Podcasting is a wonderful medium. The content is evergreen, and when people listen to an episode, it’s as if you’re speaking to them in the moment. It’s also friendly. Listeners put you in their ear, and trust you to entertain and/or educate them.
As a listener, I feel like I know the hosts. I listen to them every week and get to know their personality. As a host of I Know Dino, which I co-produce with my husband Garret, I’ve gotten to meet and get to know many of our listeners via emails, messages, posts, tweets, and even voicemails. These listeners have gotten to know us via our podcast and have reached out to share their awesome stories with us. It’s incredibly gratifying, and amazing that we’re able to connect with so many different people.
Podcasting is growing. According to Edison Research, last year an estimated 57 million people in the U.S. listened to podcasts each month. Most of them listened to shows on their smartphones or tablets, and they listened at home, while commuting, and at work.
Garret and I started podcasting because of a shared passion for dinosaurs. Both of us grew up with the Land Before Time and Jurassic Park, and have loved dinosaurs since we were kids.
Somehow, neither of us realized this shared passion until we were living on the east coast together—a couple years after we started dating. One of the perks of my job in New York was free admission to the American Museum of Natural History, and it became one of our favorite places to visit.
Fast forward a few years and we had a dinosaur themed wedding, complete with dinosaur centerpieces, an Ankylosaurus and Brontosaurus cake topper, and a photobombing T-rex named Duncan.
So we could continue our obsession with dinosaurs after the wedding, we decided to start a podcast. We wanted to learn more, and share what we’d learned with other dinosaur enthusiasts. We also had a great excuse to talk to paleontologists and other people in the paleontology world.
We’ve learned a lot about podcasting along the way. Below are the seven steps we follow each week to publish a new episode:
Step 1: Research
We spend many hours each week researching the topics we cover for each episode. That includes finding the latest dinosaur news (there’s a new discovery nearly every week), digesting and analyzing scientific papers, going down rabbit holes to answer listener questions and come up with fun facts, and reading everything that’s known about specific dinosaurs for our “dinosaur of the day” segment.
Step 2: Interview
We try to include an interview in as many episodes as we can. When we do interviews, we make sure to prepare in advance so we can ask intelligent, interesting questions.
We use Skype to call and record our interviews, which take anywhere between 20 minutes to over an hour. And we always enjoy them!
Step 3: Record
We record the rest of the show separately. To record, we use a Mackie mixing board, Mackie monitors, Zoom portable recorder, RØDE microphones, and our trusty laptops. This typically takes about an hour (though the amount of time it takes to record will depend on the length of your episodes). Note: Having a reliable laptop, such as an HP, is key, especially when it comes to editing.
Step 4: Prepare show notes
After recording, we turn our show notes into a blog post for our website. When we have interviews, we also include transcripts of the interview.
We post our show notes around the same time we publish a new episode, and embed the episode in the post.
Step 5: Edit
To make sure our episodes have the highest quality, we edit them each week using Adobe Audition (Audacity is also a good option). This step involves reducing background noise, leveling the audio, and removing any big mistakes or long pauses (like when we wait for loud cars to pass by when recording).
Step 6: Publish
The next, and arguably most important, step is to publish our new episode. We use Libsyn to host our show, and every week we upload a new episode and input metadata (such as title and description) so that it’s available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, Soundcloud, and more.
We also upload all our episodes to YouTube. We upload the full episode as well as just the “dinosaur of the day” segment, so listeners can choose what they want to hear.
Step 7: Let everyone know
Last, we let everyone know there’s a new episode available! If we had a guest on the show, we’ll email them a link. In addition to our website, we post to all our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google—we post other content on Instagram and Pinterest) and to Tumblr and Patreon.
It’s a lot of work, but a very rewarding experience, and I highly recommend podcasting—so long as you have a topic you’re passionate about.
Do you have any tips or tricks for podcasting? Share your thoughts in the comments below!