How to Make a Podcast
Creating a podcast in-house is very achievable and something you can accomplish alone or with some help from your team.
To help you avoid some of the common pitfalls, on this page we share how to get set up for a podcast, what technology to use and how you can create a winning podcast in 2022.
You are also welcome to download our full Podcast Playbook here. This is the exact system we use to consistently create broadcast quality podcasts week in and week out. It’s also the book we give to a new producer when they join our team.
How to Build Your Podcast Team
There are lots of moving parts to creating a podcast but a great team, sourced internally or externally, can help with each of the specialised skills involved in the production process. To better understand what it takes to build and maintain a quality podcast, let’s take a look at each role and their respective duties.
The producer is the single most important part of your podcast team. They are the nucleus of the project, coming up with ideas and coordinating all the moving parts of the production process. The producer researches and books the perfect guests, lines up questions for the presenter, gets everyone set up for a great recording and makes sure the message behind your podcast is consistent and of high-quality.If you are building an in-house team, someone with strong project management skills would work great in this role.
Your choice of presenter can make a huge difference to your podcast. Many companies who have strong sales people or directors, who are confident with public speaking, make excellent presenters. Alternatively, you can employ a professional radio presenter who could act as a co-host to your own company representative or act as a full host interviewing guests with questions prepared by your producer.
The audio editor is in charge of cleaning up and polishing all of the audio recordings from your interviews. They ensure that the podcast is professional broadcast quality with easy to listen to even sound though out. They also edit out any gaps, errors, or unnecessary information from the interviews. While audio editing is a specialised skill, it can be learned by someone with technical skills and a good pair of ears. There are excellent instructional videos on YouTube on how to edit with Adobe Audition, Pro Tools, Audacity, or Reaper. The specific tools do not matter as much as the quality of the audio editors work.
Your graphic designer will handle all of the visual creative elements and artwork for your podcast. They’ll create social graphics, episode thumbnails, graphic elements for videos, and also make sure you have podcast cover art that is attention-grabbing. You most likely have a Graphic Designer in-house or an external designer you work with already.
Another key role is the person who writes your show notes, titles and headlines, social posts, SEO optimized articles or blogs, and will also pull the best interview clips for video content. These writers will often take a transcript generated by a tool like Otter.ai and turn that script into a variety of different writing formats to promote the content.
Another specialised skill, the video editor takes shorter audio content from your podcast and repurposes them as animated videos which are perfect for social media. When you provide your guests with social media videos, they are likely to share them with their audience.There are also other web tools such as Descript and Headliner which are also effective. Adobe Premiere is the industry standard and what we recommend that most video teams focus on using.
Putting the Team Together
These are the main roles which make up a podcast production team. They are roles you can source in-house, perhaps work with external contractors from Fivrr and Upwork for more specialised roles, or consider working with a podcast production company such as Dustpod.
When you work with a podcast production company, you have a full team of experts at your disposal, including the all-important podcast producer. Also, when working with an experienced team, your monthly time commitment should only be around 4-6 hours.Most of this time will be spent focussing on hosting great interviews with your guests as all the heavy lifting will be handled by your production team.
How to Set Up Your Podcast
When deciding on what your podcast will be about, think of your intended audience. It might be tempting to target your peers but peers typically aren’t going to be a source of new business. So design your podcast for your ideal prospects, what truly interests them and how you can bring value to them.
Consider also which format you will use from a single presenter monologue, to co-hosts/small discussion team, guest interviews or full on narrative documentary type podcasts.
How to Choose a Podcast Name
There is no perfect formula for choosing a podcast name but whatever you choose, keep it short! The space given for promoting podcasts and podcast logos is small, so fewer words work better.
We are fans of the straight forward ‘Ronseal’ method where the podcast name ‘does what it says on the tin’! Creative names can also be fun but be careful it does not lose your brand message through cleverness. Another favourite is the ‘Ego Boost’ where we use Leaders or Heros in a podcast title, so every guest is automatically a hero.
