The Tools I Use to Produce My Podcast-EP66

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By the time you're hearing this episode, I've had my podcast and have been recording for over a year and there have been quite a few things that I've learned in that process. This is a quick, action-packed episode about the tools that I use to make podcasting easy.

I have tried a number of different tools in the process of having a podcast. Some of them I love and some of them I eventually let go, but I now have a few favorites — to record my podcast, to make sure that it's edited properly, and to publish it with minimal fuss.

If you're thinking about launching a podcast and want a more detailed view of how to do so in less than 30 days, check out my online course on Udemy. It's called How to Launch a Podcast in 30 Days or Less.

Full Transcript:

Welcome to this episode of the Better Biz Academy podcast. And I'm doing something a little bit different in this episode because I'm not talking about freelancing specifically but kind of the tools that I use to make podcasting possible and how you can easily and quickly launch a podcast for yourself. It's becoming very popular for people to think about podcasting because a lot of people are listening to podcasts now, where they might not have in the future. But because podcasting is so popular for people to listen to, many start thinking, well hey, maybe I should start my own show. And by the time you're hearing this episode, I've had my podcast and been recording for over a year. And there's been quite a few things that I've learned during that process and I wanted to put together a real quick, kind of action-packed episode of the tools that I use to make podcasting very easy. And I have tried a number of different tools in the process of having a podcast. Some of them I loved and some of them eventually I had to let them go, but I now have a set of tools that I use both to record my podcast, to make sure that it's edited properly, to publish it easily, and so these are kind of like the recap of my favorites.

If you'd like to learn about podcasting, I have a free course that's available on Udemy about how to get booked and how to get publicity as a podcast guest expert. I also have a paid course over on Udemy, all about launching a podcast in 30 days or less. So let's start with an analysis of why I chose not to do one specific piece of the podcasting process on my own, and that was editing.

First of all, I'm not an audio engineer; it's not my area of expertise so it might seem down the line for you to think about editing but it can be one of most time consuming or expensive portions of running a podcast. So I want you to consider it first. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of what microphone should I buy and all of that, think about editing because if you're not a sound engineer, you aren't going to know what to do and sound quality is really important for a podcast, because people may be listening to you through ear buds, they may be listening to you in the car, they could be listening from their computer speakers; there are so many different ways that someone could hear your podcast but the bottom line is that you want it to sound good, no matter how they hear it. So recognizing this, when I launched my podcast, I said, "I'm not an audio engineer", and even if I was, I don't think it's a good use of my time to work on a project like this - of managing the audio of my podcasts. So I found a professional and I strongly recommend him; go to www.thepodcastingguy.com - Tim is great, he does all the editing for my podcasting. It's very affordable; he has different price levels; his team will even do your show notes and everything like that. So, check into that. Look into what it would actually cost to have someone edit your episodes. And it's going to depend on how long your podcast is and the bells and whistles that you want with that. But for me, I knew the fastest and most effective way was to outsource this to a professional because you can really go down the rabbit hole trying to get the right equipment or trying to get the right sound, and it's so much easier to just say, "hey, here's my completed episode. Can you do it?" and then that engineer turns it around. So we will, of course, put links to everything I reference in this episode, in the show notes. So Tim would definitely be somebody that I would recommend; very professional, we've been working together for almost a year now. He also has launch packages, so he'll help you with your artwork, he'll help you with what you need to get set up on iTunes and all of that. So please check out his website; well worth the money to invest with him and have somebody really professional handling that particular aspect of the podcast production.

Okay so now that we've gotten that out of the way, you're going to get quotes across the boards by the way, if you ask multiple people to edit your podcast. So it's worth doing that now because you should have a sense of, can I really afford to do this. Is this going to be an important enough aspect of my podcast to pay for it regularly? And that will also help you figure how many episodes you want to do per month because of course, the longer your audio files, the more involved they are and the more often you are doing them and that's going to influence your pricing that you get from an audio engineer.

Okay, so now let's talk about actually recording the podcast. An easy place to start, of course, is the microphone. I've used two different microphones to record my podcast. I've used the Blue Yeti Mic which is kind of standard among course creators and online video creators, as a good decent mic. It's kind of like the introductory microphone that you're going to invest in first.

