Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click the link and make a purchase through them. The terms on affiliates can vary, so I won’t bore you further with those. 🙂 But my opinions are honest and my own.
If you’re reading this, I assume you’re wondering about the assertion made in the title. You may think it’s too late to start a podcast or that there are too many podcasts, so why bother?
Or you might think, what am I going to do on a podcast? What topic should I pick? And do I have the technical skills and time to do the job?
I’m here to assure you that it doesn’t take a technical genius to create a podcast. I’m certainly not one.
When I started my own podcast, the Crime Cafe, I only halfway knew what I was doing. As a crime, suspense, and thriller writer, my goal was to create a program that featured authors in that genre who I chose based on either reputation or personal knowledge of their work. By providing this service, I hoped readers would feel more connected to the wide variety of books and authors whose works constitute among the best examples of the genre.
What I’ve Learned by Doing
There are a few things I’ve learned during the first four seasons of the show. Here’s a brief overview:
Invest in Your Equipment
Invest in a high-quality microphone. I cannot stress this enough. I would recommend using a desktop mic. At first, I used the Samson Q2U Recording Pak with headset. It’s an excellent mic, but I ran into a few minor problems with the USB connection or something. So, my husband bought me a new one. Fancy! 🙂
You can purchase one version of this from Amazon. Here’s another that’s similar, but a bit pricier. Each of them is less than $100. You can spend a lot on a good mic, believe me.
I bought my old mic at B&H. Here’s the link. Be sure and shop around. Amazon isn’t always the cheapest.
Among the other desktop mics recommended by various sources are:
Audio Technica AT2020 USB (the one my husband got me)
Consider Going Audio-Visual
Record your podcast as a video and upload it to YouTube. When it comes to recording video, you can use your computer’s webcam or even your smartphone, depending on the kind of show you produce.
Because I interview authors on my show, I set up to record our chats using Zoom, an online meeting and webinar software.
Zoom is free, but the paid version provides various benefits. So far, the free option has been sufficient to meet my needs. But if you have the bucks, consider paying the $15 a month for cloud storage of your recording and unlimited time/number of meeting participants per session.
Use Free Music When You Can
You can find loads of royalty-free music on YouTube. That’s a link to what comes up when you search on “royalty free music” on YouTube.
Depending on your budget, you could also check out paid music resources. At this point, that’s beyond my budget. However, paid sources and hiring musicians are among your options. Or you could make your own music, for that matter.
Royalty-free music from YouTube can be converted to audio using this link. In addition, once you’ve recorded your video for the podcast, you can use that link to convert it to an audio file. Then, it’s ready to upload to your podcast host.
There are many different podcast hosts. Shop around before you decide. Here are just a few to choose from:
Right now, I’m on Blubrry, and it’s been working like a champ for me. I’ve never even had a technical issue come up, but I have spoken with their support people and they’re super helpful. And I am an affiliate for them.
If you’re interested, check out their features.
Starting a podcast does not have to be overwhelming. It’s all a matter of becoming familiar with the steps and taking each one methodically.
Consider taking a class or buying a book on the subject, because those resources are out there. You can find information all over the Internet for free, for that matter. But if you want to save time, check out some paid resources.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to what you do with your podcast. There are no hard and fast requirements as to length of episodes or type of content. The market is definitely out there for podcasts in different styles, of various lengths, and with a wide variety of content—fictional and non.
For more tips about podcasting, check out this article: How to Create a Great Podcast, According to the Professionals.
And a recent article with podcast statistics that may interest you.
I’ll finish with a quick plug for the Crime Cafe podcast, which starts up again in July! 🙂
And Season Five, which is coming to a close soon.
And I have all sorts of ideas for future episodes or podcasts or web series, etc.
More than ever, audio is relatively low-cost way to actually connect with your audience, whoever that may be.