First Time Podcasting with WordPress

A follow-​​up ques­tion from @rsmith to my post for Tools, Gear and Hard­ware for a First Time Pod­caster:

Word­Press Plu­gin for Podcasting

As with most things pod­cast­ing, there’s a ton of plu­g­ins for Word­Press to use. What I’ve set­tled on is using the Blu­brry Pow­er­Press plu­gin:

Blu­brry Pow­er­Press brings the essen­tial fea­tures for pod­cast­ing to Word­Press. Devel­oped by pod­cast­ers for pod­cast­ers, Pow­er­Press offers full iTunes sup­port, Web audio/​video media play­ers, exclu­sive sub­scribe tools, pod­cast­ing SEO fea­tures and more.

Once you acti­vate Pow­er­Press on your Word­Press install — sub­scribe to my YouTube tuto­r­ial series if you want to see how — Pow­er­Press has a great walk through on get­ting all your details writ­ten in so that your pod­cast can be ready to be sub­mit­ted to iTunes.

Host­ing your pod­cast media files on your Word­Press install is ok at first but I’d really rec­om­mend invest­ing in some sort of media host­ing plat­form — Blu­brry’s looks great but I haven’t tried it yet. Lib­syn is a ser­vice I do use and works great.

As with the ear­lier post, I’m gloss­ing over a bit of the details here so I don’t get lost in the weeds.

Update: Ryan had a follow-​​up ques­tion that I felt was worth adding in here:

Two rea­sons: One is cer­tainly band­width con­cerns. Each web host will respond dif­fer­ently to hav­ing a 50MB — 100MB file being down­loaded by a whole bunch of peo­ple. Hosts like Lib­syn or Blu­brry are set up as con­tent dis­tri­b­u­tion net­works (CDN for techie nerds) specif­i­cally for pod­cast — fast down­loads or stream­ing of your pod­cast to your lis­ten­ers is impor­tant. Just like you don’t want to wait for Net­flix to catch up, you don’t want your lis­ten­ers to have to wait.

The sec­ond rea­son is stats. This assumes you’re at least as vain as me (…pause for a moment while I go check the stats on my pod­casts… Ok, I’m back.) and want to know if any­one is lis­ten­ing. It also helps if you should ever want to pur­sue spon­sor­ship for your pod­cast — poten­tial adver­tis­ers will want to know accu­rate down­load numbers.

This isn’t a require­ment when you’re just start­ing out, but it’ll help when you get fur­ther down the road. Do you want to spend a cou­ple bucks on your pod­cast­ing hobby or just keep it all cheap/​near free? It’s up to you.

Ser­vices to Share Your Pod­cast With

At Good​stuff​.fm we use iTunes as our pri­mary focus but we’ve had good suc­cess with pod­casts being fea­tured in pod­cast apps list­ing ser­vices — i.e. Pocket Cast — but we’re also play­ing around with Stitcher and iHeartRa­dio. Still too early to tell if it’s worth it.

Now What?

I love pod­cast­ing and think it’s a vastly under-​​utilized medium. I’m tak­ing on clients to help them get started using pod­cast­ing — con­tact me if you’re want­ing one-​​on-​​one help with any aspect of pod­cast­ing.

As I said the first post, feel free to leave a com­ment below or ask me on Twit­ter if you have spe­cific ques­tions and I’ll do my best to answer all ques­tions in a future post or a video.

Show Me Your Transmission

Kyle and Kenny Rod­er­ick were nice enough to invite me on their show Trans­mis­sion for episode #127:

Today on Trans­mis­sion: Come here Max — we’re answer­ing your ques­tions today, I want my light­bulbs to act as one, Some­one spent Dr-​​Evil-​​level money in NY, Nerf guns are cool again, The plumber who became self-​​aware, GARCO is becom­ing more like us, We play some sort of song chal­lenge, and more.

It took all my effort to not just sit and gig­gle the whole time. I think I did ok.

Lis­ten here on Good​stuff​.fm or check it out in iTunes.

