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Can You Produce a Quality Podcast on a Budget?

Can You Produce a Quality Podcast on a Budget?

OK, so we’ve discussed the headwork around preparing now time for a technical discussion. Ensuring your content is professional and engaging requires careful technical preparation and attention to detail. Here are the tools you will need to make your podcast killer.

Equipment

While high-quality equipment can elevate your podcast, you can still achieve great audio with minimal investment. Here are the essentials:

  • Microphone: If you’re using your phone, invest in a good external microphone compatible with your device for better sound quality. However, the built-in microphone can suffice for beginners.
  • Headphones: A pair of closed-back headphones is really helpful for monitoring your audio in real-time and catching any issues during recording.
  • Pop Filter: This simple microphone accessory helps reduce plosive sounds (like “p” and “b” sounds) that can cause distortion.

Additional gear to consider as you grow:

  • Sound Mixer: Useful for balancing multiple audio sources and achieving a more polished sound.
  • Portable Recorder: Handy for recording on the go or in different locations, offering higher quality than most phone recorders.
Software

Choosing the right software for recording and editing is important. Here are some FREE options:

  • Audacity: A free, open-source option that is user-friendly and powerful enough for most needs. (This is what I started audio editing on.)
  • GarageBand: Ideal for Mac users, this software offers a robust set of features for both beginners and experienced podcasters. I love this option as you can grow into the full feature model of Logic Pro when you outgrow GrageBand.
  • DaVinci Resolve: Known for its video editing capabilities, it also provides excellent audio editing tools. Similar to garageband, Davinci Resolve’s free model has plenty of great tools and is a smart starter video editor as if you begin to really love it you can find even more capabilities in the Studio version. I recommend this also becasue of it;s transcript tools. I often write these blog posts from audios I record then transcribe in Davinci.

If you’re recording on your phone, many devices come with built-in voice recorder apps that are sufficient for basic needs.

Before you start recording, ensure all your equipment is properly set up and tested. This preparation helps you avoid technical glitches and ensures a smooth recording process. Even if you’re using a phone, make sure your device is fully charged and in good working order.

Recording

Preparation is key to a successful recording session. Whether you choose to write a full script or just bullet points, having a clear plan will guide your delivery, see yesterday’s episode. Practice a few times to ensure a natural flow and smooth delivery.

Recording Tips
  • Speak Clearly: Enunciate your words to make sure your audience can understand you.
  • Steady Pace: Avoid rushing through your content. A steady pace helps listeners follow along.
  • Natural Pauses: Use pauses to give your audience time to digest information and to create a more engaging listening experience.
Editing

Use your chosen editing software to refine your recording. Key tasks during editing include:

  • Cutting Out Mistakes: Remove any errors or unnecessary parts.
  • Adding Intros and Outros: Include introductory and closing segments to frame your episodes.
  • Incorporating Music and Sound Effects: Enhance your podcast with background music or sound effects to make it more dynamic and engaging.
Quality Control

After editing, listen through the final version thoroughly. Pay attention to any remaining errors, audio inconsistencies, or areas that could use further improvement. This final check ensures your podcast is polished and professional before you release it to your audience.

By following these essential steps, you’ll be well-prepared to create a professional-quality podcast that engages and captivates your audience. Whether you’re using professional equipment or simply the voice recorder on your phone, investing time and effort in technical preparation, recording, and editing will set you on the path to podcasting success.

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Is Pre-Production the Secret to a Successful Podcast?

Is Pre-Production the Secret to a Successful Podcast?

Discover the power of pre-production in creating a compelling and engaging podcast. Learn why planning ahead is crucial for delivering value to your audience.

Let’s continue our conversation from the past couple of blog posts regarding preparing for your podcast. So after you’ve defined your purpose, the “why” for doing your podcast, and the target audience, the next important step in creating a successful podcast is planning and pre-production.

Now, this phase really involves carefully mapping out each one of your episodes and your content strategy, so that you have everything in place before you hit the record button.

So why is it important to plan ahead? Because you then avoid winging it.

Providing Value

I gotta imagine that in creating your podcast, you are desiring to provide value to your listeners. Well, at least you should be. And if that’s true, the best way to do that is to prepare going into it.

I was listening to someone on social media today talk about why they appreciate audiobooks more than they do podcasts. And I think it’s because so many podcasts have people simply winging it. And he’d prefer people’s best thoughts to their first thoughts.

So, put your best thoughts into each and every episode by planning ahead.

Episode Planning

Have a roadmap for where you’re going with the first few episodes. Plan out the direction. Don’t just create one episode and go one at a time. Maybe that’s where you might head later on. But to start, have an idea of where you want to go for the next few episodes.

