Academic podcasting is a great way to share your research findings, build your academic network, and engage the general public in your work. But how do you get started if you’ve never created a podcast before? Keep reading for our quick-start guide to getting your very own academic podcast up and running.
Define your goals and target audience
Why do you want to create a podcast? Is it to create a resource for students? Share your research with others in your field? Reach a broader community of listeners outside of academia?
Having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish and who you want to reach will help you make other important decisions about your podcast format. You may want to check out some existing academic podcasts for inspirations—here are some examples:
- University of Oxford Podcasts – lecture series and other knowledge-sharing from researchers at Oxford University
- Pod Academy – a variety of podcasts created by researchers in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, and business
- College Info Geek’s Top Educational Podcast Picks of 2018 – a range of podcasts from academics and non-academics alike educating their listeners on the subjects they’re most passionate about
Create a publishing schedule
Here’s where it’s important to be realistic with the time and resources you’re going to be able to commit to this project. It’s much better to start small and grow your podcast later on than to try to achieve too much at the start. Think back to your goals. What do you want to accomplish?
Maybe you want to publish recordings of your lectures on a weekly basis for students to use as a resource for revision. Or maybe you want to create a mini-series that focuses on a particular aspect of your research. Whatever it is you want to do, decide how many episodes you want to create (at least to begin with) and how often you want to post them.
Get familiar with the basics of sound editing
Even if you’re not planning on doing anything overly ambitious, it’s still useful to be able to make basic sound edits like cropping, fading in/out, and layering music. You can easily perform all these actions with a free tool like Audacity. For tips on getting started with sound editing and how to choose the right equipment, check out LSE Digital Editor Cheryl Brumley’s Simple Guide to Academic Podcasting.
Script and record your first episode
You can read all the podcasting advice in the world, but the best way to learn the medium is just to get started. Write a script (this can just be a loose outline of the points you want to cover), find a quiet space, and record your first episode. Alternatively, you can set up a recording device at your next lecture.
It can feel strange to record yourself at first but do your best to enjoy the experience. Ask a colleague to join as your co-host if having a conversation feels more natural than monologuing. Don’t worry about making mistakes—you can always cut those out later. You’ll sound most engaging to your audience if you’re relaxed and having fun.
Share your new podcast
Depending on the audience you’re trying to reach, this might mean uploading your episodes to your course website or to a hosting platform like SoundCloud, iTunes or Spotify. Be sure to share your new podcast on social media!
Podcasts are a great medium for connecting with students, colleagues, and the broader community—inside or outside of academia. By using our beginner’s guide, you’ll be well on your way to establishing your own academic podcast.
Great additional resources for starting your own academic podcast:
- Three ways podcasting can make you a more engaged academic – LSE
- Scripting podcasts: three tips for writing podcast episodes – Radix Communications
- Research and Academic Podcasting – MethodSpace