So I used that one for a long time. I eventually switched away from the Blue Yeti just because it picks up all the sound around it so if you've got a fan above you, as is the case in my current office situation - it's so hot up there, I have to have the fan on otherwise it's miserable. If you have animals in the background or an air conditioner vent; it's going to pick that up. Whereas the microphone I use now which is the ATR 2100 Audio Technica - only picks up what's immediately in front of it. So as I'm speaking into the microphone, it's taking that information directly from me and it's not picking up the whole room. So they're both a little bit of an investment. I would say that in running a podcast the most expensive thing is the audio engineering or the editing, post production stuff because you're paying that again and again every time you have a podcast episode. But the microphone is well worth making that upfront investment and the prices fluctuate. I mean, the Blue Yeti - you're probably going to find it for somewhere between $60 and $110 depending on sales; and the ATR 2100 fluctuates in a similar price point. So you're going to have to invest no matter what. But I love that I can use my microphone for multiple different purposes; when I'm being interviewed on someone else's podcast, when I'm making videos, when I'm making courses - I'm using the same microphone. So I get a lot of mileage out of whatever microphone I am using at that particular point in time. So those are the two that I recommend - pretty user friendly. Again, if you hire Tim, he'll walk you through in that podcast launch package that he has; how to adjust the settings on your microphone, he'll tell you if it doesn't sound right, if there are things that you need to fix, if you are not speaking into it properly - so again, well worth the money to hire a professional on that because unless you've been doing radio for years or have a YouTube channel, you may not know the right settings to have it at.

Another tool that I love using in the recording process is Audacity - it's free. Now this is ideal for solo episodes because you can just record yourself talking into your computer, it's going to capture everything, you can then upload it to Dropbox or do whatever you are going to do to get the episode into post production. Audacity can also be helpful if you're going to have a two person show because you might ask that person to record their end of the conversation. So I do recommend checking that out - and it's free. So you might say, hey, I'm going to record using my own recording software but can you also capture your end of the conversation in Audacity in case there are problems. I have had people ask that of me before. On the note of recording the episodes - actually capturing the information - I have used two different programs to interview guests and both come with their problems. I like having both because when one isn't functioning, usually the other one is so I can get it up relatively quickly and make sure that it's handled appropriately. So I have used the Skype e-cam call recorder. This works when you are doing calls over Skype; it can capture your video as well as your audio input from both ends. However, Skype is very questionable in terms of quality. Sometimes Skype works really well, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it would look like I got a great recording of a podcast episode with a guest and then Tim would tell me after the fact, it cut out about 20 times and we're missing about 6 minutes of audio. And then it would be this huge disaster of trying to piece together the episode or it would be re-recording with that guest, which is a real problem.

So because that happened a number of times, I switched to Zencastr and it worked okay. I liked it at first; I used it a lot when I first switched over from Skype e-cam call recorder because frankly I was so fed up with the call recorder and it not working. But then we started having really similar problems with Zencastr. Basically, it works like you give a link to a person, you would create a link for a show episode and you would tell the person to show up then at the appointed time and sometimes the person couldn't hear me or the room was frozen or something like that. So again, not without its problems. You'd have to stay in the room in Zencastr for a couple of minutes after you have finished for the episode to back up, and if you left too soon, it wouldn't back up properly or if the other person had internet connection problems, it wouldn't back up properly. So if you are going to host a podcast and you're going to have guests, you need both of you to have a good internet connection. When you're doing a solo episode, you can record just talking into Audacity, the free program, no problem. But when you have a guest, your ability to hear each other and capture good audio is dependent on internet, so that means they need to have no background noise on their end as well. This is something I go over a lot in my Udemy course about launching a podcast in 30 days or less because you want to give the right instructions to a guest if you're going to have that interview style show so that they know how to show up and be prepared for it.