Now, what about each episode’s outline? Create an outline. It’s probably not best to fully script every episode. But have an outline that has main points and topics to cover. Maybe it has some questions that you want to use with your potential guest for the episode. Or if it’s Bible-based, you might have scripture references or different quotes that you might use. And it keeps you focused and organized during your recording.

Season Planning

Now let’s pan out a little bit. What about planning out the season? First of all, is your podcast going to be one that is seasonal? That’s often a great recommendation to give people breaks after long stretches of episodes.

Structure the content in each season, maybe into a theme. It allows for these spaces for people to take a breath, to take a pause. It allows you to reevaluate what it is that you’re doing so that way the next season is better than the season before. And it also builds anticipation for that next season. Just like your favorite shows do.

Benefits of Pre-Production

  • Helps your recording process to be really smooth
  • Ensures consistent and coherent messaging
  • Keeps listeners engaged
  • Provides a solid foundation for success

For anything in life, even as a creative, preparation is key. Don’t underestimate the value of planning ahead.

Pre-production sets you up for a great podcast, and that attention to detail will truly pay off. Tomorrow, we’re going to continue our conversation on podcasting as we get into some production tips. Until then, keep creating for God’s glory. Be blessed and be a blessing.

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How to Find Your Podcast’s Ideal Audience?

How to Find Your Podcast’s Ideal Audience?

So, let’s say you’ve already read yesterday’s post on refining and defining your “why” for creating a podcast. Now, let’s talk about your “who.” Who is your podcast for? There’s got to be a specific audience in mind.

They say if you’re aiming at creating something for everyone, then you’re going to be ineffective at reaching anyone.

So, let’s get focused on our audience today.

Defining Your Niche

Defining your niche, that specific topic or theme or area of focus that your podcast will cover, is going to be a big part of figuring out who your audience is. So, what is your message and who needs this message?

A well-defined niche allows you to create content that provides immense value to a particular group of listeners. For example, with the Ordered Chaos Club podcast that I’m soon to create, my broad niche is Christian creatives, right? Those who are living with Christ at the center but want to do so embracing their creativity.

However, that’s still a fairly wide target. To refine it further, I might even need to narrow it down to a specific type of creator. But you know what? I think I want to reach a broad audience of creatives. But maybe it’ll be narrowed down to an age range.

Personally, I’ve been thinking maybe my target is millennials and the next generation.

The more focused your niche, the easier it will be to attract and grow a dedicated audience because they hear their needs being spoken directly to.

Creating an Audience Avatar

When you develop your audience, an avatar might be a good way to go. Defining who these people are helps you come up with a crystal clear picture of who your ideal listener is. We call those audience avatars.

So, what are their demographics? What’s their age? Their gender? Where do they live? What are their interests? What do they care about? What are their beliefs? What challenges do they face? Or are there pain points in life? What do they want? What are their goals? Where do they hang out online?

The more detailed you can get, the better. Give your audience avatar a name and then go ahead and picture them. Maybe even create an image for them and a whole back story to make them truly come alive.

For example, for the Ordered Chaos Club, let’s say, my audience avatar could be “Creative Carol” who’s a 35-year-old millennial, a mother of two who feels pulled between her creative passions and the responsibilities of home and work. She wants community and practical strategies to nurture her gifts.

So, I would craft messages with her in mind, and you would do the same with your niche. Defining that audience avatar will help you do that. You can then tailor your content and messages to speak directly to their needs.

  • What deep questions are they asking?
  • What stories, tips, or resources would provide clarity or solutions for the things that they’re after?

For example, for Creative Carol, I may create episodes on:

  • Overcoming creative blocks as a busy mom
  • Nurturing your creative identity as a child of God
  • Practical time management tips for creators
  • Interviews with creators who inspire spiritual and artistic growth

Reaching Your Audience

It’s important to consider the format as well, the language that you use, even the distribution channels. What would be best to reach and engage your specific audience? The platforms and the mediums your audience frequent should influence where you publish and promote your episodes. We’ll talk about that more in the distribution and publishing conversations.

Getting hyper-focused on your niche and doing that deep work to truly understand your audience will enable you to create a podcast that truly impacts folks.

Your listeners will feel seen, heard, and understood, and they will keep coming back for more. Trust me.

So, get to niching. Refine and define your target audience. Speak directly to their needs and strategically get your message in front of them. That is truly the recipe for podcast success. Tomorrow we will move on to Part 3 of this blog series on Content planning for your podcast.

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Will You Rise Again After Creative Setbacks?

Will You Rise Again After Creative Setbacks?

