I Took a $75 Class on Podcasting, and Now I’m Hooked

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I'm podcast-curious.

As a writer and speaker whose career began on the internet, my reputation sits atop a rickety framework of blog posts, social media accounts and video channels. Do I need a podcast?

I went to Chicago and spent $75 on the class Podcast Producing with a Pioneer, hosted by Jaime Black of Dynasty Podcasts to find out.

The class was fabulous and worth my time and money. Here’s what I learned.

How Podcasting Works

Jaime begins his podcasting class with pragmatic Midwestern advice: Just because you have an idea and an NPR-like voice doesn’t mean you can carry a podcast. As with all content, the storyteller must start with research and practice.

Open a Google Doc and start writing. Establish the focus of your podcast, document your primary themes and supporting stories, and don't spend a dime until you practice telling stories into the microphone of your mobile device. That’s right — grab your phone or tablet. Find the pre-installed voice memo app. Pretend you are the star of a podcast right now and practice what you’ll say to your audience.

Jaime believes that if you like what you hear on your phone then you’re ready to move forward with your podcasting journey. And if you hate the sound of your voice or find that you can't listen to yourself tell a story? Engage in self-study and listen to the highest-rated podcasts. Spend time thinking about what makes those episodes so great.

Find Inexpensive Tools to Make Your Podcast Sound Great

To commit to a podcast you’ll need to get serious about the tools of the trade. There are hundreds of affordable microphones, audio interfaces and smartphone apps. Shure and Olympus make great devices that you can find on eBay. Be a frugal shopper.

The best podcasts share one thing in common: high-quality editing. Jaime and I recorded audio, then we chopped up the recording and pieced it back together. I had no idea that GarageBand is free and included on my MacBook Pro. While a new suite of software can seem daunting, I'm here to tell you that editing is easy. Once you get over a fear of erasing your work, assembling a podcast is just as easy as crafting a document in Microsoft Word.

Share Your Work

Honestly, I’m worried about creating a show that nobody will hear. So after I learned to build a podcast in GarageBand, we focused on the nuts and bolts of sharing my work with the world. We created an RSS feed and sent my podcast to iTunes, the largest distribution platform. We reviewed how to add my show to Stitcher, SoundCloud and Tune-In. Then Jaime discussed how to enhance my brand and connect with other producers.

I also learned to how to distribute my podcast on social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Podcasts alone don’t usually do well on social media, so it’s important to pair them with eye-catching, customized graphics and tag any guests like crazy.

What's Next For Me?

I left my podcasting class energized and focused. Because I travel so much and interview exceptional people, Jaime suggested Facebook Live as a way to capture content. It's simple to separate the audio and convert the event to a podcast and amplify the experience.

I'm sold!

Podcasting is old news to some people, but it's a wide-open field for me. Now that I've taken the class, I'm ready to try something new. Look out Tim Ferriss. I'm coming for you.

Laurie Ruettimann is a former Human Resources leader turned writer, speaker and entrepreneur. Known for her commonsense style and straightforward approach to issues in the workforce, her keynote speeches on leadership and entrepreneurship are requested around the world.

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