3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Podcasting
by Lisa Mark
The world of podcasting is accessible to everyone with a small investment into some basic equipment and podcast soundproofing, but that also means it’s a world full of newbies. I was one of those newbies one year ago.
Here are 3 things I wish I knew back when I first started podcasting:
You make valuable new friends.
One thing that was a pleasant surprise is I made many new friends, both online and locally. Podcasting is a wonderful medium and more experienced hosts were so helpful. I had a ton of questions and established podcasters in Facebook groups were incredibly receptive and helpful. They kindly answered my newbie audio questions, swapped show promos with our show & just were all around cool, helpful people. It’s amazing how non-competitive most podcasters are. It’s such a cool community and you should jump feet first into making new friends. Just don’t forget to be equally cool to new podcast hosts when your show is established earning downloads.
Exchanging show promos is an incredibly effective way to market your show for FREE.
Remember those podcaster friends you’ve made in the Facebook podcasting groups? Many of those lovely folks have shows that share a similar audience to your target listener. Typically a podcast promo is 30 seconds long and gives the potential cross-over listeners a snapshot of your show. Think of it like an audio movie trailer.
To make it as beneficial as possible, try to team up with other podcasts that share a similar target listener. There’s a great opportunity in finding out who listens to your show and then seeing what other shows they listen to. You might be surprised! We found that fans of The Secret Life of Weddings Podcast are also huge fans of true crime podcasts. Our cross-promos with true crime shows were very successful for us as our average listener also listens to true crime.
You don’t need to buy expensive gear to start.
It’s so easy to assume you need to buy an expensive mic, mixing board, etc. to have a professional sounding podcast. This isn’t true! We found out what worked best for us over a year of trial and error, and by asking a ton of questions of those podcasting friends I mentioned above.
Rebecca & I started out recording with good quality mics (AT2020 condenser microphones), but at first we struggled with our sound quality. We quickly realized the problem wasn’t our gear, but the location of where we were recording. I have a photography studio which seemed to be the perfect place to record. Unfortunately as new podcasters we didn’t think about the fact that it was a large space with hardwood floors, facing a busy main street. After re-locating our recording location to my basement, and building our own sound booth, our audio finally improved. I wish The Pod sound booth had been available at the time, and it wasn’t … so we built it! To have an easier time soundproofing for podcasting click here to learn more about The Pod sound booth.
We eventually decided to switch our mics to Shure SM58s to pair with our Focusrite Scarlett USB Audio Interface, and as the SM58s are dynamic mics instead of condenser mics, we had a lot cleaner audio going into editing and the ironically the new mics cost about $10 less each than the first mics we tried (to learn more about the difference between condenser mics & dynamic mics). It just goes to show you - the quality truly comes from soundproofing first, and gear quality second.
One year later we have gorgeous quality audio I would have been jealous of! Take my advice to have the best audio quality for your podcast on a budget.
Here’s a complete starter list of recommended beginner podcasting gear:
- The Pod Soundbooth
- Shure SM58 Microphone
- Focusrite Scarlett USB Audio Interface
- Heaphones (for editing)
- Free audio editing software such as Garage Band or Audacity