This article is a podcasting case study, designed to showcase yet another way to podcast. The possibilities are vast, of course, but it's always great to hear how others are doing is successfully. This time around it's Tom Norman's story, coming from both the TNPW Design Podcast, all about web design, and Talking 1265, a Green Bay Packers show. Take it away!
Podcasting has come a long way since the early days of 2005. It’s become an open way of communicating and getting useful (and sometimes not so useful) information to the masses. In fact at this point many podcasts are a combination of information and entertainment.
I personally used to think that you needed a super high end computer with an expensive microphone and software to make it work and sound good. After three years of podcasting I’m living proof that that isn’t necessary.
Podcasting The Easy Way
When I first started out I was using a 15.6” HP Pavilion dv4 laptop and found a $12 off brand microphone. It sounded horrid but it worked over Skype.
Today I still use the same laptop. Depressing I know, but it works. I have, however, upgraded my microphone slightly to a Plantronics Gamecom 307 headset. It only cost $40 at the time but was a considerable improvement to both the clarity of my voice and my ability to hear the other hosts. It is just a basic headset though, so it doesn't have self monitoring or any type of pop filter.
Free to Publish
As far as software and hosting is concerned we took advantage of all the free options. Our files were (and still are since we didn’t delete them) stored at Archive.org. In order to create the feed we utilized Google Blogger then created the feed link using Feedburner which we subsequently submitted to iTunes and Stitcher .
It took a while to research this solution for a free show and get everything in order but it was well worth it. With no money out of pocket we successfully created a full on audio podcast.
There are some downsides to this version of production though. First and foremost all of your content is spread all over the internet. It’s not centralized into one location like it would be on a single website. Second of all archive.org was not meant to be a podcast hosting website. It’s a place to store information. Your best bet, if you can afford it, is to use a service like Libsyn or Blubrry.
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Time To Upgrade
Since that first episode three years ago we’ve moved from Skype to doing it live online via Google Hangouts on Air. The shows get saved to YouTube automatically.
Instead of Blogger and Feedburner we moved this past January to a brand new website which does the hosting and feed for us by way of the Blubrry WordPress Plugin . It does cost a little bit of cash monthly to host, but is well worth it in the way of easy use and in depth episode/show data. It also means we now own our own feed, and have a lot more control over the media we’re publishing, rather than having it on slightly risky free sites which could conceivably shut down any time.
Our new season starts in July so unfortunately I have to wait until then to see the results of the upgrades, but already it feels better and more like home. I’m excited for the future of that show.
How to Get Started: What To Talk About?
You might be saying right now This all sounds fine and dandy, but what if I want to podcast but don’t know what to talk about? Great question. The only answer I can give to that is: What are you passionate about? Literally ANYTHING can be turned into a podcast. If you aren't passionate about your topic the odds of you keeping up with it are not very good.
My goals in writing for Colin Gray and The Podcast Host is to 1.) Share whatever information I’ve accumulated over the years and 2.) Share my enthusiasm for podcasting and hopefully pass that along to others who may be on the fence or just starting out.
Tom Norman | @tommnorman | @TNPWDesign
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