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How I Started My Podcast With Outdoor Cushions and a Microphone

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How I Started My Podcast With Outdoor Cushions and a Microphone

When I decided to start my own podcast, I thought I’d be in for a hefty expense in terms of equipment.

But, in fact, my first podcast kicked off with just a decent microphone and some cushions from my outdoor furniture setting; that was it. The whole setup cost me less than $300.

Podcasting is an excellent way to reach your ideal audience. You can quickly develop a true rapport with your audience and build yourself a powerful ZMOT (zero moment of truth, as Google calls it). Don’t make starting a podcast harder or more technical than it needs to be.

Here are three hacks I figured out when I was researching how to start my podcast. They will literally save you hundreds of dollars.

1) If you’re going to spend money, spend it on a decent microphone.

Record your own voice using the microphone and headset that comes standard with your smartphone. Listen back to it and compare the audio quality to a popular podcast like This American Life. You’ll hear the difference. When you decide to podcast for an audience you really want to connect to, the single best investment you can make is a decent microphone.

I live in an Apple universe, so I chose the Apogee microphone, largely because it comes with a bunch of cords that allow me to record via my iPhone, iPad or computer. That means I get a mic that gives me flexibility for how I use it. If you live in a PC universe, then I hear the best microphone for you is the Blue Yeti. Either way, do some research and find the best solution for how you want to record.

2) Put sound dampening in place.

If you’re like me and you plan on doing most of your recording from home or work, chances are the audio will sound echoey. There is an easy way to fix this, and it doesn’t cost the earth.

Recording in your dining room or boardroom allows the sound to bounce off various surfaces. Instead, look for the smallest room in your house or workplace that’s not the WC. Preferably you want the room to be carpeted and have a door that you can close.

You have a couple of choices for the next step. Either face into a corner (think of it as putting yourself in ‘time out’) or hang blankets on each of the walls in front of you. This will help dampen the sound and improve the recording quality.

Your other option is to set up your recording kit on your desk, then go raid your outdoor setting or bed for pillows or cushions. Place a pillow on either side of your equipment, then put one behind and another one over the top to create a roof, effectively making a pillow fort.

It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done and creates a great sound dampener.

3) Editing takes your podcast from amateur to professional.

Once you have your sound quality sorted, you want to concentrate on editing and production.

Sure, you can outsource this, if you have some spare cash. There are plenty of businesses that can help you. I recommend you get at least a little familiar with the process of editing because it will help you communicate your requirements to the audio editor.

When it comes to editing, look to remove the following:

  • Non-words (the umms and ahhs) – They have no purpose in the conversation and make you and your guests sound unsure of your subject.
  • Small talk – When you start your chat with your guest, chances are you’ll engage in a few minutes of small talk. Spare your listeners by removing this superfluous conversation.
  • Parts of your conversation not directly related to your topic – At some point during your conversation you will go off on a tangent. Edit these sections out, because they confuse your audience and give them a reason to fast forward or worse, hit ‘Stop’.

Savvy business owners know content is king, and now you know there is no cost-based or technical reason to leave a podcast out of your sales and marketing mix.

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