Guides for Creators

Are you considering starting a podcast? Or maybe you're current podcaster who's looking to get advertisers for your show? If so, this is the place for you. As part of Backyard Media's mission to make creators' lives easier, below are a set of guides we've written for creators wanting to learn more about podcasting and podcast advertising.


Podcast Development and Setup


5 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started My Podcast

Backyard Media is always trying to think of new ways to help independent podcast creators. Our staff writer Michael Falero, also an independent podcast creator, recently attended the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago, the premiere gathering of audio professionals in the US.

In this guide, Michael offers his five key takeaways from one Third Coast panel aimed at independent podcast creators, especially those starting new podcast projects.


What Equipment To Get For Your Podcast

When it comes to buying podcast equipment to start making your next great idea, the number of options to choose from can be paralyzing. Most podcast creators want advice on what to buy so they can start their project. Fewer want detailed explanations about every way one item is better than another.

In this guide, we offer three common options for each category of item you’ll need, at three different price points, so you can build your podcast setup as quickly as possible.


Podcast Hosting Doesn't Need to Be Hard - Here's How to Do It

What is podcast hosting, and why is it so important? Finding the right host for your podcast is one of the first technological hurdles most creators come up against. As listeners, we don’t hear much about podcast hosting, but creators can’t have a podcast without a podcast host.

In this guide, we’ll explain what podcast hosting is for, what your options are, and how to get started with one.


A Step-By-Step Guide to Making a Podcast

There are a lot of resources on the Internet for making a podcast. But how do you actually put all these tools together to get a finished podcast episode?

In this guide, we show you step-by-step how to make a narrative podcast episode, using our own in-house production process as an example. We walk through how we make our local politics podcast, Backyard Cambridge, and demonstrate how we’re using the tools mentioned in our “ultimate tools” guide.


Running Out of Podcast Ideas? Here's How to Find More

It happens to every podcast creator eventually. You have an off week. The ideas aren’t flowing like they usually do. You’re thinking about what to make your next podcast episode about, and you’re drawing a blank. You’re out of podcast ideas! So what should you do?

In this guide, we outline how podcast creators can use a strategy of “ethical stealing”, drawing upon a Third Coast 2018 session by This American Life producer Chana Joffe-Walt.


Podcast Production, Editing, and Mastering


The Ultimate List of Tools for Podcast Production

Anyone who gets into podcasting knows that audio takes a long time to edit and make start-to-finish. Creating a podcast is an involved process that takes lots of organization, as we talked about in our organization guide. To make your podcast production easier, we’ve gathered lots of different tools that creators can use to improve their production cycle.

In this guide, we give readers a comprehensive list of the best resources - free and paid - that we’ve found for podcast creators.


How Solid Organization Can Make The Difference In Your Podcast Production

Any creator who’s started a podcast knows that they have many moving parts to them. Making a podcast means brainstorming topics, conducting research, contacting guests and interviewees, setting up recording equipment, and then editing and mixing the audio until it’s perfect. It can be a lot to keep track of, and the reality is that the way you organize your podcast’s production cycle can have an impact on your finished product.

In this guide, we report on a few of our takeaways from a Third Coast 2018 session about organization led by former Gimlet Media producer Eric Mennel. We’ll talk about four ways you can better organize your podcast production and improve your show.


How to Make Your Podcast Sound Better with Simple EQ Techniques

With podcasts and any kind of audio, the raw sound you record is rarely going to be the end product that people hear. One of the most basic types of processing you can do is equalization, or EQ.

In this guide, we cover the EQ steps that every podcast creator should be taking with their vocal tracks in order to achieve a better and more professional sound.

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How to Use Compression for a Better Podcast Sound

A lot of the work of finishing your podcast once you’ve recorded it is making it sound better without the audience ever realizing you’ve changed anything. To get a great podcast sound, you need to use processing tools like compressors.

In this guide, we explain what compression is, why it’s important for creators to use it in every podcast episode, and how to apply it to your podcast.


How to Normalize Your Podcast Audio, and Why You Need To Do It

New podcast creators often find that making a podcast involves a lot of steps. Some are expected, like using an audio editor to cut your podcast together. Some are less obvious, like normalizing your podcast’s audio. What does normalizing a podcast's levels, also known as Loudness normalization, actually mean? Why should creators care about normalizing their podcast, and how exactly do they do it?

In this guide, we explain what Loudness is, and provide a step-by-step guide for how to normalize your podcast’s audio.


The Secret to Interviewing Remote Podcast Guests: The “Double Ender” Technique

If you’ve booked an interview with an expert for the first episode of your podcast, the next question you might ask yourself is how you’ll record them while you speak to them on Skype. Most creators come up against this problem early on in their podcast production. Thankfully, there’s a common solution that many shows employ to get a clean guest recording.

