If you can learn how to record a podcast it is a highly effective way to increase your audience engagement or just simply drive website traffic to pages. All forms of media used for Internet marketing can also help you get your point across. Previously I showed you how to extract Mp3 from your AVI to create a podcast. I like doing this because I get a video and a podcast in one shot.. but if your not into creating videos then you can simply make a podcast only with free software.
To record a podcast, you need only four things—a computer, a microphone, speakers or headphones, and special recording software. Since you’re reading this, I assume you have a computer. I’m also going to assume you have speakers or headphones—most people do. Everything else you need I’ll discuss below.
Microphone Necessary To Record A Podcast
To record a podcast, you need a microphone—unless you’re creating an all-music podcast with pre-recorded tracks. At Amazon.com you’ll find a bewildering array of different types of microphones, but most of the microphones for podcasting fit into the following three categories:
- Desktop microphones look a bit like that giant microphone that sits on Larry King’s desk, although modern microphones tend to be smaller and more compact. They’re good for recording yourself or several people in the same room when there’s no background noise.
- Headset microphones combine headphones and microphone into a single device. They let you record a podcast that includes a Skype phone call or other teleconference event. They also work well for podcasting at home by yourself.
- Digital audio recorders are great if you do on-the-spot recording. For example, I was once interviewed for a podcast at a computer show by a man with a digital audio recorder.
Software Necessary To Record A Podcast
Now that you have all your hardware—computer, speakers or headphones, and a microphone—you need the software to make and edit recordings.
For digital audio players, you need only download the audio you already recorded to disk. (If you have a choice, get the audio in WAV format rather than MP3—WAV doesn’t compress the audio, so it may contain more audio information than MP3.)
For the other microphone types, you still need a way to record your audio. Windows includes a built-in program called Sound Recorder, but it’s not very good.
I always use the program called Audacity. It’s a free open source professional-quality audio mastering program—and it’s easy to use. Download it from audacity.sf.net, install it like normally, and open it up.
To start recording in Audacity, simply press the red record button. Speak a simple sentence, “Mary had a little lamb,” and click the Stop button. Then press the Play button to replay your recording.
Record A Podcast—Troubleshooting
There are two common software problems that may be responsible if you don’t hear your audio—your speaker volume may be turned down or your microphone might be turned off.
Check your speakers first—open up your regular music program and try playing a song. If it makes no sound, adjust your playback volume settings.
If you can play music but not recordings, your microphone could be turned off in the software settings. To turn it on, double-click the volume icon in the Windows tray (it looks like a conical speaker) and go to the Advanced menu to unmute the microphone input. Then try recording and playing back your audio again.
Record A Podcast—editing
You might record a 5-minute podcast straight through without making any mistakes, but few people without radio training can record a 25-minute or hour-long podcast without at least a few problems.
That’s where Audacity’s powerful editing capabilities come into play. Just like how you can change a sentence in Microsoft Word, you can also go back and re-record part of a podcast in Audacity.
For example, what if you wanted to update the nursery rhyme recorded earlier to say that Mary had a little dog? Without Audacity, you’d need to re-record the whole thing again. But in Audacity, you need only follow these simple steps:
- In the display, you’ll see a spike for each of the five words you recorded earlier. Audacity creates this visual representation of the sound’s audio waveform—how the sound vibrates molecules in the air.Since the word we want to change, “lamb,” was the last word, use your mouse to highlight the last of these five spikes.
- Now to check that you highlighted the right word and that you got the whole word, simply click play. Audacity will only play back the highlighted portion, so all you should hear is, “lamb.”
- If you need to make any changes, just highlight something else and hit play again.
- After you select just what you need, right click on it and choose Cut. The word “lamb” now disappears from your podcast.
- Click on the end of the waveform to put the cursor there and click record. Quickly say “dog” and hit stop. (Don’t worry—if you add in too much silence, you can remove it later the same way you removed “lamb.”)
Click Play. Your revised podcast should now say, “Mary had a little dog.”
Exporting To MP3 For Publishing
After you record and edit your podcast, you’re going to want to publish it. Almost all podcasts are published in MP3 format, although some are published in MP4 format or Ogg Vorbis format. Audacity writes all of these formats, so you have plenty of choices. (I suggest you use MP3 unless you know your audience can use MP4 or Ogg Vorbis files.)
Before you export the file, I highly recommend that you save it in Audacity’s native format. Although we didn’t use Audacity’s advanced features in this tutorial, saving in Audacity’s format will preserve those features when you start using them.
To save in Audacity’s format, simply open the File menu and choose Save like you would in any other program. Give the file a name and put it in a folder where you’ll remember to find it later, and then click save again. Note: if you have a long audio file, it may take a while to save.
To export a file, you do almost the same thing: go to the File menu and click Export. Then choose the file name and folder you want to save to. Also choose the file format you want to use. Converting a file from Audacity’s format to a compressed format like MP3, MP4, or Ogg Vorbis can take a long time and will slow down your computer. Maybe by the time you finish your first podcast we’ll have put up some new tricks to help you record a podcast with multiple tracks.