Podcasting

Podcasting

As some of you may or may not know I have recently started podcasting. This is my reflection on the process thus far, and some advice for people interested in podcasting.

Now you may be saying, “Claire so far you have only actually published one podcast.” You’re right, I have only published one episode. I have recorded over 10 episodes just figuring out how to do it right and have done a lot of testing. I have put a lot of time into working on figuring out to podcast and I think my advice is still pretty accurate. This post is also about how we do it and my experiences with podcasting.

First, let’s start by saying how much I love podcasting. At first, I was a little bit hesitant, but when we actually started, I loved it. This is probably because of how much I love to talk. There is nothing I love more than an intelligent conversation. Now, with the podcast I have the ability to have a conversation about the things I am passionate about and about what is going on in the world. There is nothing like it. It is now one of my favorite mediums.

I have currently done around four episodes of Folding Stars (we didn’t upload two and one is being released on Friday) and I have already learned so much. I am now proficient in Garageband and know my way around iTunes and Soundcloud like the back of my hand. I have also learned a lot about audio and recording. These technical skills are very useful in the real world, especially if I want to go into technical theater or film. I also get to learn a lot about politics and pop culture through the research and discussion for the podcast. I learn something new every single time I record.

I put a tremendous amount of effort into this podcast. I do all the recording, editing, uploading and run most of the social media. This podcast is like my child and I take a lot of pride in it. I remember when I submitted the podcast to iTunes, I was super nervous. A person from Apple had to listen to my podcast and decide if it could go on the iTunes store or not. I was super nervous. I was texting my friend and freaking out, she thought it was adorable how much I was worrying about my podcast. Then I checked the status of the podcast and found that it was now on the iTunes store. I have never been more happy or excited in my life. I can’t really explain the feeling. It was a mix of happiness, pride, and relief. I know I’ve never felt that way about something before. MY work is on Apple Podcasts. Now people can listen to it and join us in the conversation. That is super exciting to me. My advice to you find something that makes you feel like that.

Now lets get technical. What do we use to record? The short answer my Dad’s old recording equipment. My dad used to run a recording studio so we use his old recording equipment. Now this is extremely impractical for most people. I would recommend just a good USB microphone and a pop filter. The only reason we use all this  equipment was because we already owned it. Honestly, you could probably get the same audio quality from a USB microphone. It would also be a lot easier to store and setup. Sarah’s room looks like a recording studio 24/7. We have a lot of trouble with our equipment (as beginners) and the only reason we are able to use this stuff is because we have our dad around for troubleshooting. If you aren’t ready to buy equipment just yet try using the onboard mics on your laptop or a gaming headset you already own. The onboard mics are surprisingly good on macs. We actually recorded a couple of episodes using them that were never released. Even if you have the best audio quality you won’t get anywhere without good content. Content is king, so don’t worry too much about the audio quality, but also make sure your audio quality doesn’t totally suck.

Most people use audacity to record because they have more control. But honestly it confuses me, so we just use Garageband or, gasp, the QuickTime player recorder. They get the job done so we don’t really care. Pro tip when recording, make sure you are using your external mics when recording or else it may record using your onboard mics. This has happened to us and we have had to re-record episodes because of it.

Editing. The struggle is real. Mostly because we mess up ALL THE TIME. It is also my job. Luckily, I actually enjoy editing a lot. The key to any podcast or movie is editing. You can erase all your mistakes. Garageband (or your editing software of choice) will become your best friend. Only sometimes are we able to get through without mistakes and you can also add sound effects later. If you have a mac I would recommend GarageBand because it is free and I am cheap.

Uploading. This took me forever to figure out. We use Soundcloud. Basically, what you’ve got to do is make an RSS feed. You could also make a website instead but we use Soundcloud because it is easy. If you are using Soundcloud, when you upload make sure you go to the preferences and make sure it is added to your RSS feed. The Soundcloud Creators guide is VERY helpful with this whole process and they can explain it a lot better than me. Now that you have your RSS feed and you have made sure your podcast fits iTunes’ specifications submit it here. Then wait. Apple should send you an email saying it was approved. I never got mine so check back at podcasts connect occasionally. Now bookmark podcasts connect, this is where you monitor your podcast at and update the podcast on the store. Yay you now have a podcast.

Now some advice. Start a twitter for your podcast. This way you can interact with your listeners and tell them when your podcast is coming out. Stay consistent, when you have a podcast figure out how long your podcast is gonna be and when you will upload it. For example, our Folding Stars is uploaded every Friday and is always around thirty minutes. Find a topic you are interested in, you need to talk about it a lot so you need to be passionate about it and you need to know what you are talking about. On Folding Stars we do a lot of research, especially on political topics. Don’t give up. If you are consistent and interesting there will be people who listen. Have fun. If you aren’t enjoying it don’t do it.

Wow, this suddenly turned into Podcasting 101. Even though I am pretty new to podcasts. I feel like this is pretty solid advice. I just don’t want you to be completely lost on your podcasting journey because at first it can be a little daunting. I’m sorry if you aren’t interested in learning how to Podcast. My hand slipped.

Overall I have had a really great experience podcasting. According to the 1K+ words in this post it is something I have become really passionate about.

Now to everyone, interested in podcasting or not. Find something that makes you feel excited. I can’t really explain the feeling but something that makes you feel like I do about podcasting. If you find something like that your life will be 1000x better.

Now if you are interested, please, do me a favor. Go to the Folding Stars Podcast on iTunes and have a listen. Then leave a review and/or a rating. The Folding Stars Team and I would really appreciate it.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so what would you like to hear us talk about on Folding Stars?

-Claire

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