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Podcasting in Libraries: The Basics

Getting Started

Before you start, be ready to commit.

Before you rush into things, it’s important to keep in mind that podcasts take a lot of effort to get going. They’re not just recordings of people talking (not the good ones, anyway).

It’s easy to assume that podcasts are easy to produce because they’re audio only, but don’t be fooled. They can take a lot of time to put together, especially at first. Also, if you’re interested in developing any kind of listener base, you have to be ready to release episodes on a regular basis. All in all, podcasting can be fun work, but it’s still work and should be treated as such. - Source: lifehacker

Determine your voice and your goals.

You need to know why you are starting the podcast. What are your goals? What will you talk about? Determine this early in the process, and research other people doing the same thing. If content overlaps, don't fret. Just take a step back and try to come at it from a different angle. Make it your own.

You also need to determine your voice. What kind of persona will you portray? It's easy to think, "I'll just be myself," but what does that entail when you factor in professionalism and your agency's brand? Brainstorm with your other host(s) and come to a decision before delving into the rest.

Determine the length of your show.

Podcasts range from very short to an hour or more. Make sure to ask: “How much time does your audience have to listen?” We try to keep our podcast around 20-25 minutes. Several sites state that listeners tend to listen to about 22 minutes of a podcast.

Get the necessary software and equipment.

There are several ways to approach this. We go into more detail under the Making a Podcast tab.

Top Tips

  • Jump headfirst. Don't worry if you don't like the sound of your own voice or if you think you don't have the technical skills for it. The percentage of podcast listeners has grown over the past few years. It has a deeper engagement than the more traditional articles or blog posts; they are great if your listeners need to multitask; and there is a kind of intimacy you cannot get from reading a blog post or article.
  • Stick to 2-3 people on your show. Plain and simple. Having two hosts and a guest tends to work out the best, and it provides listeners with that sweet spot of optimal listening. Also be sure to have multiple people ready to step in as a host, if a regular host is unavailable.
  • Find your frequency schedule, and stick to it. Most podcasts publish once per week. That's not always realistic--we aim for twice a month. But having somewhat of a schedule helps you and your listeners. It keeps your show on track, and it keeps your listeners engaged, and they will come to expect it.
  • Record a few minutes of dead air before you start you introduction. This helps get a sense of the background noise and natural audio levels, which can change from recording to recording. If you need to also insert some pauses throughout your podcast, they can be pulled from this. It makes the podcast sound more natural rather than using a break of complete silence.
  • You can actually record interviewees from a distance. Before branching out and doing this, practice the options you have to see what works best.
  • Consider intro music. Intro music adds a professional quality to a podcast, when done well. Be sure to read up on copyright laws and fair use, but some great resources include BlogTalkRadioSoundcloud's free intro music, and Pond5.

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