While the world has begun slowly reopening, working from home doesn’t look like it will be going away anytime soon. As many remain socially distanced in their homes, it’s easier to start a podcast remotely. Seeing as podcast ad spending is projected to top $1.7 billion by 2024, there’s no better time to jump into the podcasting game.
It may seem natural to try podcasting from home if you’re a one-man show. But even if you aim to work collaboratively, there are tons of tools out there to help you create top-notch content from the comfort of your bedroom. Without further ado, let’s get started on the basics of building your own podcast remotely.
- How to Start a Podcast From Home
- Gearing Up to Podcast Remotely
- Preparing to Record Your Podcast From Home
- Getting a Guest on Your Podcast
- Relax and Trust Your Process
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How to Start a Podcast From Home
Before you hop on the mic and start mixing your audio, you’ll need to do some brainstorming. Podcasting is more than just recorded audio and requires a lot of different elements when beginning. Clear off your at-home workspace, and let’s get down to business!
Choosing a Topic
The first step in podcasting from home is deciding what your podcast will be about. There’s a podcast for everything these days. So if you want your content to stand out, you’ll want to choose a topic that’s less saturated than others. To take a unique angle with your show, you’ll want to choose a niche topic that fewer people will be covering.
For example, if your passion is helping people find the motivation to live their best lives, you’ll find tons of self-help podcasts already out there. However, if you want to reach out to retired women in particular, you’ll be able to hone in on a specific audience that a generic self-help podcast may not. Your branding and content will become targeted toward this audience. This will allow you to grow and create content that your listeners actually want to hear.
Once you’ve chosen your podcast niche, you’ll want to define your ideal listener. Also known as your podcast avatar. Imagine your podcast avatar as the exact person you are speaking to when recording. You want to know demographics like age or gender and their psychological wants, needs, and fears. Podcasting is an intimate medium, so knowing your podcast avatar inside out will allow you to tailor your podcast content to their exact desires, creating a bond between host and listener.
If you are learning how to start a podcast from home, you’ll need to ask yourself what your content will actually consist of. Will your show involve interviewing different guests each week, or will you be telling fictional stories? Are you the only host, or will someone else be joining you?
We encourage you to get creative with your episodes and consider different podcast formats. But choosing a somewhat consistent style will allow your audience to understand your brand from the start. Someone who comes to your podcast to learn workshop-style about a specific skill might be put off if your show suddenly takes a conversational format, and vice versa.
While podcasting is an auditory medium, you need to think about the aesthetics of your show. If someone is scrolling through iTunes looking for something new to listen to, you want to grab their attention. Creating good cover art for your podcast involves a balance between an image that is both eye-catching and representative of your brand. You want a photo that is easy to associate with your subject while visually evoking the values behind your content.
Spreaker Pro tip: If you want to make sure that your podcast artwork looks good on mobile, export your file at 55 x 55 pixels to see what it looks like. If your main text and images are too small to read, then you need to re-think your design!
Often, podcast cover art just consists of the podcast name in an interesting font as opposed to an actual photo. In this case, the type of fonts you use is crucial in creating your brand image. Ditto in terms of the colors you use.
Gearing Up to Podcast Remotely
While you theoretically could record and edit your entire podcast just on your smartphone, there is plenty of gear available in various price ranges to give your podcast that professional touch. Seeing as you will be recording from home instead of a studio, you want to create the best conditions for your audio to thrive.
Keep in mind that you could have the best gear in the world and still the worst podcast. Some tools will certainly aid the process while working on your podcast remotely. But you’ll never grow your audience if you aren’t consistently putting out quality content.
Choosing a Microphone
When you’re learning how to start a podcast from home, the most important tool when creating audio content, whether it be podcasts or songs, is having a good mic. There are tons of microphones out there ranging from $2 to $20,000. But all you need is something that will guarantee you clear audio. Even if you’re leaking classified FBI intel, you’ll lose your listeners if your audience can’t hear you properly.
