Podcasts are all the rage these days, for reasons I discussed in a previous column. But how to break into the podcast game? The good news is anyone can do it with some basic equipment and simple know-how.
You need three main ingredients: computer, mic, and recording software.
Just about any modern computer — be it a desktop, tablet, or laptop — can record audio. There’s really no point wondering if your machine of choice can do it — the answer is “yes it can!” The real issue is whether or not it has a mic built into it. Many laptops have a built-in mic these days. This can be sufficient but won’t give you the kind of audio quality you need to be considered a truly professional podcaster.
A variety of external mics exist on the market, but my favourite by far is the Blue Yeti USB microphone. It’s affordable, looks impressive and includes a number of settings designed for different recording situations. You can’t go wrong with it.
A simple handheld digital recorder, the kind journalists use for interviews, can also be used to capture your audio. This can be useful for interviews done on the fly or at locations where it’s not practical to sit down and record using a computer.
Next the editing. The software question has a variety of answers. There are special pieces of software out there designed specifically for podcasts. I use an Apple laptop, which has GarageBand built into it, so that’s what I edit my podcasts with. It’s easy to figure out and contains numerous settings that make your podcast sound really great. You can also record your podcast right in your chosen piece of software or utilize audio you’ve captured on your recording device or audio that you recorded on a platform like Zoom or GoToMeeting.
The great thing about podcasts is they can be as simple or as complicated as you like. If you’re a beginner, obviously you want to keep it simple. As you learn, you can incorporate sound effects, music, and a variety of other bells and whistles that you can use to jazz things up.
Once you’re done, you can publish your podcast quite easily. If your website is WordPress-based, you can upload the audio file right to your site. A variety of podcast publishing platforms exist as well that you can tie directly into your website.
That might seem like a lot of info to digest, but once you jump in and start recording and editing, you’ll get the hang of it quite quickly. Want some more advice? Just contact me and I’ll help all I can!