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The 4 P's of Podcasting​

Table of Contents

Let me ask you this… Do you want to start a podcast, but have no idea how to start?

When I started my podcast, I had ZERO idea of what to do. All I had was a passion for the profession of occupational therapy and a will to learn the necessary skills to launch a podcast. 

I did my homework and researched a ton about microphones, interviews, hosting sites, and podcast promotion. To be honest, I am still learning and trying to stay up-to-date in the world of podcasting.  

So if you have a desire to start a podcast, but don’t know how to get started, you’re in the right place. I’ve compiled a bunch of resources below to assist you on your podcasting journey. 

Before I jump into the 4 P’s of Podcasting, I first have two things for you to consider.

What is your why behind wanting to start a podcast? 

So what’s your why? For example, is it to gain more clients, broaden your audience, poise yourself as an expert, or market your business or products? Understanding why you are starting in the first place, will help guide you though some of the points listed below. 

Who is your target audience?

In addition to your why, you also need to figure out who your ideal audience is going to be. Will it be for parents and caregivers, clients themselves, a specific population (diagnosis, age, location, treatment approach, etc), maybe for students or other professionals. Who is it that you want to be listening to your show?

These are important to figure out first so when questions arise later, you know why you are doing it and who it is for.  

Now that we have that in mind, let’s get down to podcast business.

Plan: Create a vision for your podcast

First off, you’ll need to come up with a plan for your show.  This will help dictate what you will need to do and establish some processes and workflow in order to get the work done.

Some things to consider when starting to plan your podcast are:

Format

Format refers to how your show is going to be structured.  This refers to whether your show is a  monologue, interview, segments, panel discussions, or some combo of these. When figuring out format, you’ll also need to consider how many hosts there will be. 

Length

Next up, comes from a question I hear all the time. How long should each episode be? And the best answer I can find is that your podcast should be as long as it needs to be while continuing to add value.

Frequency

Another thing you’ll need to figure out before starting your show is how often are you going to publish. 

This can range from: 

  • Everyday
  • Weekly
  • Bi weekly
  • Monthly
  • Randomly or whenever you feel like it. 

 

Regardless of what frequency you decide, my best piece of advice is just be consistent.  When I first started, I was releasing an episode every week. But it started to become too much, so I switched to every other week.  Pick one that works for you and stick to it. 

Workflow

Once you have all the logistics figured out, you’ll need to put in place a workflow to keep track of everything that goes into making an episode. Just like running a business, you will need to make templates and system processes to make sure that you do everything that you need to and also keep you in line. Because let me tell you, there are a lot of  steps to start a show, for one, and then to actually make an episode, there are even more. Having the right workflow, will help make podcasting a wee bit easier for you. 

Wanna know my 3 top tips for workflow?

For Documentation, I use Google Docs, religiously. I think I have like 10 open on my computer as I type this. I use Google Docs for all my episode notes from guest information to talking points, summary of the episode, show notes, and all of my promotional content. Any sort of written content lives on Google Docs. Other documentation systems include NotionOneNote, and Evernote

As for organizational apps, I use Trello. This helps keep my thoughts in order. I have a podcast board which is broken up into various cards such as

  • “Topics/Desired Guests”
  • “Contacted/ Scheduled Guests”
  • “Rough/Final Episode Edit”
  • “Published”
  • “Promote”
  • “Done”

 

Trello allows me to move episodes from one card to the other so I always know where I am with a specific episode. Additional organizational apps I have heard of are Asana and Todoist

To schedule guests, I use Calendly. I started using it for my private practice and it was a game changer so I then implemented it for OT 4 Lyfe. It’s super easy. You just set your schedule and then send the link to your guests.  They schedule directly through the link and you get a notification when they have. No more back and forth, trying to coordinate days and times. Another scheduling app I have heard of, but never used is Acuity.

Products: Tools needed to make your podcast

Now, you don’t need the latest and greatest tools in order to start, but having a few items as you begin will get your show off on the right foot.  So let’s dive into the specific gear you will need in order to record and store your audio. 

Recording Device

First off, you will need some sort of a device in order to record onto. That could be a computer, smart phone, or external voice recorder.  Personally, I recommend using a computer, as that is what I do for every episode.  I do know some people that just use their phones, but sometimes the audio quality can be impacted this way. 

Microphone

Next, and probably one of the most important things to get is a USB microphone.  Do not, I repeat, do not use your built-in computer microphone.  Using a microphone is one of the easiest ways to take your audio to the next level. I personally use the ATR2100, but would also recommend the Samsung Q2U. Also, I should mention that it is important that you do a little research on how to use your specific microphone for guaranteed clarity. While you’re at it, look up some details on proper room treatment while podcasting to make sure your audio is the best that it can be.

Microphone Stand

Along with a decent mic, you’ll want to get a mic stand. Typically one that sits on a desk will come with your mic, but I would recommend getting a boom arm. Using a mic with a boom arm will save your audio from random bumps into or on the desk when you are recording, i.e. when putting down a glass of water or accidentally bumping it with your elbow or knee. It doesn’t matter if you use a mic stand that goes on your desk or a boom arm, just as long as you have a stand and are not holding the mic with your hand. 

