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Video Podcasting: What’s it Good For? | PS10

Hi folks, and welcome to the last episode of this ‘Beginners Podcasting’ series. 

My aim over the 10 episodes that make up this series is to give you the bones of Podcasting, enough that you can get started as quickly as possible. I hope you feel confident enough now to start scripting, recording and publishing, and starting your amazing Podcasting journey.

Today’s Subject: Video Podcasting

Listen to the Episode Below (00:19:12)
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Today we’re talking video podcasting. Video podcasting is the slightly maligned little brother of classic audio podcasting, and that’s because, really, it only suits a small subset of Podcasting applications.

Audio Podcasting is so good because of it’s flexibility – you’re not tied down and you can listen while you’re out and about doing something. As soon as you add a video feed you’re taking away that flexibility, so you really need to have a good reason for doing so.

There are some good reasons though, and many of them revolve around teaching. Many types of teaching involve visual subjects, from physical hobbies to computer skills, and a video podcast can be a great way to get this info out to your fans.

There are other good reasons to video podcast too, so have a listen to today’s episode to find out.

I’ll also go into how to record your video Podcast, and you’ll find the software I mention in the episode listed below:

What’s Next for Podbites?

That’s the end of this series. You’ve now got the basic skills to podcast!

That’s not the end though – not by a long shot. The Podcast will continue and move on to more advanced topics, including Podcasting equipment, podcast promotion, interview skills, marketing, presenting skills, podcasting as a business and much, much more.

Please do keep listening and keep on giving me great feedback. Let me know what you want to hear about next – pop a comment in below or email me using the contact form here.

Thanks for listening to this first series, and I’ll see you on the next one very soon!

Podcast Strategy: Setting Targets for Success | PS09

podcast strategy hitting the targetThis week I’m going to mention that dreaded word: strategy. Don’t let images of be-suited men in boardrooms touting management buzzwords put you off. Strategy is one of the few terms that actually means something in the real world. Setting a podcast strategy is one of the best things you can do to ensure your Podcast becomes a success. So, how do we go about it?

In this episode I’m going to talk through the 3 main things I think you need to think about to define your podcasting strategy, and they are:

  1. Podcast Aims
  2. Target Audience
  3. Podcast Definition

I’ll go into them in much more detail on the episode, and guide you through working these out for yourself.

Listen to the Episode Below (00:31:59)
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Why Do I Need a Podcast Strategy?

A podcast is the same as any other piece of content really, and the phrase ‘Content Strategy’ has been around for years. Firstly, Podcasting is not a quick thing to do. Much like writing blog posts, it takes time and effort to create an episode – more time and effort than a single blog post I’d argue.
Defining your strategy starts with aims, and these aims allow evaluation. Evaluation is really the only thing that lets you check whether your Podcasting efforts are worth the time you invest in it. Only by having clear aims can you evaluate whether you’ve been successful in your efforts. Translated: always set yourself up so that you can check you’re not wasting your time!
Another advantage of a strategy is that it makes your podcast much more focussed, keeping it on target. This helps with a couple of things: interest and quality. First of all, a podcast that is always on-point, talking about the things that really inspire it’s fans, will always be much more popular than one that is general, rambling and often off-topic. Second, rambling and un-focussed aren’t exactly by-words for quality, are they? And what’s the point of doing something if it isn’t good quality?
Lastly, having a good, sharp strategy at the start will keep you going when times are tough. It’s much more easy to create new episodes when you have clear aims, clear topics and some personas that you can speak to. You’ll create all of those within your strategy and they’ll help you along the way when podcasting topics seem hard to come by.

A Question for You: Tell Me Your Podcasting Aims

In the podcast I asked the question, what are your Podcasting aims? I list a good number of possible aims for a podcast, but I’d love to know what yours are. If I mentioned them, that’s great, tell me the specifics. And if your aims are something entirely different, then let me know that too. I’d love to put together a post on all the different possible aims you can have for a Podcast.

To feedback, drop me a comment in the comment space below, or tweet me at @thepodcasthost.

Thanks again for listening and see you on the next episode!

Feeding BritCaster.com

Choosing the Best Podcast Hosting Option For You | PS08

Throughout your Podcasting journey there is a lot of research, learning and experimentation to be done. Nearly all of it is interesting and fun, but one aspect of the podcast setup cycle generally brings every new podcaster down to earth with a bump: Podcast Hosting.

Listen to the Episode Below (00:28:55)
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Every podcast needs a home on the web, a website on which it lives and which delivers audio files to it’s listeners. Even if you’re delivering your actual episodes solely through iTunes and not expecting anyone to visit the website, iTunes still needs to draw the audio files from somewhere. It also needs that all important RSS feed which allows iTunes and any other Podcatcher to keep up with new episodes and deliver them to your listeners as and when they are released.

