Making a podcast requires some investment: time, money and effort. But, we know that unique ideas and attention to detail are what audiences want when they’re trying to find a podcast to listen to. You can invest in podcasting equipment that’s designed and built specifically for podcasting, without breaking the bank. But, what if you’re travelling around the world in 80 days, and need to carry as little as possible? That would be a great podcast. I’m going to show you the tools and strategies to produce a podcast on your phone. Yes, just your smartphone.
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Before I go any further, this article assumes that you have access to at least some electricity, and an Internet connection at least some of the time. I know that in many countries, unreliable data plans and electricity seem like barriers to podcasting. But, they’re not insurmountable. We have tips for podcasting with unreliable electricity. Planning ahead and using paper and pencil to script, schedule and make editing notes can put less stress on your data plan and battery, too.
Planning and Branding Your Podcast
This part doesn’t strictly require your phone. You can plan episodes, schedule recordings, and sketch out your podcast art using a journal. You can also use a note-taking app like Notes or Google Keep.
A podcast’s art or logo is one of the most persuasive aspects of a podcast, for new audiences. You can hire a professional designer to make your art, or you can use an app like Canva. Even the free version has thousands of templates and can help you repurpose your podcast art into social media posts, website images, and more.
Recording Your Podcast on Your Phone
You can easily record using the default voice recording app that comes with your smartphone. But, to keep your audience interested, you’ll want better quality audio. This means you’ll need:
- a microphone
- a recording and/or editing app
If you already have a USB microphone, you can connect it to an iPhone using a Lightning to USB camera adaptor. But, there are microphones made specifically for mobile phones. A new option on the market is the Rode AI Micro – a tiny audio interface that you can plug into your smartphone.
Using an external microphone, rather than the one your phone comes with, focuses your vocals and gives you more control over the sound. Generally, they come with an app that you can use to control what the mic picks up, and what it doesn’t.
Some mics made to make a podcast on your phone have an external headphone jack, for wired headphones (such as the Zoom iQ6). You’ll need headphones to monitor your sound. How mad would you be if you spent an hour recording, only to find out later that your phone was sitting too close to an air conditioner or a waterfall?
As stated previously, yes, you can use the voice recording app that comes with your phone. But, there are options meant for podcasters. Some simply record what the mic picks up. Others are call recording apps, so you can record someone else remotely. Here are some we recommend:
Pro Tip: Make sure you don’t use a headset mic or wireless headphones with a mic to monitor your sound while your mic is plugged in. Your phone will have trouble deciphering which mic it should use. Better to simply unplug the mic before listening to your audio if you can’t connect directly to the mic. And by “pro tip,” I mean, “I learned this the hard way.”
Publishing, Podcast Hosting and Mobile Apps
Here’s where things can either be astoundingly simple or a bit tricky. Some media hosting services, such as Anchor, Spreaker, and Podbean, offer live recording podcast maker apps where you can record your podcast and distribute it through their hosting service. A media hosting service is where your files live.
These offer a bit of editing control. But, let’s say you want to get a quick update episode out to your audience, you have a media host already, and you don’t want to podcast on your phone live. What’s a girl to do?
Podcasting on Your Phone: The Safari and Buzzsprout Test
I tried this with Buzzsprout, and my iPhone12 mini, running Safari. This is about as basic as it gets if you want to podcast on your phone.
First, I made a recording with my phone’s voice recorder. Then, I saved it to my phone’s files. iOS saves this as an Apple MPEG-4 audio file. Not all media hosts will accept this type of file, so keep that in mind.
I have an account with Buzzsprout (for ADWIT, which is why you’ll see that logo in some of these images), so I logged in and gave that a try.
Thinking, “what could possibly go wrong?” I clicked “Upload a New Episode.”
My phone gave me the option to select a photo from my photo library, take a photo, or select a file. I clicked on that and selected the file I’d recorded.
Buzzsprout uploaded the file and provided the options to title the episode, add show notes. If I had a template of show notes saved in my Notes app, I could copy and paste them in. Then, I can either save, schedule, or publish. I saved the episode.
But wait: there’s more! What if I don’t want to use the RSS feed’s default artwork for this episode?
Fortunately, I also have a Canva account. I clicked the Canva option. Canva asked me to log in, accept cookies, and link the accounts. Then I picked a podcast artwork template and tapped on the text to change the words.
Then I tapped the share symbol in the corner to attach it to the episode.
And, voilá: new episode, with its own artwork.
You can see by the clock in some of these images that this process went really fast. I tested this with my home wi-fi connection, which is stable. If I’d been trying to upload an episode with a public wi-fi connection, I can’t say how it would have turned out. Your mileage may vary. An interesting data point is that I tried the same process with Libsyn 5, and it didn’t recognize the MPEG-4 file.
Podcasting on Your Phone: What About Promotion?
Promoting your podcast on your phone is pretty much the same as you’d expect. It’s all about relationships, so your phone is ideal. MeetEdgar, the social media scheduler, is also available as a mobile app. If you want to make audiograms, Headliner has a mobile app, too. Most media hosts include a basic podcast web page with their service, but Podpage is worth looking into, once you have an RSS feed. Not only can you make a good website quickly, but the starter level is free.
Your Story Is More Important Than The Gear.
What matters most in a podcast is how unique and interesting your ideas are, and the quality of your audio. When you record, you want to be in the softest, least resonant, quietest space you can find. You can start a podcast on your phone and share your ideas, provided you have Internet access and at least some battery life, anywhere in the world. What matters most are your ideas, consistency, and clarity.