The SNO Report: Starting A Podcast, Part 2: Time To Do It

Last week, in Part 1 of this series, we coached you through everything to setup a podcast, from generating an idea to picking an eventual home for it and an audio editing program.

Now is the best part. Now, it’s time to actually do it.

Producing your content involves selecting theme music, determining a general structure for each episode and, finally, being an interviewer. This is our advice:

Where do I get music legally?

Podcast music is never music you hear on the radio. It’s instrumental, or tones, but you can get in trouble for stealing Kenny G’s music, so you’ll need to find music labeled for free-use.

Google it. There are several free-use music sites online, some that are totally free and some that you’ll actually end up paying for.

The one we use is the YouTube Free Music Library. It’s free and has a huge library of music and sound effects to download.

The best part? They’re labeled by both genre and vibe. For example, “Curb Stomp,” by Underbelly, is labeled as “Hip Hop/Rap” but also, “Dark” — naturally.

How funny is that?

To use the music in your podcast, download the MP3 file and import it into your audio editor (like Audacity) when you’re editing each episode. Or Anchor, for example, has its own library for you to use, if you’re using its web-based editor instead of a program on your computer.

How should it be structured?

The best advice for this is to model it after podcasts you like and make a list of the things you like about each one.

  • How is music used? When does the music come in?

  • How does each episode begin? How does it end?

  • How long is each episode?

When we talk about the structure, or an outline, we’re specifically thinking about those three things listed above.

  • Length is important because it can intimidate people. Consider this: If you’re looking for a new podcast to try for the first time, are you more likely to click on the one with its first episode 15 or 90 minutes long?
  • Podcast episodes often include a consistently-structured greeting to welcome listeners and tease what’s to come and a not-so-strictly defined farewell that may include a call to action of some kind, like asking people to subscribe on iTunes.

  • Music comes into a podcast at a variety of different points around the greeting and farewell. It may be the first thing you hear. It may create a natural break between the introduction and interview. It may play quietly underneath the entire episode. Again, consider the podcasts you listen to and mimic them.

What about interviewing tips?

Doing an interview for a podcast is not unlike any other type of interview. So, if you’ve done a few in any arena, you know a little about how to handle yourself.

The difference, perhaps, is that with a podcast interview, you’re probably pretty concerned about the length vs. an interview for a printed article. This is because interviewees don’t expect you to use every single one of their quotes in an article. But for a podcast, they probably expect to be heard in full — it’ll sound better if they are, too.

Keep yourself reasonably within the expected length of your episode by outlining everything.

  • Script the intro and outro you’ll record for each episode. Reading from such a script makes you less likely to ramble on walking in circles around yourself

  • Prepare and write down interview questions ahead of time. Anticipate their answers in order to script a few likely follow-ups. This will give you a direction and something to fall back to should you lose track of the conversation.

  • Write those questions in a conversational way, rather than like questionnaire you’d ask someone to fill out. That way, if you need to, you can read from your list and still have the interview sounding natural and unscripted.

Depending on your experience level and the person you’re interviewing, you may feel more or less obliged to script it all. That’s fine.

All of this advice goes with the way we’ve tried to create SNOcast. Listen to some of our episodes to hear it all in action.

Also, shop our new merchandise store for new SNO swag!