How to Start a (Free, Basic) Podcast

December 04, 2017

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveYourPC #CollectiveBias

In case you don't know, I run a little podcast with Tara, just for fun, called the Steph and Tara Show, were we talk each week about the upcoming weird national holidays, like national taco day or creep like a ninja day.  We have a lot of fun doing it, because we don't take it too seriously.  But it was a big learning curve to get everything up and running, particularly because we didn't want to spend a lot of money doing it.  A lot of people are in the same boat - they want to start a podcast, have a great idea, but don't want to spend a lot to get it out there and definitely aren't sure how to go about that.  If that's you, let me talk you through how we record and get our podcast out there each week.


Equipment

There are a lot of moving parts to creating a podcast.  It's not as simple as record and upload (oh that I wish that it was though!), and there are a lot of things that need to be done at the same time while we record each week.  I needed my computer to be able to keep up, so when it was time to upgrade, I knew it had to be Intel’s new 8th Generation Intel® Core™ processor, because it's available across a wide variety of laptop brands and I knew it would allow me to get all of the podcasting work done quickly and easily.  It's two times better performance than a 5 year old PC, and a 40% performance jump over the 7th Generation processor, so I knew it was the right time to look for something that wouldn't be as difficult to run a podcast with as my old computer.

I was able to stop in and get my Lenovo 720 2-in-1 laptop at Best Buy.





I found the size of this one to be the best for my needs, though there's tons of options to choose from with the same 8th Generation Intel® Core™ processor.  I liked the 2-in-1 option of this model because it's not just a laptop, it's also touchscreen enabled and folds flat like a tablet, which is great for portability.

Recording

Since we didn't want to commit to spending a lot of money on this podcast, we decided not to invest in recording equipment like expensive microphones.  We're just fine recording through our phones and computers!  We generally record in two ways - either I talk to Tara through my PC using Skype and record the audio, or I talk to her on my phone and record my own audio on my PC on my end, and she records her own on her end, which I then stitch both together.  The first way is easier and less time consuming, but the second way provides better audio.  To record your audio, just open Voice Recorder, which comes pre-installed on your PC.  It automatically saves my audio, and Tara will upload hers to a Google Drive location so I can access it.  Then I stitch them together.


Editing Audio

For editing our audio, I downloaded Sound Editor, which is free.  I just open a new project and add my audio and then Tara's, and drag them around a bit until the start points line up.  Occasionally I'll have to cut out some middle parts if our dogs were barking, but generally it's ready to go right away.




The program is easy to follow, just opening the two audio recordings and lining them up.  I usually don't mess with the sound or background noise, but it's an option if that's important to you.  Once it's ready, I just click that blue Save button and save the .mp3 file it creates to my desktop.

Uploading

Many podcast hosts upload to a site that costs money, because it gives them more control over labelling and saving their audio in other formats that their audience can listen to.  We didn't want to pay for that just yet, because we weren't sure how often we'd upload.  Instead, we upload the file to archive.org, which is free.







Hosting

Hosting is the trickiest part and can be the most expensive, so we decided not to go that route.  We just made our own free website on the Blogger.com platform.  While we did pay for a custom domain, it's not a requirement.  On the archive.org page, once your file has finished uploading, right click on the link that says MP3 and copy that link location.  Open a new post on blogger and paste the link you just copied into the 'Enclosure Links' box under Links in the right hand side bar.






List on iTunes

You want people to listen, right?  That means you have to make it searchable on iTunes, so people can listen through their podcast apps.  This part seems trickier than it is.  First, you'll need to make sure all your blog posts have the label 'podcast.'  You just type this in under Labels in the right sidebar when you open a new blog post.  This helps when finding the correct RSS feed to tell to iTunes, so iTunes knows what to look for (in case you post other blog posts that do not have a podcast attached!)  Your RSS feed will look something like this: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default/-/podcast.  Of course, 'blogname' would be replaced with your own blog's name.  Use feedburner.com to optimize this feed for iTunes quickly and easily.  Just enter that URL and check the 'I am a podcaster' box before clicking Next.  Choose any name, click Next again, and then choose 'Skip directly to feed management.'  You will see a tab called Optimize and an option under that tab called SmartCast.  Use that option and select “Include iTunes podcasting elements.” Complete the iTunes form and save the changes.  Thankfully, you only need to do all of this the first time you set up the podcast, and never think about it again!

The final step is to submit it to Apple for approval.  Once the iTunes store is installed on your computer, use this link to submit your podcast.  Apple will send you an e-mail once your podcast is approved, it's usually very quick.

If you're not sure of your direction and want to try your hand at podcasting, I highly recommend you try our system.  You can get a feel for the time commitment and everything that goes into a podcast without wasting tons of resources.  If you do it on the laptop, you'll also get everything done in significantly less time.  The main reason I'm loving the 8th Generation Intel® Core™ processor is because of how easily I can multi-task and move between the various windows and programs I have open for our podcast system (something that would make my old computer crash!)


I also want to recommend a laptop with Intel’s 8th Generation Intel® Core™ processor even if you're not planning on recording a podcast, because I use it for everything else too - including running this blog you're reading right now.  It's thin and light, with great battery life, so I use it to watch things on - crisp picture, no buffering of videos.  I like the 2-in-1 feature so it can be watched like a tablet, and I watch about 10 hours worth of Netflix before I need to plug it in, which is very convenient.  I also use the Cortana voice command all the time, because it can pull up recipes without me having to touch it with dirty kitchen hands.  So basically, if you're thinking about this gift giving season, keep the laptops in mind!



Thanks so much for stopping by.  You can also join me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.  In addition to minimalism and organizing, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #notentirelyperfect on social media so I can see your beautifully unstaged life.  On the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or subscribe via e-mail to be alerted to each new post.



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