Another thing you're going to need are a great pair of headphones and I have a pair that I finally love. I use Bluetooth headphones from Sudio. They're awesome. It's so easy to avoid background noise. You can't just get on Skype and use the general speakers on your computer because then the recording is capturing you talking, the guest talking, the echo of that guest talking out of your computer; then that person is also hearing their own voice coming out of your computer. So it creates all of these problems with sound. Both of you need to have good headphones and I love Bluetooth headphones because then you can do an episode no matter where you are. So I love my Sudio headphones; they're blue, they're easy to drop into a bag, they connect to my phone, they connect to my computer very easily, they're super stylish so I love them. They're also affordable and long lasting. So also, we have a coupon code for 15% off of any Sudio headphones that you want to check out. So get the link for that in the show notes because I want to make sure you have a pair of good quality headphones you can use over and over again and I love the Sudio product. It has been really easy to work with and something that is really reliable whether I'm on the go or whether I'm at home in my office and recording. Got to have a good pair of headphones. Recording a podcast with a guest is impossible without it, and honestly, if you're doing anything where you're doing online calls with people or something where you're interacting in a zoom group or mastermind calls, you want to have a good pair of Bluetooth headphones anyways so you're not tied to holding your phone up to your ear. So I love that.

So I've shared with you my recording tools, things I use to make things easy. Another tool I love - if you're going to be scheduling guests, you're going to want some type of a calendar tool. You do not want to go back and forth over email a hundred times; "Well does Thursday at four work for you?" "Oh no, I have an appointment then." Use a tool like Calendly, which we'll put a link in the show notes, to have the guests select from a set of available times that you have. So you can go in in your calendar and say, Thursday 1pm to 4 pm EST is my podcast recording blocks so people can book 20 or 30 minute slots within there. Then it's on them. You can set it to send reminders to them, decrease the chances that they're a no show etc. So I love Calendly, you can get the free account with just setting up one type of meeting which is probably what you'd need for your podcast, and then the onus is on the person scheduling the appointment; you're not being barraged with emails.

Another thing that I recommend in the process of starting your own podcast is a place to store your audio. You will need this whether you're on WordPress or some other site. I use Libsyn; very easy to use. Get that podcast launch package from Tim, he'll walk you through how to set it up. My virtual assistant does all the management of Libsyn after the fact. So it's very easy to use, multiple people can be in the account uploading things. It's also very affordable. I think we pay $20 a month to use Libsyn and just have it be where all that audio is stored, and they're just an industry leader for a reason. I find that it's well worth the cost to use that and you're not spending as much as you are, perhaps, on your podcast editor or on some of the other equipment you're going to have to invest in at least once, but it's reliable and it works well and if it isn't broke, why fix it. So I strongly recommend Libsyn; great tool for launching your own podcast and storing and you can embed a little mp3 player on your website when you're finished with your podcast and all of that.

So you're also going to need some kind of an image; you're going to need a plugin or a tool on your website that's going to handle the playing of the podcast on that page. Now, you're going to want to be connected to iTunes and Stitcher and all the different programs that people use to listen to podcasts, but having a little mp3 player on your page - I most often come across that when I'm googling something and I find somebody's podcast that I don't want to subscribe to yet, because I don't know if I'll like it - and I'll listen to one episode from the actual webpage. So it's a good idea to have one. And hiring the right editor and person to help you launch your podcast can make sure that you cover that. So there's lots of bells and whistles you can go into when launching your own podcast; these are my favorites and kind of the bare minimums that you're going to need to have in order to launch your own show. It is going to require an investment, not just of your time but also of some money to get started, but if this something that you're really interested in and you think that you have a potential audience, it's not going to be so prohibitably expensive that you can't do it yourself.

Now, a lot of times people balk at the price of the editor in particular. They can see the utility of purchasing a microphone that they're going to use over and over, but the editor, they're like, "Well I'll just record it on this voice memo app on my phone and then upload it. Every time that I've listened to a podcast that has really problematic audio quality, I'm going to just completely turn it off; even if I'm really interested in the content. I'm going to shut it off because it's too difficult to listen to something like that. So keep that in mind; where are your listeners going to be hearing your episode. If it's in their Sudio earbuds, their Bluetooth headphones that they are using as they are on the run, they don't want to hear crackling, they don't want to hear audio problems, hissing, your fan running in the background. So keep that in mind; yes, it's an investment to pay an editor but it could make the difference between someone not only listening to your episodes but subscribing to your show. So if you're interested in learning more about launching your own podcast, check out the link below to become a student in my course about launching your podcast in 30 days or less. I hope this has helped you figure out what you're actually going to need to launch a show and the relative price points or what you might be able to expect. Doing some research before you launch a podcast show can help you finalize that decision on whether it's right or not for you.       

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