Finding the best podcast hosting for your needs doesn’t have to be complicated though – there are a good few options out there, but they can usually be narrowed down pretty quickly based on your approach.

This episode takes you through the different podcast hosting options and will help you to choose the best hosting setup for your particular context.

What Podcast Hosting Options Exist?

Here’s a quick summary of the different podcast hosting options on the market:

  • Free External Podcast Hosting
    Use a free account on another website to host your Podcasts for you

    • Low storage (100mb or less)
    • Adverts possibly
    • No support
    • No stats
  • Paid External Podcast Hosting
    Pay another website to host your Podcast for you

    • Good storage
    • Decent stats
    • a bit of support (although still can be dodgy)
    • Your Own URL
    • Can get costly at higher tiers
  • Self-Hosted Podcasting
    Set Up a Podcast Website on your own Web Hosting

    • Full flexibility
      • Design
      • URL
      • Plugins
      • Setup
    • Some technical knowledge required
    • Time investment to maintain the site
    • Cheap if you plan to host a lot of episodes!
  • Managed Podcast Hosting
    Let someone else set up a custom Podcast Website on their web hosting and manage maintenance, extra tools and episode posting for you

    • All the benefits of self hosted, without having to handle the technical details

Let me know what you think!

As always, please do send in some feedback and let me know what you’d like to hear on future shows. Who do you use for podcast hosting, or how have you gone about setting up your own solution?

You can send an email using the ‘Contact’ link at the top of the page, you can tweet through on @thepodcasthost or you could leave a comment below.

Or… even better… you can send a voice comment! I’d love to have some more voices on the show, so please do record a question and send it in to podschool@thepodcasthost.com.

How to Edit a Podcast: How Much & What Type of Editing Should I Do? | PS07

Podcast editing is a skill, like any other, but it’s also a skill to know how much you actually need to edit.

We’re looking at when and how to edit a podcast today, so have a listen for the full story, or read the transcription below.

As always, if you have any questions, put them in the comments below – enjoy!

Listen to the Episode Below (00:15:55)
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Podcast Transcription

Hey, and welcome to another ‘How to Podcast’ episode. In this episode, we’re going to be looking at the common edits that you’ll make. How to record, so that you can make your editing easier and looking at the more advanced editing techniques that you can use in Audacity to create recordings. So let’s get started.

So we’re going to look at the common editing techniques that you’ll be using in creating your podcast and how to make those editing processes easier. So, just a little chat first about how you go about your recording. So to make my editing easier, I tend to record in sections, so I’ll be using my pause button pretty liberally as I record. It’s pretty hard to record a 20-minute segment all at once without stopping, without referring back to your notes. I’ll tend to write down my notes, I’ll create my script, my bullet points and I’ll read through it in three or four-minute chunks. I’ll go section by section. I’ll use my pause button quite liberally just stopping whenever I want just to make sure I know what’s coming up next.

Because the ideal process is that you don’t want to do any editing. You want to be able to talk right through, not make any mistakes, not have to do any editing and that is the quickest and easiest way to create a podcast. And the only way you’re going to be able to manage to do your podcast sustainably, keep it going long term is if you make it as easy as possible. So the best thing is to get used to doing it in little sections, getting those little sections right and not having to bother with any editing. But, of course, you’re going to some mistakes, so how do we deal with them? Well, the most common edits are things like coughs and silences, so there’s not much you can do about them. If you’re going to cough, you have to cough. If you can manage to pause it before you cough, then that’s excellent, but if you can’t, then you need to edit that out.

Now spotting those kinds of mistakes is quite easy on a recording. Because you’ll know by now, when you’re recording Audacity, it records a visual representation of your voice. You’ve got that sound wave there. Now coughs, splutters, those types of things. They all appear much louder than the surrounding areas, so you can see those spikes in the sound wave and you can zoom in on them and find the right place to make your edit. So quite often, my first process in editing is going in, having a look at those spikes, going straight to them, playing them and seeing if there’s something that I can take out. If I can’t take them out quite easily, I’ll just chop them out. Sometimes, it might take a little bit of fiddling to take out just the right part if there’s speaking quite close by. But then again, if I’m smart when I’m recording if I do cough or splutter or something like that, then I’ll pause afterwards.

