Because we’re crazy, we literally jumped into this podcast thing without really learning too much about the mechanics of it. I’m fairly tech savvy and we were game to do some research and learn as we go, so how hard could it be…right?!
Famous last words…
First things first, go shopping!
Well, sort of. We purchased a mic and pop filter very early on. We scored a great deal on Cyber Monday and went for it. Needless to say, it was a few more weeks before we got everything else organized to begin. (We scored a second Blue Yeti from a local yard sale, so keep your eyes peeled!)
If you already have a computer and a pair of cheap (comfortable!) headphones, then you should be all set. We use Macs, so all instructions from hereon in will be somewhat platform specific (Sorry PC users!). I’ll try to include some useful links for those in the PC world but I won’t be able to tell you much from personal experience.
Things we don’t have but are thinking about…
The Tools & Software
Okay, so we’re cheap. Or more to the point, we’re just starting out and don’t want to sink a ton of money into something until we understand it more thoroughly. We like to put money into the right places, so our goal is to assess each element of the process and decide where our dollars are most effectively spent. Despite my stunningly intelligent strategy, my family still calls me cheap.
That said…here are some of our favorite (FREE) tools and software choices…
We use Trello to run our show, we have a board for our ideas, tasks, important information, strategies, wishlists and so on. Basically, anything we dream up goes here until it gets completed. Our editing board is how we manage the actual day-to-day workflow of editing and producing a podcast. Each stage of production is found here, we have various checklists and automations that help us out until an episode is complete and posted for
Google Sheets are fine but Airtable gives you so much more flexibility. We use this for planning future episodes. You can create really nifty spreadsheets which can then be sent out to your guests as a form. Then, we use Zapier to import that information into Trello once they are booked as guests. Automagic!
Acuity Scheduling / Calendly
Both of these solutions are great for allowing guests to book recording sessions. They have pretty minor differences so just go with the one you find the easiest to use. We can tailor our availability (it’s limited because…six kids) and allow guests to book without any back and forth emailing. With Acuity, you can also collect
some basic contact information or allow guests to complete a form.
Garageband (not strictly free, you need a Mac)
Since we both have Macs, this has been the default editing tool we’re using. It’s a little intimidating at first (even for a techie like me) but once I figured it out, I can fly through editing. That said, we are not always editing from our home computers so Kate has been experimenting with Audacity. We’ll keep you posted…
We started out recording with Skype, but it’s a fairly complex process (as outlined below). For our second season, we switched to Zencastr (and it’s FREE). It’s extremely easy to send invitations to guests, you get instant gratification seeing when they join, AND you can record more than two people with absolute ease. Each person can log-in using the link and off you go. There’s also a chat function in case anyone needs to comment or
communicate during a conversation. Pretty nifty.
Ever wonder how people post those nifty graphics with sound waves running across them? Well, here’s the secret weapon. You can post up to 10 minutes of audio along with a static image and customize the sound waves graphic that will coincide with your audio. We don’t use this for every episode (it’s a little time consuming pulling just the right audio clip, etc.) but it’s pretty cool We haven’t gotten a lot of traction with it yet so we’ll experiment
more in time.
We are the farthest thing from professional audio editors…so we need help and lots of it. Auphonic allows us to correct some of our audio flubs and at least create a somewhat uniform volume across our episodes. This is the last step before we post the episode for release.
If you haven’t discovered Canva yet, stop what you’re doing right now and go check it out. This makes our lives immeasurably easier when creating graphics and content to post to social media. Seriously, it’s amazing. Rumor has it that there is a social media scheduling took coming in the not so distant future for Canva Work users…
Social Media scheduling is extraordinarily time consuming, as you know! We attempt to make this a bit easier using MissingLettr. It’s pretty intuitive and pulls out links and create graphics for you to post on social media channels. It also schedules them out over the next year and posts them automatically for you. Talk about hands off…
I know that’s a lot to absorb, so hopefully you’ll see the method to my madness down below in the next section
So the hard truth is you have to pay for SOME things. One thing we did pay for right away was our website domain name, website hosting and podcast hosting. Here’s how that looks…
One of the best ways to secure your domain. The also offer SSL, hosting, and more. Customer support has always been amazing and they seem to have some of the best deals in town. I prefer to keep my hosting and registrars separate for some reason, so I tend not to use the same company for all services.
We’ve tried a few hosts in past projects, but this one has been the best thus far. They are extremely responsive and knowledgeable. Not always the cheapest but you get what you pay for. Hosting is one thing I don’t want to worry about!
I’m not going to lie, their user interface didn’t make me too excited. It feels a bit clunky but so far we have no complaints. We don’t use their publish to WordPress feature because we tend to really customize our posts but we should probably think more about that. The RSS feed has worked flawlessly, posting to multiple platforms is a breeze and so far we have had zero trouble with them.
Elegant Themes / Divi / Extra
Purchasing a premium theme is not strictly necessary. You can definitely manage with many of the free WordPress themes if necessary. We scored a good deal on Divi and took the plunge. We love it’s look and feel as well as the back end tools for updating and editing your site.
Option 1: Using Skype and Garageband
Ok so here’s our setup: We use Garageband, Skype, Soundflower and Linein using a Blue Yeti mic. You can download Soundflower and Linein for free, just do some good ol’ fasion googling. For Soundflower, you just have to install this once and it runs in the background when you adjust your settings to use it. Linein will need to be saved somewhere handy and then just open it up when you’re getting ready to record.
When you’re ready to record here are the adjustments to settings I make.
1. Mac System Preferences – Audio tab > audio out – headphones (so you don’t get feedback, I just use my apple earbuds), audio in – Soundflower (64 Ch).
2. Skype – Audio settings > Mic – Yeti (or whatever you use), Speakers – Soundflower (64 Ch).
3. LineIn > input – Yeti (or whatever mic you use), output – Soundflower (64 Ch). Then click the output advanced, input should all be default. output left is 3 and right is 4.
4. You should set up a new project using the audio template or just use a blank template.
a. Either way, you’ll want to delete/add tracks until you have two and name one Skype or guest, and one host.
b. Make sure you can see the track smart controls (button near the top left that looks like a dial with dots around it).
c. In the recording settings set the host input to 3 – Soundflower (64 Ch), and set the Skype/guest to 1 – Soundflower (64 Ch).
d. Next, change your Garageband Audio tab > Audio out – system setting, audio in – Soundflower (64 Ch).
You can test all this using a Skype test call, so you can be sure it’s working. Let me know if you have questions! It’s a little annoying to figure out because each setting has to be perfect. I often have to go back and run through my list a few times to make sure I got everything correct. Inevitably, I forget one small thing and then it won’t work. But once you have it set up, you’re ready to go!
PS: Don’t forget to put your system settings (at the very least) back to normal or you’ll find yourself trying to FaceTime and no one can hear you. 😉
Option 2: Using Zencastr
Around the time of our second season, we stumbled across Zencastr. This program is pretty freaking amazing and makes interviewing multiple guests or having multiple hosts a breeze.
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