Monitoring Headphones

Another item on your podcasting gear list should be monitoring headphones, preferably some that are noise cancelling. That way you can monitor your audio in live time while you are recording and also be able to clearly hear your audio when you go to record. Plus, they make you look super cool and official too :o).

Audio Storage

One more thing you should consider is what product you will need in order to store your audio files.  These files can be large and will start to add up over time.  And sometimes causing your computer to become unhappy with you because you have used up all your memory (this may or may not have happened to me).  Therefore, I recommend getting a Micro SD card or an external hard drive to store your files. 

For further podcasting gear tips, here’s a link to one of my favorite podcasting resources.

Production: Bring your podcast to life

Now that we have discussed the basics as far as gear, organization, format, etc., let’s chat about bringing your show to life.  

Recording Platform

I currently use Zoom and have liked it so far. I like that it has a video component, it generates a link to send to your guests so it’s easy to connect with them, and the audio component has been solid as well.  

I used to use Skype with ECam recorder and my biggest complaint was that more often than not I could not easily connect with my guests. A few months ago at the last Podcast Movement conference, I chatted with the folks from Squadcast and it sounded like a great platform. I may trial it one of these days to see what it is all about.  

Other recording platforms include Zencastr, which I have heard good things about, but it doesn’t have a video component and Anchor. I will chat a little more about Anchor later.  

Hosting Site

Most hosting sites have a monthly fee, so picking the right one for you will depend on how much data you plan to upload each month and other features that you want. 

I have only ever used Simplecast  and absolutely love it. It is user-friendly, straightforward, and their customer service has been awesome. If you decide to use Simplecast, use this link and the promo code ONSIMPLECAST for 50% off the first 2 months. 

Other hosting sites include Libsyn, Podbean, Blubrry, Transistor, BuzzSprout, and Anchor

Many people choose Anchor because it is free.  But before you jump at the no-cost, do yourself a favor and read this article

Editing Software

The purpose of editing your show is to make it sound more professional.  Some people believe that editing is a waste of time, but I feel that a little bit of editing goes a long way for your show. Your audience’s ears will thank you.  

I use two products for audio engineering: Audacity and Levelator. Audacity is a free editing tool in which I use to edit my audio, including organizing content, de-amplifying breaths, pulling out unnecessary “ums” and “likes”, removing background noise, adding in intro and outro music, etc.  Once my show is put together, I run it through Levelator (which is also free) to adjust the audio levels. This is beneficial if one guest is recorded quieter or louder than the other and makes for easier listening on your audience’s ears. 

Other editing software out there include: Hindenburg, Auphonic, Garageband, Logicpro, and Descript.

Podcasting Apps

The last thing that I will mention in the production portion has to do with podcast apps.  This means where you should have your show posted in order for your audience to consume it. 

Should I be on Spotify? What about Stitcher? Is it ok to just be on one? How many do I need to be on?

These are all questions that I have heard time and time again. And my answer is always this. You should be on any podcast app that you can possibly be on. You want your show to have as much exposure as possible. Each app has a process in order to get your show on it, but once you do it one time, all you need to do is rinse and repeat it for all the other apps.

Here’s a list of some of the podcast apps out there currently: 

Promotion: Get your podcast to the audience

Alright, we are almost to the end. Now, let’s talk about promotion.  Unfortunately, I know a bunch of podcasts out there create beautiful content, but then do not invest enough time and effort into getting their show out to the world. You can have the best show ever, but if nobody knows it exists, no one will ever listen to it. 

Website URL

First things first, you’ll need to get a website. You need a place that you can house your show and direct people to. You can use the one from your podcast host site, but I’d suggest setting up your own website so you have control over what it looks like and the traffic that comes to it. Here’s what I used to get a URL

Social Media

You’ll also have to consider what social media platforms you will want to use in order to promote your show.  To answer this question, you need to find out where your ideal audience hangs out. Social media platforms include: 

Graphic Design

You will also have to think about designing your logo and graphics for your website, social media posts, and podcast art. I use Canva (free version available), but there are tons of other sites like PhotoShopGIMP, and Snappa.

Additional Resources

Just because I love podcasting so much, I had to include some of my favorite resources here. 

Podcast Conferences

To connect with a huge community of podcasters and to stay up-to-date on podcasting news, tools, and events, check out Podcast Movement or Podfest

Podcasts About Podcasting

To listen to podcasts about podcasting (so meta, I know), I recommend listening to School of Podcasting, Better Podcasting, and Do You Even Blog.

PodCourse

Speaking of which, Pete McPherson from Do You Even Blog is launching PodCourse, a beginner podcasting course that breaks down the entire process of podcasting into simple steps. I have been listening and learning from Pete for years and let me just say that his tips and insights are money. The course starts June 1, 2020, so if you’re interested, get on it before it sells out!

Wrapping Up

Alright, that was a lot of information, but guess what? You made it! 

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have any questions or want further help navigating the wonderful world of podcasting, don’t hesitate to reach out to me

I will leave you with this… Starting a podcast is pretty easy, but starting a good podcast is hard.  It will take work, but if you’re like me, you’ll fall in love with this medium and not be able to get enough.