I really enjoy podcasting. I like my daily Elevenses, a podcast I began recording following the onset of the pandemic, and which started out as me reflecting on whatever was in my head at the time, but then evolved into more philosophical episodes. This was partly in response to what was happening in our world but also a result of me gaining greater confidence through the practice of speaking out loud.
I’ve developed an affinity with audio and have been using Voxer, too, over the past couple of months to chat with friends. The perfect system for the introvert me who doesn’t enjoy phone calls. I can record a message at a time that works for me and listen to a reply when I’m ready.
My other podcast, Follow Your Bliss, features interviews with guests. I have learned so much from talking to people about their lives and experiences of change.
There are many ways to set up a podcast and I wanted to share how I record and publish mine.
you need a podcast host
Just like having a website, a podcast needs to be hosted somewhere. There are many dedicated podcast hosts and the one I use for both Elevenses and Follow Your Bliss is Anchor.
It is very easy to set up a new podcast and Anchor will distribute the podcast for you to the major podcast apps such as Apple, Google and Spotify, plus others. This means that listeners will be able to find your podcast on their favourite podcast app. Anchor will notify you as each podcast app shares your podcast. Spotify is generally fairly quick to access your podcast. Apple is usually the last and may need a manual intervention. It’s worth checking Apple’s very specific requirements. I was caught out with the first podcast I submitted when my thumbnail image wasn’t the required size.
Recording is simple too. Sometimes I record a podcast through my web browser straight on to their website, other times I record the podcast on my phone. I have a Blue Snowball microphone but you could record using your built in microphone on your computer or phone.
Elevenses is a low tech production. It’s just me talking! Most of these I record straight on to the Anchor website but I’ve done a couple using my phone. I add an ‘interlude’, a short piece of music that you can add as an intro or outro. I use Plum King at the end of all my Elevenses. Anchor is very modular and drag and drop.
Follow Your Bliss is slightly more complicated. But not much. You can invite guests to join you using the Anchor app but I record one to one interviews using a combination of StreamYard and YouTube. The interview is recorded when we ‘go live’ and saved to my YouTube channel as a private video, which means I’m the only one who can see it. Later, when I start to edit, I download the video using iTube Downloader and edit it in iMovie. Once I’ve finished the edit (which I keep simple – just editing out ums and ers, or any non-podcast related conversation), I extract the audio and save the file. This file is then uploaded to Anchor.
I have a standard and pre-recorded intro and outro which I add to the episode, plus the standard interludes. I edit the title and description and press publish.
how much does it cost?
Anchor is a free to use app with the option to include sponsored content. Anchor coordinates this process through their sponsorship programme. I haven’t used sponsored content on any of my podcasts to date.
If I didn’t use Anchor, my second choice would probably be Audioboom. Originally Audioboo, their rates start from $9.99 a month.
find your voice
The technology is relatively simple and easy to use. If you have your chosen app on your phone, you can record a podcast anywhere. I often do!
For many of us, especially introverts, the greatest challenge may be finding your voice.
On days when I’m struggling to find something to say, I will often go in the workshop and rope in my husband to have a chat with me about some aspect of his work or being blind. Sometimes I find it easier to have someone else to talk with. Similarly, the Follow Your Bliss conversations work well because the discussion evolves organically.
In the early days of Elevenses, I would write notes before I started. I’d have a list of topics to chat about. As time went on I dispensed with the list and just started talking. I literally went with the flow. I’d start with, ‘morning everybody, today is [insert date], and this is Elevenses’. I didn’t overthink it yet managed to talk for 10 minutes. Interestingly, some episodes weren’t published. I discovered topics that provoked an emotional response as I started to make sense of my own thoughts. I composed myself and re-recorded the episode. It was an enlightening process.
I think there is immense power in talking out loud. Sometimes I record myself talking just to articulate what’s in my head. I find it leads to many aha moments.
I love asking questions. I often have to restrain myself when I meet people and not ask the questions on the tip of my tongue. I just have an innate curiosity. Which is why I enjoy interviewing people so much.
It can sometimes be a bit tricky. You have to think on your feet but pre-recording really helps. I’ve learned to say to a guest, ‘just a moment, I need to formulate my next question’. I simply edit that out later. I give myself space to think if I need it. And no-one minds.
I prepare extensively. I read as much as I can about the person I’m interviewing. I watch video if it’s available. I explore blogs. I look for quirky little details that often lead to fascinating stories. I search for themes. I over prepare.
Often the conversation goes off at a tangent. But that’s where we have a lot of fun and dive into the good stuff.
editing the audio
I don’t enjoy the editing process so I try to keep it to a minimum. Because I create a video recording, I find it easier to edit the video using iMovie. I’ve learned to recognise the ums and ers in the sound wave. I listen to the podcast all the way through and edit as I go. I also make notes which come in handy for later when I post the link to the episode on social media, and for future reference if I want to re-share. I jot down soundbites that I might be able to use later, and note down the timestamp.
When I’ve finished editing, I download the file as a .mp3.
I upload the finished audio to Anchor. I top and tail it with my pre-recorded intro and outro, and my chosen interludes at the start and end of the podcast. I also record an introduction to my guest and a brief summary of our conversation.
sharing the podcast
I try to upload the final podcast early in the day to give it time to be distributed to Spotify. I love the option that Spotify provides to share a podcast on Instagram Stories so I use this to let everyone know about the new episode.
I also create a 60 second soundbite on Headliner. You simply search for your podcast episode via the Headliner website and go through a process to create an Instagram post or story. This is where the soundbite notes and timestamps come in handy as I can quickly locate the section I want to use. Once I’ve finished the process I can share the animated video to my grid. I’ll repost this to my story a couple of days later.
keeping it simple
I deliberately keep the process simple. Yes, I’m sure there are ways to create a much more polished podcast but I want to share something of value that does the job. Most importantly I want to enjoy creating the podcasts and to keep them as real and authentic as I can. I love getting positive feedback and listeners telling me that a conversation meant something to them. That’s really why I do it.
I hope this brief introduction has shown you that creating a podcast doesn’t have to be onerous or expensive. But it can be a lot of fun!