There are two types of mics that you’ll generally come across while searching for the best microphones for podcasting, which differ in terms of functionality and strengths:
- Dynamic mics: Quite durable and can hold up well in outdoor environments and while recording loud noises. Dynamic mics don’t capture the detailed nuances of sound like condenser mics do, making them suitable for basic conversations and interviews while podcasting from home. Popular examples of dynamic mics include the Audio-Technica ATR2100 and Shure SM58.
- Condenser mics: Typically, this type of microphone captures more detailed sounds, making it ideal for recording specific noises. Condensers have low-frequency responses and are excellent for voice acting, where you need that vocal nuance. Popular examples of condenser mics include the Blue Yeti USB Condenser Microphone and Samson Go Mic.
Simpler microphones use a USB format, meaning you just plug the mic into your computer and hit record. These types are easy to use and ideal for those who don’t want to spend too much time figuring out equipment or who are just starting out with podcasting from home.
If you want to take it a step farther, you have XLR mics, which are slightly more complicated. While more technical differences exist, XLR mics require an XLR cable and an audio interface.
Figuring out the difference between microphones might be confusing. But at the end of the day, a good mic is a good mic. It doesn’t really matter what features or price point your microphone has as long as it’s recording clean audio. If your audience can hear you well, your content will do all the talking for you.
Podcast Recording Software
While it is possible to just hit record on your phone or computer mic and take it away from there, specific software geared towards recording podcasts does exist to smooth out the process.
Spreaker streamlines the process for you with our Spreaker Studio recording software, which is free and easy to use to record your podcast. Using the Spreaker app, you can access the audio studio. It allows you to record your episode while accessing special control features like mic controls and auto-ducking. You can also edit your show through the app, keeping everything in one convenient place.
When collaborating with other people, you will need to record your podcast remotely.
Options like Zencastr offer you studio-quality sound and HD video recording all on one web browser. Separate audio tracks are recorded for each guest, which allows for easy editing later on. If someone talks over someone, the separate tracks can be edited out, allowing for clear audio and conversations.
While not podcast-specific, Skype and Zoom have been longtime contenders in learning how to start a podcast from home. The video feature is important as it allows you to see each other as if you were in the same room. This allows the conversation to flow more organically. Although you can record on Skype or Zoom, some people, such as Lower Street, argue that it isn’t the best option. Learn more about why in their article on how to podcast remotely.
However, since both of these programs are video-focused, your audio quality may not be top of the line. To combat this, you can download a call recorder for Skype. This will allow you to access the audio files independently. On Zoom, you can go into Recording > Settings > Record separate audio files for each participant, which can be downloaded and will help with audio quality and editing later on.
Let’s start with Podcastle. This tool allows podcasters to record high-quality remote interviews and then automatically save the recording in the Podcastle cloud. Interviews are recorded on separate audio tracks to make editing more effortless. The audio can be stored locally in uncompressed 48 kHz audio files, one for each guest. This means the audio for the host and the remote interviewee should be as good as each other, making a podcast sound far more professional.
Once you are done recording, Podcastle also has a free audio editor, which allows podcasters to split, cut, and trim their audio, fade in and our podcast intros/outros, and change the speed of any audio file. And if you want your audio to sound flawless, Podcastle also has a tool called Magic Dust. Designed to make any voice sounds as if adjusted professionally in post-production, Magic Dust also removes background noises, sibilants as well as equalizes the overall sound. Want to see the difference it makes? Click here.
Then there is Riverside.fm. Riverside.fm records locally and works with separate audio and video tracks for every guest. This allows all recordings to be synchronized. This makes the post-production process even easier. The local recording files are RAW (i.e. uncompressed), and are a higher quality file.
The platform also offers the option to live stream the remote recording on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch. This allows podcasters to increase their reach and build a stronger presence on social media. Although live streaming will require you to have a stable internet connection, Riverside.fm will also make a simultaneous local recording so you can distribute the session whenever you want.
Now in the mainstream, Discord is also an excellent platform for podcasting from home. Discord also allows for each guest’s audio track to be recorded separately. It also gives you slightly better audio quality than Skype.
There are a number of audio settings that you can configure on Discord, most notably Voice Activity, allowing yourself to be recorded when you speak instead of having to click the button. You can also control echo cancellation from here, and explore any video options if you wish.