In this guide, we explain the problem with using Skype to record your guest, what the double ender technique is, and two ways you can do it.


How to Find Freelance Help for Your Podcast

Producing your podcast can be an involved process. If you’re a podcast creator going it alone, it’s a good idea to outsource some of these tasks while you focus on the content of your show.

In this guide, we describe some of the jobs you might want to hire a freelancer to do, where to find freelancers, and what to consider while posting a freelance job.


Podcast Listenership and Demographics


Why Podcasts Need to Do a Listener Survey

Podcasters are always asking us, "How do I present my work and my audience so that I get the attention of really great podcast sponsors?" If you have an audience in the tens of thousands or more, doing a listener survey to understand who's tuning in should be one of the first steps you take toward podcast sponsorship.

In this guide, we discuss why it's so crucial to do a survey, how easy it is to set one up, and what podcast creators should be asking their audiences.


How to Create Your Podcast Listener Survey

For podcast creators who are looking at how to get sponsored and make their show a self-sustaining business, a listener’s survey is essential. As we noted in our last guide, a survey is useful for a number of different reasons, from understanding demographics and buying preferences to serving as a test case for listener engagement. Maybe you've read that guide and are ready to take the next step and actually make a listener survey. So, what should it actually consist of?

In this guide, we discuss the questions you should include in your survey, how to market it, and what to do with the data you receive.


Want to Monetize Your Podcast? First, You've Got to Track Your Downloads

If you're a podcast creator, you need to know how many people are listening to your show. Otherwise known as tracking your podcast's downloads, this process is essential for any creator who wants to monetize their podcast and building a self-sustaining show. But podcast tracking and download statistics can be confusing, and there isn't a single Google-like service for tracking podcasts.

In this guide, we discuss why tracking your downloads is important, the four different services you can use, and how to set your tracking service up.


Podcast Marketing, Sponsorship, and Fundraising


Marketing Your Podcast? Here Are Three Things You Need to Do

All podcast creators want to grow their shows. Increasing the size of one’s audience from a few thousand to tens of thousands of downloads requires diligent effort and a lot of grit. Getting to that upper echelon of podcasts means you can attract more sponsors.

For current and aspiring podcast creators who want to market and grow their show effectively but don’t know where to start, this is the guide for you. Here, we discuss the three big steps creators should take to achieve impressive growth with their show.


A Guide to How to Get Sponsored for New Podcasts

For many creators, an important step in building their new podcast is to get sponsorship. But for newer podcasters, the exact steps required to getting to those first few sponsors can be unclear.

In this guide, we cover the best practices you should follow to professionalize your show and appeal to potential sponsors.


A Podcaster's Guide to Podcast Sponsorship Rates

So you've started a podcast, and maybe it's going pretty well so far. But there's one problem: your podcast still isn't generating revenue. The obvious answer is podcast sponsorship. But where do you even begin?

In this guide, we explain the foundations of sponsorship and podcast sponsorship rates, including what a CPM is and what sponsors like to see in potential podcast partners. We also give examples of different levels of podcast sponsorship.


Making a Business of Your Podcast: Developing Revenue Streams

Today we’re starting to tackle one of the most important questions that podcast creators have: how can they turn their creative project into a sustainable business? Podcasting is still a growing field, but there are already plenty of creators out there who have made podcasting their full time job. So how did they do it?

In this guide, we start by breaking down the four most popular ways to make money from your podcast, which together can turn a podcast into a sustainable business.


Making a Business of Your Podcast: Building a Membership Program

Beyond merchandise sales and podcast advertising, the membership model is a newer trend in podcasting. Creators are turning to their listeners to generate a regular income. Some are even finding that podcast membership can earn them more money than traditional revenue streams. So what should you consider before staring a membership program for your podcast?

In this guide, we walk through the considerations that creators need to make before starting a membership program, including what perks can you can include to entice listeners and how to think about making your program sustainable from a production standpoint.


Making a Business of Your Podcast: Planning Membership Content

We’ve talked about how a premium membership program for your podcast can give your show a more stable source of revenue. When we talk to creators about making a membership program, we often find that creators struggle to build a specific and detailed plan of what their membership content will consist of. To be successful, podcast creators should plan for multiple months of content before they even begin. So today we’re talking about what content you can offer and how you should think about planning your content calendar.

In this guide, we walk through one example of how you can plan the first six months of your podcast’s membership program.


Are you a company looking to learn more about the sponsor side of podcast advertising? Check out our guides for sponsors here.