How Long Should Your Podcast Be
Many people live their lives in hourly chunks where it takes an hour to cook dinner, get to work, go for a walk etc A thirty minute podcast fits in here neatly, allowing a listener a bit of space to start their activity before pressing play on your podcast. It also gives you flexibility to go a little longer or shorter as required.
The final consideration is ROI. The longer a podcast, the more post-production work there is to do. To accomplish your goals with a B2B podcast, we recommend interview-based formats, around 30 minutes duration, which allow you to be perceived as a niche expert in your space and attract high-profile guests that have interesting things to say.
How to Create Podcast Artwork
It is hugely important to make your artwork text big and bold. Most designs are created on a computer screen, but the designers sometimes fail to realize that most people will be searching for your podcast on their phone. For this reason, you need to make sure the text is easy to read and stands out on these mobile devices.
WHAT EQUIPMENT TO BUY
Some people will tell you that you need all kinds of fancy equipment like a digital interface, compressors, XLR cables, and more. The truth is all you need is a good clean recording of your presenter. The best way to do that is to speak clearly into a microphone in a quiet room. Simple.
Starting with the room, choose one which has as much carpet, curtains, soft furnishings and false ceilings as you can find. All of these soften the sound of the room and make for a pleasant listening experience. If you are working from home, a bedroom is great or a walk in wardrobe is perfect. Another great location is a car. After all, the passenger cabin is designed to be quiet and keep out noise of traffic around you.
There are three primary pieces of equipment you will need:
1. Microphone with stand & pop filter
3. Equipment to record on
The Best Podcast Microphones
Keep things simple with a USB microphone. This will deliver far superior quality than your laptop microphone, it is very easy to set up and won’t hurt your pocket. Some recommendations:
Speaking directly into a microphone cannot get easier than with a headset mic. It places the mic in the perfect position, eliminates a lot of room echo, and because you can't see it, you speak more naturally.
You can grab a USB headset at any good electronics store for between €30 and €50. We recommend any of the Microsoft or Logitech brands at Harvey Norman.Headsets at Harvey Norman
These are commonly used in broadcast radio studios or on stages. This is because they are robust and designed for people to speak or sing into at close range. This also helps keep out background sounds or room echo.
The one we like the best is the classic Samson Q2U because it delivers great sound and includes a microphone stand. Could not be easier to use!Samson on Amazon UK
The best microphones but the most sensitive! If you are working in a quiet room and can speak relatively close these are a great choice.
We regularly use the Blue Yeti microphones. At around €130 they offer good value and include the all important mic stand.Blue Yeti at Currys
Mic Stands & Pop Filters are Essential
Regardless of what mic you choose, you’ll want to be sure to get a stand for your desk and a pop filter.
A mic stand is self-explanatory. If you hold a microphone in your hand, you will hear lots and lots of squeak as your hand rubs the body of the mic. The cable also moves and causes rustle. A mic stand eliminates this with the added benefit of freeing up your hands!
The pop-filter is crucial to prevent your breath from hitting the microphone which will cause it to "pop" or "hiss" as the air hits the mic. These come in two different formats. One is a piece of foam that sits on top of your microphone. The second has a bendable arm and a piece of cloth that sits between you and your microphone. The latter works much much better. Don't skip this low cost purchase which will hugely improve your audio quality.
Use Headphones When You Record
Have you ever been on a Zoom or Skype call where you heard an echo? This is most often caused because the person on the other end of the call is not using headphones. Their Mac or PC is playing back audio, and then the room is echoing that audio back into the microphone. Having an echo is not good for podcast quality so please make sure that you and your guest have headphones.
Any modern laptop or computer with a USB microphone attached, is more than enough hardware. All you need to record is some software and the good news is that is free.
The most simple of all software is the Voice Memo app comes with your Mac or Windows PC. Press record, talk, save the file and you’re done. A little more advanced is the Audacity audio editor or for high-end multitrack edting you can use Reaper. All of these options are either free or very lost cost.
