Podcast production is a lengthy, in-depth process that turns hours of hard work into minutes of a finished, polished product. From the pre-planning and prep stages, all the way through editing, post-production, and promotional work, the arduous efforts spent during the production of a podcast will pay off in a successful show.
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This post has been updated in August 2021.
Why a Podcast?
Maybe you’ve never thought about hosting a podcast and then all of a sudden, you thought, “Hey, I can do that!” Or maybe since you heard the first podcast you listened to, you thought, “Oh, I’ve got to be a part of this!” The good news is, you can host a podcast.
Some people have a podcast related to their job or small business. With the surge in podcasts, this is an excellent way to market yourself. As OSTraining shares, Podcasting creates an avenue to reach, inspire, and influence a large group of people. It’s a way for you to connect your brand or message with your audience. It’s also an income stream.
Other podcast hosts never mention their day job. Maybe they love the supernatural, working on cars, or collecting snowglobes, so they want to share that love through a podcast. It’s a fantastic way to create a community of people with similar interests. Your expertise and knowledge can also be helpful and uplifting to others.
Whatever your reason, if you’ve got the itch to create a podcast, go for it. The world of podcasts is growing and it can benefit you, your business, and those around you. Share what you love.
Now you want to know how to create the podcast, right? Read on to find out.
What are the Steps of Podcast Production?
Creating and producing a podcast isn’t easy. It’s not simply a matter of sitting down in front of a mic, talking, and then publishing your recorded content. Though it may sound like that’s the case when you listen to good podcasters, it’s actually so much more work than just that.
Sarah Rhea Werner shares her process in Forbes magazine. She is a writer and podcaster who says about herself, “I write about podcasting and podcast about writing.” Looking at her methodology, she breaks her podcast production process down into small steps. In her Planning Phase, she includes brainstorming, research, and outlining. She starts with a show topic and brainstorms ideas for it. Then she researches and documents her sources, finally putting this together in outline form. Her next phase is Setup Phase, where she soundproofs her area, sets up equipment and prepares herself. This is where she prepares her space and herself, always making sure her cat’s out of the room.
Next is the Recording (Production) Phase. Here, Werner tests, introduces the show, records and/or interviews, and saves the show. The Post Production Phase is a quite lengthy part of podcast production, and this is where she edits, readys the files by exporting, importing, exporting, adds tags, makes show notes, and creates imagery for her cover art. This can take up to 10 hours. The final phase is the Distribution and Promotion Phase. This is where she uploads the podcast, embeds and shares it, emails her listeners, and monetizes it.
Now depending on your show, you may have some different steps, like booking a guest or blogging about your latest show. However, a podcast production should have phases consisting of planning, set up, recording, post-production, and distribution even if the steps in each one differ for different people.
Let’s take a look at these phases of podcast production in more detail.
The Planning Phase of Podcast Production
This is where it all begins. And the very first step is choosing your topic. OSTraining advises to go specific: Instinctually, we want to choose a broad and adaptable topic, something that will give you a lot of content. The opposite is true- you want to be specific and clear. Pick something niche. Many of the most successful podcasts are on very specific topics. So if you love dogs, think about what you love about them. Dog training, sharing dog stories, information on dog breeds, dog psychology,… Any large subject can be broken down into a niche, and people want a niche.
You also need to think about your audience. Clearly, dog lovers will tune in to your show about dogs, so gear it towards them. Maybe add in cute stories of your own dogs, share their names, share your listener’s stories. Think about how you can incorporate more about dogs, maybe on a personal note, into your show. This is an important way to engage your listeners.
You’ll also want to think about the format. Will you have guests that you’ll interview or guest hosts to help you run your show? How long will your podcast be and how often will you release an episode? Choosing the name is also part of podcast production, along with making notes, researching, outlining, and naming each episode.
With a clear vision and great notes, outlines, and research, you’re on your way to prepping and setting up your show.
The Prep and Set-Up Phase of Podcast Production
Just as Werner talked about her prep for her podcast, there are things you need to do before you record. You’ll need equipment, and that can be from start upgrade to professional recording equipment. Many people, like Werner, record at home. If you do this, you need a soundproof space so listeners don’t hear garbage trucks in the background or your dogs barking at those garbage trucks. Some podcasters like to use a whisper room for their soundproof space.
As far as equipment goes, you’ll at least need a computer and a microphone. Then you get to headphones, mixers, and amplifiers. You can find detailed information on equipment for podcast production here. Once you have your equipment and space you’ll be set for each episode. Then comes the prep of yourself and guests.
All podcasters have different ways they prep before recording, but it entails things like having water ready for yourself, knowing your interview questions, going to the bathroom beforehand, scheduling guests. You can see there’s a lot this part entails, too.
Recording Your Podcast
This is it! The recording phase. This may be your favorite part of podcast production. During this phase, you’ll introduce the show and any guests you have. You should have notes prepared, but be careful you’re not reading them. You want to sound natural and relaxed. If you have a guest, let them talk. They can be the star of the episode and you’re the facilitator. Ask your questions but don’t cut them off. Also, share any information where listeners can find your guests (and more about you).
It’s important to stick to your time frame and topic. Listeners like to know what to expect, and you should be able to give it to them. That’s where your planning will pay off. And when you finish the episode, be sure to save it. Thank your guests, thank your listeners, and let them know you’ll “see” them again. After all, you should be a hospitable host.
The Post Production Phase of Podcast Production
This is the big phase. This is where the magic of editing happens. It’s hard, but don’t be afraid to cut some material. Even if everything is good, you may not need it all. Think about your topic and if you strayed from it, you may want to cut that part out. You can also edit out extraneous sounds so the audio is crisp and clean.
This is also when you’ll publish your podcast and tag it. Remember, when people are searching, they’ll use tags and they’ll also see your cover art. Your cover art should be relevant, eye-catching, visually pleasing. If you have trouble with any of these phases, you can outsource this part to an expert. You’ll want a clean, finished form of your podcast production to launch on iTunes. People don’t want to listen to raw, unfinished podcasts.
The Promotion Phase
You’ve completed your podcast production and it sounds amazing. Now what? It’s time to distribute and even monetize your podcast if that’s something you want to do. Remember, you can make money from your podcast, and maybe one day this can even be your full-time job. Many podcasters become sponsors for small businesses (or not so small). If you decide to reach out to some people about sponsorship, make sure they have a product or service that your audience can relate to. It could be something general like socks, or something more niche, like dog chew toys.
Once your podcast is live, let your listeners know. Most podcasters have active social media so post about your new podcast or latest episode. Email your audience like Werner does. Blog about it and make sure you link to it. Just publishing a podcast isn’t always enough. You also need to spend time promoting it.
For some of these phases, you can get help. You can hire professionals or use a hosting website to make things a little easier. It’s hard to be great at all of these phases, don’t hesitate to get help in some parts of podcast production. That will give you more time to focus on the parts you do love and excel at.
The Big Takeaway of Podcast Production
Podcasts are a huge form of entertainment, and this medium is only growing. It’s an awesome time to step into this field. You can boost your business or share your interests; all you need is a great idea. Well, then you need to plan, prep, produce, and launch it on iTunes. But you can do this and in doing so, you can create a new community of people who share your interests.
Start your own podcast today with Bunny Studio!