So you want to start a Podcast

If you are a story-teller there is a good opportunity to turn that into a career. Now is a great time to start podcasting with millions turning to podcasts for entertainment. As with everything else, you need prior proper planning.

Find your niche

Create a topic, find a name, format, length of each episode, target audience; that kind of thing. Get down to the specifics like; is the format interview style, solo, more than one host or story-telling. This task is daunting so you should be guided by a number of factors like why you want to start, besides to make money. What drives you to invest the energy and resources needed to pursue this venture? Then determine your audience. What is your target age and what are their goals and interests? Keep in mind that whatever you want to do, there are others already doing it.

Examples of local podcasts include Otherwise?, which explores Kenyan current affairs, The Spread tackles love and dating while Omenerds simply talks about everything.

What you’ll need

Equipment

Audiences can tell the difference between a low and high quality sound so invest in a good microphone. Other costs to consider include a computer, and headphones as well as an Internet connection and web-hosting.

For starters, minimise costs by using the computer you already have and use its built-in microphone. You can also register on SoundCloud to get free three-hour podcast hosting. With Sh60,000, you can get quality entry-level gear including a laptop, microphone, headphones, stand and boom arm, and shock mount. Research on Google.

Recording and editing skills

Basic steps in recording are:

Set and test the input volume of your microphone.

Open your audio recording and editing software, like, Audacity. Before you start recording, make sure the software is set to record from your chosen microphone.

Click the red circular button to start recording. Don’t worry about making mistakes at this stage. You can always edit your podcast after you record it.

Listen to your recording and use the noise reduction feature of your software to eliminate any background noise.

 Delete sections of your recording where you made mistakes.

Use the leveling feature of your software to correct areas where the volume may be louder than others.

 Export your audio as a WAV or MP3 file. These formats are supported by virtually all media players while providing good quality audio and a reasonable file size.

A host for your podcast

You are done tagging and exporting your podcast, it’s time to find a place to host the MP3 file. Getting your podcast hosted is essential so you can start distributing your show to podcast directories and apps via RSS feed.

SoundCloud is the best option for beginners and offers free podcast hosting in addition to two competitive paid options for when you get a little more serious, it lets you distribute your podcast via RSS. Other great options are Podomatic, Podbean, Libsyn, Amazon S3 and Fireside.

iTunes is the largest podcast directory and it should certainly be your focus. If you’re only going to submit your podcast to one directory, this is it. Before submitting ensure you have the title, author, and description of your podcast, a 1400 x 1400 image file either in JPG or PNG format and a valid RSS feed URL. Once you’re happy with how everything looks, you’re ready to validate your feed and submit it to podcast directories.

Growing your podcast

Consistency

You have figured out how to podcast and published your first few episodes! What’s next? One word: consistency. Put out quality content same time and on the same day every week.

Act on feedback

Always ask your listeners to leave a review on iTunes and to subscribe to the podcast. Encourage this on your website, on social media and in emails as well because people listening to your podcast might not be near a computer or able to leave a review when you ask them live. You can run contests where you pick a one random reviewer per episode to win a prize such as a session of your service or exclusive content.

Build a community

Another great tactic is building a mailing list and encouraging listeners to subscribe to your email list so that you can communicate with them. Only after your podcast has grown can you direct any energy into getting sponsorship and monetising.

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