Tools, Gear and Hardware for a First Time Podcaster

Ryan asked me on Twit­ter:

I’ve got a tuto­r­ial series that will cover start­ing a pod­cast in the next few episodes and I’m per­pet­u­ally work­ing on a PDF of my advice to give to folks but in the mean­time… Ryan needs an answer!

What fol­lows is a fairly high-​​level look at get­ting started in pod­cast­ing. Feel free to leave a com­ment below or ask me on Twit­ter if you have spe­cific ques­tions and I’ll do my best to answer all ques­tions in a future post or a video.

Who am I and what do I know?

I run a pod­cast net­work, have recorded 200+ episodes of var­i­ous pod­casts and once even wore match­ing socks. I also record a pod­cast called Show Me Your Mic where I’ve talked to 60+ pod­cast­ers about how and why they podcast.

Try Before You Buy Anything

My first bit of advice is to not buy any­thing. Try a record­ing with Garage­band. Or fire up Quick­Time and start a new audio recording:

QuickTime New Audio Recording

Hit record. Talk through a pre­tend script of your amaz­ing new pod­cast (here’s my notes for a recent Daily(ish) episode to use as a guide if you want). Then press the play but­ton. Do you like your voice? Is it painful or fun to hear your voice back? You’re going to hear a lot of it when you edit, pub­lish and pro­mote (if you want) your podcast.

You Don’t Hate Your Voice

Assum­ing you don’t hate hear­ing your own voice enough to move for­ward, here’s what I’d rec­om­mend. The gear you buy now is not the gear you have to use for­ever. Just like gui­tarists and trumpet-​​ists (??), there’s always going to be bet­ter gear on the hori­zon. Start small and grow. You can always sell your old gear to some­one else who’s just start­ing out when you upgrade.

Mic

Remem­ber — you’re just start­ing out. Don’t worry about that $350 Heil PR40. Start with some­thing that won’t break the bank with­out giv­ing you decent audio quality.

Audio-​​Technica ATR2100 Ama­zon link /​ B&H link

Audio-Technica ATR2100

  • It’s not too expen­sive ($60 — $80) but gives great audio quality.
  • It has both USB and XLR con­nec­tiv­ity so it’ll work now with­out an expen­sive mixer or inter­face but can also be used down the road as a sec­ond mic if/​when you expand.

Head­phones

Tech­ni­cally you can use your Apple ear buds to lis­ten back. But you’re bet­ter off get­ting some sort of over the ear, noise can­celling head­phones so you can know whether what you’re hear­ing is com­ing from the mic/​recording or just out­side noise.

Sennheiser makes a set that Dan Ben­jamin of 5by5​.tv rec­om­mends Ama­zon link /​ B&H link . I use a pair of Sony some­thing or oth­ers I picked up for $80 5+ years ago.

At this point, unless you’re an audio nerd, you likely won’t be able to tell much dif­fer­ence between dif­fer­ent headphones.

Soft­ware

Edit­ing soft­ware is help­ful for adding intro/​outro music, edit­ing out flubs or bor­ing sec­tions of dis­cus­sion or adding in a spon­sor mes­sage after you’ve recorded your pod­cast. As with every­thing else, there’s a pro­gres­sion in both cost and com­plex­ity. Choose your own adventure.

Macs come with Garage­band which has grown increas­ingly hos­tile towards the sim­ple act of record­ing a pod­cast. But it is pow­er­ful enough to edit and pro­duce a pod­cast. I’d rec­om­mend start­ing with Audac­ity and work your way up.

  • Audac­ity is free. It’s a great place to start, espe­cially if you’re on a lim­ited budget.
  • Logic Pro X is Apple’s $230 jump up from Garageband.
  • Adobe Audi­tion is soft­ware you may have already if you’re pay­ing for their Cre­ative Cloud sub­scrip­tion and would be on par with Logic Pro X.

