2020 is a big election year. The Democratic presidential primaries have just kicked off this month. Important local and state elections are fast approaching. The general election between President Donald Trump and the Democratic nominee is just around the corner.
All of which makes right now the perfect time to start your political podcast. Seriously. Just do it.
One of the biggest hurdles in starting a podcast is just putting together that first episode. It’s easy to procrastinate and put it off, but once you launch, I promise you it’ll become second nature.
To help kick off your inaugural show, here are some tips, tricks, and suggestions on how to get started.
In order to record your podcast, you should get a decent mic. The is a favorite for those just starting out. It’s a simple to use USB-based mic, meaning you just plug it into your computer and record. Another widely recommended mic similar to the Blue Yeti is the .
If you’re thinking of recording on the road or just don’t want to depend on a computer for audio recording, then consider the line of portable recorders. The Zoom H1 is an affordable solution to start with, too. But if you really want to splurge, the is a complete podcast studio solution that many podcasters swear by.
Once you record your first episode, you’ll want to perfect it by cutting out any mistakes and exporting a final product. is a great free software available for every major operating system. It’s easy to use while still providing everything you need to make professional edits and audio adjustments. If you’re a Mac user, download the free application as well to easily add title, description, and chapter metadata to your podcast MP3.
Now that your first episode is done, you need to pick a podcast hosting provider. You’ll have to do some research to determine which one provides the terms, features, and interface that works best for your podcasting needs. is a good choice and a leader in the industry. , a newer company with a more modern user interface, is another great option. There’s also Anchor from Spotify, a free podcast hosting platform that has some upsides (it’s free), as well as downsides (your podcast appears under the Anchor banner on services like iTunes instead of under your own name.)
However, one thing I do feel strongly about in this space: I tend to prefer hosting providers that base plans on hosting space and not bandwidth. You can control how big your audio files are, but you can’t control the size of your audience. I tend to avoid podcast hosting providers that limit plans by the number of episode downloads.
If you’d like to have on remote guests, there’s a number of different cloud-based services to choose from, but I prefer Skype. It’s an extremely stable platform and the audio quality is really good. If you’re on Mac, I recommend using Ecamm’s Call Recorder for Skype, which gives you many helpful recording options, including splitting each side of the call into separate tracks.
With the production aspect taken care of, it’s time to focus on spreading the word about your brand new podcast.
You want to go to where the audience is, so make sure your new podcast is available on all the major podcasting platforms. Apple Podcasts / iTunes store, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify — these are all hugely popular services and where most podcast listeners subscribe to their shows. Some hosting providers will take care of listing your podcast and walk you through the process, others don’t. Regardless, be sure your podcast is discoverable on those platforms.
And don’t be shy when spreading the word about your podcast, either. Take advantage of your social media platforms to let people know about the show! Also be sure to remind your listeners to subscribe to the podcast and to leave reviews on the podcasting service they use.
While creating podcasts is a fairly universal practice, there are some category-specific tricks to sharing your show. For example, a common recommendation is to create multiple episodes in advance before releasing your first podcast. If you’re creating evergreen political content, this is still a good idea!
But, if your political podcast is focused on current events and what’s going on in the news, this may not be possible. That’s okay! Perhaps you can create an evergreen first episode that explains the podcast and introduces you to your potential audience.
The most important thing is to make sure your friends, family, and followers download and subscribe to those first episodes. On services like iTunes, the algorithm actually ranks new podcasts with less downloads higher on the charts than an established podcast with the same number (or even more) downloads. It would be a big help to your podcast’s success if it could hit those charts early on.
Another reason some podcasters set up a library of content is to make sure they’re on a consistent release schedule. Listeners like to know when the should expect the latest episode of your show. Again, with a politics podcast, there might be times when you decide to do a show earlier or later than your normal release date based on the news cycle. Just make sure your audience knows and keep the episodes flowing on a regular schedule.
Make sure to set up your “studio” in a well-lit area of your home or purchase some cheap lighting — a ring light will do — when you film your podcast. Then, upload your video of the session to YouTube when your podcast episode is ready to release and you’ll have double the content to share with little-to-no extra creation time! You can even livestream your session using software like , which is free, or the easy-to-use for Mac.
One of the great things about hosting a news and politics show is the vast array of guests you can have on your show to interview. Reporters, politicians, candidates running for office, activists — anyone with a strong political opinion usually loves to talk about it.
Reach out to your favorite podcasters and YouTubers, too. Ask about doing a guest swap so you can appear on their show. Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to ask for an interview. You’d be surprised how many people are open to it.
If you have a budget, you might also want to consider advertising on similar shows. Many smaller podcasts have very affordable rates and their highly targeted audience will make it more than worth it.
Even though we’re now in the middle of an election season, there’s still time to start your own political show. Popular leftist podcast , which also happens to be the on Patreon, didn’t release its first episode until mid-March 2016 — well after the first primary elections that year. So, it’s never too late.
Well, that’s about it. Get started on that podcast and be sure to share your show with me when it’s up and running. I’ll happily check it out.
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