Getting a Podcast Hosting Platform
A podcast host is the place to store and distribute your podcast’s audio files. There are different types of hosts, all of which are designed individually to suit where you are in your podcast career.
Free podcast hosting platforms do exist, but be careful before you choose this option. If a program is free, then anything you upload to them typically becomes their product, including your data. It’s a question of security and ethics, but that’s up to you to debate.
Choosing Podcast Editing Software
Once you have your audio files, you’ll need to edit your podcast together. Editing is beautiful because you’ll be able to mix your audio precisely the way you want it. Moments you thought were too awkward to keep in your recording session suddenly take on new life.
Free yet powerful editing options like Audacity and Alitu exist, as do paid programs like Logic Pro or Adobe Audition. Have fun and get creative with the way you edit, and don’t feel obliged to keep everything in chronological order the way you recorded it. If you really don’t want to edit your own audio, don’t worry. You can also go on FIVERR and hire someone to edit your podcast for you.
Preparing to Record Your Podcast From Home
Creating Your Podcast Set-Up
You want to create the perfect recording space for yourself that sets you up for success. Your podcast space should be somewhere you can focus on your work, free of distractions. If you don’t live alone, you’ll need to alert anyone you live with to not disturb you during a certain time. Having a dedicated space is excellent for focusing on workflow and minimizing outside sounds.
Believe it or not, a helpful podcasting hack to make the most of your space and simultaneously reduce echo is recording your podcast from your closet. The small space will protect from sound waves bouncing all over, and it has a mix of hard and soft surfaces for ideal acoustics.
Reducing Echo in Your Home
You don’t need to leave the comfort of your home to get studio-quality sound. For starters, you’ll want to avoid any wide-open areas that will amplify the echo in your voice, hence the closet hack.
- Stock up: The more furniture you have in your room, the less echo it will have. If you can get your hands on any foam, covering your surfaces with it will allow your voice echo to be absorbed. If you don’t have a large pile of foam at your disposal, using carpets can also help.
- Take cover: If you want to create a quick, intimate space for yourself, try throwing a blanket over your head while you record. It will block out the outside world, keeping your sound limited to the space within. It’s not perfect, and you might get sweaty depending on the temperature, but the sound waves will be muffled compared to an open room. If you want prime comfort, try making yourself a blanket fort with pillows as well.
- Soundcheck: It may seem obvious, but turn off anything that could make noise in the room. This includes fans, heaters, air conditioners, or anything that gives off even a mild hum.
Getting a Guest on Your Podcast
Just because you are podcasting from home doesn’t mean that you have to work in solitude. Inviting a guest to your podcast for an interview or conversation is a great way to grow your audience organically. Their experiences can add new perspectives to your podcast and can increase your listenership as they invite their own followers to check out your show.
Hosting a guest on your podcast is not only a good learning opportunity but can help you position yourself as an expert in your field. Instagram and Twitter are good places to start looking for potential guests, as you can browse hashtags used by your community. This is your chance to reach out to someone in your industry you admire; the worst anyone will say is no.
Helpful Tools to Facilitate Remote Interviews
Since you will be working with your podcast guest remotely, you’ll need to be well organized ahead of time. Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of tools to make this process as smooth as possible.
- Keep track of guests: Google Sheets is a great tool for keeping all your guest information sorted, including what time zone they’re in when the episode will be recorded when it will air, etc.
- Organize meetings: Calendly is your friend for organizing online meetings without the hassle of a long back and forth email chains, allowing you to share your calendar with multiple people at once to find an open spot.
- Brainstorming ideas: Trello is the visual planner you never knew you needed. Jot down ideas, sync your schedule, and set reminders for everyone to see, all in an easy-to-understand layout.
- Transcribe your audio: Descript transcribes your audio files into text and allows you to edit your podcast as if you were editing a text document. This tool is also helpful if you want to create a subtitled video version of your text or a transcript for your podcast website.
Relax and Trust Your Process
Podcasting from home is certainly a learning experience. Don’t get too caught up in all the technology and tools involved with the industry; at the end of the day, you should be focused on putting out content that you are proud of. Everyone has their own preferred tools and methods, so try out a few variations until you find the right rhythm.
Best of luck!