on podcast.

www.thepodcasthost.com/planning – used to know equipment needed for a podcasts,

https://www.castos.com/podcast-editorial-calendar used to know a a practical way that can help podcasters to stay consistent.

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