To say I am technologically challenged is an understatement. I can blame it on being the last graduating class that had typewriting for a course, my easy to get distracted head, or the fact that today you don't need to be all that smart because for almost everything, "there is a tool that does that." Since starting my podcast in June 2018, I have hosted over 120 episodes on 3 channels and been a guest on 10. In those three years, I haven't changed much, and the tools I share that I use aren't the only ones that do what they do; they are just what works for me. Here are tools, what they do, how they work, and cost.
Computer-My laptop is 3 years old and has been a fantastic machine for everything Be Au Sm related. I went with the Lenovo YOGA C930 from Best Buy. Love Geek Squad service and support too!
Microphone-This space has become very busy over the last 3 years, but the big player seems to be Blue Microphones https://www.bluemic.com/en-us/. I still have my original Blue Yeti Blackout edition, which is not travel friendly (many of my early podcasts were in hotel rooms and Starbucks coffee shops). Still, the sound quality and durability made it the obvious choice. I purchased the Yeticaster Boom Arm and screen, which elevates the microphone, and other than giving you that cool DJ look, it also minimizes vibration and shock sounds from stand microphones. A simple tap of the pen on your desk with a microphone on your desk can make a distracting noise through the reverberation. The standard and Yeticaster model will set you back $100-$149 but well worth it from a sound perspective. I did purchase a Samson Go Mic that was $40 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001R76D42/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 as well for my travel and have to say it's compact and packs a punch. You clip the mic onto the top of your laptop and can have a face-to-face recording, and the quality is pretty amazing too. All my microphones are USB, so they just plug and play into your Laptop.
Podcast Hosting-I started with Pippa, which was acquired and now called Acast, which they have been amazing to work with. Here is a referral code that if you sign up for the yearly plan, we both get a $25 Amazon gift card https://open.acast.com/invite/r/Beausm. Acast hosts, integrates and even has a supporter feature that your listeners can support podcast payments to you. They obviously keep a %, and I have to say who will give money for something free. You will be surprised if your listeners like your content. When you publish your podcast, Acast automatically pushes out to multiple podcast platforms. Apple is still most widely used, but with one click, you are on Google, Podbean, Spotify, Amazon, Pandora, and Sound Cloud, to name a few.
Podcast Performance-My Podcast Reviews is a paid $50/yr for up to 2 podcast channels www.mypodcastreviews.com and has a free 14 day try before you buy. MPR provides a single point for you to track all reviews and ratings on all platforms, and you can also push your RSS feed to a couple of platforms that Acast doesn't. Good bang for your buck, and you do want to know every rating and review to update followers and thank the ones you know. For seeing where you rank up against the other 2,600,000, and growing podcast channels go to the free tool Listen Notes https://www.listennotes.com/ and enter in yours or any podcast channel and see where you fall in the fold and gives a baseline for improvement or you are at the top of the list.
Recording, Converting, Editing-I use Audacity to record, edit and convey Files-For recording and editing (I don't edit episodes ever). Audacity https://www.audacityteam.org/ is a free tool you download and can align multiple files, edit and convert to MP3 for publication, among other things. It is straightforward to use and a ton of YouTube videos to help in getting started. Because of COVID, my recordings went virtual, and I went with Audio and Video through Zoom. If you can keep your episodes to under 40 min, it's free. Unlimited time and cloud recording start at $20.00 a month. What was nice about Zoom is that people were more prone to watch on YouTube channels as another touchpoint. Lastly, if you do go the route of Zoom, you need a conversion tool for you to be able to put in MP3 format, and I went with Switch Plus by NCH Software. It is a one-time purchase, and I think it was around $50. https://www.nch.com.au/switch
To have a Guest or not to have a guest: This one did not take me more than 2 episodes to realize that having a guest was the right fit for my channel. Luckily, I went to Alaska and tracked down the only person legally named Santa Claus in North Pole, AK, and the "always having a guest" was born. There are times a host-only podcast works; you just need to do a little trial and some error to figure out your formula.
Some closing thoughts/advice. Don't swing for the fences and get discouraged because you don't sound like or are rated like Joe Rogan's podcast. Something I actually did was to listen to when a top-rated podcast was on their 1st episode. Chances are they probably had a lot of your similar first to now sounds. Podcasting is fun, a great way to spread your message, and the community as a whole are Awesome people. On more than one occasion, I looked for help from Brian Ondrako-Just Get Started, Din Jenkins-Supply the Why, David Cooks-From Paralysis to Purpose, Pete Durand-Eating Crow, and Jon Macaskill and WIll Schneider Men Talking Mindfulness, to name a few.
Last but not least, you can do this for as little as a few hundred dollars bare-boned and sleeves rolled up doing all the work or $1,000+ month for a company to deliver guests, edit, record, etc. Unless you have a real good business case, do the hard work; it's actually a lot of fun and finding guests no matter what the topic is easier than you think, thanks to social media. With all that said, Have Fun and Be Au Sm!
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