They are not too difficult to learn to use. Search YouTube for instruction videos for your particular software and you will be able to do basic recording and editing in no time.
If you follow the simple tips above, you will end up with a well recorded podcast which you can either publish yourself, or send to a professional editor. The quality will be pristine, your audio editor can clean up anything else in the editing process, and deliver you back a podcast as good as anything on RTE.
How to Produce Your Podcast
While podcasting was once something that was done exclusively instudio, today it is easier than ever to online tools to record podcasts. You can interview people from around the world by hopping on a quick video call and interviewing them on their expertise.
How to do a Simple Podcast Recording
For sheer ease of use and familiarity, you can’t beat Zoom. Everybody knows it and it comes with a built in recorder which includes a lot of automatic audio enhancement features. However, if you are using a professional editor to edit the podcast, do the following two things:
1) In Settings > Recording > Select ‘Record separate audio for each participant’
2) In Settings > Audio > Select ‘Show option to enable Original Sound’
This will give your editor an untouched original recording of each individual speaker. This really helps make much smoother edits and allow your editor to apply more advanced audio processing than Zoom’s built-in one-size-fits-all solution.
While Zoom is convenient, it is still vulnerable to internet lag, bubbling sound and dropouts.
How to Record High-Quality Remote Podcast
There are a number of paid services including Riverside, Zencastr and Cleanfeed which will record each participant on their own computer, then afterwards make the full-quality audio recording available for you to download. Many of these services also include video which you can use to just see each other or optionally record.
Typically they are easy to use where you send your guest a link, they open it up just like a Zoom chat, and then the website will record an audio & video. The advantage is you get a much higher quality recording than Zoom and no internet lag or bubbling sounds.
How to Conduct a Great Podcast Interview
Many new podcasters are a little uneasy about hosting their podcast, but there’s nothing to fear. When you're interviewing someone, you're actually only going to be speaking for about 10% to maybe 20% of the time during interviews. The vast majority of the speaking will be done by your guests.
Some essential tips to help you when preparing your interview:
1) Research the Guest in Advance. A quick review of their LinkedIn profile and their website should give you enough information. You can dig deeper by reading their blog posts or listening to previous podcast interviews they may have done.
2) Email the guest in advance and ask them which topics they would like to talk about or to even supply you with three or four questions.
3) Finally, have a set of generic questions such as their vision of the future of your industry or what advice would you give your younger self etc
Just three or four questions for each of those above will give you twelve questions. Lots to talk about!
The really cool part about podcasting is that you basically get a free consulting session with your guests. So think about the things you genuinely want to learn from the guest.
Remember, if you are getting value out of these interviews, then you can be confident that the audience will as well.
Essential Interview Tips
The absolute number one skill when interviewing is listening. Active listening. Really listen to what your guest is saying and form the right follow-up questions. Many times, the great gems from interviews come from follow-up questions that expand a topic in an interesting way.
Remember, the podcast is not about you. It’s not even about your guest. It’s about your listeners. Your job is to get your guest to share information your listeners want to hear. That is what gives you a winning podcast.
Editing Tips for Your Podcast
Once your podcast is recorded it is time to edit. If you are taking on this task yourself, the good news is simple edits are simple to do. Generally you highlight an area in the audio file you want to remove, and click delete. Done! Use this to remove unnecessary silence at the beginning and end or any large unintended gaps in the middle.
Sometimes your podcast is too long or sometimes a guest will ask for an answer to be removed. Simply those areas in the audio file you want to remove, and click delete.
If you would like to do more advanced editing, there are many instruction courses online for your editing software of choice. It takes just a little time to learn but it is well worth it.
If you want your podcast to have a professional broadcast quality sheen, consider a professional podcast editor like Dustpod. They have many years of experience creating a flow and removing imperfections without you noticing the edits. A professional editor will also balance guests using eq, compression and noise shaping tools etc so everyone sounds like they are in the same room. The editor will also professionally master your audio to specifications laid down by Apple, Spotify etc
Get Your Podcast on Apple and Spotify
Many people think that Apple, Spotify or other places where you search for podcasts are hosting the actual podcasts but this isn’t the case. These platforms simply syndicate your podcast RSS feed and make it easy to find by listeners.
