My co-writer Ariadne and I were planning some AAPI heritage month content to promote a song we wrote. Our experience as Asian Americans has often felt unique but the more we talked, the more we found how common these were! What started as a brainstorming session turned into several hours of discussion until finally we thought… What if we started a podcast?
This was April 27th and we wanted to have the first episode out by May 1. Here’s how we did it, and our setup.
Most of these, you can do in a single day. I set up most of the non-audio stuff in a matter of hours. The only reason the title says 3 days is because most of us have a life outside the podcast and some things like the RSS feed might take time. But if you already know all these tools, you could do it in one day easy.
Disclaimer: A few of the links are affiliate links and would earn me a small commission at no cost to you. It’s like asking someone else to tip me for helping you create a kickass podcast. Please click them if you’d like to support this blog 🙂
ADMIN WORK: INTERVIEW SCHEDULING, PODCAST MANAGEMENT
Set up a chrome profile
Create a Gmail for your podcast and set up a chrome profile. Use this profile when signing up for all the other stuff, so that your co-hosts/team can use the same profile and have access to all the necessary credentials to do what they need to do.
Set up your social media profiles
We use the free version of Calendly to book our guests. This can integrate with your own calendar so that guests can’t book conflicting times. You do not need 3 emails back-and-forth to figure out a good time to do your interview!
There are many different email software solutions out there. We use a very simple, free chrome extension for email templates. We have email templates for outreach, guest booking, thanking our guests, post episode emails etc. We do customize them to some extent, but templates save us a lot of time.
Be sure to create an email signature! It’s a great place to put a bunch of links. See mine below.
Managing episodes, guests, assets using a database
I am a HUGE fan of using great tools to improve my workflow and one of my all-time favorites is Airtable. Here’s how I set it up for our podcast:
- Guests fill out an intake form.
- This feeds directly into my guest table, with all the info I need for their episode, including social media links, photos, bio, etc. When it’s time to put show notes together, everything is easily accessible.
- For each guest, we come up with questions we want to cover, and have these at the ready during the interview.
- We also manage seasons, episodes, and which guests go with which episode, release dates, episode statuses etc.
Comment below or on my IG post if you’d like a more detailed blog on using the advanced features, or if you’d like more detailed posts on how I’ve set up my base!
We use Anchor.fm because:
- It’s free.
- It integrates with Spotify.
- It can auto-generate a blog post in WordPress based on your show notes.
- It can connect to other podcast distribution channels such as iTunes, TuneIn, Stitch and pretty much anything else you can think of. You’ll get an RSS feed that you just use to sign up for the other ones.
You might also like these features:
- If you’re not very good at editing in a DAW, there’s tools to help you create sections and transitions on Anchor, along with royalty free music to add to your show.
- It has monetization built in. You can have subscriptions (a bit like patreon), listener donations, and affiliate commissions from host-read ads.
Note for musicians: unlike a music release, podcast releases can go live pretty much instantly and you can easily update the artwork, show notes and audio any time.
We sometimes hate it because:
- The show notes interface is buggy and sometimes copy/paste doesn’t work and we have to keep refreshing until it decides it wants to work.
We record our interviews over Zoom with the following settings.
Please note that settings on your Zoom app and settings on the website are independent of each other. So if you do not select the option to record separate audio both on the app and the website, one of them might only have one file with all participants’ audio merged in. This sucks for editing, trust me.
For cloud recordings
Go to Zoom‘s website and log in.
Go to Personal > Settings > Recording > Cloud recording
Check “Record a separate audio file for each participant”
For local recordings
Open your Zoom app and log in.
Go to Settings > Recording
Check “Record a separate audio file for each participant”
RECORDING YOUR GUEST
Guest microphone & SETUP For musicians/audio people
If your guest is a musician who knows their way around their audio setup, have them use their preferred setup. If their room is not treated, I strongly recommend a dynamic mic rather than a condenser, unless they have an eyeball foam or equivalent to minimize noise and reflection pickup.
Watch that DAW input monitoring
Please make sure the guest closes all open DAW sessions before the call, as these will cause echoes if input monitoring is on.
Guest microphone & SETUP For everyone else
If you’re worried about your guest’s connection being flaky, and they are comfortable doing it, I got a great tip from The Takeback Podcast for you!
Have them record their side of the conversation as a voice memo, and send it to you after the call. It’s a good backup to have.
If they’re not tech-savvy and you can tell that would stress them out, don’t bother and hope to the internet gods that things go well. You can always ask everyone to turn off video if you’re seeing glitches often.
Background noise suppression
I recommend that my guests have the following settings in their Zoom app:
Settings > Audio > Suppress background noise > Auto
Headphones VS No headphones
I strongly recommend they use headphones (preferably not bluetooth ones).
However, if they cannot find headphones, ask them do turn echo cancellation on:
Settings > Audio > Music and Professional Audio > Show in-meeting option to enable “Original Sound” > Echo cancellation
Computer and phone mics are crappy over zoom. But if that’s all you have, it will do. Just please try to use headphones. Otherwise you will have feedback and other issues.
If possible, do not have your mic resting on the same surface as where your hands/laptop are going to be. Watch out for noises like keyboard typing, drinking/unpleasant mouth noises, moving things on your table (rumbling sound on the recording), or computer fan noises. You can always edit those later, but I can tell you now it’s a giant pain in the *ss.
- When you’re laughing, pull back a little.
- Gotta type something to your co-host in the chat? Mute your mic first.
