We started The Scrawny Goat Podcast during the 2020 lockdown. We’ve had a few people ask us about podcasting and how we set ourselves up to do it. This is a (very) rough and ready guide to Starting a Podcast, sharing everything we have learned so far.
How to Start a Podcast – Research
So initially we went about this in the way we always go about things. Me reading everything I could possibly find about podcasting, contemplating courses, attending virtual presentations and workshops, agonising over tech we would use, reading every ebook in the world. Andy meanwhile just wandered into the kitchen at some point and said “shall we just buy a microphone and get going?”
And that’s what we did.
There is an awful lot of information online about starting a podcast, and some rather expensive courses. I’m quite sure that, had we paid money to learn this stuff, our podcasts could have been of better quality right from the start – for we are definitely learning as we go along. And I may yet go back and do a course to refine what we’re doing. However I am the sort of person that could have spent 6 months making sure everything was absolutely perfect before I was ready to launch.
Meanwhile the country was in a national lockdown, and we knew there were shop owners who might be helped by what we had to say. About selling on third party platforms so that, even though your shop was forced to close, you could still sell your stock online. About how multiple income streams are the answer to cashflow hell. About how you had to stay positive and focused, that this wasn’t the end of the world. Even though, for some, it may have felt like it.
It seemed like this was our time. And done is better than perfect, as they say. So we didn’t learn from courses. We just did it.
Equipment. Don’t Overcomplicate Things
Because I’d read so much conflicting advice, I felt a bit bamboozled when it came to choosing the tech goodies we needed. We ended up deciding on a Blue Yeti Microphone Nano Premium which, I have to say, is utterly brilliant. I’m a little bit in love with it actually. The sound is fantastic and, when I speak into it I feel like a rock star.
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We now use this mic when we do our Lives in The Small Retailer Lounge too. The idea being that, if we decide to repurpose any of them into a podcast, the sound quality will be good enough for this. We may have to be a bit more focused with our Friday Lives for that though. I’m sure our podcast listeners don’t want to listen to us chatting away to group members about what zoom cheese tasting we’re doing tonight and what we’re all up to this weekend.
You might be wondering about the egg boxes. Well, this really is a case of ‘don’t overcomplicate it’. We could have invested in a microphone sound shield to block unwanted sounds from our mic, such as the boys gaming upstairs and Nero the Shop Cat having one of her howling sessions. But as the average podcast only lasts for 7 episodes* we didn’t want a house full of equipment we may not use very much. Hence Andy built the egg box version with cardboard and fragile tape from the shop. I’m rather fond of it, and I doubt we’ll upgrade.
When we record a podcast, we simply connect the mic to a laptop we already had. And in terms of equipment… that’s it.
Recording and Editing. Don’t Overcomplicate Things.
We started out using Online Voice Recorder which does exactly what we need it to do. Andy then takes the recordings and uses mp3cut to cut bits out, audio-joiner to join bits together and auphonic to level the sound out and remove any cat howls that may have snuck in. All this software is available online for free.
Intros and Outros
Some people don’t bother with intros and outros in their podcasts, but our lovely friend Nicky Griffiths is a wonderful voice over artist and we knew she would do a fantastic job for us. So we went for it… and we’re so glad we did!
But in short, other than having a wonderful voice over artist help us, we did everything else on the cheap.
Podcast Hosting and Ratings
We decided to go with Buzzsprout to host our podcasts. We chose Buzzsprout simply because it seemed to be the easiest way to get going. Their interface is clear and simple to understand. Your podcasts are hosted there for the first 90 days completely free, so we have only just started paying for it, which I likey. Buzzsprout provides a podcasting platform, promotional tools, and lots of lovely stats. It also offers loads of free training, which I really must watch sometime…
Today I noticed we were approaching 250 downloads of The Scrawny Goat Podcast. This all went to my head a bit, and then a friend listened for the first time and couldn’t work out to leave a review (which is not uncommon when you don’t listen in iTunes). So in my excitement I signed up with Rate My Podcast. This enabled me to give my friend a specific link to review our podcast – which she was then able to do. Brilliant. Would you like to see our exciting new review link? Well of course you would. It’s here.
Hopefully this brief overview will help you to get started. If you’ve had the urge to start a podcast, there really has never been a better time. I thought the market might be saturated. However when I started sharing our podcast I discovered that, for some people, ours was literally the first podcast they had ever listened to. So lots of room out there yet!
Plus the biggest bonus of all: start a podcast tomorrow and then, when you search your name in Spotify, there you will be. Rock star indeed.
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*Apparently it is said that when a podcast passes 7 episodes, that is the magic number when the show is more likely to keep going. Who knew?
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