This morning I had the wonderful privilege to be on Donna Maria’s awesome Indie Business Radio show and when we got to talking about podcasting I said that it was about time I wrote an updated Podcasting 101 post and thus…
I started podcasting about a year after I started blogging. My “Walk About Podcasts” were pretty good, considering I didn’t edit and I had no clue about recording or cleaning up audio files, but hey that was then…
Today I use a Blue Snowball USB-microphone with Apple’s GarageBand (and I actually understand a little about audio engineering now) to record my podcasts and some of my voice-over work for screencasts. To get started podcasting you don’t need fancy software or equipment, you just need a microphone and (if you don’t have a Mac with GarageBand) Audacity to record and export to MP3. Yep, pretty much that simple for starters.
Let’s talk mics first. If you have a laptop with a webcam built-in, chances are you have a microphone built-in as well. Now, the onboard mic is fine to start with, but the recording quality isn’t the greatest. It’s not your fault, the onboard mics are designed to catch sound in a pretty wide cone around the front of your laptop, so there can be a lot of background noise. That and you aren’t going to be sitting terribly close to the mic, well you might be okay with the results for a short bit. To get started, I’d suggest a basic headset mic. I would choose a USB version over a one with the plugin jacks, but there is little difference between the quality. Note: Mac users, pick USB..the audio in line on most Macs doesn’t work the way you’d expect (it requires power I’m told). Expect to pay about $20-30 for a decent headset.
Yes you can get a mic that sits on your table, but unless you’re used to working with mics, you might find it hard to get consistent recordings. Using a headset mic the mic part is going to be close to your mouth all the time (it should be about two-fingers width away from your mouth). Part of the secret to good recordings is keeping the mic close and speaking clearly. That and relaxing and a glass of water, but I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s switch gears to software…
I’ve used an arsenal of tools over the years to record podcasts, but I really like GarageBand for the number of great, professional tweaks I can use. Oh, right, 101… Okay when you start up GarageBand pick the Podcast option, create the file and click the vocal track you want. When you’re ready, click record.
Let’s switch gears to Audacity.
It works essentially the same way as GarageBand, click the Record button and a new track will be created. Don’t forget that mic check…
Once you have recorded your first podcast (try for less than 5 minutes to start), you’re going to need to export it to an MP3 file. For Audacity, this is under the File menu and choose Export. Pick MP3 from the list. For GarageBand it’s under the Share menu and choose Export Podcast to Disk.
Now that you have this MP3 file on disk, you’re going to need to upload it somewhere so other people can listen to it. Sorry, YouTube is for video only. The only free podcasting service that I know of is PodBean, now if you already have a website you can upload the file there (this is what I do and have done for years). Listening?
If you’re using most blogging platforms you can link to the file just like any other file, now if you are on WordPress you can use the PowerPress plugin from Blubrry which will do all the hard work for you and help you get your feed ready for iTunes. But that’s for another post.
Yes, condensing a Podcasting lesson into one post is rather a lot, but here’s a video that might help:
I couldn’t cover everything in this post, so if you want more you can always buy my book … 😀
The music in the podcast is Mighty Mullane from my friend Derek Miller