146: Podcasting Essentials To Start Your Own Show
Podcasting has been a booming market for more than half a decade now, and it shows no signs of slowing down. For host Marcus Thane Ringler, starting a podcast is just a matter of doing it. Of course, you do need to pay attention to certain technicalities, such as hardware and software, launching platforms, and others, which Marcus details in this episode. However, the most important thing is to really connect with your “why” and start doing your thing with a clear sense of purpose. If you are looking to have your voice heard by starting your own show, this episode is a must-listen.
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Podcasting Essentials To Start Your Own Show
This is a show all about learning how to live a good life. We believe that it takes living with intention in the tension. Life has many tensions that we get the chance to live in the middle of daily and we believe intentionality, infusing intention into all that we do is the best way to face those tensions and we get to do that together as a community. Thanks for reading and being a fellow Up & Comer. We are glad you were here. I am excited to share some thoughts with you about a common question that I get and that is, “Thane, how did you start a podcast?” That is what we’re going to be talking about.
Before we get to starting a podcast, I want to encourage you to help our show and there are three easy ways. The first is leaving a rating and review on iTunes. The second is sharing the show or an episode of the show with your community through the socials or by texting some friends. Three, by supporting us financially through Patreon or reaching out to us at TheUpAndComersShow@Gmail.com and seeing if a partnership may make sense. We love supporting businesses that align with what we are about so reach out if that’s on your radar.
I wanted to read a rating and review left by MLWoodward. It says, “Encouraging and Uplifting,” as a title. MLWoodward says, “I love the interviews that Thane has with his guests. Each episode is well-crafted and gives the readers the encouragement to the journey they’re on. I also love that the show has changed up to include different styles and stories. I can’t wait to check out more of the show.” Thank you for that sweet review, MLWoodward. If you want yours read on air, head over to Apple Podcasts or iTunes as it’s formerly known and leave us a rating review. That’d be a sweet way to help us out. Thank you for that.
How To Start A Podcast
The topic of the day is podcasting, “How to start a podcast?” One of the most frequent questions or inquiries that I get is, “I’m thinking of starting a podcast, I’m looking for some advice or direction on how to do that and what it takes. Can you help me out?” I love helping people out, but when you have the same conversation over and over again, it’s usually a good sign that you might want to record that and share it a little more broadly. That light bulb moment comes on, that was especially for me. Podcasting has been in growing space for the past few years. The boom isn’t slowing down either with over 32% of Americans over the age of twelve are tuning into shows. What I love about that statistic is that it shows there is still plenty of room for growth and a remaining large portion of the population who hasn’t joined the movement quite yet. This is why I always recommend and encourage others who are thinking of starting a podcast to do it.
Similar to Chandler’s advice on writing a book, you can see the previous episode number 145 featuring Chandler Bolt, whose whole business is based on helping people write books. Starting a podcast will bless not only you but those who listen to it. It may be a rough go a bit at the start, but the best way to learn about something is by doing it. Along the way, you are sure to learn a lot about yourself, about communicating well, about the topic at hand and much more. I always encourage people to do it. The same with writing a book like Chandler says, “The majority of people want to write a book. That’s something on their bucket list.” Having gone through that once I gained so much by going through the process that I would recommend it to anyone. If you want to write a book, do it. If you want to start a podcast, do it. You’re going to gain by the process of doing it. Regardless of what the fruit or result of it is, it will be a blessing to you and hopefully to others.
The natural question that follows is, “How do I do it? How do I start a podcast?” What I like to always start with first is, why are you wanting to do a podcast? What is your purpose or reason for starting a show? These are the all-important questions that provide the underlying foundation and motivation to push us through the inevitable obstacles found in any journey, but especially in one that you’ve never traveled down before. Some possibilities, is it for the purpose of self-learning and discovery? Is it to share a piece of yourself or your knowledge with a community of friends, fans or interested listeners? Is it to get to meet other inspiring people and unpack their stories through interviews? Is it to make money or is it to attract a large following?
