How to record and publish your first podcast episode

How to record and publish your first podcast episode

You’ve got a mic and a voice. That’s all you need.
How to record and publish your first podcast episode
“An iPod. A phone. And a breakthrough internet communication device.”

It’s almost surprising, looking back, that Steve Jobs didn’t mention the camera as one of the core pillars of the then-new iPhone.

We may still call the glass widgets in our pockets phones, still pay a “phone bill” even if actual phone calls are a vanishingly small part of why the things are so important to us. But the camera may be the truly breakout smartphone feature, why the photograph everything today, why Instagram and TikTok took off, likely half the reason why you picked the phone you did the last time you upgraded.

And yet, the camera’s only one of the many sensors that make your phone into a pocket-sized studio. The phone part, if anything, may be the most overlooked part of the equation.

Everyone knows how to write an idea and publish a blog post, share a photo or video online. It can be just as easy to get your voice online, too.

Here’s how.

on the origins of podcasts.

it started out with a clickwheel...

It all started nearly two decades ago, when the iPod was the latest gadget and audio, then as now, felt suddenly fresh and exciting again.

If you could publish ideas on your then-new blog, talk over your computer with the just-released Skype, and take music everywhere with the suddenly ever-present iPod, why not put it all together and reinvent radio and make everyone an audio publisher?

“All the ingredients are there for a new boom in amateur radio,” wrote Ben Hammersley in the Guardian in 2004. “But what to call it? Audioblogging? Podcasting? GuerillaMedia?”

Somehow the second name stuck, and a decade and a half later we’d still be listening to podcasts.

The core idea was that we needed an easier way to record and share audio. Podcasts, powered by their blog-aligned RSS feeds, fit the early 2000’s ideas of publishing online, when you might self-host your website and follow your friend’s writings in Google Reader. The rest of the internet moved on, to Twitter and TikTok—and audio, somehow, stayed stuck in 2004’s podcasting. So while the way we share videos and photos and even text is vastly different today than a decade-and-a-half ago, the way podcasts are published has scarcely changed.

It turns out, though, your phone’s just as good at publishing audio as video—far better than your computer ever was. If you’ve got an idea to say, it’s easier than ever to get it online-in a podcast, or a new take on publishing audio online.

How to Record a Podcast.

First: Record your voice.

Voice Memos might be all you need to get started podcasting.

The best place to start a podcast might, indeed, be your Notes app. it’s all about what you’re going to say, the ideas you want to share and the points you want to drive home. Maybe you’ll share history you’ve researched, or tell stories you’ve written, or perform the comedy sketch you’ve been thinking over for years. Write it down, make sure the details are clear and ready to present, and perhaps try reading them aloud a time or two for practice.

Then it’s time to record.

A camera’s all you need to be a photographer. And a microphone’s all you need to be a podcaster.

Odds are, your phone’s microphone is plenty—most newer smartphones use multiple mics to cancel out background noise and record your voice as clearly as possible. Otherwise, you could use the mic in your headphones, or a standalone mic (which, if you’re looking for one, Wirecutter recommends the Blue Yetti, Wistia recommends going simpler with a lavalier clipped t your shirt).

Then, go somewhere as quiet as possible—perhaps go in your office or bedroom, shut the door, and try to record near soft stuff like blankets and pillows to dampen echos. Turn off fans or turn down the aircon if it’s noisy. But what really matters is your idea, your voice, and a bit of ambiance won’t really matter.

Now it’s time to record audio, and for that you’ll need an app. Here are a few great options:

  • On iPhone, the built-in Voice Memos app is the easiest way to record audio quickly. Just open the app and tap the red button to start recording. The only catch is it doesn’t export .mp3 files by default; here’s how to export voice memos as mp3 if you need.
  • On Android, your phone should come with a Recorder app from Google or a similar app from your phone manufacturer such as Samsung’s Voice Recorder.
  • A more advanced option is to use GarageBand on iPhone, iPad, or Mac. It can record voice in as many sessions as you want, trim audio and cut out sections, and add sound effects and music. And when you’re done, you can export the recording as an .mp3.
  • Other great recording apps include Spotify’s Anchor or Ferrite Recording Studio, both of which are designed for recording and editing podcast audio. Or, on a computer, Descript is a great app to record audio with multiple people, automatically create a transcript, edit what you said, and export .mp3s.
  • And, if you want to edit the audio more—which, be warned, this is the #1 thing that most new podcasters say keeps them from publishing audio, and your audio honestly might be fine as-is—the free Audacity software for Mac and Windows is one of the most popular ways to tweak your audio. Or, Descript really should be enough.

Then, publish your recording

Descript's editing tools let you cut anything you said—or add new audio with an AI-powered voice.

With that, you’ll have an audio copy of your ideas ready to share. Now you’ll need to turn that .mp3 into a podcast.

Or not. The easiest option might be just to share your audio directly online. You could upload your audio to SoundCloud, say, and share it around—it’s not a real podcast, but it is an easy way to get your audio online. Or, you could upload your .mp3 to Dropbox or any other online storage, then Tweet or post it to Facebook or drop a link on your blog, as an easier way to let the people who already follow you listen.

Or, you can go the whole way and make a full podcast. For that, you could:

  • Using Spotify’s Anchor, you can publish your recording to a Spotify Podcast so anyone can subscribe and listen from the Spotify app. That’s not quite as flexible as a full podcast, but it’s far easier than hosting files yourself.
  • Or, you could signup with a podcast hosting service like Transistor.fm, Libsyn, or PodBean for $5-20 a month, where you can start a podcast, upload your .mp3 recordings, and get a real podcast RSS feed that you could then submit to Apple Podcast, Spotify, and more.

Either way, you’ll get a link to your show that you can share with your friends and fans, and tell them to follow in their favorite podcast app.

And then, the next time inspiration strikes, you’ll be ready to share. You can pull out your phone, start recording audio, and share it the same way as before to let your friends and fans hear what you have to say.

Do you want to start a podcast, or do you just want to share your voice?

or, make a Racket

Or … there’s an easier way to get your voice online, if not to make a full podcast: Racket.

The problem with podcasts is that you’ll have to record audio, then publish it as a podcast, then share it on podcast directories—and then your followers will also need to download a podcast app, subscribe to your show, and remember to check back every time you publish something new.

What if you’d rather just hit record and share your thoughts seconds later?

You don’t actually need a podcast as much as you need a way to quickly record your voice or a conversation with friends, and share it where anyone can listen. That’s Racket: It’s the easiest way to record and share your voice.

Racket does a few things to simplify recording and sharing audio. First, you can record right from your browser—just go to racket.com in Safari or Chrome, sign in, and jump into your studio to start recording. You can record solo, or invite friends—just copy the link to your studio, txt it to a friend, and they can join in without signing up, far easier than recording a Skype call for a podcast.

Then, you’ve got a time limit to help you self-edit without any extra work. Racket’s are capped at 9 minutes—long enough for a detailed monologue or or a brief conversation about a single topic, short enough that anyone can find time to listen. And it’s easy to ask people to record with you, since you can go from start to finish in under ten minutes.

All you need is your phone or computer, and an internet connection. Tap record, the timer starts counting down, and you’re live for the next nine minutes or until you pause or stop. Then, you can add a title and cover photo, and publish your audio. Seconds later, your Racket will be ready to share where anyone can listen online.

And the next time inspiration strikes, you can jump back into Racket and record your next thoughts. It’s the simplest way to publish your ideas, to record a speech or conversation and share it with the world, no podcast needed.

It just might be time to make a racket.