Follow your passion: 4 expert tips for starting a podcast
Imagine being able to talk about your passions, concepts, beliefs, and values, all while developing an audience and creating a unique brand for yourself.
Swinburne University student Loren Botica, who started the news podcast The Wind Down for the uni publication The Standard, says podcasting taught her skills that have helped with her everyday life.
“The more you do it [podcasting], the more confident you get and the easier it is to talk to anyone,” she says.
“It’s a good opportunity to learn something.”
More than 5.5 million Australians are weekly podcast listeners, according to the 2021 Infinite Dial Australia 2021 study, by Edison Research and Commercial Radio Australia.
The research shows podcast numbers have risen more than 50 per cent since the pandemic started.
Jack Traynor, the senior podcast producer at podcast agency Wavelength Creative, says anyone can start a podcast with a few simple steps.
Podcasting awareness continues to increase in Australia. Source: mediaweek.com.au
1. Start with an idea
A podcast should start with a simple idea and a target audience, Jack says.
Find a topic you are passionate about and figure out how it can be delivered to an audience that will want to hear more.
“Podcasting is really great because you can have a really niche focus on your content,” he says.
Loren uses MsAnchor.fm – a free service – to help with titles, descriptions and the distribution of her content to various platforms.
“Make sure you are describing what you are producing well, use key terminology and think of what your potential listeners would be looking for,” she says.
Once an idea is formed, the next thing that needs consideration is recording episodes.
2. The means to record
The great thing about podcasts is that you don’t need a lot of money to create, record, and share episodes.
“All you really need is your phone and your internet connection, and you can make [a podcast] happen,” Jack says.
For university students, universities have media equipment available for hire, studios, and student-run podcasts that can be joined.
Even on a low budget, there is some high-quality equipment available that can make the audio in a podcast sound clear and professional.
Focusrite sells a portable studio that is affordable and includes a professional microphone, interface, and headphones.
However, take the time to learn new equipment – deleted or messy audio can be gut-wrenching.
Loren says she learned that lesson the hard way.
“Take your time when using equipment, you don’t know what’s going to happen. You can press the wrong button by accident,” she says.
Affordable premium podcast recording equipment: Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio including interface, microphone, and headphones only $389. Picture by Joshua Citarevic
3. Careful editing is essential
When they start out in podcasts, some people release long episodes that don’t keep listeners engaged.
The key to success is to keep listeners wanting more, Jack says.
“If you want your podcast to be big, think small.”
One of the biggest mistakes when starting a podcast is not editing.
“You want your show to be easy for the audience to consume,” Jack says.
There are many free editing programs available to download. For example, Audacity is a simple and free software that can be downloaded on any laptop or computer.
Swinburne University offers students free access to the Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes Adobe Audition.
Adobe Audition is one of the best audio editing programs available and is perfect for podcasting.
4. Be consistent
Podcasts are a way to develop an audience and expand your brand but don’t expect to become an overnight success.
Mr Traynor said podcasts are “easy to access, hard to master”.
The No.1 tip to creating a successful podcast is to remain consistent with your uploading.
“Nothing kills a podcast more than an inconsistent schedule,” Jack says.
It has never been easier to share your passions, gain an audience, and maybe even touch a few hearts with podcasting.
For Loren, it was one of the best decisions she has ever made,
“It’s really exciting, just get started … it’s really easy”.