If you've been following my multi-part series about podcasting here on The Huffington Post, you know how to get your podcast started, how to record it, and who to have on it as a guest. I also listed the world’s most popular podcasts so that you can get some inspiration.
Let’s say you’ve made some podcast recordings. Congrats! You will want to do some editing. Some podcasts keep the edit minimal, leaving in all the "ums" and "ahs" that happen in normal speech. Others clean up pauses, extraneous sounds, and more. Often producers add music at the beginning and end of a show, and sometimes music breaks in between segments. You have many choices in editing software. Here are a few.
Audacity is free and works on Mac or Windows. It offers an amazing array of features for splitting tracks, editing out mistakes, cutting and moving sections of audio, and even adding effects. It is easy to navigate and auto-saves your work as you go. You can export your work as a high-quality WAV file or a an MP3.
If you've used Garage Band for music editing you might like it for podcast editing. It has a lot of bells and whistles you won't need, but if you want to add music breaks or effects, they are all pre-loaded into the app and ready for use. Garage Band places some limitations on the kinds of files you can import, as well as type of files you can export, so you will want to take a careful look at it before committing.
In a Windows environment you can try the Adobe family of products. Audition is often recommended for well for podcasts, with some extras you won't need (much like Garage Band has extras you won't need.)
Sound Forge is the go-to pro level audio editor for Windows. It runs in the $300-plus range, so it is expensive. But it includes everything you will need to edit a top level podcast.
In a Mac environment, Logic Pro is the best podcast editor. Its many features make for a steep learning curve, but once mastered it will save you time. Selecting sections to work on, cutting out unneeded silences, and managing multiple tracks, music and effects are all possible with ease. You can share directly out of the software to SoundCloud. Logic Pro includes an Apple library of music and effects that will add production value to your podcast. At around $200 is is not cheap, but if you are looking for a pro-level tool on a Mac, this is it.
Robots Can Also Help
Landr and Auphonic are online platforms that give a listen to your podcast and make the audio the same volume throughout, correct vocals so they sound a little richer, and perform what people in the audio mix business call "sweetening." They are bots, and they give you one pass with their magic. You can get them for free for a certain number of hours of material per month, or can pay a reasonable fee for additional hours. Landr will upload your podcast directly to SoundCloud when it finishes its robot work.
Getting your podcast to happy listeners is your goal. Luckily syndication makes it pretty easy. Libsyn is the grandfather of podcasting distribution apps. Many podcasts still use it because it is simple and cheap. blubrry is the nearest competitor, and has the advantage of integrating smoothly with WordPress. If you have a WordPress blog, you will find it easy to post your podcast there using blubrry's plug in. Both platforms say they will help you find advertisers if you want to explore monetizing your podcast. If you spend a little more at Libsyn you will get a personalized Smart Phone app so listeners can play your podcast on the go. Both services provide good stats so you can see how popular you are becoming.
SoundCloud has the advantages of ease of use, being cost-effective, and a built-in mobile app. Using SoundCloud, you can include a graphic banner for your podcast to help with some branding action. You can sort your podcasts into themes with playlists. At Red Cup we used Libsyn for several years before switching to SoundCloud. We found SoundCloud easier to use and personalize, and more people access the SoundCloud network, making it possible to discover our podcast. SoundCloud provides prebuilt widgets that can be loaded into WordPress blogs and other websites. (Unfortunately, the SoundCloud widgets don't work on Medium blogs, and Facebook stopped allowing them, though a simple link to the podcast works well on that platform. ) SoundCloud provides basic stats.
All the apps mentioned here, Libsyn, blubrry, and SoundCloud, will syndicate seamlessly to iTunes. You simply set up an RSS feed from SoundCloud. Libsyn and blubrry will feed to iTunes with all the identifying tags you need. Many of your listeners will discover you on iTunes, so it is a good idea to do this. SoundCloud's social network strength is growing, so it is also a viable discovery channel.
It's also worth it to set up feeds to two more podcasting services: Stitcher and TuneIN. Many devoted podcast listeners use them.
Many producers get into podcasting with no real expectation of seeing a waterfall of cash splashing into their bank account. They aren't in it for the money, at least not directly. For them, podcasting is a lead generator, a way to meet prospective clients, a way to market without selling. For many it is a way to develop their voice, literally and figuratively, and to develop as a trusted authority in their field. For many of us it's just fun, a way to have a conversation and share it with others. A podcast is also a conversation that can be repurposed by transcribing that conversation and turning it into a blog, Q&A, or social media posts, which increases the share of your voice in your field.
If you want some cash for your efforts, you should seek sponsors. Networks like Libsyn, and BlogTalkRadio can help with this matchmaking process, and other podcast networks are worth a look. One that we recommend is VoiceAmerica.
VoiceAmerica is one of the largest internet radio networks, with shows covering the topics of business, health, politics, wellness and more. Their model is to pilot your show over a set number of episodes, usually 13, and work with you on production. They will help you set up a compelling pitch that you can take to sponsors when you ask for funding, and they will help you structure a package of ad slots for those sponsors. On VoiceAmerica, sponsors get to talk about themselves during ad breaks, or you talk about them on their behalf during your show, and in exchange they help cover your production costs. Sponsors also can become part of your digital marketing, with visuals and logos in your show materials such as your VoiceAmerica homepage or social media. If you're successful at it, you will more than cover your costs and get some cash flow.
If you are thinking of podcasting, or already have a podcast and want to kick it up a notch, Red Cup can support you.
Research. Red Cup helps you choose podcast show topics that can go viral and help you discover guests you'll enjoy interviewing and who will spread the word about your show.
Production and Post Red Cup produces podcasts from idea to final distribution.