There are lots of reasons people are motivated to create and produce a podcast and all have worth and value. The important thing is to find what’s valuable to you. Since you are the one who’s going to be putting in the work, how you answer the first question of why determines which path you take. Nowadays, there are podcasting companies similar to media houses, book publishers or TV streaming providers who offer a slew of podcasts and are able to capture larger portions of the market right out of the gates due to their notoriety. Their marketing capacity, their quality of production, and the size of listenership they already have and the size of their budgets. Some examples of these are Wondery or Gimlet, even NPR, etc.
Pitching shows to bigger conglomerates like these is not a bad strategy, if you’re looking to reach as many people as possible or land a job doing what you love. This will be highly competitive and without a unique or compelling hook or selling point, it won’t likely produce the fruit you were looking for. The other route that Adam and I chose is to go the DIY path, the Do-It-Yourself path. This is a great path to take and here in 2020, there are many more tools and resources that you can use and leverage to help you get up and running for low costs and with ease of use.Starting a podcast will bless not only you but also those who will listen to it. Click To Tweet
To get started, there are only three things that you need, one, a microphone, two, a host and three, some type of editing software. The fourth optional one is a website. Let’s hit all of these briefly. The first one is the microphone, what I recommend if you want to operate on a minimal budget is to start with a USB mic. The one that I use and have since the beginning is the Blue Yeti microphone. It’s about $130, and it does a great job of getting good quality audio at a low cost and is efficient and easy to use. Anybody can figure it out and plug it into their computer and it’s easy. Check that out. We also have use the Blue Snowball and that one is a little bit lower price point. It’s around $60 or $70 on Amazon, not quite as good of audio quality because you can’t adjust the settings, you have to do it from your computer. That’s a downer, but still a good option if you want to go even cheaper. You can go all the way up to thousands of dollars. I have some friends, Chad and Gabe, who had the Røde, you’ll know the brand I’m thinking of, but they have a sweet setup. That includes a whole audio board that’s easy to use and it comes with four mics. It was a great setup if you have more money to spend. I enjoyed getting to record one on that. That’s a good option. Tim Ferriss has a lot of resources on the microphones that he uses. If you have a bigger budget, I would look into that.
The second thing you need to get started is a host. A host is simply a site that will house and distribute the episodes that you produce. There are many options on this front as well. The one that I am most familiar with and that I’ve used since the beginning is the OG in the space. It’s titled Liberated Syndication. It’s called Libsyn, you can google them and find more about their website and they have all the information there. Simply put, they allow you to pay a monthly fee anywhere from $5 or $10, up to maybe $50 depending on how big of a show you have or how much data you’re uploading each month. We started at the $15 one, now we’re at the $20 plan, which gives us 250 megabytes of audio to upload each month. After that month, it is automatically archived. You don’t have to pay for storing. They store it indefinitely for you. It’s a great feature there. They do a great job because they distribute to all podcasting platforms.
If there’s a platform that plays podcasts, whether it be Apple, Google, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, you name it, there’s a lot of them out there and Overcast is another one. Whatever the platform that plays podcasts, Libsyn will distribute the episode to each one of those. That’s an important part of having a podcast. There are other options. I wouldn’t be familiar with all of them because I haven’t done a lot of research this year or the last year. It’s been years since we did ours. Look up Libsyn, a great Google search would be, “Libsyn competitors, Liberated Syndication competitors,” and compare pricing and storage. The thing you want to look for is how much storage can you upload? How many megabytes or gigabytes can you upload each month? It will take a little bit of figuring out how much you produce content-wise with your podcast and then look at does it archive it and does that cost. Also, look at where it distributes to. Those are the keys to look for a host.
The fourth point that you need to get started that’s optional is a website. Sometimes if you don’t have a website, you can pick a host that will offer a free web plugin page to host, not only your podcasts but have a website front for it. Libsyn for sure does that, I know other companies do as well. That’s something to look into. If you already do have a website, the other thing to look into is, does your host connect to that website well? That’s another avenue to explore. The third thing you need to get started is some type of editing software. If you are an Apple user like myself, you automatically have GarageBand. GarageBand is a great place to edit podcasts and that’s what I used for the first couple of years when I was still editing all the episodes. It’s a great tool. It takes a little bit of time to get familiar with anything and once you get accustomed to it, easy to use and understandable and it does a great job, giving you the tools that you need to edit your show.
