Last month, I wrote about why your executives should be podcasting. I assume after reading my compelling case for using this modern mode of communication, you’re ready to dive in to the podcast pool and give your leadership a voice (literally) to your internal or external audiences.
So what do you need to get started? Admittedly, I’m not a podcaster, nor have I delved into this digital artform. But for those of you looking to get started with your own podcast, I’ve done some research for you and compiled a list of what you need. Some of these seem like they’re pulled from the “No Duh” file, but work with me here.
The two types of microphones to consider: condenser and dynamic. Condenser mics are mostly used in studios because they record sound really well. I know that most of you won’t have a studio, but an office or conference room that is shielded from noise will work as a good alternative. In slightly noisy environments, however, they’ll pick up every sound.
Dynamic mics are more directional and designed to capture sound where you point it. Either are good podcast mics, but dynamic models are more widely used.
If you’re a podcast novice, make it easy on yourself and buy a microphone with a USB connection, which means it can be plugged right into your computer. The alternative is an XLR microphone, but these are used more by hardcore audio/video professionals with really techie equipment.
What did I tell you about the “No Duh” aspect of this post? Kind of obvious, right? But this is a worthy consideration because you don’t want an outdated computer that doesn’t have the processing power or RAM capacity to handle digital recording or sound mixing. Computers made in the last few years will almost certainly be more than enough. Heck, most smartphones can handle basic digital recording. So you might be OK with what you currently have, but just something to keep in mind.
Wearing headphones during your podcast will help ensure that what’s being recorded is exactly what you hear. You don’t want run-of-the-mill earbuds for this purpose. Rather you want headsets that cover your ears and cancel any outside sounds. Clarity is key. During the recording, you want to constantly make sure things are sounding OK. You won’t be live. You’re going to edit and mix the sound later. So if something sounds off, stop and check your microphone.
Recording and Mixing Software
If you’re doing a more commercial podcast, you will probably need a sound mixer for recording, What’s mixing? the process by which multiple sounds are combined into one or more channels. For the purpose of this post, I’m going with the assumption that you want to do a simple podcast with just your executive (and maybe one other host). So if you’re recording to your computer, you’ll need software, which can help you enhance the quality of your recording, as well as insert a show intro, sound effects, and other pieces of audio.
What are some of the most used software titles? Generally, if you’re a Mac user, you have GarageBand installed, and for PC users, Adobe Audition (not installed with Windows) is a popular choice. Audacity is another option that’s well-liked among podcasters, and comes in both Windows and Mac versions. Best of all, it’s a free and multi-track recorder which will at minimum allow you to record, edit, and mix your voice with music or sound effects.
A portable recorder is needed if you plan to do any mobile content – that is, if you plan to do a podcast from somewhere outside your normal recording location. Let’s say your host visits a satellite office location, industry conference, or volunteer event. They can record an episode that incorporates the elements of their surroundings. For instance, they can do interviews with employees, other industry leaders, or community members. Or maybe there are opportunities to talk with customers and get their thoughts on your organization.
Portability opens up a world of possibilities, so make sure you have a recorder that will give you the quality and convenience you need. You can record on your phone, but I’d recommend doing that only if you have no other options. A well made, high-quality digital recorder is your better option.
Finally, obviously you’ll need internet access, primarily if you’re doing an external podcast. For internal podcasts, work with your IT department about hosting on an internal server and making it easily accessible to employees.
Do I have any podcasters out there reading this? Have I missed anything, or should I have elaborated on anything listed? Again, I’m learning about this myself, so I’d love to get your input. Let me know your thoughts in the Comment section!
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