Introduction: How Starting a Podcast Can Work for You
With the age of the internet fully upon us, fewer people than ever are listening to the radio.
There is nothing worse than being stuck in a traffic jam on your way to work, scanning the radio for a quality song, and finding nothing but commercials, sleazy songs from the 80s, and ridiculous political commentary.
Podcast recordings or audio podcasts are slowly luring people away from the radio because of the multiple benefits they offer.
Some people consider “the radio of the internet” to be a fitting podcast definition. While a true podcast definition will go into much deeper detail, that is the essence of what is a podcast.
While very few people have the time, money, and access to start up their own radio station, starting a podcast can be done by virtually anyone who has some basic podcast equipment and access to the internet.
In this brief article, AdvisoryHQ will offer some podcast tips for creating a podcast of your own. We will begin by explaining what is a podcast and giving a simple podcast definition. We will then look at who can and cannot create a podcast.
If you have decided that you would like to create a podcast, we will also look at what type of podcast equipment you will need for starting a podcast. Since most audio podcasts are theme driven, we will give you a few podcast tips on how to decide on a guiding theme for your podcast recording. Finally, we offer a list of our top podcast tips for starting a podcast and making it successful.
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What Is a Podcast and a Simple Podcast Definition?
The arrival of the audio podcast is a relatively recent phenomenon, and as more and more people begin creating a podcast of their own, the podcast definition can begin to shift. Since there is no one single podcast definition, we offer several definitions relating to what is a podcast below.
- Wikipedia Podcast Definition: “A podcast is an episodic series of digital media files which a user can set up so that new episodes are automatically downloaded via web syndication to the user’s own local computer or portable media player. The word arose as a portmanteau of ‘iPod’ (a brand of media player) and ‘broadcast’. Thus, the files distributed are typically in audio or video formats, but may sometimes include other file formats such as PDF or ePub.”
- Dictionary.com Podcast Definition: “A digital audio or video file or recording, usually part of a themed series, that can be downloaded from a website to a media player or computer.”
- Cambridge English Dictionary Podcast Definition: “A radio programme that is stored in a digital form that you can download from the internet and play on a computer or on an MP3 player.”
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Who Can Create a Podcast?
One of the most unique aspects of thus medium is that virtually anyone can create a podcast. Access to the radio waves is highly competitive and extremely expensive.
If a rural community somewhere in the United States wanted to start up their own community radio station to broadcast issues that are important and relevant to the community, chances are that they would come up against stiff competition and resistance from the wealthier and more powerful owners of the airwaves.
In that sense, the relative ease of starting a podcast is a quality example of the de-concentration of information and media. Since creating a podcast can be done by virtually anyone in their own home, this allows more information to be broadcast to the world.
What is a Podcast?
Since much of the news that we get comes from the mainstream media, which is both politically biased and divorced from local context, starting a podcast is a way for people to access diverse opinions and ideas that stem from a local understanding of our political, economic, and social reality.
For example, instead of depending on the major media outlets to tell us the effects of a certain economic policy on the nation, a motivated individual from a small community in Oklahoma might do a podcast recording interviewing different workers from his or her community on how that economic policy has affected their livelihood.
Similarly, instead of blindly following the op-ed pieces that show up in our politically skewed local newspaper, starting a podcast can allow for a voice of dissent to contradict the party line and offer differing points of view.
In this sense, creating a podcast allows for an expansion of democracy as more and more people are given access to a wide variety of perspectives and opinions.
Not all podcasts are meant to be political in nature, however. One of the major benefits of starting a podcast is that you can broadcast pretty much any type of content and gather an audience of like-minded listeners.
While you would be hard pressed to find a local radio show that discusses different organic gardening techniques, you should be able to find hundreds of people who have started an audio podcast or podcast recording on that subject or any other subject that interests you.
What Podcast Equipment Do You Need for Starting a Podcast?
If you are interested in starting a podcast of your own, do you need to buy expensive equipment and a massive radio tower that will stick out of your garage? Below, you will find information on the basic podcast equipment that you will need to create a podcast.
When you are starting a podcast, one of the most important things you will need is to make sure that people can hear you. Nothing is worse than trying to listen to a radio program when the signal isn’t coming through clearly. The same goes for when you create a podcast. Investing in a quality microphone is an essential piece of podcast equipment.
