Listen to other podcasts. Pay attention to the formats they use, and elements you like or dislike about them. Doing this will help you determine the type of podcast you want to create.
Know your audience. When you identify who will be listening, you can determine what they already know about your topic and work to ensure you are speaking their language, breaking down jargon and terminology they don’t know.
Plan and practice. Brainstorming the purpose, structure and content of your podcast is essential. If your podcast is scripted, you’ll want to practice delivering the script for the ear—reading a typical paper won’t necessarily translate to an engaging podcast without some tweaking. Even if your podcast is conversational, outline the key points you want to hit in advance to ensure you get to them when you’re recording.
Be aware of your surroundings. When recording, try to avoid areas with large open spaces, lots of windows and distracting ambient sounds. It should sound like you’re in the same room as the listener. Test your audio levels until they are where you want them—not too loud or soft—so that you don’t need to do extensive editing. Fun fact: Many podcasters record in their closets when they’re starting out.
Work with what you have. You can still record a quality podcast without recording equipment from the SMDC. Phones can record good audio as long as they are close enough to the person speaking. Headphones with a built-in microphone will sound better than a computer microphone alone.
Record with Zoom. The video conferencing platform works well for recording podcasts with multiple speakers. It allows you to save the recording as an MP4 video file and an M4A audio file.
Use music to establish tone. Is your podcast lighthearted, comedic, serious? Music is a great way to convey the mood and tone of your podcast. You can find free Creative Commons licensed music to use at Free Music Archive.
Take advantage of free resources. Use Audacity, a free software available for Windows and Mac, to edit your podcast—you can check out Amanda’s tutorial to get started. Turn to Tools for Podcasting, an open textbook available online that provides practical guidance and best practices for the entire podcast process, including information on how to launch and promote your podcast. And, of course, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with SMDC staff, who can answer questions related to podcasts, audio recording and audio editing.