Out of the many ways that webcartoonists can help brand themselves and build their community, podcasting may be one of the most powerful — and most overlooked — method. If you decide to launch a podcast, here’s a few things you’ll want to know going in.
Invest in a good microphone. This doesn’t have to be a Rode Podcaster — although they’re very nice and produce a very high-quality recording. Logitech makes an excellent Desktop Microphone. In case you haven’t been microphone shopping, be aware that some microphones use a USB connection while others use the standard microphone jack. Make sure you get the one that fits your needs.
I’m not a fan of the headphone microphones because the microphone tends to pick up some of the noise from the ear pieces — and that could cause an echo — especially if you’re building the recording from several different microphones.
Recording several voices
If you’re recording several voices, you may want to have each person record his or her own microphone and then combine the individual tracks in an application such as Garage Band (which comes pre-loaded on Mac computers). Although I’m very happy with Audio Hijack Pro, you can also use good, old QuickTime to do the job.
Here’s a great trick. Before you start recording, have everyone clap at the same time. Do a countdown and instruct everyone to do a single handclap at the end of the countdown.
3… 2… 1… *clap*
When you’re done recording, gather up everyone’s individual mp3 file and drag each sound file into its own track on Garage Band. Line up all of the claps. You’ll be able to see it on the graph of each track — a sharp spike on the clap.
Once all of the claps are lined up, all of the tracks are in sync. Chop off the beginnings of all of the tracks to remove everything up to your introduction, and your podcast will sound pro-quality great.
Once you’re done with any additional editing (and, if you’re interested, I can do a follow-up post on this topic), export the podcast as one, whole sound file (preferably an mp3).
Here’s where things get ticklish. WordPress insists that they provide you with everything you need to publish a podcast. And they’re technically right. If you upload your mp3 file and then place the URL of that file into a blog post, WordPress automatically wraps that in an mp3 player that can be accessed from your site, and you’ve officially “published” your podcast.
But a podcast isn’t really published until it’s on iTunes, is it? That’s where all the action is. And that’s where out-of-the-box WordPress falls short.
Sure, the instructions tell you that it’s as simple as submitting the RSS feed for the podcast to iTunes, but the minute you do that, iTunes is going to deny your podcast submission due to the fact that is doesn’t have a cover-art image.
And adding that header image — the “logo” for your podcast — to an RSS feed required a level of coding knowledge that, frankly, I didn’t have.
I went through about four promising WordPress plug-ins before I finally found Blubrry. Blubrry not only helps you format your sound files, but it also facilitates submitting your podcast to iTunes. I worked on this for a solid week, figuratively banging my head against a wall. Within an hour of installing Blubryy, I had successfully submitted my podcast to iTunes. within 24 hours, my podcast was appearing on the iTunes directory.
It also has an impressive array of stat-gathering tools for your podcast.