In searching for ways to improve the SEO and Google search rankings for my website and blogs I came across a video on YouTube called ‘Why You Should Create A Podcast Within 90 Days!’
This video was actually a convention presentation by Cliff Ravenscraft, who after starting to podcast as a hobby on the topic of his favorite TV show Lost, became a podcasting consultant and is now known as ‘The Podcast Answer Man’.
I found the presentation quite interesting and decided that I would give podcasting a try. Besides, I’ve always dreamt of being a radio show host or working in the field of broadcasting, so I figured that podcasting would allow me the perfect opportunity to come as close to that as I could get. And if at the same time it could generate more traffic to both my website and blogs I’d be all the merrier. In other words, for Jade Sambrook there would be nothing lost in trying it out.
I vehemently started watching YouTube videos on how to podcast, on what equipment to use and on how to create an RSS feed for a podcast so that it could be submitted to the iTunes directory, among others.
There were many recommendations on YouTube about podcasting microphones, with cheap options for beginners all the way to more expensive options for the seasoned and serious podcasting pro. As a beginner I figured that I would settle – like many other podcasters – on the Blue Yeti USB condenser microphone. I immediately went to my local Best Buy electronics store and purchased one.
However, the problem with condenser microphones is that they pick-up every single sound, from the computer fan where the USB cable is plugged-in to every single breath that you take. Furthermore, my Blue Yeti microphone just so happened to be defective as it would add distortion and echo to the sound recording. I worked with the Blue Microphones technical support team to try to find a solution, but in the end they simply told me that I would need a replacement. Unsatisfied with this microphone, I simply brought it back to the store for a refund.
In shopping around for a new microphone at a musical instrument store, the salesperson confirmed what I had learned about condenser microphones and recommended that I go with a dynamic microphone that plugs into a mixing board through an XLR cable. This is when I remembered that I had both a mixing board and a dynamic microphone that I had purchased years ago and that were now relegated to collecting dust in a closet. It was case closed on the microphone front as there would be no need to fork out any money to get a new one. Life just works in wonderful ways sometimes!
I went home and set-up the mixing board and plugged in my dynamic microphone. The only thing missing was a microphone stand and a pop filter to avoid any popping sounds, which typically happen when pronouncing words with the letters p and b. I headed back to the musical instrument store and purchased a basic microphone stand for $35 and a microphone foam cover (pop filter) for $5. I figured that these basic items were sufficient and that I would simply buy a more expensive microphone stand and pop filter down the road, if and when I was certain to continue with podcasting.
I listened to a few podcasts to get a general feel of how they are produced. I noticed that many folks had a professional sounding intro to their podcasts and that some even had radio type jingles and bumpers. I therefore found a voice actor on the Fiverr website to voice my intro. As you may know, each service on the Fiverr website is only $5, hence the name Fiverr. It was well worth it for me since I ended up with a great voice intro from a woman with a British accent, and for only five dollars to boot! I also found royalty free intro and outro music on the audiojungle website for about $14.
With everything set-up I recorded my first podcast. Following this I proceeded with some post processing in Adobe Audition, as in adding the intro and outro music, the voice intro and editing out any dead space or infamous ”ums”. Many podcasters use free audio editing software called Audacity, but since I already had Adobe Audition I figured that I might as well use that. Besides, I am a big fan of Adobe products.
Also, many podcasters recommend using an external digital sound recorder with an audio control panel (sound cart) like Bossjock or Soundbyte. These sound carts allow you to play your intro and outro music, interviews, jingles, bumpers, sound effects and any other audio while on the go and all while the external digital recorder does its job of recording the whole show. This avoids the need for any post-production editing since everything is already put together on the spot, as if you were conducting a live radio broadcast.
Unfortunately an external digital recorder is not free and will generally cost a good $200. Again, since I am only starting out and I am still unsure as to whether or not I will continue with podcasting in the long-term, I could not justify spending a couple hundred dollars on an external digital recorder. On the other hand, if podcasting is something that I do continue with in the long-term, then I will most likely purchase an external digital recorder along with a better quality and more expensive mic stand and pop filter.
Another part of the process was to create ID3 tags using an ID3 tag editor. Just like a compact disk, the ID3 tags add information such as artist, episode name, copyright and cover art. This information is what is displayed when people play your podcast or see it in a podcast directory.
As recommended in the various YouTube videos that I watched, it is imperative not to upload the podcast directly to your website, because if it ever goes viral, your website will not be able to handle the traffic and you will most likely have your website suspended by your website hosting provider. I’m pretty sure that my podcast will never go viral, but then again as they say, you never know, right? As recommended, I paid for a podcast hosting account with Libsyn and promptly uploaded my first podcast episode. I then created an RSS feed for my podcast using Feedburner, which I then submitted to the most common podcasting directories – Blubrry, iTunes and Stitcher.
While it was instantly available on Blubrry, both iTunes and Stitcher need to approve your podcast before it is available in their directory. It took about a week from the time I submitted my Feedburner RSS feed before I finally received an email from both iTunes and Stitcher informing me that my podcast had been approved and was now available in their podcast directory.
While the podcast is available on my website, it is actually a Feedburner RSS link to my Libsyn account, meaning that no matter how many times people listen to it on my website, it is actually taking the bandwidth from my Libsyn podcast hosting service as opposed to my website hosting service.
In the end it has been a very fun and great experience so far. I am already looking forward to producing my second episode and I am also looking forward to seeing where things will go from here. Maybe that dream of being a radio show host or working in broadcasting just came true for Jade Sambrook, only in a different kind of way.
Should you have the opportunity, I invite you to listen to my introductory podcast episode by clicking here.