Now this is another technique that I use for making my editing easier. Even if it’s not a cough, even if it’s something you’d just say that you want to cut out. So if you go off your script, you go just by accident, you say something you didn’t mean. Then, instead of just starting straight away, what I do is record is silence for five seconds. So, I’ll stop, I’ll not speak for five seconds or so and then I’ll start again. And I won’t use the pause button there; I’ll have that silence recorded. And the reason for that is when you’ve go to edit then, you can spot those silences really easily. So it means that they’re kind of visual markers on your recording where edits are required. So I’ll say a sentence, get halfway through, stop and then there’s a big pause. Now, when I go into recording, like I say, I’ll go through, I’ll look at those spikes, I’ll edit out my coughs and the next thing I’ll look for are the big, flat lines and that’s the silence. So I’ll put my cursor maybe a few seconds before that flat line, I’ll listen to it and I’ll see what needs to be edited. You may need to go back a little bit and cut out five to ten seconds before that and then start again from after the silence. So it’s just a quick technique for making your editing process easier, just having these little markers in there to show where to edit.

So, going beyond simple mistakes. A lot of editing isn’t to do with cutting out mistakes, it’s making your podcast sound better. It’s about formatting your podcast to sound really professional and great. So there’s a few different ways of formatting your podcast, so I’ll just go through a few of them. You’ve got the simplest, the easiest, the most basic, which is just you speaking. So that would just be a plain podcast with no intro music, no music at all, no sound effects, no real edits. All it is is just you talking away and that’s absolutely fine. That’s perfectly good enough for most people. But if you want to go up to a higher level of polish, the next one up would be just to add some intro and outro music. So if you find some royalty-free music, you download that, you import it to your recording and then you use your time chef tool to move your speech, so that it appears just after the music. So you’ve got music, then you’ve got a speech and then you’ve got music as the outro. And that’s the basic format for a more professional podcast.

You can take it beyond that, though, by having your music and then your speech set to your music, but the intro music might be overlaid by a little bit of introduction. And you find this quite commonly on radio stations or podcasts whereby you’ve got intro music playing for, say, five seconds, and then the volume dies down a little bit. So the then the music then goes quiet and then you get the host coming on over the top of it saying ‘Hey and welcome to the podcast. Today, we’re going to speak about this, this and this, so let’s get started.’ And then the music comes back up again and then plays for another five seconds, perhaps, before dying away and then the main content starts. So that’s a quite a common, sort of more, polished, professional approach to the introduction to your podcast. In fact, you’ll find that in the start of most of these podcasts for the Podwhating course or for the ‘How to Podcast’ podcast series.

The next one up, which I’ve heard quite a lot recently, is actually for presenters to add on a little short soundbite to the start of the podcast, so this is before even before the music starts. So, very first thing you’ll hear is ‘Hey and welcome to the podcast. Today’s podcast is about this, this and this.’ And then the music starts. And it’s actually quite a clever little idea, because it gives the listener a really quick pointer straight away to what the podcast is about. So they don’t have to waste their time listening to 10, 15 seconds of intro music before they find out what the podcast is about. And especially when you get so many podcast episodes, it’s quite nice to have that, because you can straight away tell if you’ve listened to that podcast already. It’s quite a nice, little technique and definitely adds a little to the polish of a podcast.

You can obviously combine that with the previous one whereabout you’d have that soundbite and the music comes on and then the music would die away a little bit and then you you would have a longer introduction talking about what’s going to be on that podcast. Then the music comes back up, then you get content and then you get the outro music. So that’s combining those last two techniques once to create a more polished, professional way.

Now the last thing to mention here when we’re talking about sound and music is that quite a lot of the more professional casts will have what are called ‘stings’ in between each section. So, they’ll have a little sound effect and they’ll say ‘Well, that section’s finished and onto the next.’
And there will be a little two or three seconds of soundbite and then they’ll be back into the next section.

You can get a hold of these little placeholders in the same location as the royalty-free music. And you’ll see links to places where you can find that type of resource on the Podwhating and the podcast host’s website. On both, you can get royalty-free music and royalty-free stings, so have a look through to see if anything suits your podcast. But a nice little, sort of bookends to each section and just another thing that makes your podcast just seem a little bit more polished.

So, onto the tools that you use to actually do this editing. Now the first of the more advanced editing tools is called ‘sound envelope.’ Now the sound envelope lets you increase and reduce the sound volume of your clip at will. Essentially the way it works it that you create a point on your timeline and you say ‘The volume is going to be at this level’ at that point. And then you click again in the timeline further along and then you reduce the volume or you increase the volume. And the volume basically smoothly transitions between those two points. So if you have it high at five seconds and then lower at seven seconds, it’ll gradually reduce to that lower level over those two seconds. And this is the easiest way to introduce, say that third technique, where you’ve got the music playing and then it reduces and then you have the presenter speaking over the top of the music. That’s what you would use the sound envelope tool for; to achieve that, just to reduce the volume for a limited time.