I started filming a documentary in January of 2023.
It’s still not done.
With this being the first feature length documentary I’ve taken on, I shouldn’t have been surprised that it would be wrought with so many challenges.

From the very first day of filming where I made some significant mistakes with starting and stopping my B CAMERA recording as I moved around the room shooting extra angles for the first interview.
That meant each and every one of those video files would need to be individually synced with the interview’s main video file. Never doing that again.

Then I experienced issues with making the mistake of using rechargeable batteries in the audio recorder. Never doing that again.

Next it was the after painstaking months of going through transcripts and piecing together the paper edit of the film. I discovered that all of my project files were lost. Frankly none of the raw footage was lost so I could always start over. But that means I would be starting over.

I say all this to say that no matter what you are undertaking when you’re new at it. When you don’t yet have the depth of knowledge or experience you should definitely expect challenges to be part of your journey.
Depending on the skill needed for the undertaking the learning curve can be quite steep.
Thankfully I’ve been around the block a bit with filming in general and thus I’ve been able to do what all of us must in scenarios like this. Bounce back.

Confucius says, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”

I’m not after my own glory but the glory of the Lord. I even believe that in the reset of this project the Lord did a reset on that truth for me as well. I stopped holding it so closely and tightly in my hands and instead am more ready and willing to simply give the film over to the Lord, entrusting God to dust me off and put me back in the fight.
And yet I still have a big role to play in this because God’s given me free will and the ability to choose.
In Galatians 6:9 the very first Bible verse I fell in love with after getting saved Paul says this

“Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

What has God called you to create and what area has the Lord called you to put your hands to the plow and put in work?
Now if you haven’t already experienced falling, failures or bumps along the road they’re coming. You get to decide now as well as then what you’re going to do. Will you be one that pushes through deciding that you will not give up . deciding that they will not be weary in doing the good that God has called them to.

Will you be one that chooses to rise again and again or will you be one who immaturely receives the challenges of the journey as signs that God is not with them and that the anointing has left the work?
Trust me in this I’m not saying that God is in every work that you’re doing but I am saying this you don’t need the Holy Spirit to do the easy stuff.
Press forward as a Christian creative and create something that brings him glory.

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Is Failure a Reflection of Who You Are?

Is Failure a Reflection of Who You Are?

This week, the blog lost its first subscriber.

If I’m going to be honest, that’s disappointing, especially since it hasn’t been in existence that very long.
When I checked in on the subscriber list and I saw that lonely number one next to the amount of unsubscribers, it made me feel a certain kind of way.

It was tapping into the people pleaser in me, the insecure me, and the version of me that wants to create something that every person that engages with it will passionately love.
The reality is, with every single creation, there’s essentially a handful of different responses. There’s variations of yes, variations of no. And then variations of wow. And of course, we’re going for the wows. But what happens when you get the no’s?
It definitely goes in my box that seems to continually be growing called failures. And here’s the truth that I think we all need to hold on to today.
Failures that remain in your box can be lessons that you learn from. You can choose to pick up the box and open it and educate yourself with its contents in the same way that people would use a textbook.
However, if failure becomes a coat or a badge of sorts, it becomes something that you walk around with, that you carry as a part of who you are. And that is an unhealthy place.
Failure should never be received as a scarlet letter or a personal identifier, but simply an event. And the beauty is we can learn from events. We can grow from events. We can’t learn and grow from parts of who we are.

 

So it’s important that we keep failure in an educational box and not in that wonderful little transparent part of our wallet that holds the ID. Failure is not who we are.

Don’t do the work of the enemy and receive failure as an internal reality. It is through internalizing failure that we end up doing the worst service of all to ourselves: Extinguishing hope.
Christ-centered creatives, we must recognize our hope is in Christ. That any failures are not personal, are not permanent, and are not pervasive. And if each of those are not true, failure is something that we can learn and recover from.

But the moment it becomes personal, we believe the failure to be who we are. The moment it becomes permanent, we believe this failure to be something that we can never change. And the moment it becomes pervasive. We believe that every aspect of our reality is a failure.

So no matter if the failure you’ve experienced is losing a subscriber, finding someone giving you a “no” to your creation, losing a huge client in your business, or finding that your business needs to close…

Remember this, it’s not personal. It doesn’t reflect on who you are at your core.
It’s not permanent. This is something that there is hope for change. Things that have ended can be reborn. You can grow beyond this.
And it’s not pervasive. This is verifiably a singular event.

As you continue to learn and grow, you can be sure that there will be other places where you fail. But don’t ever receive the lie that you are a failure.
And hey, an appropriate response to this could be to subscribe to the blog LOL. Sorry, I couldn’t help it with the shameless plug.

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