You can also do a lot of research on different audio levels and settings within that, but to simply edit it and make sure you can cut out what you need to cut out and keep in what you need to keep in, GarageBand is a great place for Apple users. If you’re not an Apple user, one of the programs that are recommended the most is probably Audacity. You can download it for free. If not, it may charge a small amount, but it’s another great comparable option to GarageBand, especially for non-Mac users. As I mentioned before, that’s great for editing, clipping, trimming and moving, and all the things you need for your audio with an introduction, outros, music or whatever you have. You may want to look into the best levels or audio settings to adjust the sound so that it sounds professional. Raw is not a bad option, but there are always ways to level up your sound quality.
One of the programs that I like using while I was still editing for the first couple of years was this website called Auphonic. They offer auto leveling software. You upload your audio and they’re able to automatically level your sound levels and apply some cleaning up to the background noise to eliminate it and make it sound cleaner as a whole. It’s an affordable option. They give you a certain amount of free each month, which isn’t much. You can pay for a lump amount, which is what we did, and then go based on how much you use or you can pay for recurring amounts. It’s an affordable option if you don’t want to mess with figuring it out yourself or hiring others to help with cleaning up your sound or audio.How you answer your “why” determines which path you take. Click To Tweet
That is the baseline, the three things that you need, a microphone, a host and some type of editing software. That’s it. The rest is the legwork you need to get started to figure out the different ways to upload your different rhythms and practices along with producing your podcast. When we launched our podcast back in 2016, iTunes was the main podcasting platform. As a result, the ratings and reviews were a big deal and they still are. If you haven’t left a rating and review yet for our show first, go leave one now. It does help us a lot and it takes 1 to 2 minutes.
In the podcasting world, there are numerous podcasting players from Apple to Google, to Spotify, to Stitcher, to Overcast, iHeartRadio and all these options and more have reduced the impact of ratings, reviews, and the impact they can have through the Apple system, even though they’re still important. Apple, in particular, has a New and Noteworthy section that allows new shows with lots of interests to be found by new listeners, and typically this is a 1 to 3-month window and it’s important to capitalize on if you want to grab a larger swath of the market.
Why The Launch Is Important
For our show, we didn’t do a good job of doing this when we started and it’s one of the things I regret not hitting harder. This is why the launch is one of the most important times for listener acquisition if you want a business term. What is recommended for the launch is starting with three episodes at once for when the podcast goes live and then having several more in the queue. If you can have about five episodes recorded before you go live, this will give you a nice start with a little bit of cushion and that’s what I would recommend for most people.
The one caveat to this is what you determined for your frequency of episodes. There are two main subdivisions of podcasts, either seasonal or periodical. Seasonal podcasts are shows that have a set number of episodes in each season with the option to do as many seasons that you’d like. Season one has twelve episodes per se and then you take a break and if you want to another season two with twelve more. This is a great option for those who want to do the show for a time but don’t want to have it producing episodes indefinitely.
On the other hand, periodical podcasts are the shows that release new episodes every day, every week, maybe every two weeks or every month. This is what our show is and we have gone back and forth a bit with it as well. In the beginning, we shot for one episode a week, and then we ended up moving to 1 every 2 weeks, a biweekly rhythm. We have since followed a once a week rhythm. We’ve flip-flopped a little bit but we’ve always been periodical. That’s another thing to think about when you’re launching. Do you want to go for it in the long run, which would be more of a periodical route? Do you want to stick with seasons to make sure that you are forecasting well for what you want to do and what you need to do?
We have covered a decent amount of ground but we’ve only scratched the surface. My hope for this episode is to give all of you who have considered starting your podcast a simple overview, foundation, and framework that you can work forward from. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. You don’t need that much to get going. It takes some blood, sweat and tears. As Amelia Earhart famously said, “The most difficult thing is that the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” It comes down to you. Do you want to make the decision to act? Do you want to start a podcast? My advice is that if you have a powerful enough why, then do it, you won’t regret it. If you have other questions, feedback, thoughts, comments, always feel free to reach out to me at TheUpAndComersShow@Gmail.com. I love hearing your feedback and questions. If you send them over, maybe we’ll take another episode to answer them. Thanks so much for your time. I hope you have an up and coming week.
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