A podcast series is one of the best ways to get your message before the public. It’s your own Internet audio talk show that you can run to suit yourself. You can review current books and films, talk about politics, science, history or anything else that appeals to you. If your podcasts sound professional and present interesting subject matter, you can gain a large audience quickly.
Podcasts should be carefully thought out a few weeks to a few months in advance. Listen to the kind of podcasts you want to create, observing how the hosts present their material and interact with the guests. You don’t have to imitate them exactly, just get a feel for the elements that make the show listenable.
What is your subject matter?
It should be something you know well and love to talk about. What do you want people to know? Create an outline of each episode. Consider what questions you want to ask your guests. Always write out a script to read from. Don’t forget to identify yourself and include a brief greeting to your audience at the beginning. At the end, identify yourself, say “thank you for listening” and tell them when the next show will be.
Who is your audience?
Podcasts can have different formats depending on what listeners expect. Do you want to appeal to people who like a prepared “audio magazine” approach, or will your listeners be more interested in something that sounds like a more natural, free-form discussion?
A podcast lineup is created exactly like a lineup for a radio interview. Once you’ve decided on your subject material, decide who you want as guests and contact them. It’s a good idea to send a printed letter through the U.S. Mail as well as email. Make it look as professional as possible. You can even design a logo for your show and create letterhead. Here’s an example of an invitation to a podcast about history:
Dear _____: My name is _____. I’m producing and hosting a half-hour podcast series on historical subjects, (name of show here). As you’ve recently published a best-selling book about Abraham Lincoln, I’m hoping you’d like to be a guest on my show. Please let me know a date and time that would be most convenient for you. Thanks, _____.
It is not necessary to have extensive knowledge of computers in order to create a podcast. Modern technology makes voice recording and interviews incredibly easy. You can do live interviews without having to bring people physically to your studio. You will need to invest in these tools:
- A good quality USB microphone.
- A recording program such as Total Recorder.
- A VoIP (Voice Over Internet Program) such as Google Voice, Ekiga or Skype.
- A sound editing program, such as Audacity or GoldWave. You’ll use this to cut out “er, uh” and long pauses, and in general tighten up your program.
A sound editor is also used to mix in your theme song, background music and sound effects. Make a number of test recordings to get used to your equipment.
Be sure you also have a sound file of copyright-free music for a theme song. One of the best sources for this type of music is the website Incompetech.