Since, I started writing about podcasting, I have set Google alerts and have been browsing websites, forums, and groups looking for unique subject matter to write about. Recently in one of my Facebook groups, another member was confused about the connection between using media files, feeds, Libsyn, iTunes, and WordPress.
I started to respond to the thread explaining how these things tied together, but then I thought I should create a post on this topic instead. I wanted the post to include a simple direct method of creating a new podcast with examples and screenshots.
I was hoping this would be something that I could throw together in a few hours, and it would be easy enough that even the most reluctant would-be podcaster could use it to get started. As I began creating my sample shows and examples, I discovered that podcasting is hard.
Besides the nuts and bolts technical aspects of podcasting, there are a few more intrinsic and esoteric skills that a new podcaster will need to grow and develop. I’ll still go over the nuts and bolts technical steps of podcasting, but these are the real skills that you will develop while creating and hosting a podcast.
Empathy for Your Listener
We all love the sound of our own voices. Some of us more than others, but the real skill to creating something people will listen to is putting yourself in the place of the listener. This means taking the time to prepare your content. Make sure you have done your research, or that you are enough of a subject matter expert that you have something truly interesting to say.
Learn to Use Your Voice to Convey Emotion
It’s easy to be animated telling stories and talking with friends, but suddenly when that red button is pushed we tend to turn into robots. Long time podcasters know that the delivery of their 100th episode is much better than their delivery of episode one.
Hosting a podcast will teach you to relax and speak conversationally even when under pressure. You want to convey emotion with your words. Being light hearted, smiling, laughing, and having fun will come across in your voice. You will learn to deliver dynamic presentations, pause when necessary, and master the art of storytelling.
Just the act of listening to your work encourages you to improve and create better content with a better delivery in each episode. Podcasting forces us to share our human side through a broadband network. Podcasting makes us better communicators, speakers, and listeners.
Thinking on Your Feet and Being Creative
Producing something out of nothing is a creative endeavor. Delivering unique content week in and week out takes creative spark. There are things you can do to improve your creativity, like planning ahead and giving yourself enough time to develop an idea, but creativity is part lightbulb moment and part practice.
Thinking on your feet is another branch of creativity that podcasting will develop. Almost every podcaster has a horror story of an interview podcast gone awry. You need to be quick and diplomatic enough to smooth over interview faux pas and keep the conversation flowing. Even when your episode hits those podcast rapids.
Time Management and Flexibility
Being able to manage your time is the key to most successful endeavors. Having the ability to make those hours and minutes count can make the difference between brilliance and mediocrity. This is especially true with producing a podcast. There are a lot of steps and moving parts that come with producing a quality show on a regular basis.
Collaborating and scheduling with others can throw a monkey wrench into the day of even the most prolific planners and schedulers. That is why flexibility and the ability to bend your schedule without breaking it is a skill that advanced podcasters understand.
Tools like Calendly along with keeping a good-natured flexible attitude can help with making collaboration and interviews a positive experience. Working with others on episodes and promotion can pay off, but it takes finesse to do it well.
Being Organized Without Being Rigid
This skill goes with the one above. There are a lot of moving parts to creating and producing podcasts. Being organized is the key to being successful and having a fulfilling life outside of your podcasting duties.
Ask any long-time podcaster and they will tell you that they are more organized now than ever before. Even if they have been successful enough to delegate several portions of production, they have still learned valuable lessons in organizational skills.
It Makes You a Better Person
Podcasting can be a free personal development course. Podcasting has helped listeners and podcasters learn and grow as humans. There are inspirational people out there sharing amazing insights through their podcasts.
Podcasters are a diverse bunch and not everyone is an inspiration, but if you are open to it podcasting just might open those golden personal development doors.
Now that we know some of the personal traits that make a great podcaster, let’s get into some of the technical aspects when just starting out.
MP3 Files, Feeds, iTunes and WordPress
Once you have recorded and edited your show, you want to export it as an MP3 file. This file will need to be hosted somewhere. For this example we are using the hosting company Libsyn.
- Go to Libsyn
- Set up an account by filling in all of the required account information
- Register a new show. When you fill in this information you choose a Show Slug which generates the URLs to your media files and the RSS feed. The slug should be a one word name of your show beginning with a letter.
- Then you follow the directions to connect FTP and/or dropbox to upload the MP3 files to the Libsyn server.
- Once the file is uploaded to Libsyn go to your dashboard>add new episode
- Browse to find your file and hit upload
Generating Your RSS Feed
- Libsyn will generate an RSS feed from your podcast MP3 file that you can use to submit to iTunes and other directories
- To generate your feed go to the Libsyn dashboard>destinations
- Find your Libsyn Classic Feed and hit the Edit button
- Fill in required iTunes fields
- Fill in recommend iTunes fields
- iTunes Store ID
- Author of show
- Language Code
- Content Rating
- Owner Name
- Owner Email
- You will also want to upload your image artwork and fill in any other pertinent fields for your show
- Get your feed from Libsyn
- Run it through a validator
- Submit your feed to iTunes
Now you can publish your podcast on your WordPress site. If you use a plugin like our Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin you would just paste the URL of your media file that is hosted on Libsyn into the plugin and publish it with a post for the podcast.
There are a lot of different variables depending on your particular setup. This is just one example that tries to present things in a logical order. There are several different hosting options, podcast directories, and WordPress and website plugins and players. So your exact steps will depend on your combination of tools.
The basics are still as follows publish your file to your host, generate a feed, submit it to directories, and publish your podcast on your website using your desired plugins and players.
So there are quite a few steps involved in the setup process, but once everything is all setup the main focus is shifted back to the real skills that podcasting develops.