The other way to do this is using the fade-in or the fade-out tools and you’ll find them in the Audacity Effect menu. These are more for, maybe at the start of the podcast or the end of the podcast where you want the music to fade in and then fade out again. Or if you want the intro music to fade out at the start of the podcast when you’re going into the proper content. And they’re quite useful for then, they’re a little bit simpler, quicker to do then the sound envelope, although the sound envelopes are pretty easy to use tool, as well, so you can interchange between the two of them. Now you’ll find a tutorial on the sound envelope tool along with all the other editing tools mentioned in this podcast at thepodcasthost.com and on our YouTube channel, so have a look at them for the tutorial videos.

The next one I want to have a quick chat about is amplifying. Now, this is one you’ll use quite a lot, because you’ll tend to record, as standard, using a sort of a headset mic or a plug-in microphone straight into your PC. The recording level will tend to be quite low and that’s actually quite good. You’d want to set it that way probably if it doesn’t start out that way, because the worst thing you can do for your audio is overload the mic and max out. When that happens, that’s when you hear a really crackly sound, when the volume of your recording overloads what the computer can actually record. So you want to record quieter and then amplify up to what you would call the maximum for output. So when you want to amplify it, all you do is select a section of the timeline, whether it’s one section or whether it’s the whole thing. And then go to the ‘effect’ menu in Audacity and choose ‘amplify.’ And it’ll help you out by choosing the maximum you can amplify to before you start cutting off a maximum level of your audio.

The next editing tool to look at is noise removal. Now, as hard as you try to reduce your background noise, it’s likely you’ll still have a little bit. But don’t worry, because Audacity comes to the rescue here and it’s actually really good at getting rid of background noise. Now, it’s never going to be as good as if you never have any background noise in the first place, so don’t ever rely on this. Try and reduce the background noise as much as possible before you get to this stage. But if you do have one, it can be worth having a go with this tool to see if it will help out.

Now, it works in two stages. Firstly, you highlight a bit of silence on your timeline. So what you take to be silence, even if there’s a bit of background noise there. And you use the noise tool to learn that silence. So that’s the first step. You click that ‘learn’ button and it will learn what that silence sounds like. Next, you’ll select the whole timeline and then you’ll click the ‘remove noise’ tool. And it’ll let you pick what level to remove the noise. Now, a low-level noise removal won’t get rid of all the background noise, but it also won’t affect your speech. And that’s the problem with noise removal. If you get rid of all the background noise, if you make a really heavy noise removal, then it will really affect how the speech sounds, as well. And if you try it out, you’ll find that if you remove a large amount of noise, if you do a really heavy noise removal, it tends to make your voice sounds like you’re underwater. Sounds a bit murky and it takes away a lot of the higher-level sounds, because that’s what the hiss tends to be made up of. So, use the noise removal tool by all means. It works really well when used lightly. But don’t rely on it and try to remove as much noise as you can in the first place, before you get to this stage.

Now just a little bit about your long-term editing process. Because, once you’ve done one edit, once you’ve created one episode, put in title music, put in your soundbite, use the sound envelope tool, all that kind of stuff. You can reuse that quite easily. I tend to create one or two episodes, play around with a different format, find a format I’m happy with and then save it as a template. And once you do that, it means that all you do is you can remove the content part and just import another bit of audio. And you’ve always got the intro music playing, with a sort of introduction to the podcast playing over the top of it. You could record a new intro every time and lay that over. Commonly, actually, I use a generic outro. So if you want to ask people ‘Thanks very much for listening. I’d love if you’d get in contact. Here’s my e-mail address, here’s my Twitter,’ all that kind of stuff. You can have that on the end that you reuse again and again. So once you’ve created your episode, you can reuse that and it will save you a lot of time for future ones, so yeah. Future episodes won’t take half as long as your initial ones. All of that goes far towards making your podcast sustainable and letting you do it long term.

So that was sort of a brief coverage of ‘Editing on Audacity’ and a few tips around how to make it easier to edit and to make your podcast more sustainable. Hope you found that helpful. Please do send in any questions you have, put it on the website. Otherwise, good luck with your editing and I’ll see you in the next podcast.

Creating a Good Podcast Recording Environment | PS06

Today we’re talking about recording environments.

The space in which you record makes a big difference to the quality of your Podcasts. Background noise and echo are just two of the many factors that come into play. Listen to the podcast, or read the transcription below for the full story.

And if you have any questions, please pop them in the comments below – enjoy!

