We all have stories to tell and there are many platforms to share these stories on. Whether that be a blog, video, post on social media or feature in a magazine or newspaper. Thanks to modern technology, anyone can share a story to millions of people with a click of a button.

But there is a desire to make these stories dynamic and engaging and not just ‘words on a page’. As a part of this, new innovations have emerged: Snapchat Stories, Twitter Moments and, what we will be discussing today, podcasts.

Podcasts strip a story down and make it personable. It makes storytelling more accessible and, instead of making strides into the future, it goes back in time to when stories were read aloud. It reignites the art of storytelling and brings us back to the traditions of oral storytelling.

There are many reasons why you may wish to start your own podcast series. You may wish to start a comedy podcast, an educational podcast, or, the most popular series, a lifestyle podcast.

It doesn’t matter what story you wish to tell or what information you want to impart, podcasts need to be dynamic and conversational and you should try to connect with your audience in a personal way.

There are many misconceptions about podcasting, it is seen as an expensive venture that requires high quality microphones and subscriptions to expensive hosting providers. But, in actuality, anyone can start a podcast and can publish on the world’s most popular platforms free of charge.

This is our guide for starting a podcast.

Step 1: FIND YOUR STORY

You can’t start a podcast without a story or narrative. You have to have something to say and something of worth, it should be unique and your personality should shine through it. Avoid jumping on the bandwagon of lifestyle podcasts unless you really want to and have a super exciting life. Before planning episodes, designing artwork and pressing the all-important record button, take five minutes to think about your passions and what you could talk about.

Then you have your story.

Step 2: PLAN

When we say plan, we don’t mean write a script and calculate every finite detail of an episode, but rather consider your topic and how this will suit your theme and style. Create a flowchart of your episode’s narrative. You should have some key bullet points produced as trigger words for discussion. Don’t script your podcast, allow it to flow and be enjoyable for both artist and listener. You could consider interviewing someone via phone or in person but make sure you know who and when beforehand. Once you’ve done this, you should be able to begin talking about that topic with confidence and know what you will be talking about, without the need of a script.

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Step 3: RECORD!

Once you have your topic and have planned your episode, it’s time to record. If you have access to a microphone then be sure to use it, but if not, you can use an app on your mobile to record. Don’t worry if the audio isn’t broadcast quality, when you begin a podcast, you need to first prioritise content over style. It is important to be comfortable when recording so do it in a place of security when you won’t be disrupted.

If you would like to purchase a microphone, we recommend these budget options:

EditorsKeys SL300

Samson Go Mic

Blue Snowball

RØDE NT-USB

Please note that the microphones above have a USB cable which will connect to a computer. Unless you have an audio interface, avoid getting an XLR microphone as it will be incompatible with a computer.

Top Tip: To ensure that you sound your best when recording, you should think about what you eat and drink before pressing the record button. Stay hydrated and have an apple before recording. Avoid items with caffeine and dairy products as they will dry out your mouth and produce a ‘clacking’ sound when you speak. The WORST thing to do before recording would be to drink a frappuccino with extra cream! Stick to water and apples!

Step 4: EDIT

Once you have your episode recorded, it is time to edit. No recording is perfect and so you may find that you said ‘um’ a little too many times and want to omit those or record that section again. Don’t feel like you have to record the whole episode in one take, it is not live and so you can take your time. For editing vocals, we recommend Audacity, a programme available on both Windows and Mac. This tool allows you to ‘normalise’ a recording making it silky smooth, boost bass and treble and even cut off peak audio with ‘Hard Limiter’. There are so many tools available with Audacity and makes producing podcast simple.

Best part? Audacity is FREE!

You should consider adding some music and an intro to your podcast. For music, look to acquire a royalty free track that you can use in commercial projects. If you want a professional-sounding intro, you could go to Fiverr, an online marketplace for digital services. Hundreds of sellers on the platform will produce a podcast intro, tailored for you from just $5,00!

Step 5: ALBUM ART

Album art is vital as it is the first thing that a potential listener will see. You could make your artwork yourself using a graphic design tool like Canva. Alternatively, you could use Fiverr. They have hundreds of designers ready to design your artwork, from just $5,00. Ensure that the artwork encapsulates your podcast theme and topic, avoid general designs and make it memorable!

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Step 5: DISTRIBUTE

Once you have your completed podcast, it is time to send it out to world. There are many hosting providers available that will charge you for putting your podcast on their platform. But if you want to publish your podcast for free, try SoundCloud. They have a free plan that allows you to upload your podcast episodes to their platform. But, this doesn’t mean that you can only listen to your podcast via the SoundCloud app or website. They offer free RSS feed for you to distribute your content on other platforms.

What is an RSS feed?

An RSS feed is a link to your hosting provider that publishers use to automatically retrieve new content. You can get an RSS feed for your blog and social media, but also podcasts. This means that whenever you upload a podcast episode on SoundCloud, it will appear instantly on all of the other platforms that you have registered your RSS feed on.

Where to list your RSS feed?

In order to maximise visibility, we recommend listing your RSS feed on a number of platforms (all of these are FREE):

iTunes

acast

Stitcher:

PocketCasts

Google Play (US only)

Once you have your RSS feed listed, you can share a link to your preferred platform. If you prefer the user experience with iTunes, you can share you iTunes profile on social media and even on your website (if you have one)

You can also list your podcast on your website using embedded HTML code from SoundCloud. On your profile page, click ‘Share’ next to the track and select HTML code to generate your code.

Step 6: PROMOTE

Once you have your podcast listed on various platforms, it is time to promote its existence. Share updates on social media, linking to your podcasts when they are released. In your podcast, it may be worth quoting your social media handle and website details to generate traffic there. You could share your podcast link on platforms such as Reddit and Google+.

And that’s it! You have your podcast series and didn’t spend a penny. If you would like to listen to our podcast series, go to: www.fightmalaria.co.uk/podcast

If you have any questions or concerns, drop us a message via Twitter or send us an email at [email protected]

Thanks for reading!

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