These days, it’s almost as if every person and their dog has a podcast. If you really wanted, you could piece one together with the voice recorder on your phone and some shoddy, free-to-download software.
What does it take to gain some real traction with your home-job podcast, though? As Jonathan Heath from the wildly charming modern art podcast, Kunst Please, tells us, it starts with some basic equipment, and some dedication.
Okay, In terms of equipment, what are the basics you can’t do without?
It really doesn’t have to be fancy—a usb microphone, some earbuds and Garageband is an easy way to get going. It’s best to start with simple tools to get your confidence up while you experiment and learn.
From there it really depends on what kind of podcast you are going to make. If you’re going to be out and about or interviewing, then investing in a Zoom recorder and some dynamic microphones is probably wise. If you’re going for more of a polished studio affair then upgrade your production software, invest in a quality condenser microphone and an audio interface.
Remember that it’s going to come down to the content you produce anyway, so there’s no point splurging on all the right gear if you have nothing to say, or no clear concept. Podcasting is a long game. Try not to give yourself too much of a hard time because you have to start with a cheap microphone and some free library music. You can always evolve your setup.
And what sort of space should you record in?
If you’re looking for a clean take, it’s important to find a small quiet space. Experiment with some test recordings and find somewhere comfortable and free from distracting background noise and reverb.
Not all background noise is bad though—recording outdoors, for example, can add colour to your content. The Adam Buxton Podcast transitions from outdoor to indoor or studio sessions, and the contrast is a nice way of breaking up the episodes.
Any basic watch-outs Once you hit that record button?
When it comes to recording, it’s important to consider your facial expressions as well as your vocal intonations. This is particularly pertinent if your podcast is scripted, or when recording interviews and discussions. Reading with emphasis is one thing but being aware of your body language can massively improve your takes. Whether you read with a smile or a snarl, acting out your script can make a big difference to the audio.
Try not to worry too much about “umms”, “ahhs” or dead air. You can always tackle that in the edit as well as any swearing that you may want to clean up or bleep. Remember that your podcast is a representation of you—so if you swear and say “umm” a lot maybe that’s just who you are. You don’t have to censor yourself unless it contravenes your concept. Just tick the “explicit” box when you upload the podcast and be comfortable with yourself.
How much knowledge do you need to have when it comes to editing?
The one thing you really need to know about editing is that it will take way longer than you think.
Get used to having to listen to your own voice over and over again. Be patient, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Modern DAW programs are pretty easy to understand—just drag and drop your parts into the order and cut out the bits you hate. From there give yourself some time and do some research into vocal compression and eq. As you might have guessed there are hours of YouTube clips explaining the best way to process vocals to make them sound really professional.
Consider the length of your podcast and how your listener might feel throughout. Adding in stings to break up big sections is a great way to cut the listener some slack and give them a moment to breathe.
There’s a podcast on almost everything these days. How do you know if You've got a story that’s worth being told?
It’s the blessing and the curse of the podcasting world that there seems to be a podcast for everything, and that everyone seems to have a podcast. Just remember that they’re easy to make, hard to maintain and harder to monetise—if you’re looking for a quick return, then look elsewhere.
The most exciting thing about podcasts is that if you think you have a story worth telling, chances are there’s a bunch of people out there who think it’s worth hearing. They are a mass niche medium.
Whether you want to interview comedians, talk about true crime or take the piss out of dodgy movies. Your take is what makes your podcast different. Your story is worth being told if you enjoy telling it. Have fun, experiment, evolve. It's very hard, but try to lower your expectations on audience numbers or a return on your investment. Play the long game and enjoy the process!
Find Jonathan Heath’s Kunst Please in the podcast section now via most streaming service.
Get some inspo from Australia’s best podcasts here.
Image credit: Sountrap | Unsplash
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