Listen to the Episode Below (00:12:25)
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Podcast Transcription

Hey folks, and welcome to another ‘How to Podcast’ episode. Today we’re gonna be looking at how to record. This includes stuff like how to set up a recording environment. So, how to put your microphone together, where to put it, what equipment goes with the microphone. We’re also gonna look at the environment. This has a huge effect on the quality of recordings. So, let’s get started.

In this episode, we’re gonna look at the recording environment. So, this means setting up your equipment in the best way possible, and making sure your environment and your presenters are set up so that it can create the highest possible audio quality for your recordings.

So, let’s look at the equipment first. We’re gonna look at the types of mics you can use in the future, along with the other kit that can go along with your microphones. But, for any microphone, you want to set it up so that it’s placed in front of you and your mouth is placed as close as possible to the microphone without being right on it.

Currently, my mouth is about four inches from this microphone, and that’s a pretty good distance, in terms of audio quality. If you think about it this way, you’ve got lots of background noises going on in the background, stuff like computers, you’ve got lights buzzing, all that type of stuff, but, that’s all quite far away from the microphone. So, you want your voice to be as loud as possible, relative to those things. And, to do that, you want to get your mouth right up against the microphone, so that your voice is very loud, compared to that background noise.

Now, four inches is pretty good. Any closer than that, and you might start to overload it too much. And, any farther away, and your voice starts to sort of be overtaken by the background noise. The reason for this is that, when you amplify your voice, when you bring it up to the volume that you probably want on your final recording, you’re also amplifying the background noise. So, if you make the voice as loud as possible, then you don’t have to amplify as much, and that gets a good quality on your final recording.

So, the other disadvantage, though, of being so close to the mic, is that you can introduce plosive sounds quite commonly. Now, a ‘plosive’ is the sound that’s introduced by using the letters B, P, T, any letter, basically, that causes you to expel air from your mouth quite rapidly. So, it’s basically like spitting air from your mouth quite quickly. And, when that air is spat from your mouth, it comes out quite quick and it impacts the microphone. And, that’s when it introduces the ‘pop’ sound. So, the air hitting the microphone introduces a kind of a small bang, and that is recorded and sounds really bad if it’s littered all the way through your recordings.

So, there’s two ways to get around this. The first and the most simple way is actually just to shift your microphone a little. So, move it off to the side just slightly, a couple of inches off the line of your speech. So, it could be like 45 degrees, and about four inches away. And, as you speak, if it’s off to the side, then the air you expel from your mouth will actually just go past the microphone, as opposed to impacting the microphone. And, that gets rid of those plosive sounds. Now, it does mean that your microphone is only picking up the kind of, the side sound from your mouth. But, as long as you’re close enough, it’s not too bad. But, it’s not quite perfect, in terms of audio quality. So, it can be better to go for the second option. And, that second option is to use a pop filter.

Now, a pop filter is essentially just a piece of fabric stretched across a small frame. And then, you put that fabric in front of the microphone, so it acts as a barrier between your mouth and the microphone. So then, when you utter a plosive, when you say a B or a P, then the air that’s spat from your mouth when you say that, it impacts with the fabric, as opposed to the microphone. The fabric protects the microphone from that air. The sound gets through, no problem, but the air doesn’t, and that stops the pops from getting through.

Now, pop filters can get be got from really cheap, on Amazon or elsewhere, or you can even make them yourself, just by using a coat hanger and a pair or tights. So, it’s quite simple, quite cheap, and it’s one of the best additions you can make to your recording setup.

Alternatives, of course, are things like a little foam protector for your microphone. You see them quite a lot on mics. You get a foam sort of dome protector, and they act as a pop filter, to some degree. You also get big, fluffy ones, as well, for outdoor recording. So, get yourself one of them and you’ll see the plosive sounds just disappear.

So, once you’ve got your mic set up, the next thing to think about are your surroundings. Now, this is one of the biggest factors in a good quality recording.

If you think of a recording studio, you might not ever have seen one but, just to describe a recording studio, it’s a really strange environment when you first go into one. You sit down and you’re surrounded by sort of carpet-
covered walls, covered in felt or other type of soundproofing. The room generally tends to be completely soundproof, so you won’t be able to hear anything from outside the room, and you can even get them that are suspended slightly on springs, so that vibrations from outside of the room don’t even make their way inside.

If you speak inside a recording studio, you won’t hear any echo, because all of the echoing surfaces tend to be covered up. So, you don’t get echo, you don’t get any sort of echoes from outside. And, it just sounds really strange, because you’re not used to being in an environment so quiet. Even if you think you’re in a quiet environment, if you’re in your front room relaxing, there’s no sounds going, there’s always something, there’s always kind of hiss or a bang or a something from back, sort of the background, that you don’t even notice. So, recording studios are just a, they’re quite strange when you first go in there.

