Five Things to Consider Before Starting a Podcast

In a 21st century world immersed in technology and social media, it’s nearly impossible to scroll through Instagram or Facebook without seeing an announcement about a person’s new podcast. While I’m all for creative expression and the freedom of voicing one’s opinion, I’ve started to notice a trend within the trend of podcast production: the failure of creating a cohesive topic before recording begins. 

While I am certainly not an expert on the subject (I don’t even have my own podcast), I love listening to fantastic stories in clear, vibrant audio. In an effort to assist those curious about the art of podcast creation, I compiled a list of recording tips and tricks via friends and acquaintances! 

  1. 1. If You Don’t Have Anything Meaningful To Say… 

    The number one mistake I've seen in podcasting is an extreme lack of topic clarity. To me, it feels like a lot of podcasts are started solely for the purpose of starting a podcast—I get it, we’re all college students trying to put something impressive on our resumes. And I’m not bashing anyone at all! If you want to start a podcast, you do you! Just make sure you actually have something important, meaningful, or interesting to talk about. Plan ahead, because no one wants to hear you say, “I don’t know what I’m going to talk about today, but I’ll figure it out as we go,” every time they tune in. 

  2. 2. Equip Yourself!

    One of the best things about recording a podcast is that it’s relatively easy to do: you simply need access to a microphone and audio editing software. That being said, the quality of your content largely depends on the quality of equipment you work with and your understanding of that technology. While we all can’t afford high-quality microphones and audio recorders, most universities will have an equipment checkout center. For example, COM students at BU can check out microphones, audio recorders, and more from Technology Services. Plus, we get free access to the Adobe Creative Cloud! If you don’t have access to fancy equipment, don’t worry—just spend extra time doing sound checks and testing with the microphones you have so you can create the clearest content possible. 

  3. 3. Give Yourself Room to Breathe

    Don’t lean into the mic! This is the podcast production factor that I heard the most complaints about when asking around. Numerous people said that a shaky voice and loud breathing ruins the experience for them. I know that the instinct is to speak closely to the microphone so that you will be heard—in reality, this tactic just produces interference. Set your recording device down beside you and have a chat with your podcast partner (or yourself, if you record solo)! You can always boost the audio volume later.

  4. 4. Comedy is Key

    If there’s one thing that can make any topic more entertaining, it’s humor. Knowing your own comedic sense and using that to draw in an audience is a key part of building a following. However, forced jokes are rarely fun. To combat the sense of being “fake funny,” write down jokes throughout the day that you naturally crack with your friends. Make mental notes of things you find hilarious on the day-to-day basis, save memes you see on Reddit, and utilize all of those things for a natural comedic progression in your podcast. By voicing your truth and hilarity in a real light, you’ll create a friendship with your audience. 

  5. 5. Don’t Be Afraid to Tell a Story With a Beginning and an End

    My all-time favorite podcast is S-Town; it’s a thrilling story that follows the lives of the people living in the backwoods of Alabama—and the mysteries that fill their town. The best thing about this podcast is that it is a complete narrative. The creator isn’t trying to milk the show for money, nor is he working for the motive of continual attention. He is telling a story: a fantastic, terrifying, creepy, and fascinating story. If you have a concept in mind, a narrative to tell, and you know you can only get 10 episodes out of it—then do it! The audience will be satisfied with what you give them as long as you tell your story (and your truth) completely. Find your motive and follow it through! 

Well, that’s about it! I know that the process of starting a podcast can seem daunting, but I’m hoping the above tips can help you weed out some of the more intricate details. Now go out there and tell your own story—it’ll be well worth the effort. 

 

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