While you can host a podcast on your own company website, we never recommend it. Podcasts are larger than regular internet files and if they are downloaded frequently could affect your entire website. Fortunately hosting with a service who specialise in this is not expensive. They can also save you a lot of heartache with correctly formatting your RSS feeds, submitting them to Apple/Spotify etc and keeping track of who is listening.
There are a variety of podcast hosting options such as Libsyn, Buzzsprout, Anchor, Simplecast and many more. These platforms allow you to upload an mp3 file and easily syndicate this out to all of the major podcast networks.
How to Promote Your Podcast
Everything we have done so far has been fun. A lot of work but fun! Now it's time to tell the world about your podcast and invite them to listen.
Create a Podcast Page on Your Website
The easiest way to tell people about your podcast is on your own website. Create a single page and call it /podcast Then people, who already know your brand and brand website, simply go to brand.ie/podcast and presto, everything they need is there!
The page should have a short intro as to what the podcast is about, followed by a description of each episode, with the most recent one at the top of the list. You can use an embedded player from your podcast host to allow people to play it there and then, or use a link which takes them to the podcast player of choice to listen. (See Chartable below).
If you are unable to do this on your own website, there is another great platform called PodcastPage. This is another website builder that allows you to create a professional-looking podcast site without needing to know how to code. PodcastPage is great because it strikes a balance between micro podcast sites and a full-blown website, making it a popular choice for new podcasters.
Create a Smart Link with Chartable
If you register your podcast with Chartable.com you can create a ‘Smart Link’ with them for your podcast.
When people click this link with their smartphone, the link is smart enough to find out which podcast player is on their phone and open your podcast directly in that app. The huge advantage to this, is people can follow/subscribe to your podcast right there in the app they already use to listen to podcasts.
You only need one ‘Smart Link’ so you can create a single QR code for that link which works even better for smartphones.
Sometimes, we use the brand.ie/podcast link above to forward to a Smart Link so by pure word-of-mouth you only need to say “go to brand.ie/podcast” to listen. We are human. We are lazy. Make it as simple as possible to press ‘play’.
This is where you find the value in repurposing content in your podcast for other platforms.
It is so easy to pull out quotes or bits of information and turn them into social posts, SEO-optimized articles, and/or videos for social media. These serve a dual purose where some posts will directly drive people to listen to the full podcast, whereas others can simply serve as engaging thought leadership content.
Podcasts can provide you with a lot of high-quality video content. You can hire a video editor to repurpose each episode into video posts, or you can use a tool like Veed.io, Descript, or Headliner to produce your own social videos.
All social media channels have some sort of paid promotion that you can leverage to get your content in front of more people. For B2B companies, Linkedin is an extremely effective channel. For consumer facing podcasts, we have successfully run several €5 a day campaigns on Facebook across two or three months. Top tip: Target your social ads at people with an interest in ‘podcasts’. That way squeeze maximum value by only showing your ads to people who already consume and enjoy podcasts.
Provide Your Podcast Guests with Promo Materials
When done right, this can be one of the most effective ways to promote your podcast. Set up a system with your podcast producer so guests are always sent an email with social thumbnails, video clips, quote graphics, and any relevant links for them to share on their own social channels. This really enhances your reach because you are being exposed to your guest’s network and those people will re-share the content leading to even more exposure.
ARE YOU READY TO START ?
At Dustpod we help Irish companies and brands launch revenue-generating podcasts.
Schedule a call to see if podcasting is the right fit for you. This call is complimentary and without obligation. At the end of the call you will know:
> How podcasting can help your brand or company specifically
> How you can leverage podcasts to increase marketing or communication goals
> The audience available in Ireland and appropriate to your business
> How to measure and track ROI
After the call, you will receive a custom report tailored specifically for your company and business sector.