Now, you can try and replicate this, as best you can, in your own recording environment. Ways to do that are to find rooms that are well-carpeted, that have soft walls. So, if you have walls that are wallpapered, then that’s better than walls that are just plaster. Wood can be quite, a little bit reflective, but if it’s soft wood, it can be quite good, as well.

If you wanted to create your own recording studio, get some off-cut carpet and put that on the walls. Or, you can get curtains. So, if you get really heavy curtains and hang them around the walls, that can be really good for stopping reflection, as well.

So, that’s the sort of setup of the environment. But, then, you can do all you can to cut down on reflection, echo and outside noise, but then if there’s noise on the inside, then that kind of ruins it anyway.

So, big causes of that are things like computers. So, if you’ve got a PC, a desktop running in the background, then the fan from that desktop, or just the sort of electrical noises from that desktop, can be really loud to a sensitive microphone, so you can hear that fan quite heavily. Desktop computers are worse, but laptop computers can still cause a bit of noise, as well. So, if you’re recording on a laptop, try and keep the mic a little bit away from the laptop, at least.

Lights are other big culprits, so if you have large halogen lights on the roof, they can cause quite a big buzz, and that can get right into the microphone and cause quite a nasty hum.

If you can’t find a room that is sort of protected from echoes, then the next best thing is to find quite a large room and sit in a corner, but face outwards, so you’re not facing the wall. This is because if you’re facing the wall, obviously, you’re gonna be talking at the wall, echoes are gonna be coming back, hitting the microphone, and it’s gonna sound a little bit tinny. But, if you’re facing outwards, then no echoes’ll come back, and it’ll almost sound a little bit recording-studio-like, if you’ve got a nice, big space in front of you. So, that’s the best kind of setup you can find.

Basically, what you’re looking for is as quiet as possible, and just make sure that you don’t have sort of windows open, trucks rushing by, the classic lorry reversing up to the side of the building, with the beeps going in the background. I’ve also had many a recording ruined by a seagull as it flies by the window, screeching as it goes.

So, the next thing to think about, after the environment, are the presenters. You can do as much as you can to reduce your background noise, your outside noise, but if the the people you’re working with, the presenters or the interviewees, start making a racket, then it’s not really gonna help.

Sort of people noise is often sort of, it’s often done without thinking about it. There’s things like jangling of keys, or clicking a pen, or scratching your chin. That stuff that you never really notice when you’re with the person, in person. It’s only when it’s picked up by the microphone and it’s played back to you through your speakers, or through a pair a set a of headphones that it becomes really obvious.

So, you need to be really aware of what people are doing. You want them to sit as still as possible. You want to sit in the same position, talking into the mic at the same distance the whole time and not to be playing with anything. Hopefully, get them to just clasp their hands in front of them and keep them there, or put their hands on the table and not move them. You don’t want them rubbing their nose, scratching their chin, anything like that. All of that is really picked up by the microphones.

Another things is, if you’re touching the mics, or if you’re having to hold the mic for an interview, then that can be a really big cause of noise. If you accidentally start waggling it about, or kind of shuffling your fingers on the microphone, that can really come through the mic, into the recording, and sound really bad.

You’ve also got the standard sort of, mouth noises, I’ll call them. You’ve got breathing, coughing, sniffing, all that kind of stuff. All these noises that we make without thinking. They come across really strongly on our recordings. Obviously, it’s kind of hard to stop somebody coughing or anything like that, but that might be the type of thing you want to edit out. Or, if somebody’s got a bit of a cough at the time, it might not be worth doing the recording.

There’s other little things like, a classic that I’ve always come across is the squeaking chair. So, somebody’s sitting on a slightly squeaky chair. It’s not something you’d really notice, yourself. But again, they’re rocking back and forth, they’re turning round in a rotating chair and it comes across really badly on the recording. It comes across really loudly.

So, just try and have a think. Just try and be aware of the sounds. Have a wee chat with your presenters, your interviewees, before you start recording. Just talk to them for five minutes in your recording positions, and be really aware of the sounds that are being made.

If, during the recording, you find that people start to do something, they start, like, scratching the table or tapping their fingers, then you need to just stop and just tell them about it, and ask them not to do that. Because, it’s the kind of thing that, you can let it go because you don’t really want to stop the recording, but it just, it really does ruin it, and it’s impossible to get that kind of stuff out. Or, it’s very difficult, I should say, and it’s not really worth it. It’s worth better, just going back, starting that section again and doing it right in the first place.

So, I hope that gave you a few tips on how to set up your environment, how to make sure you start with a really good quality recording in the first place. And if you manage that, it’ll make your editing job so much easier in the future. Okay, thanks, and I’ll see you on the next podcast.

