These two questions – Who and When – are intimately related and must be addressed together. To do so, I first have to explain what podcasting involves: its components (e.g. audio file) and the equipment and skills required producing them. In addition, it goes without saying that choosing the path of most resistance1 is deeply influencing the answer to those questions. Nevertheless, I insisted enough of that matter not to bring it up again.
As touched upon in the previous post (Where to start?), a podcast is more than an audio file. Nevertheless, it should not come as a surprise that audio plays a central role in podcasting. Now, recording and editing audio requires equipment and software and, obviously, you need to know how to use them. Indeed, there is more into the audio production than just pressing the record button. From microphone techniques to post-production processing, I quickly realized that
creating a professional-sounding podcast isn’t as simple as it might seem2. As audio is an integral part of podcasting, sound engineer easily comes into mind. Needless to say, the craft and knowledge involved in this discipline are (or were) beyond my field of expertise.
Keeping with audio, a podcast needs to establish an identity for itself.
You want the first impression to be fascinating, lasting . . . and positive3. A catchy theme can be just the right way to accomplish this. You just need an original composition! Here is the catch:
writing and recording your own theme music is incredibly difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing (and it probably won’t sound very good)2. I wish I had a friend who was a composer and a skilled performer as well.
While audio is the most important component of a podcast, the cover art is no less critical; not only for the podcast identity, but also as part of your overall branding. Actually, it is the first thing (potential) new listeners will see and it
needs to be beautiful4 and
professional-looking4. What it the best way to obtain this professional-looking result: to do it yourself or to hire a graphic artist to do it for you?
Let me shift gears a little bit and finish with the home of a podcast, i.e. a website5. What if you are not comfortable making a website yourself? Note that the task goes beyond the role of a web-developer. You need to
effectively communicate the ideas, goals, and themes of a podcast in visual form through good Web-site design6. In other words, you need a web-designer.
I have only touched upon a few components involved in podcasting, but I think you have the point:
In order to podcast, you need to learn new skills.
Time vs. Money
Do you really need to learn all these skills? Here is an example4 of what you can read on websites from companies7 offering services for podcasting:
You don’t need to be a very technical person nor does it require a lot of money to learn how to start a podcast.
As I have explained before, the truth is quite different: you will need to learn new skills or to spend extra money, as illustrated with few quotations from this very same article4:
You may need to invest some money into hiring a professional to design your podcast artwork.
If you’ve got the chops, you can record these yourself. Alternatively, you can hire someone with a great voice to do your intro and outro for you.
If you struggle to learn the software or simply find the process too time-consuming, you can hire someone to edit your episodes for you.
And so on. It is actually common to see this sound advice: hire a professional. Often, this recommendation is immediately followed by something like
it will cost you only a few dollars. If you go that way – outsourcing – you may end up with a far better result, and definitively faster. However,
the hard and soft costs of this little hobby of yours just might add up quickly3
Launching and managing a successful podcast takes time, effort, and institutional knowledge. If the technical aspect of podcasting is too challenging for you or if you simply don’t have the time to do it – and if you are okay with investing more money – you can outsource your entire podcast production to professional companies who know the ins and outs of all things podcasting.
They can handle everything for you, from audio editing to publishing. You just have to upload your audio file and voilà. They also provide different consulting services to help you crafting your podcast. Some even offers to make your entire podcast: from scripting your episodes to having professional narrators hosting your show to promoting your podcast.
Obviously, that will cost you extra money.
At the end, you have two options: one costs you more money, the other costs you more time! Either way, it is still recommended to work
on your craft and your skills, as well as getting a good handle on the personal and technological requirements of podcasting3. Likewise, it’s going to cost you money, anyway.
As you can see, the word of podcasting doesn’t revolve around the host of the podcast, but involves other people: sound engineer, composer, graphic artist, web-designer, writer, among others. In fact,
many of the more-popular podcasts carry with them a support staff of dedicated individuals with specialized skills6
Now, let’s talk budget and make some adjustments:
there’s nothing stopping you from rolling several of those roles into the same person6. On the contrary! So, …
… what about a one-man staff!
Podcasting is a commitment of time and resources — to yourself and to your listeners.
Podcasts can take up a lot of time to put together; in particular, when you don’t have a dedicated team to work for you. As the saying goes, time is money! Although the do-it-yourself solution doesn’t cost you much money, it costs you time. A lot of time!
I have read that I should
expect [my] venture into podcasting to be a personal learning experience3; they did not think so right. As the one-man staff involves, I had to learn – and I am still learning – so many things; sometimes, I even regretted choosing the path of most resistance. Now, the learning curves vary from one discipline to another. Whereas I am still struggling with some, I have made considerable progress as demonstrated, for example, by this blog – artworks included!
Anyway, I wish I could answer this question (when) with a specific schedule, however, as of today, I can only use the example and words of another podcaster8:
After announcing that I was going to start a podcast, it still took me a year and a half to finally launch my first episode.Pat Flynn
I am just looking forward to being at that step as apparently
once you’ve overcome the initial time and monetary investments that go into equipment and planning, all you need is a little dedication and free time to get your show on the road9.
PS: As you may have figured out, these Five-Ws-and-How posts were not intended to provide a complete report on podcasting, but were more of an introductory nature. There you have it, and now we will move on to the serious stuff; the next series of posts will be about creating a website.
1 See The CogitActive Saga ^
2 Patrick Allan (2017) How to Start Your Own Podcast. Lifehacker. ^
3 Tee Morris, Chuck Tomasi, and Evo Terra (2008) Podcasting For Dummies – Second Edition. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing. ^
4 Corey Ferreira (2017) How to start a podcast: the ultimate step by step podcasting guide. Shopify. ^
5 See Where to start? ^
6 Tee Morris, Evo Terra, and Ryan Williams (2008) Expert Podcasting Practices For Dummies. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing. ^
7 See my comments about biased information in How to podcast? ^
8 Pat Flynn (2017) 10 reasons why podcasting is the #1 content platform. Smart Passive Income. ^
9 Brendan Hesse (2016) How to make a successful podcast. Digital Trends. ^