A Ramble About Making Podcasts

I’ve been incredibly interested, since day one of knowing that such things existed, of making a Podcast. I’ve even done it, multiple times. Usually with pal and cohort in crime, Bob. First we did the Epic Dwarven Blogger Elite (https://epicdwarvenblogger.wordpress.com/tag/podcast/) Podcast, where we basically talked World of Warcraft with guests and the mechanics of leveling hunters and such. Then we did Spoiler! A Book Review Podcast, where we read books, gave you a complete synopsis and then our reviews. And then I was working on the DW Radio Show, a podcast that’s goal was to provide authors with marketing information (like there aren’t a ton of those out there already) and author interviews (ditto).

There are a few things to consider when making a podcast, and any of these three could lead to you shutting your doors.

The first is hosting. A lot of websites offer hosting for free (but limited to a set number of hours of recorded material), and a ton more offer hosting options that cost. In the past, I wasn’t a fan of paying for hosting, but I did anyway because the alternative was a little more difficult. In recent years (DW Radio) I was using SoundCloud but they have a limited number of hours. Even more recently, I’ve discovered that I can use my own website to host the podcast, or any podcast, and in the future that might be what I decide to do. Most importantly, whether you pay for it or not, you’re going to want your hosting to be simple and unlimited. That way you’re never concerned about if a show runs over. That limited space also acts as an expiration date on your show, too, and you probably won’t want that if you’re having fun working on your show. Wherever you host it, that’s where you’ll get the RSS feed that will direct people to your show. (if it’s your blog, be sure to give a show-specific tag so that you can generate an RSS feed to provide to iTunes and all those fun podcast places)

Another thing to consider is the people you work with. A lot of shows are just one person, and those aren’t a lot of fun. So, if you decide to work with more people (ie: cohosts, podcast networks, audio editors, whoever) make sure, without a doubt, that they are either working for you or are at least aligned 100% with your vision. When Bob and I did the Epic Dwarven Blogger Elite show, we started off with a simple idea that was a blast for us, but we were blinded by an offer for unlimited free hosting of the show. The company wanted us to record the show live (never did that before, we like editing), if the show started to get boring to them (which was all the time, since they aren’t WoW fans) they would interupt us, very randomly, with their own guests who would cuss (not something we did on the show) or verbally disrupt our guests by asking them topics not related to the show, and they would write us scathing emails if viewership was down. That isn’t someone we should have worked with. They drained our spirit and took something fun from us and turned it into work. I loved playing WoW, and while it doesn’t hold interest in me today, it was that relationship that was directly responsible for me quitting the game.

Content is another big thing to consider. Specifically, less about what the show is about and more about how to come up with fresh and new content for every show, no matter your schedule. With DW Radio, author interviews are nice, but they aren’t all that I want to do. I’d like to continue doing articles about how to maximize your author business, but doing so gets boring, as I’m the only host. An idea here would be for me to turn the focus of those very same author interviews into how they are effectively handling their author business. Do they see themselves as successful? That’s my most recent problem: fresh content.  Interviews are nice, but they don’t pay the bills (metaphorically). I need content that isn’t only fresh (read as “new”) but is also exciting and makes people want to tune in.

That’s about it, I guess. Those are the big concerns that I had to learn the hard way. Another concern you might have might be ads. Ads are fun ways to monetize your site. You can reach out to a ton of different websites and ask to be an affiliate. The big ones that everyone seems to use are Stamps.com and Audible.com. Both will give you money when people use your information to sign up for an account and they tend to accept a bunch of folks. You could also sell ad space if you have a specific type of podcast. For instance, I tend to relate to authors and readers, so I’ll sell ad space for books via my website. Want an ad placed, gimme money. Easy peasy and helps to turn what might just be a simple hobby for you into a means of getting some easy cash.

This has somehow changed from a “geeze, podcasts ain’t easy” to a tutorial on how to start your own. In that vein, I’d encourage you to download Audacity, (just google it, I’m too lazy to grab you the link). Audacity is a simple, professional level (I say, as not in anyway a professional) editing software for anyone with recorded audio. I’d also encourage you to go to Fiverr.com (there’s a link for you, now get off of my back) and pay $5 for a simple intro with music that can be yours and yours alone. Maybe pay another $5 and get some credits read to music that you can tag to the end of your show.

Anyway, the reason that I brought this up is because I really want to revamp DW Radio, or start a new show altogether. Ren and I have talked about a bunch of ideas, but none of them have sung to us yet, or they involve more effort than the amount of reward we’d receive from doing it. Sticking to just revamping DW Radio, I think maybe I should start doing interviews of multiple authors at one time, where we discuss a little bit about their background and then go over how they handle their writing as a business.

Another idea I had, compiled while talking to both my father and author Larry Clayton about entirely unrelated subjects, would be to just interview authors via recording implements about their journey as writers and making that the whole show. My concern there is that I’d fall into the same hole that I am already in for DW Radio.

Or maybe I’ll just start reading chapters of Self-Publish Without Spending Money, and release each chapter as an episode…

Anyway, I’m rambling now. Ideas for a show? Looking to start your own? Bring it up in the comments and I’ll let you know what I think.

–MD–

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