Podcasts are really en vogue right now. Few segments in the entertainment industry grow as steeply as the podcast market. In a way, podcasts are today what blogs were ten years ago.
In other words: no is the perfect moment to start a podcast.
Personally, I love about podcasts that they are so straightforward and also so intimate. Few other formats offer such an intense experience of closeness between podcaster and listener. After all, the medium is all about content, visual representation is not really a factor. This can be extremely refreshing if you spend a lot of time on Instagram. At the same time, you tend to share much more of yourself when talking than you would on a photo, often unconsciously so. All things considered, the podcast is a truly fascinating medium.
Since this blog post was created in cooperation with Fiverr the market place for digital services, Fiverr and I have included a little extra for you guys: tips on freelancers who can help you to overcome some of the hurdles you may face when starting your own podcast, from setup to a jingle. In fact, I basically curated a small little shop on Fiverr, on which I recommend some freelancers I found in the huge community – people who can help you to create your own podcast topic and help out in a range of other fields. I chose them based on my own taste and aesthetic, and also introduce you to some Fiverr Pro freelancers, who have already worked for big names like Google or Netflix. Depending on the topic, I will expand this list in the future, so you’ll be able to rely on my recommendations in even more areas. Finding good help to realize a project like this is crucial, and much more efficient than trying to do every single thing yourself. Often enough, we get discouraged when things don’t work immediately, and sometimes we never even get things off the ground because we don’t know where to start. This is why today’s guide is perfect both for ambitious hobby podcasters as well as for semi-pros and pros who are willing to invest a bit of money to potentially start a corporate podcast.
What is Fiverr?
Fiverr is an online market place for digital services, on which (creative) freelancers and potential clients can reach out to each other. A very special aspect in all this is the transparency, which is built in as a safeguard both for clients as well as freelancers. Services are called Fiverr Gigs, and clients have the possibility to compare and book a wide range of service offers covering design, music and technology. It’s a very smart and practical model, which gives a platform to freelancers and serves as an efficient fix for companies who need quick solutions for specific problems. Fiverr boosts efficiency. Moreover, the platform is attractive not only for companies, but also for individual clients who may need an illustration, an awesome business card design, or a personal homepage. And of course Fiverr is an outstanding resource for everyone wanting to build a podcast. In my Fiverr shop I selected some freelancers who can help you with that.
So, would you like to get involved yourself? But what do you actually need to get started?
Basically, starting and maintaining a podcast is not particularly difficult. It all depends a little on the level of professionalism you hope to achieve and wish to transport. I am speaking from experience here. I started my former podcast Matchalatte without much of a clue about the format, and unfortunately this lack of knowledge shone through pretty frequently. I mean, our podcast was certainly real and authentic that way, but let’s face it: the audio quality was often poor, and it took us a year to finally get proper equipment. Plus, two years in we still didnÄ#t have a jingle. Looking back, it sure wouldn’t have hurt if we would have pushed for higher broadcasting quality.
But as the old adage goes, we learn from our mistakes. And especially YOU, dear reader, since I made these mistakes for you already. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into my brief manual on how to create your own podcast.
The creative part
1. The topic
Before starting, you should ideally have a general idea of what kind of topic(s) you wish to cover. In my podcast “Sonntagsgedanken” (“Sunday Thoughts”), I talked mainly about (personal) topics, some of which I also covered on my blog. Matchalatte, on the other hand, was a different format, structured as an intimate conversation between two friends. It is crucial that the topic you choose has sufficient substance for you to be able to talk about it for several episodes on end. Ask yourself if you are going to present the podcast by yourself or with a partner. At which intervals will you publish new episodes?
My tip: make an editorial plan and choose a set, recurring day to give your podcast and yourself a necessary basic structure!
2. The Name
You found your topic? Then you need a name. It should be short and memorable, and ideally allude to the topic in one way or another, maybe through wordplay. From my own experience I can tell you that brainstorming with friends often yields the best results in this respect.
3. The preview thumbnail & logo
Take a similar approach as with finding your name. Ask yourself the following important questions: Which colors represent my topic well? Are you going to show yourself on the thumbnail? What image are you going to choose? What’s a good font for you? If this is overwhelming, I highly recommend you talk to a pro, e.g. a graphic designer, someone who can help you finding great solutions. The thumbnail can be a crucial component to success in the podcast universe. Don’t we all judge books by their cover way too often?
The technical part
1. The Equipment
Let’s start with the basics: the right equipment. The right microphone can make or break a podcast project. While some podcasters use their smartphone mics, I strongly recommend you buy a more professional microphone. There are many models out there that you can plug straight into your computer, starting at a mere 60 euros. The choices are endless, from mics on table-stands over headsets, lighter and more solid versions, some with SD cards, others without.
I use a microphone by Auna these days, but I also found Rode to be a very reliable brand and strong choice: the company offers great and very affordable equipment.
My tip: the more expensive model isn’t always the best. More often than not, the room you record in has at least as much of an effect on the quality of your recording as the mic you use. I’d recommend that you record in a small room. Important: make sure you don’t place your mic on a glass table or similarly reflective surface. Cars are also very good spots to record in, as their acoustics are often surprisingly good.
2. The Set-up
The classic way is of course the studio. A professional sound man doesn’t necessarily break the bank, and the amount of work you can save is often considerable. Many podcasts are also professionally edited and mixed, which I had the opportunity to witness first hand at a number of studio visits.
If you prefer to do it yourself, I recommend Garageband (which I use), or Audacity. Both programs are free. If you record two people who are not in the same room at the same time, you’ll need some kind of audio recorder, e.g. by Zencastr, Skype or Zoom. A word of caution: editing two audio files together is not always as straightforward as it may seem. I, for my part, failed miserably, and eventually had to get pros involved who helped me to get my basic setup right in a way that then made it easier for me to get the results I wanted. Setting up the gear correctly and getting a handle on how to use it was a crucial step.
My tip: if I was to start from scratch again, I’d certainly get someone involved straight away to calibrate my initial setup. This single step was the biggest hurdle for personally, and getting it right is crucial for the quality of your recordings.
3. The Jingle
This is both a technical as well as a creative point. We didn’t have a jingle for Matchalatte, and even looking back I still feel that was a bit of a shame. The name of our podcast practically called for a jingle. I’d highly recommend you come up with some kind of jungle that reflects the mood of your podcast. Are you covering a serious topic? Or is the mood more light-hearted? Which atmosphere do you wish to convey?
Audio sites like Audiojungle or Premiumbeat offer large music libraries, which you can browse and where you can buy tracks relatively cheaply. But if you don’t find the right jingle, or if you have something concrete in mind, I once again recommend you talk to a pro who produces a custom jingle for you. Like that you’re on the safe side!
Alright, do you feel ready? Then let me give you one last piece of advice: As with so many other creative projects, success depends not only on creative factors but also on persistence, reliability, and belief in the project as such. And that only works if you enjoy the project. Just go ahead, produce your first episode, and make sure it’s fun! With that approach, you may see that success comes naturally.