Podcasting 101: Step by Step Podcasting Process

PodcastingOK, young Podcast Padawans. Would that be Podawans? Podcastwans? Padacasters? YOU: Shut up and do the thing!

Jeez, fine! So you feel like you’re ready to start podcasting. However, you may feel overwhelmed because it’s new or it’s a big thing or what if you don’t like your voice. It’s OK, I was overwhelmed, too. As someone who learned on the fly, there’s a very basic process to recording your first podcast episode. And by the way, nobody likes the sound of their own voice. Unless you’re Adele, I guess. Her voice is pretty.

Here’s are some basic steps I’ve learned that you, yourself, might need to think about while you’re podcasting. Enjoy. Maybe learn, but mostly enjoy.

Check Off the Little Things

Check these items off your list:

Is your microphone plugged in?

Are your headphones plugged in?

Did you hit the record button on Audacity, GarageBand, or audio recorder of choice?

Is your dog going to bark this entire podcast? (The answer is always “yes.”)

You may think this step is silly. But I can guarantee you that at some point in your recording career, you are going to forget about this list and you will have gone through an hour before realizing you had not pressed the record button. Then you have to start all… over… again. That good performance you had is gone forever. Great for performing live theater, bad for recording podcasts.

Have an Outline Ready

So, this doesn't apply to the improv and sketch comedy podcasts. Those are the formats I focused on in my "Choosing Your Format" post from a few weeks ago. Well, unless you're a sketch podcast, but sketch podcasters like to call their outlines "scripts" or "radio plays" or whatever. Supes pretentious, sketch kids!

However, if you're rebelling against my “Choosing Your Format” post and want to do an interview or conversation-based podcast, you need an outline. I co-host a conversation podcast about geek culture and fandom, and sometimes I forget to make one for my own podcast when I'm heading the topic. While they turn out OK, that's a lot more "um's" and "uh's" to edit out. Also, you're already going to go off-road during your podcast recording, especially if you're podcasting with a friend or friends. If you don’t have an outline, you will completely lose your sense of what you were talking about in the first place because you had to talk about season seven of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Stay on task, make an outline.

Start Talking and Have Fun

The actual recording part is the best. You just open your mouth, say some silly things, and then close out your show. It truly is that simple.

Just remember to avoid the three podcast taboos: 1) Do not eat while you podcast, 2) Give credit where credit is due, and 3) For the love of god, whether for spoiling movies or talking about sensitive topics, announce warnings!

Editing

This process is not the best, but you don’t have to go crazy with background music or sound effects. This is a podcast, not a radio deejay gig. The editing process is as simple as leveling the audio, reducing background noise, and cutting out long pauses and filler words. Since you all might have different programs, use the “Help” option and Google troubleshooting problems in regard to your editor of choice.

Also, save your work. Save your work, save your work, SAVE YOUR WORK. You know what happens when your computer decides to restart and you haven't saved your work? That's right, just like if you forget to hit the record button, YOU HAVE TO START ALL OVER AGAIN.

Export as MP3 and Upload It to Your Feed

Exactly what it says on the tin. Find “Export as MP3,” then log into your feed of choice, and upload your episode. This may take a while. Also, your computer may try to update during this process—tell your dumb Windows update to wait its turn, you’re podcasting!

And boom, you’re done. Congratulations, Podawans. You made a thing and it’s in your feed! Yay, you!

YOU: Yay, we made the thing! ...now what?

Um… we’ll go over that next time! Because I totally have a plan! Yep, have this all planned out. I have every step planned… like Game of Thrones… except with podcasting… Even these awkward ellipses that might be subtle clues that I’m writing as I go were planned. Obviously.

KC Ryan is currently a Level 5 student at DCH. An office worker by day, she spends her nights writing, improvising, recording podcasts, and having existential crises. She’s a co-host of Parsec Award-nominated podcast Anomaly Supplemental about general sci-fi and fantasy topics. Her greatest achievement so far is convincing her husband to watch Project Runway.