As you think about what you want to discuss on your podcast, there are a few questions you should answer for yourself. Just because you can podcast, does not necessarily mean you should. So before you begin, ask yourself the following questions:
What is the topic of your podcast?
Between the different categories and types of podcasts, there is no limit to the potential subject one can produce a podcast about. Five popular types of podcasts and examples of them include:
What is the format of your podcast?
Will you be the only host or will you have a co-host? What is the style of your podcast? Expository or interview style, or something else entirely?
Who is your audience?
Let me help by being upfront. The wrong answer is everyone. You need to define your avatar. An avatar is the representation of your ideal audience member. For help in identifying your avatar, I recommend you visit Entrepreneur on Fire’s article - “Who is your avatar?”
Can you consistently produce a quality podcast?
While you can release episodes randomly and inconsistently, I would recommend against that. There are so many podcasts out there and even more new podcasts are being launched on a daily basis. That is a lot of podcast options for a listener. Listeners do not have time for podcasts that are updated infrequently. This does not mean you have to release a podcast every day - it just means it should be consistent. Whether you decide to release monthly, biweekly, weekly, or daily, be sure you have enough material to produce episodes for that consistency and are able to meet that type of production schedule.
To record your podcast, you will need a recording device with a microphone, and if your podcast is video-based, a camera. You can record using a mobile device, a computer, or a hand-held recorder. You may notice a difference in audio quality based on the recorder used.
For mobile devices, you will need to record using an app that allows you to capture audio and/or video.
For computers, you will need software to capture the audio/video. Many podcasters use Skype to allow for multiple people (guests and/or cohosts) to join the conversation, but Skype does not capture the audio. To record your conversation you will need a third-party software like Call Recorder for Skype (Mac) or Pamela (PC).
Editing a podcast episode, while optional, is highly encouraged and recommended. In the process of recording, any number of issues can arise such as, audio quality issues, silence and pauses, a large number of um’s and uh’s, etc.
Some podcasts add extra sound clips to their recording to create a more developed end audio product. These clips could include sound effects for use between segments, a theme song, an intro, an outro, voicemail, etc.
Editing your podcast can be done using tools like Audacity or Adobe Audition or it can be outsourced.
Once your podcast episode is where you want it, it is time to send your episode to a distributor or podcast host. There are a number of podcast hosting services offering a multitude of features. Most podcast hosts have paid-only options, however there are a handful that provide a free hosting option. Before signing with any one podcast host, be sure to do your research.
Arguably the most important thing about distributing your podcast, is your RSS feed. You need to decide how you want to create your podcast specific RSS feed. Your podcast host will provide you with an RSS feed, and you have the option to use that. You also have the option of creating your own RSS feed by using a third-party feed maker like Google Feedburner.
Usually the issue of whether your RSS feed is your own or if it is through a podcast host arises when you are switching podcast hosts or
The Audacity to Podcast discusses both the benefits of owning your own feed and the downside of owning your own feed.
A podcast player or podcatcher takes the information from the RSS feed it receives and presents the episodes to the listener. It is up to the producer to decide which players they want their episodes to be available on for their listeners.
iTunes and Stitcher are the two most popular and often used podcast players, but in order for your podcast to be available for a listener, you need to submit your RSS feed to each of those players. As for other podcast players, many do not need you to take the extra step of submitting a podcast to them, but some do. You should do your research if you want your podcast to be available on specific podcast players. The other type of podcast player is the one that is embedded into the website of a podcast.
Common features you will find in podcast players are the ability to review the listing of episodes for a podcast, playing the podcast, and reviewing the show description, which more often than not may hold extra information regarding that specific episode.
This is why you have to take some time to decide what it is you want your listeners’ experience to be. The bottom line is, how do you want listeners to play your podcast episodes?