If you plan to interview/​chat with peo­ple over the inter­net, you’ll need to grab a piece of soft­ware depend­ing on whether you want to use Skype or FaceTime:

Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype

Call Recorder allows you to record the per­son you’re talk­ing to on Skype on one track, and your own voice on the other track. This means you can take each audio track into your audio edi­tor of choice from above and adjust lev­els inde­pen­dently. If both you and your guest are on the same track, its much harder to edit out your guest’s cough while you’re in mid-​​rant about mis­matched socks.

Skype is by far the most com­monly used ser­vice for pod­casts. It has it’s flaws and issues — I don’t know if you can call your­self a pod­caster if you haven’t sworn at Skype at some point — but it’s what we’re stuck with. It’s avail­able on Win­dows and Mac and most peo­ple have an account already.

Face­Time can work in a pinch and espe­cially if you’re deal­ing with some­one who’s not at their com­puter and has an iPhone/​iPad that they can call you with on a decent inter­net connection.

Now What?

I haven’t talked about things like how to actu­ally use any of the gear, soft­ware or how to actu­ally get your pod­cast audio from your com­puter out to the thou­sands mil­lions of peo­ple who want to hear your thoughts about mis­matched socks. You’ll need:

  • A web­site, pos­si­bly using Square­space, Word­Press, or Sound­cloud. A future video in my free tuto­r­ial series will cover using Word­Press to pub­lish your pod­cast so you could sub­scribe to that if you’re so inclined.
  • Sub­mit your pod­cast to iTunes and other list­ing services.
  • Pro­mote your pod­cast via social media.
  • Start plan­ning for episode 2 of your amaz­ing pod­cast on mis­matched socks.

I love pod­cast­ing and think it’s a vastly under-​​utilized medium. I’m tak­ing on clients to help them get started using pod­cast­ing — con­tact me if you’re want­ing one-​​on-​​one help with any aspect of pod­cast­ing.

As I said at the begin­ning of this “quick” post, feel free to leave a com­ment below or ask me on Twit­ter if you have spe­cific ques­tions and I’ll do my best to answer all ques­tions in a future post or a video.

Edit: Part 2 with the first follow-​​up ques­tion is out.

►Daily(ish) 68: The One With the Assistant Audition

Lis­ten here

Test­ing out Audi­tion for this episode — can you hear me now? And I have a spe­cial assis­tant help­ing out on this episode.

This episode of Daily(ish) is spon­sored by:

Paying for Web Design vs Squarespace

Some­thing about the way John Gru­ber & Marco Arment mocked pay­ing money for web design dur­ing a Square­space ad on The Talk Show seemed off. You can lis­ten here at the 1:14 mark.

(Edit: I should add that the rest of the episode is a great dis­cus­sion of the strug­gles Apple is fac­ing with keep­ing up soft­ware sup­port on the Mac and iOS.)

I’m not at all wor­ried about my busi­ness or pro­fes­sion. It just sounded odd com­ing from two very cre­ative peo­ple. Peo­ple I gen­er­ally respect. To hear your pro­fes­sion and busi­ness mocked so soundly hit a bit of a nerve I guess.

Replace web design with iOS app design and would it be the same gig­gle? I real­ize nei­ther John nor Marco make their money by devel­op­ing iOS apps for clients. And I’m sure they’re smart enough to rec­og­nize the value of hav­ing a pro­fes­sional involved in cre­at­ing a web­site in some (most?) situations.

Maybe the web design pro­fes­sion has got­ten smeared with a sim­i­lar brush as the SEO world where a bunch of bad apples who make a quick buck off upload­ing a theme to Word­Press, copy­ing and past­ing in a bit of con­tent, and then are never heard from again.

For the record, I have no prob­lem rec­om­mend­ing Square­space to poten­tial clients when it doesn’t make sense for them to hire me. It’s an amaz­ing plat­form that’s really pow­er­ful, really well designed and works great right out of the box.

I just think you could do a bet­ter spon­sor read that didn’t involve mock­ing some­thing. Talk about the ben­e­fits and pos­i­tives of a prod­uct or service.

But then what do I know from spon­sor reads? I’m cer­tainly not charg­ing $4k/​episode for spon­sor­ships.