On June 15th, 2023 I nervously clicked on the Publish button on my Podcast hosting site of choice. It was a very hot Thursday morning, and I was sitting at my brother’s dining table in his apartment in Antwerp, Belgium. I was visiting for the summer, taking a break from my usual Caribbean scenery to visit family and explore a bit of Europe.
Months earlier, in January, I wrote in bold letters the words “Start a Podcast” on my list of dreams to accomplish in 2023. Little did I know that it would become one of the most enriching and fulfilling experiences of my life. The idea had been floating around in my mind for quite some time, but fear and self-doubt always seemed to hold me back. This year was going to see a different version of me and despite the fear and constant self-sabotaging in my head, I pushed through.
The concept of my podcast, Paradise Perspectives, had been brewing inside me for years. I knew how important authentic experiences are to travelers nowadays and I wanted to shine the spotlight on the locals of the different Caribbean islands for a change and give them a platform to speak. After all, nobody can promote the Caribbean to a visitor like a local person can. As a Caribbean content creator that was often ignored by tourist offices and destination PR companies, I have been preaching this for years. I wanted to capture the unique perspectives of those who actually live where most people vacation, and share them with the world. So, armed with a microphone and a strong desire to make a difference, I embarked on this new adventure, and this is how I did it.
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Creating the podcast wasn’t without its challenges. From watching countless Youtube videos learning the technical aspects of recording and editing to finding the right hosting site and coming up with engaging content, I spent every waking hour on the details of podcasting. Although I’m not a total podcasting marvel just yet, I do want to share with you how I did it, and hopefully get you to confidently step into the world of podcasting, if this has been your aspiration too.
Step 1: Determine Your Podcast’s Purpose and Passion
Your podcast is your stage, and your passion is the spotlight. Things like topics, your niche, stories you want to tell, and your dream audience are important things to know at this early stage.
Don’t start a podcast just to start a podcast or because you want to be in with a trend. By the way, podcasting has been around for years before it became a thing, and the numbers of so-called podfades are staggering right now. Podfading is when a show gradually stops releasing new episodes, and eventually just falls off the map altogether. Basically, it’s when people give up on their podcast and stop coming up with new content. I get it, it’s a lot of work to come up with new content regularly and podcasting is so time consuming, especially if, like me, you are doing it all by yourself without the help of a team.
Step 2: Grab Your Podcasting Tools
Now that you have decided on a topic, name and you’ve made a list of episodes that you would like to record, it’s time to buy your GEAR!
This is the exciting part, at least it was for me. I had to get my hands on the perfect headphones, the perfect microphone, and the perfect accessories but My GAAWD, the prices! Here’s the good news though, you can totally record your first podcast with just your phone and a pair of headphones. I know a few super popular podcasters who started this way and who are still recording some episodes from their closets with just the bare minimum. All you need is the right software, your phone, and a quiet room in your house.
I wanted to keep it pro without breaking the bank. So this is what I got on Amazon:
- Audio-Technica Headphones
- The Blue Yeti Microphone
- The Samson Meteor Microphone for when I have to record on the road
- Win Up Manual Standing Desk because I like to be standing when recording and I always wanted one. I absolutely love this desk.
The above ended up costing me under $400, which was still below the budget I had for the gear.
Step 3: Record Your Podcast
Next was the recording. If you have a Mac you can use Garage Band for free to record your episodes but since most of my guests are not on St. Maarten, where I currently reside, I needed a software that was easy to use and that I could record video as well as just audio remotely. I personally did not want to record with Zoom but it is totally possible, and the preferred choice for many. After much research I decided to go with Riverside.fm‘s standard subscription which at the time of typing up this blog post was at $15 per month, but I am currently thinking of upgrading to the $24 monthly subscription, so I can get more recording hours. During my research I found that Riverside is not only a tad more affrodable than others like Streamyard, but I love how easy it is to use. It offers studio quality audio, 4K video and a reliable connection which is so important when you live on an island. Riverside also has screen sharing, live audience call-in, social live streaming, it repurposes content automatically and it has a handy app that makes it easy to record on my phone when I’m traveling.
Use my link to get yourself started with Riverside.fm today.
Step 4: Edit and Enhance Your Audio
Next, you’ll need to edit your recordings. There a several editing softwares out there, but after doing my due diligence, I chose Audacity. Even though I am still learning how to edit like a pro with it, I must say I love the simplicity of Audacity, and better yet, it’s free. You can also edit in Garageband, the free Apple app.
Step 5: Host Your Podcast
Last but not least you need a hosting site for your podcast. Just like you need a host for your website you need one for your podcast too. A hosting platform hosts and stores the media files for your show. My intense research led me to Buzzsprout. They are definitely one of the most popular ones out there. I guess you need to do your own comparison online and see which one suits your needs the best, but I just love how simple Buzzsprout is to use and it now has AI integrated that can help with show descriptions. It also makes it super simple to submit your podcast on podcast directories like Apple Podcast, Spotify, Amazon Music, and others. Use this link to get a $20 credit when you upgrade to any plan.
Last words from a Podcast Newbie
I listened to many podcasts myself before I started. It helped me choose not only the tone but also the type of podcast I wanted to do, whether it was solo, interviews, or a combination of both. Podcast greats like Pat Flynn, Cathy Heller, and others were instrumental in getting me started. I binge listened to their podcast and learned so much along the way.
Now that I am a podcaster myself I can advise you to organize your thoughts and write down episode ideas and people you want to have on your show. Plan ahead so you don’t run out of ideas and topics. Keep your audience in mind. What will they learn? How can you entertain or inspire them?
Record several episodes before you actually publish them. Believe me, this was the best advice I ever got. Make sure you have at least 4 to 5 episodes already recorded before you start so that once your podcast is up, you don’t need to scamper around for new content. It buys you time. Before you start, make sure the artwork is ready, and record a trailer. Let the trailer run for a few weeks so you can start building an audience way before your first episode.
And last but not least: BE YOURSELF! Don’t worry about perfection. You can always edit the rough edges anyway.
Remember, this guide is based on my personal experience, and podcasting is all about having fun while sharing your voice. So, dive in, be yourself, and watch your podcast and audience flourish. Good luck, fellow podcaster! 🎙️🎧