Your checklist to produce a podcast from home

By Abhimanyu Mullick | Creative Production at JioSaavn

The recent past has witnessed an exponential growth in the audience for podcasts, as this trend continues, there has never been a better time for businesses, brands and individual content creators to start their own podcasts. With upgrades in technology and its increased access, creating a podcast has become easier than ever.  Here are some things to keep in mind before taking advantage of this exciting new medium of creative expression.

1) CONCEPT

To define the course your podcast will take over a period of time – It is important to answer two questions “What is my podcast about?”, and “Why am I starting it?”. 

2) FORMAT

Podcasts come in many different variations, so there is no one right answer when it comes to the correct format.. It’s important to decide which format suits your podcast most effectively, as well as being something you are comfortable with doing. Here are some common podcast formats with examples:

–   Interview (#NoFilterNeha, Talking Music with Kirthi Shetty)

–   Non-fiction (Working From Home, Millennial Kavi)

–   Fiction (#MeToo, Kahaani Express with Neelesh Misra)

–   News (BBC India Minute, NL Hafta)

–   Educational (Short Mein Samjha Na)

3) RECORD

Equipment required for podcasts is relatively simple and easy to use.. Here are three different options for microphones covering differing budgets and needs.

–   USB Microphone (Blue, Audio-Technica, Shure)

This is the best option for beginners with little experience in handling audio equipment.While the audio quality may not be as high as other options, it’s best suited for a show with a single voice or narrator.

–   Portable SD card recorders (Zoom H series, Sony, Tascam)

While this option eliminates the need for a laptop (except for transferring files), it also usually features very sensitive microphones which may reinforce unwanted background noises or poor room acoustics. It’s a great option if you’re a traveling podcaster as it’s the most portable.

–   Microphone + USB Soundcard

This setup mimics a studio setup but on a much smaller scale. The microphone connects to your soundcard via an XLR cable. While you will achieve high sound fidelity, it may be a little challenging for podcasters not familiar with audio equipment.

Once you have your equipment in place, you will require an audio software. This will be used for editing the audio, as well as recording it, if your setup includes a laptop. There are many different options to choose from, each with its own learning curves and pros & cons. Here are a few options for getting started:

– Audacity (Free, Mac OS/Windows)

– Garageband (Free, Mac OS and iOs)

– Reaper ($60, Mac Os, Windows)

Another essential piece of equipment is a good set of headphones. Laptop speakers will not divulge most of the issues in your audio and will also create feedback problems when you’re trying to record. Invest in a good pair of cans that sound good to you and are comfortable, as you’ll be using them throughout the production process.

4) LONG DISTANCE

During these unprecedented times of lockdown, many of us may find ourselves recording podcasts that require conferencing with individuals across the world. Luckily, there are plenty of sites offering recording while conferencing with decent audio quality. Services like Zoom, Zencastr and SquadCast offer solutions ranging from free to subscription-based depending on the quality and recording time.

5) EDIT

This is where you segment your audio, remove background noises and distractions, and if required, insert pre-recorded intros/outros and voiceovers. While it does require some patience and preparation, don’t let the process overwhelm you. We won’t be discussing editing in full detail here, but here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

–   Separate each speaker into their own track.

–   First edit the content, then edit the distractions.

–   Use notes to remember what you want to keep, and what you don’t.

–   Use Fades to transition between different recordings smoothly.

–   Don’t become an editor, keep the bigger picture in mind.

If you are unsatisfied with your edit or feel that it needs a professional touch, don’t hesitate in hiring an expert to help you with this process.

6) PACKAGE

This is the final presentation of your podcast choices of music, sound effects and show bumpers are made here. Bumpers give your podcast an audio signature at the start and end of the episode, which can help with identifying your podcast through repetition. When exporting your episode, use wav or mp3 (192 kbps or higher) audio formats for the best results.

7) METADATA

Metadata is the description of your podcast. A good episode description explains what your show is about in one paragraph. A good start would be to tell the reader what’s in it for them, so that it encourages people to subscribe to your show. Your show can have a generic description, along with descriptions for each individual episode. This is something that can always be changed at a later date so don’t take up too much time in trying to perfect it.

8) ARTWORK

. Ideally, your artwork should define what your show is about or be descriptive of the subject of your podcast. Your artwork is a part of your overall branding. It should be high-quality, and should be the same across all platforms, thus it is a good idea to design keeping various format sizes in mind.

9) PROMOTE

Arguably as important as producing your podcast, is promoting it. I Look for groups or blogs of people who may be interested in the topic of your podcast and telling them about it. If you think your podcast will be entertaining for your friends and family, share it with them too! It’s the easiest way to get your first listeners. Post your episodes on social media when they come out, and try giving short descriptions that may entice someone into clicking to hear more.

10)  CONSISTENCY

The last thing to keep in mind is to be consistent. Your podcast may not be successful from the very start, and it may not get as many listens as you hoped. Don’t let that bring you down, keep working at it and releasing episodes. With practice, your ability to produce your show will improve as will the quality of your content. Many podcasters give up too soon after launch thinking the show has failed. It’s essential to keep going for as long as you can in order to grow your audience and your brand.

RESOURCES

JioSaavn Podcasts & JioSaavn Podcasts Instagram

Recording/Editing SoftwareAudacity, Garageband and Reaper

Royalty Free Music/Sound EffectsAudioblocks, Audio Jungle and Freesound

Create Your Own ArtworkCanva

Equipment Reviews/PricesSweetwater

ConferencingZoom, Zencastr and SquadCast

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