Podcasting 101: How to Make a Podcast

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Even though The #AskDavid Podcast was launched just two weeks ago, I feel like I've learned so much about the process and what it takes to get a show up and running. And aside from buying myself a new microphone, launching my podcast was completely free. The process simply comes down to following a few easy steps.

What's your podcast about?

Before you do anything, it's important to decide what your podcast is going to be about. I suggest choosing a set of topics that will remain interesting for months to come. You don't want to run out of things to talk about just weeks into your show. This is critical if you would like your audience to stick around.

For my podcast, I went with a format that I know will never become boring. The #AskDavid Podcast is entirely based on answering questions submitted by my listeners. And because I have a solid following on YouTube, I can use that to continue to promote my podcast and archive questions as they come in — thus never running out of ideas for future episodes.

Choosing a proper microphone

Once you have a few ideas down, you'll want to begin thinking about which microphone to use for your podcast. While you don't necessarily need to spend hundreds of dollars, I do recommend using something that is decent. After all, this is a podcast we're talking about. Audio is the most important factor to keep in mind when podcasting.

I'm currently using the Shure MV88, a compact microphone that plugs directly into any iOS device that uses a Lightning connector. This allows me the convenience of recording podcast episodes using only my iPhone 6s, which is just an awesome experience in itself. And for $150, I can say with confidence that the microphone is worth every dollar.

But even better, all of Shure's iOS compatible microphones work seamlessly with the free ShurePlus MOTIV app. Because the app is developed solely with Shure microphones in mind, this means that you can get the most out of your experience.

If you're interested in learning more about the Shure MV88, click here. There is still a lot more to say, so perhaps I'll publish an article with more information in the future.

Not everybody can justify spending $150 on a microphone. Believe me, I understand. Instead, I recommend checking out the following USB microphones that sell for less than $100:

Blue Snowball | Samson Meteor | Audio-Technica ATR2500

It's time to edit

After your microphone purchase is all said and done, the next step in the podcasting process is to find an application to use for recording and editing. As a Mac user, I can highly recommend GarageBand. It's packed with useful features and the experience is simply seamless. It just works.

GarageBand for Mac

Windows users, definitely check out Audacity. While I no longer use this myself, I get the idea that it's still a reliable program that many podcasters still use. And hey, it's free. You can't beat that.

So, it's finally time to record your first episode. You're probably wondering... Where do I begin? What should my style be? Does my show need an intro?

These are questions that can only be answered by yourself. This is your podcast, so feel free to make it your own. If you are worried about doing something wrong, don't. Everybody has to start somewhere, so consider the first few episodes of your podcast a learning experience. As of this writing, I'm on episode 15 of my podcast and I still have so much to learn.

Let's get your podcast published

Once you have finished recording your podcast, it's time to consider publishing options. Assuming you want your podcast to be accessed by as many listeners as possible, I recommend doing what I did. Follow my exact method below and your podcast will be accessible on the most popular podcasting networks available.

The first thing you'll want to do is upload your podcast episodes to SoundCloud. This is a free service that enables you to host and share audio files for free. I recommend grouping your episodes into a playlist, that way it's easier for listeners to follow along.

After uploading to SoundCloud, you'll want to locate the RSS feed for your podcast. This is a string of characters that contains all the information about your podcast, including its title, description and tags. Finding the RSS feed isn't exactly obvious to the user, so click here for a quick guide if you're having trouble.

Once you do find your RSS feed, it doesn't hurt to copy and paste it into a text document for future reference. Doing so will actually save you a bit of time when you're ready to publish your podcast to other networks. And speaking of...

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This is where the fun part begins. Your podcast is readily available on SoundCloud, so now it's time to make the magic happen. In other words, let's get your podcast published on major podcasting networks like iTunes. It's a lot easier than you may think.

Publishing your podcast is free, but this part of the process can require some patience. In order for your podcast to be available across a variety of networks, you'll need to apply to each one individually. Below are direct links to application forms for all the major networks:

iTunes | Google Play Music | Stitcher | SoundCloud

When applying, you'll want to make sure you have everything that these networks require. This especially includes your podcast's RSS feed, which conveniently contains the artwork you submitted to SoundCloud, as well as episode titles and descriptions.

How long does it take to be approved?

The approval process, for me, was actually extremely quick. Google accepted my podcast within 30 minutes of applying, whereas iTunes and Stitcher both approved me within 24 hours. But oddly enough, I never received an acceptance email from iTunes. I just happened to check myself and saw my podcast available when searching — so be sure to not rely on your inbox.

And that's all there is to it. Congratulations on launching your podcast! As time progresses, keep an eye on it and make any adjustments that feel necessary. Also, don't be afraid to ask for ratings and reviews from friends. The podcasting scene is the most crowded it's ever been, so standing out a bit certainly wouldn't hurt.

If any of the above information confused you, please let me know in the comments. You are also free to watch my walkthrough video below.