Portable XLR Recorder:
If you use analog microphones, you will need to convert your analog audio to digital sound that can be uploaded to your computer.
These recorders can allow you to raise or lower the sound from multiple microphones, which is important if you are starting a podcast where several people are talking at once as in a group interview.
Personal Computer with Internet Connection: This piece of podcast equipment should be obvious, but one of the most important podcast tips is to invest in a quality PC that will work fast and has multiple USB ports.
Audio Editing Software:
Another of the most important podcast tips is to invest in a quality editing software. Unless you are planning on broadcasting live when you are creating a podcast, this software will allow you to polish up your podcast recording before sending it out to the world.
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What Should Be the Theme of Your Audio Podcast or Podcast Recording?
When you are considering starting a podcast, one of the most important podcast tips is to find a theme that will generate a large and steady audience. While many of us might be interested in a number of different themes and subject matter, if you create a podcast that one week talks about ethnic cooking, the next week breaks down current sporting events, and the next week is a political commentary, chances are that your audience will soon lose interest.
Most people search for an audio podcast that is built around one common theme. They can follow this podcast recording on a regular basis and come back to it for new episodes whenever they need it.
For example, let’s say that listener A is interested in knitting techniques while listener B wants to hear about current events in the NBA. While you might be both an expert knitter and a devout follower of the NBA, chances are that if you consider starting a podcast that talks about these two subjects, your listeners will be greatly confused.
It is far more advisable to create a podcast that is centered around one common theme and promote your podcast to individuals and groups who might share that interest.
When trying to settle on a theme for your podcast, you need to first and foremost find a subject matter that you are interested in.
Remember that you will most likely be creating several audio podcast episodes on that subject, so it is important to find a theme that is sufficiently broad and expansive that will let you find sufficient material.
One of the most important podcast tips, thus, is to not trap yourself in a subject matter where you end up repeating yourself. For example, instead of creating a podcast on southern Italian cooking methods, it might be better to create a podcast around the theme of Mediterranean cuisine. This would give you a wider scope of subject matter to choose from and also broaden the range of potential audience members.
Starting a Podcast
At the same time, one of the important podcast tips is to not choose a theme that is too broad. To continue with our cooking example, if you named your podcast “World Cooking Recipes,” many people might find that too broad. Chances are that listeners are more interested in finding cuisine-related podcasts that are more specific and tied to a specific area/region.
Starting a podcast that is successful, then, requires you to find a balance between a subject matter that is too broad and too narrow. This is one of the most important podcast tips to make your podcast successful.
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The Top Podcast Tips for Creating a Podcast
Starting a podcast is relatively easy to do. Making your podcast successful with a large audience is significantly harder. Below you will find three of the top podcast tips that will help you turn your podcast into a success.
- Dedicate time: The first thing to realize is that starting a podcast requires an investment in time. Even if you only offer one segment per week, you will have to dedicate time to choosing material, researching your content, finding people to interview, making the podcast recording, editing the podcast and putting it online. Make sure that you are ready to commit and have the available time.
- Create Quality Theme Music: Another of the most important podcast tips is to come up with a theme music or jingle that people will identify with your podcast. If you aren’t musically inclined you can find free tunes and melodies at Free Music Archive here.
- Create an Appealing Cover Art Image: They say that you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but we all do it. The same goes with podcasts. Most potential listeners will see an image of your podcast before they ever hear any of the content. Coming up with an appealing cover art image and intriguing name for your podcast will likely bring you more interested listeners and is one of the most essential podcast tips in starting a podcast that will generate a large audience.
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Conclusion – How Starting a Podcast Can Work for You
Starting a podcast is both exciting and a bit intimidating. Trying to find enough material to keep an audience engaged and interested for long periods of time isn’t easy to do. Learning how to create a podcast that fills a particular niche and piques people interest is a challenge in itself.
In this article, we have given you a simple podcast definition, explained how a podcast works, and offered several podcast tips to help you find success in starting your own podcast.
If you have the time and commitment to dedicate to starting a podcast of your own, you might very well find that a part-time hobby can turn into a full-time career. Creating a podcast offers a number of benefits to both you and your potential listeners.
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