Podcasting for Bloggers: Introduction and Choosing a Microphone

Are you looking for a fun way to change up the same old routine of posting blog entry after blog entry? Do you feel that some of your website’s content could improve if only you could just tell people what you were trying to say? If you are looking to build your audience and maybe even get some sponsorship partners, then podcasting could be a great outlet for you and your blog. Don’t be intimidated—podcasting is easy and does not require a hoard of expensive equipment!

Introduction to Podcasting

So, what is a podcast? A podcast is essentially a radio show, usually a talk show, hosted by one or more people that listeners can subscribe and listen to on a number of devices. You do not have to have an iPod to listen to a podcast; in fact, you don’t even have to have an mp3 player! You can listen to a podcast on your computer by streaming the show online, or by downloading and listening at your leisure. Podcasts range from short snippets under 10 minutes long, to shows of an hour or more about specific topics. You can use your podcast as a fun and casual way to get to know your audience, or just to offer quick topic discussions or instructions; basically, a podcast is whatever you want it to be! You only need to browse the iTunes store to find a plethora of examples. Here are some podcasts I recommend:

 

·       Nerd Novice (Gotta plug my own!)

·       Joy the Baker Podcast

·       Stuff You Missed in History Class

·       Slumber Party with Alie & Georgia (Explicit)

·       The Music Biz Workshop Podcast

·       Nerdist Podcast

 

I’m sure that as a blogger, you know that your website traffic is not always guaranteed. Making your blog always seem fresh is a constant challenge, especially when your blog is a source of income for you.

 

As an audio engineer, I know that to make a living, I need to invest in a lot of work opportunities. A few years ago, becoming an entrepreneur was one of my opportunities. Throughout that ever-evolving journey, I have learned that it is necessary put together a career out of many pieces and parts. For you, the blogger, adding a podcast to your website could be just the part you need.


You CAN start a podcast, plain and simple. Adding a variety of media to your website or blog is a successful way to engage your audience, and maybe even attract a new crowd. Podcasts have the potential for sponsorships, they can be added to iTunes or RSS feeds, and they can be promoted outside of your blog. Plus, with hosting websites like Wordpress, Blogger, or Squarespace, widgets and embedded audio players are easy to add to your regular posts. On top of that, with a podcast you can now be a member of even more social media tools like SoundCloud and last.fm.

What You Need to Start Podcasting Now

In this article, I will discuss choosing a microphone and other equipment that you will need to kickstart the podcasting process. In the future, other articles will discuss and cover the following topics:

 

·       Free software programs and how to use them

·       The basics of recording audio

·       The basics of editing audio

·       Adding an introduction or ending theme to your podcast

·       Recording a podcast or video chat via Skype or Google+ Hangouts

·       Publishing your podcast

 

Before you even get to talking into a microphone, you first need… a microphone. An audio engineer or a salesperson might tell you that you need a hardware audio interface, microphone preamp, XLR cables, condenser microphone, and a software program like the industry standard ProTools. That’s all very useful, but I hate to inform you that you just spent about the same amount of money as a used vehicle is worth. Let’s simplify this a little.

If you are new to podcasting, I recommend finding a decent yet inexpensive USB microphone. A USB microphone is a microphone that connects directly to your computer via a standard USB cable, just like your phone or mp3 player.

Typical microphones use special audio cables known as XLR cables; these are important for audio usage because they are grounded, have clean signals, and can be used for all sorts of applications. There are a few negative reasons for using an XLR microphone in your case. The first, namely, is that you cannot simply plug in an XLR to your computer; you would first need an audio interface. Made to connect analog audio (a microphone) to a digital workstation (your computer), an audio interface is a piece of hardware that is as necessary as oxygen to an engineer. However,

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