The session itself will be on Podcasting. Luckily I have no shortage of stories when it come to the topic. I have had the honer of podcasting for a little over two years now. The first podcast I have been involved with is called "The Web Weekly" and the second is the "SitePoint Podcast".
From these internet radio shows I have learned a great deal. Not just technically (audio and the like) but also in terms of professionalism and communication skills. However, podcasting is not just about personal gain. It is also, and mostly, about sharing and relationships.
So, back to the session.
What will I be talking about?
Podcasting for the first time and what it takes to connect with listeners and remain engaging.
For the Web Weekly we use WordPress as our platform in conjunction with the Blubrry PowerPress Plugin. The plugin works nicely with iTunes. And, though we still have a lot to learn, everything works perfectly.
The key when it comes to picking a platform is to keep it simple. You will be spending most of your energy on the show material and producing. Only after two years are we talking much needed time to revamp "The Web Weekly" website. Which we are working through as I write these words.
If you are going to be running your own show know that you will be spending a lot of time on it. Whether its just you or a group. It is going to take at the very least 2 hours a week just to produce a show. The SitePoint Podcast takes about 2 hours of my time each week.
For SitePoint I have to setup interviews, stay on top of the news, setup my gear and record the show.
For the Web Weekly I spend 3 hours doing the same but also manage the website and audio with my cohost and friend Jonas Flint.
I also do video interview on this blog. These I did alone and each one took at least 2 hours of my time.
The point being: be sure you have the time and can make your podcast a priority.
When it come to gear such a mics, computers, software, mixers and headphones start small. However, know that production quality is very important. If your audio is not clear you will have a hard time retaining listeners outside of your Mom.
Audio is KING!
When it comes to the actual physical gear Dan Benjamin of the 5by5 network has written a great article on the topic. We have just about followed all of his advice.
If you need help with software that is another issue entirely and require some personal creativity. There are three way to mix down a show that I know of personally when dealing with multiple audio steams.
- Record your audio separately and merge the clips with audio software. For Windows Audacity and for a Mac GarageBand will work for starters.
- Record using one machine and merge the audio using hack-ish techniques. Never fun or reproducible.
- The is the best way. Get a firewire mixer with that is capable of mix-minus and send that one device to the recording software of your choice.
Once you have gotten the tools you need to record your first show go and download Levelator. Levelator will take the audio you have recorded, once saved, and make sure the volume is level across the board.
If you want some rock solid guests on your show there is a hidden technique not many people know about or are willing to try. I call it "just ask". This is what I have always done. No secrets are hidden from you guys. It is that simple. People are most often very happy to give you 30 to 45 min of their time for free. This has been my experience. It is free marketing for them in any case right?
I have used conference, twitter and email to line up guests for the Web Weekly, my blog and the SitePoint Podcast.
Adding it to iTunes
Once you have your first episode recorded edited and added to your website. Make sure that that episode has a valid iTunes RSS/XML Feed. Then hope over to the Apple iTunes Podcasting Docs.