Podcasting Equipment Setups: The Different Ways to Record a Podcast | PS05

Today we’re looking at the different ways you can produce a podcast, including all of the different podcast equipment configurations you could use.

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To me, there are 5 levels of kit setup, starting with the low-tech, beginner’s kit, right up to near-professional mixer-based configurations. I’ll go through each one in this podcast and tell you when and where you might want to use them.

The big thing to remember is that no-one jumps right in at the top level. Just about every podcaster out there starts with basic equipment and upgrades as they improve. There are tonnes of great Podcasters who’s started out with nothing more than a laptop and an internal microphone. Now they’re broadcasting to thousands of people and using professional radio-studio style kit.

As always, if you have any questions, please get in touch through the comments below, or tweet me on @thepodcasthost.

Thanks for listening!

How to Script Your Podcast: Word for Word or Bullets? | PS04

Hey folks, and welcome to another episode of Podschool!

The task for today is to move on to writing a Podcast script, ready for your first recording. We’re going to graduate to real podcasters today and you’ll start the process of creating your very first episode.

If you’re someone who has been podcasting for a while, this might still be useful to you. If you want to refine your scripting process, have a listen and see what the options are.

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Option 1: Writing a Word-By-Word Podcast Script

Now, the way you go about creating a script is a very personal preference. Some people create a traditional, fully-fledged, word-by-word script which they then read out in full. And this can be really good to ensure that you cover everything you need to. Reading right through, you’ll make sure you don’t miss anything out and you’ll get all the facts right. It’s also good for people who are a bit less confident in speaking and who’d rather be methodical about recording, those who would rather be methodical and you don’t feel comfortable speaking off the cuff in front of a microphone. Also, for more complicated subjects or talks in something you’re not quite so au fait with, it can be really useful. It’s obviously a lot more difficult to speak on the fly when you have to remember a lot of facts that you’re not so familiar with.

The disadvantage of this approach, though, is that it can often lead to a pretty stilted, monotone delivery as you read right off the page. And you forget to inject a bit of you know, tone or personality into that information. That’s not always the case, though. And some people can read a script and still make it sound really natural. And there’s also a skill to actually writing more like you speak, so when you actually write your script, you create it in that kind of speaking tone, so that when you then read it, word-for-word, it still sounds conversational. So that’s something to think about that approach.

Option 2: Writing a Detailed Podcast Episode Plan

The alternative of course is just to write up an episode plan. So this can take a few forms. You can include a fair amount of detail still, although not quite as much as in a script. So you wouldn’t have word-for-word, but you’d have pretty much all the information in there that you need, just not how you’d actually speak it out. It’s a good compromise between writing a full script and doing it on the fly, because you’ll have the detail there, but you’ll need to ad-lib a little to introduce the kind of conversation and introduce a bit more personality.

Option 3: A Flexible, Rough Bullet Point Podcast Plan

At the other end of the make-it-up-as-you-go-along list, you could have a list of headers of which you could speak. This would be the most kind of, on the fly or off-the-cuff approach. These headers which remind you of the subjects you’re going to talk about and you’d hope that your expert knowledge on the subject will fill in the gaps. So this leads to the most conversational type of podcast. And often the most engaging is, it’s obvious you’re speaking from experience, and when you ad-lib much of it, your voice becomes a lot more active, a lot less monotone. The problem is, of course, that there’s a great chance that you might miss things out or forget material that you’re supposed to be talking about.

So, whatever method you choose is perfectly fine. You’ll find one you prefer and it’s pretty likely that you’ll start off writing full-on scripts and reading them word-for-word before moving onto slightly less structured material, if you’d like. So, basically the tasks for today are start writing.

Start Your Podcasting Journey: Write a Script

So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to create your own podcast. The first job is a script.

Just start writing a script for your first two to three-minute podcast. Keep it nice and short, and about a subject that you’re interested in.

That’s it for today! It’d be great to see some more comments on the site, so please do let me know how you’re getting on. Drop a comment in below, or tweet through on @thepodcasthost. Look forward to hearing from you!

Podcasting in Education: Why you Should use Podcasts to Teach | PS03

Today we’re going to look in a little more depth at how we can use Podcasting in our own work. Before we look at HOW to do it, I suppose we need to figure out the WHY after all!

Have a listen to the Podcast here, or download it to your mobile player. Or, if you’ve already subscribed in iTunes yesterday, you should find iTunes will download it automatically next time to turn it on.

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As always, just let me know if any questions!

Why Every Business Should be Podcasting | PS02

There are a huge range of reasons why Podcasting can help to grow your business – in this episode I talk about the ones which are, to me, the most compelling.

