Casting a pod – part one
So everyone’s podcasting, maybe you should too. But what does it take to get it done? Herewith, I proudly present the Writers Write Guide to shouting at the void.
How to set up a podcast
You and a couple of friends with a good idea have something to say. But, what do you need to get going?
Firstly, and really think about this, from where and on what are people going to listen this podcast?
- Does your audience use their phone podcast app and listen with to you while they go to the gym or for a run?
- Do they open YouTube in a window while they are typing an article at work and listen from your channel?
- Maybe they download your podcast for their drive to work?
You will need to accommodate at least a couple of these options. So, how? Well, you’ll need somewhere to host your audio. Whichever one you choose, you must be able to link it to a service like an iTunes or Google Play app.
Here are three places to try:
- Sound Cloud has a free plan that includes basic elements and three hours of uploaded content. It is reliable and well-used. Set up an account. Select the Create part of the site to upload your podcast.
- Podbean is one of the best podcast websites around. It is simple, reliable, and competitive priced, with plans that start at only $3 a month.
- If you start a channel on YouTube you can simply paste the audio on to a still image or behind an interesting looping video. Maybe, a picture of something you’re advertising or some footage of a game you’re playing. Turn this into a video with Adobe Premier or Sony Vegas. Make sure it’s the H.264 codec and no more than a stereo format.
After that you have a place to share your story.
Three things you need to know: Types of podcast formats
Obviously you’ve listened to podcasts, but what makes one work? It’s hard to say. Ultimately, it boils down to the synergy between the speaker and listener, but here three ways to do it:
1. The ‘Two Guys Talking’ style of podcasting has become the most prevalent style of podcasting. It creates a sense community and intimacy between the hosts and listener.
This style is also easy to maintain on a weekly schedule and simple to edit. It’s really the budget podcast king of formats, because it allows sporadic focus while maintaining a casual feeling to the conversation.
This format can be as simple as two people talking about their week or it can be a topic driven news show or even a technical exploration into a new scientific theory. All of which can be made interesting by following the natural flow of a friendly conversation without the artificial interaction of a structured interview.
This is essentially what you see on a TV talk show or hear on a radio show.
More structured formats of podcast exist and do well. However, they tend to focus strongly on one aspect of a topic at a time. These can be more segmented, with segments targeting say an interview or news story but may involve something like a game where the hosts or guests compete.
Lastly there is the solo podcast. This is difficult to master as it relies solely on your ability to entertain. The vast majority of these are structured and topic driven. Scripting is essential to this as the listener needs to feel there is some point to the monologue.
CGP Gray, an educational YouTuber, is a master a driving a solo conversation about seemingly very boring topics, such as flags or voting systems, and turning them into entertaining essays. These often leave you feeling more knowledgeable and not like you have wasted half a day.
To accomplish this he has spoken in depth about the many weeks it takes him to write a scripts and create visuals for his words to react with.
His other podcast Hello Internet (with Brady Harran) is one of the most interesting explorations of pointless but thought provoking ways to speak at length about nothing of consequence or existential anxiety inducing hard hitting topics.
Whichever style you choose, always remember the worst thing you can do is be boring.
Please look out for Part Two where we’ll go over all the equipment you will need to host a podcast.
Christopher Dean is the official podcast listener for Writers Write.