Want to make your very own podcast? Mangacast's Ed explains how to make a simple podcast in this quick step-by-step guide.
What you need:
A mic, some kind of digital recording device (iRiver, voice recorder, computer, cell phone, etc.), a blog, a feed with RSS 2.0, and the capability to include <enclosure> tags.
Whether it's an article or a podcast, the content is the most important part. Come up with something interesting, since no one would bother to read, let alone listen, something that's stale and boring.
Comment: For the most part writing your ideas down is important, but not necessary. The best indie podcasts do very little of this; however, it is important to have some sort of outline done. Sticking to the outline to be concise and not go off topic can help new podcasters stay on track, but improvising is just as important.
I rarely write more than a few key points down. When I used to write my entire reviews they were 4~5 minutes long and I could not give them much more. Being able to speak freely about what you are covering adds energy and makes the podcast more personal. Obviously finding a balance takes time, but when it comes it's pretty clear.
Now that you have everything ready, time to get out that mic and the digital recording device. Simply record everything you want to say (you did write them down on a paper beforehand, right?). Watch out for background noises, and try to sound lively!
Comment: This is the easy part, but this is the hardest part for people not used to recording themselves (or people who are not comfortable talking). Talking to yourself might feel strange, but sounding lively and putting your feeling into the podcast is very important.
This is optional, but if you want your podcast to sound GOOD, it's generally a good idea to edit it.
Comment: On Mac's the machine should come with GarageBand pre-installed. GarageBand is a simple tool for editing audio. It allows users to add music, pictures and links to podcasts. You can punch in SFX provided by Apple, adjust the audio's volume, cut and paste the source material, and you can even adjust the audio for specific microphones (if the mic needs power or in case the recorder is in a noisy environment). GarageBand was actually rebuilt for podcasters so it also synchs with iChat and other Mac apps for quick recording sessions.
Audacity is a pretty easy piece of software for the PC. It converts audio files to .mp3 or .wav and users can also change the frequency rate in case they have audio recorded in different speeds. It does not have the additional features that GarageBand has but as freeware it is very good.
There are programs people can pay for as well. CastBlaster has been built for podcasters from the ground up. It is a great live recording/editing tool but is not too friendly if you want to add music or splice audio in later. It does have built-in features that up-load files through ftp, but it really is more of a tool for people who sit down and work on a podcast from start to finish in one-sitting (preferably with an external mixer).
CoolEditPro is a little more pricey, but this is a professional audio media tool. Multiple tracks, synchronising, mutliple SFX and many ways to manipulate audio (change tone, speed, frequency). This is the perfect piece of software for podcasters that want that true professional sound but it is expensive (and like CastBlaster is PC only).
Now that you have everything ready, it's time to make your podcast public on the World Wide Web! There are many ways to publish a podcast. You can either transfer (ftp) the file onto your own website, or upload it to your blog. Some sites, like Feedburner.com, will look at the post containing the podcast and automatically generate the podcast feed.
Comment: Making sure your blogging software accepts <enclosure> tags is important. The enclosure sets a flag in RSS 2.0 for podcatchers (iTunes, Podcast Juice, Podshow Player, Yahoo RSS, PodNova...). Those podcatchers will ignore all the other posts without the enclosure and only pick up the audio files. The rest works like an RSS reader. Simply typing those tags in and testing out the feed in a podcatcher should give you an idea if the tags worked or not.
If your blogging tool does not allow enclosures (LiveJournal, BlogSpot, WordPress.com), you might need another RSS feed. Free services like Feedburner can add the enclosure to the RSS feed you create with them. You can even customize their enclosures to only pick up audio, video, photos or any combination of those.
If you have big plans involving podcasting, make sure you plan for the future. Essential things like bandwidth and finding a good host server can become a headache when more people begin paying attention to your podcast. Be prepared for everything!
Comment: There are free places like the Internet Archive that do not put limits to bandwidth. Audio files are rather large and some hosts put caps on transfers. The larger the readership the more a podcaster has to be aware of this. And if you think you have enough, always be aware that as long as you have active links to old episodes people will listen to those. Those eat up as much or more bandwidth than your newest episode. Podcasting is not a live thing. People are on different schedules, different time zones. Always checking if your servers are still sending files out is critical for success. No one wants to be stuck in a situation where they cannot listen to new shows.
And that's all! If you follow these steps and advices, you'll be able to make your own podcast in no time!