If you run a business and you’re not podcasting yet, then listen to this podcast to find out why you should be!

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Episode Guide

This section provides a rough, incomplete transcript of the episode. It’s written as notes, so please excuse grammar and writing errors!

This episode might not be for everyone – only if you run a business.

Why are podcasts getting so popular? Podcast stats currently show a huge amount of growth. I believe smartphones are the big cause. There’s now no need for a computer. Apple releasing the podcasting app had a massive effect on podcasting numbers, and potential for future growth.  Android podcasting apps are becoming more and more popular too, plus further podcating search engines such as stitcher and more.

So, what are the big reasons why you should be using Podcasting in Business?

Reason 1 – Engagement

Nothing engages audiences like a podcast – a voice is so much more personable than text. It’s intimate, with the presenter speaking directly into your head. It builds a relationship that makes you want to keep listening. You begin to believe that you KNOW the person, and if you KNOW someone you trust them, and are much more likely to buy from them. TRUST is the key here: podcasting builds trust in people, in brands and in companies more so than any other medium, thanks to the personality and the duration of engagement.

All of this is enhanced by the transparency intrinsic within the medium. Pat flynn for Smart Passive Income, for example, talks all about his life in a really honest way, and comes across as someone who is completely genuine as a result. It wouldn’t be the same in a written article.

Reason 2 – Attention

You don’t skim a podcast like you read the web. Instead, you hear the content at a normal, spoken pace. You also don’t need your full attention on it, or to set aside time to do that alone. You can listen to a podcast while you’re walking, cooking, exercising, driving… As a consequence of both, Podcasts get far longer attention that either writter or visual content. Can you imagine someone reading an article on the web for half an hour, or sitting watching a video on their PC for an hour? Those timescales DO happen with podcasts, week on week. You have your listeners’ attention for a longer duration with a podcast than any other amateur medium.

Reason 3 – Flexibility

As mentioned in the attention section, Podcasts allow for on-the-go consumption. So much of our time is wasted – in a queue, waiting room, on the bus, etc. Podcasts can fill this wasted time, allowing you to reach your customers/fans when they’ve got nothing else to do and will appreciate you for entertaining and informing them.

Reason 4 – Innovation

Podcasting is cutting edge, and shows you’re up and coming, innovative. A Social Media Examiner (from Michael Stelzner) study showed that only 3% of marketers were using podcasts. Social media is a noisy media and so it’s very hard to get your voice out there. Blogs are noisy too. Many, many businesses have a blog today, and therefore it just doesn’t stand out any more. But podcasting remains relatively unexploited, and is still very open.

Many topics have very little coverage, especially in the UK, and so there are huge gaps to be plugged by innovative companies. Even if there are others podcasting on your subject, the competition is much lower in this medium, and the perceived innovation benefits remain. You will stand out in your market.

Reason 5 – Learning Styles.

This is the science bit, the concept of different learning styles, or multiple intelligences according to Howard Gardner from Harvard. If you already release material by text, then podcasting is another medium that will reach people with different learning and media processing preferences. Many people prefer to consume info through listening rather than reading.

Reason 6 – Credibility

Because podcasting is still an uncommon medium, if you create one that sounds reasonably good, with only a little audio production, you’ll instantly sound very professional. You’re in the ring early (as perceived by the mass market), so people are automatically impressed. I know people in the industries I work in that have become famous through their podcasts, and that’s still easy to achieve in a small community. You can become a thought leader very easily – people listen to you and talk about your opinions, marketing your business for you in the process.

Reason 7 – Exposure

Podcasting will increase your exposure. By creating a podcast you’re marketing yourself on another full range of search engines, ie. itunes/stitcher, etc. You can also easily re-purpose it to be found on YouTube, the world’s second larger search engine. This type of video can work really well for promotion.

Reason 8 – It Works for Anyone

Podcasting can work for any niche. A lot of people think their topic is too niche, or too boring, but there are always some people interested. If you have customers, they’re interested in your offerings, and so could become fans.

What is a Podcast and How do They Work? Search & Subscription | PS01

Welcome to Podschool! This is the podcast all about how to podcast, introducing you to the equipment, the techniques, the planning and the software you need to create a great Podcast.

This Episode – Explaining what a Podcast is, and How to Subscribe.

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This episode, the first of the series, talks about how Podcasts work as a listener. This is for those of you who have found the podcast via the website and are just listening through the embedded media player. Well, there are far easier and better ways to listen to podcasts, including fully automated subscriptions!

If you’re already happy with iTunes or a similar subscription service then you might want to move on to episode 2. Thanks for listening!