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Setting Up A Podcast As Quickly As Possible

  • April 5, 2010
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by Jay Jennings

With this one simple article I’m going to show you how to quickly put together your own podcast. I won’t be able to go into detail on everything, but I’ll definitely get you started on the right track. And just so we start off right, I want to give you my definition.

Why? Because I’ve seen a lot of people put an MP3 file on their web site and proudly proclaim, “I have a podcast!”

Um, no. An audio file people can download is not a podcast. Even several audio files people can download isn’t necessarily a podcast.

Here’s my definition: A series of audio or video files that can be subscribed to and automatically downloaded as new episodes are released.

Notice I didn’t say anything about whether the files are spoken word or music, whether they’re amateur-hour or professional sounding, or even whether they are free or for pay. To be called a podcast you just need a series of audio or video files (how long that series lasts is up to you) that can be subscribed to so programs like iTunes can automatically download them when new episodes are available.

An episode can be a minute in length, or it can be an hour or more in length. If you’re just getting started, I suggest going with a shorter length because doing a podcast requires a commitment and while you’re raring to go right now with a marathon session, what about next week or the week after? Especially when some unexpected “life situation” pops up?

You can always go from a long podcast to a short one, or vice versa, but in general, the more consistent you are, the more comfortable your audience will be. And that holds true for more than just the length of each episode. There are some “stream of consciousness” podcasts that are good, but in general, a show that gives the audience great content in a format they recognize will do better than one that’s all over the road every¬† time.

I’ve found one of the best ways to create a podcast is with the “chunk” method — it is created using chunks of audio that can be swapped in and out as needed.

For example, you’d record your introduction as one audio file. Answering emails from readers would be a different audio file. The main content would be a separate audio file. You’ll end up with multiple files that can then be put together to create an entire episode.

The big benefit of this is two-fold. First, if you have paid sponsors for your podcast you can sell the space twice — first as the “live” podcast, and a second time as a part of the archive. And since your podcast is put together in chunks, replacing one ad with another is trivial.

The second big reason is even better, because it’s useful even if you’re not selling ad space. You can create multiple chunks all at once, and then mix and match them in the future. Maybe you solicit listener feedback — you can set up your equipment and record a half dozen snippets asking for calls and emails. That may be all you ever need for your podcast, because you just rotate them in one after the other from one show to the next.

There are many places in a typical podcast where pre-recorded snippets can be used. By setting up yours in such a fashion, each episode might only need the main content and a “personalized” opening or closing.

Which makes putting together a podcast quick and easy. Record the new chunks, grab some pre-recorded chunks, and “paste” them altogether. Voila, a new episode is done and ready to go!
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