- Need a drink? Mute first.
- Gardener using his leaf blower outside your window? Mute your mic.
- If your connection is unstable, turn off video.
- I repeat. WEAR HEADPHONES.
If you want to record a backup, again, you could use a voice memo.
If you’re more savvy, you could record straight into your DAW. Just be sure to have input monitoring off.
Personally, I just use the Zoom recording, but I’m using an SM7-B mic through a CloudLifter & UAD Apollo interface. I’ve got the gain set so that I’m at a good volume, not peaking, not too soft. With this setup, I don’t actually have to edit my voice much.
And finally, the most important Zoom recording tip:
REMEMBER TO PRESS RECORD.
I cannot stress this enough. You can even set zoom to automatically start recording as soon as the call starts, if you’re worried about forgetting.
Maybe because of my background in software, I feel strongly about user-centric design in everything. The podcast should be designed to optimize the listener experience, not your experience as host. I’m particularly picky about podcast editing because so many podcasts are not edited enough, to the point where it comes off as self indulgent chitchat about things that aren’t relevant to the listener. Don’t be that guy.
I’ve created a template for my editing purposes. You should create one for your show as well but if you’d like my template, send me a tip and I’ll be happy to give you my logic template 🙂
Here’s how I have my template set up. I have three summing track stacks.
I have a summing track stack called “Raw files“.
I import the original audio files for each speaker on the respective tracks there:
- Guest – some EQ/de-esser/compression plugins on, which I have to adjust week-to-week depending on the guest.
- Sherry – some EQ/compression plugins on – don’t need to adjust this one much, since I always use the same setup. This track is empty in the template.
- Ari – some EQ/compression plugins on. This track is empty in the template.
I have a second summing track stack called “Music” that’s for music only:
- Intro music played under dialog (low level, side-chained dynamic EQ)
- Interstitial and outro music (full loudness)
- Guest music (full loudness). This track is empty in the template.
And finally a third summing track stack called “Episode segments” that contains the following:
- Intro (pre-recorded, we use the same one every week)
- Segments done by Ari. This track is empty in the template.
- Segments done by Sherry. This track is empty in the template.
- Edited guest interview. This track is empty in the template.
HOW I USE THE TEMPLATE IN MY EDITING PROCESS
Every week, I do this
- Mute the “Episode segments” and “Music” track stacks. Unmute “Raw files” stack.
- Import original audio files for each speaker into the respective empty tracks in the “Raw files” stack, and do the audio cleanup there, and export the combined audio.
- Then I edit the interview in my editing software and export the edited guest interview.
- Unmute the “Episode segments” and “Music” track stacks. Mute “Raw files” stack.
- I add Ari’s and my solo segments to their respective tracks in “Episode segments“.
- Usually some cleanup is involved there too, which is why we’re each on a separate track.
- I import the edited interview in its empty track in “Episode segments“.
- Because I already have the intro, outro and music transitions in the template, it’s pretty quick to just align everything.
- If there’s a guest music track, I’ll add that as well.
- Then I do volume leveling of all segments, to make sure the listener would jump or have to crank the volume at any given time.
- I make sure to check every transition and make sure it’s smooth.
- Final listen through, then export we go!
But wait, you’re not done. Show notes!
You’re limited to 4000 characters, so keep that in mind.
Ideas of what to include in your notes:
- Guest bio
- Guest links
- Episode summary
- Links to anything mentioned in the show that listeners may want to look into.
- Links to your socials
PUBLISHING YOUR EPISODE
Once you have the final exported episode, you can upload to Anchor, write your show notes and either schedule it for publishing or publish it right away!
Note: this will only publish to Anchor and Spotify. To make it available on other platforms, you have to do two things.
- Generate the RSS feed for your podcast
- Log into each of the channels listed and paste in that RSS feed. Yes, that requires you to create an account for each and every one of these. It is tedious, but at least you only have to do it once…
- Once your podcast feed has successfully been added to that particular platform, you have to get the link to your podcast from that platform, and paste it here, under Anchor’s “Podcast Availability” if you want it to show on your Anchor page. Again, that’s tedious but only has to be done once.
- If there’s a podcast app that still doesn’t have your podcast, you can usually go to their website and find out how to add your RSS feed there.
SHARING YOUR EPISODE
AUTO-GENERATED BLOG POST
Once you publish, you’ll see this prompt from Anchor.
Simply click the button to create a wordpress blog post. The first time, you’ll have to set up your wordpress, choose a theme etc. But for subsequent episodes, all you gotta do is click “Convert to blog post”.
The auto-generated blog already has a link to Spotify, as well as a playable audio right there. This is very convenient for users who aren’t really into podcasts and might just want to check out an episode but don’t want to bother creating an account anywhere.
Show notes are automatically copied, including links!
You can customize the post as follows.
- Set the feature image. I typically use the main photo with the guest from our template.
- Add/edit text as necessary.
- Add categories and tags.
- Publish! Easy peasy.
SOCIAL MEDIA ASSETS
I’ve used this tool to create a podcast social media template and color palette. Every episode, my co-host simply has to choose one of the templates, and customize it for the episode’s content.
Share assets with the guest
We share our social media assets for the episode with the guest, so that they can also post it on their socials.
Once the episode is out, be sure to send a link to your guest, tag them on socials, etc.
If you have any podcasting tips for me, let me know in the comments.
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PS: If you’d like to hire me to edit your podcast, you can do so on Airgigs.