Careers in the Music Industry - Podcasting Part III
By Demi Michelle
After envisioning a show, ironing out details, and gathering all the necessary materials, it’s time to start sharing episodes. In this final part of my mini podcasting series, I’m going to discuss recording, editing, distribution, and promotion.
I highly, highly recommend recording in advance before diving into distribution. This allows you to explore podcasting and figure out your process without the pressure of releasing. I started recording for Write on Track months before I even announced the show.
There is so much that goes into recording. I’m going to share my process, which is a bit more complex, then I’ll provide some tips for finding the process that works best for you.
I record all of my episodes in my walk-in closet. Okay, go ahead and laugh. It’s literally like being in an isolation booth, so the sound is always crisp and clear with no background noise. I have a condenser microphone that I use for recording demos, and that works perfectly for my podcast. While I’m recording the episodes, I use an audio interface with two input channels, one for my mic and one for the guest, who I have on Google Meet via a cable. Having two channels allows me to record my guest and me on separate tracks in my recording software. This comes in handy while editing.
So, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all this, let me assure you there are many ways to record. Not everyone is a musician with all this equipment, and that’s okay.
Here are the main points to keep in mind and some advice for choosing your recording process.
Clean audio is key! Nothing will hurt your show more than bad audio. It's worth investing in a mic that’s good quality. This doesn’t mean dropping hundreds of dollars. There are some great mics out there for reasonable prices.
If you have experience with audio interfaces, I suggest using one because they give you more control. You can run your mic through one channel and your guest or co-host through another (if this applies to you).
Decide where you want to record. If you’re going the interface route, use a DAW. I use Garageband, which comes free with Apple products. You could also use Logic, ProTools, or another software.
If you don’t have experience with an interface or DAW, one of the most common ways of recording is via Zoom. If you have the option to record through your Zoom account, or through a paid Google Meet account, it’s nice and easy to have either Zoom or Google Meet record for you then send you the files. Though you have less control using a third party platform like this, it’s definitely an option and the most common I’ve seen.
A benefit to Zoom or Google Meet is that you can record video as well. If your podcast is audio only, this won’t matter, but if you plan on having video content, choosing Zoom or Google Meet is the way to go.
If you record on a DAW, editing is super easy. I edit my episodes on Garageband then export the edited audio. Once the audio is cleaned up, I do another round of edits in iMovie with just the audio, since that platform has some nice editing tools that speeds up the process. Also, iMovie is a great option if your show is video as well.
You have to decide if you plan to edit your show and how much. Personally, I’m nuts with editing, but there are some great shows out there that only edit out major glitches. This is personal preference and also tied into the amount of time you want to dedicate to the show.
There are a lot of audio and video editing softwares out there. I’m most familiar with the ones by Apple, but with research you can find what’s best for you.
Pick a Podcast Distributor
There are many podcast distribution platforms. This comes down to personal preference and research. I use Anchor because I felt it was the best fit for me. Take some time to look up the different platforms and choose the one that you’d like to use.
Record a Trailer
Trailers are nice because they introduce listeners to the show, much like how the description does. I actually used my description as the script for my trailer.
Also, you will have to get your show visible on the various podcast platforms. The best way to do that is with a trailer. It takes various amounts of time for your show to appear on certain platforms, depending on how long it takes for them to process new shows. Releasing a trailer will get your show everywhere it should be before you drop your first official episode.
Trailers are meant to be short and to the point. You could use your description as your script, like I did, or write something else to read. Either way, remember to deliver relevant information and capture the style of the show as best you can.
Create a Website, Landing Page, And/Or Social Media
Having a place to display your show will give you a professional look, even before you drop your first episode. It’s true that the podcast distribution platforms generate landing pages of sorts, but it’s always nice to have something you own and can customize.
I have a page on my official website for Write on Track, which has the description, artwork, links to major platforms, and how I can be contacted. I decided to add this page because Write on Track is owned by me and under my brand umbrella. Additionally, it’s for this reason I didn’t create social media accounts specifically for the show. Everyone in the industry knows me as Demi Michelle, so using the audience I already have was the right choice for me.
Decide how you’d like to promote your show online. Below are some questions for you to consider.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Do you already have a website you can add a page to for your podcast?
Do you want to create a whole new website for your show?
Will you promote the show on your personal social media accounts or on new accounts for the show?
Write Episode Descriptions
Just like with the show itself, each episode has a description. The goal is to write a great one for your first episode before launch to establish your episode description format.
For my episodes, I have an introduction paragraph, where I introduce the topic and guest. Then, I get into the details of the conversation. My episodes typically start with a quote tied to the topic, so I type out the quote then give an overview of the key points my guest and I discuss. Finally, I wrap up my descriptions with a call to action for potential guests and listeners to contact me, my website, social media, and my show’s tagline, stay “write on track.”
Writing a polished description is key to both tell what the episode is about and tap into SEO. SEO is a whole other discussion, but in a nutshell, including keywords people are most likely to search will help your show appear in results. So, writing detailed descriptions is the way to go.
Release Your First Episode
Now that you’re all set, it’s time to release your first episode. The best way to gain listeners is word of mouth. Promote the show as you would any other project.
The important thing to remember is that as soon as you drop your first episode, you must maintain consistency from that point forward. This goes for audio quality, episode length, your release timeline, and more. Once you make your first impression, the goal is to keep listeners coming back for more.
Final Pieces of Advice
Always remain professional both on and off the mic.
Demonstrate great communication skills, especially if you’re booking guests for the show.
Shoot for quality over quantity.
Again, remain consistent.
I hope you enjoyed learning about what it takes to host a podcast. The world can always use new podcasts in the music industry, so if this is something you’ve been interested in doing, get out there and create your show!