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8 Production steps for creating your scholarly podcast episodes

In part 2 of a two-part webinar series titled, “Promoting Your Scholarship via Podcasting (It’s Easier than You Think!)”, Dr. Katie Linder, director of the Ecampus Research Unit at Oregon State University and the host of the “You’ve Got This” podcast, “The Anatomy of a Book” podcast, the “Research in Action” podcast, and the “AcademiGig” podcast, outlined the following 8 steps to producing a scholarship-related podcast.

1) Develop the topic

In this first step of the production process, Linder suggests briefly outlining the content for each episode. For episodes with guest interviews, she recommends starting with an outline of the questions that will be asked and sharing them with the guest in advance of the recording. For shows without guests, she keeps the outline “skeletal” with key resources or references she wants to include in the 10-12 minute episode format. The topic development in both of these cases helps to structure the flow of the show without scripting the entire dialog, keeping the results personal and informal for the audience.

2) Record the episode audio

Linder promises that this step gets easier over time – the more practice you have, the more comfortable it will become to record the audio. You will also make adjustments to your equipment settings over time to get better quality audio results. While recording the audio, expect to make mistakes. Linder suggests that when mistakes happen, rather than starting over, pause briefly, reattempt the errant portion, and continue. As a result, you will be able to quickly identify and remove the mistake during the editing process.

3) Edit the episode

Linder uses GarageBand to edit her podcasts. Although somewhat intimidating when starting out, Linder says she taught herself how to use the software quickly with the help of YouTube videos. The editing process is primarily an assembly of the final episode through the addition of intro and outro clips to the episode content, and removal of the mistakes (discussed in step 2 above). She does note that some level of “ums” and verbal ticks are normal, so don’t try to edit to perfection.

4) Convert your audio to the right file format

When you save files from your editing software, it will be a project file that can only be opened by that program. In order to share the final podcast, you will need to convert the file to an MP3 or similar format before distributing. All editing software provides one or more options for exporting the results, but MP3 is the most common format.

5) Listen to the full episode one last time

This step lets you make sure that you edited out all mistakes and production sounds that don’t need to be in the final audio file. Linder recommends listening to the entire episode through earbuds rather than your computer speakers to get the same experience your listeners will have with the published episode.

6) Create the show notes

During the final sound check, Linder creates her show notes as a blog post with links to resources mentioned during the episode. By doing so during the final listening of the full episode, you can save time in the overall production process.

7) Create an episode transcript

Episode transcripts are either time-consuming or require financial investment, so many podcasters don’t do this. Including a transcript, however, ensures accessibility of the podcast by hearing-impaired visitors. The transcript can also add content to your site with keywords that can improve search engine optimization (SEO). For whichever reason, Linder suggests including one with each episode. Linder outsources this process to a service called Rev, which charges approximately $1 per minute for transcription.

8) Schedule the episode release

Whether using a paper calendar or online service to schedule episodes, seeing the big picture schedule ensures that coverage of topics is appropriately timed, evenly dispersed, and not excessively repetitive. Once developed, simply release the episode at the scheduled time.

Not sure if podcasting is right for your scholarship? Check out 5 ways to incorporate podcasting with your scholarship for ideas on how a podcast may help promote your scholarly activities.

The entire “Promoting Your Scholarship via Podcasting (It’s Easier than You Think!)” webinar can be found in TAA’s library of presentations on demand.

Eric SchmiederEric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.