If you consider less than 30 episodes to be a “podcast”, I’m a podcaster. Yay!
I’m only writing and publishing this after iTunes approved my podcast’s feed – and yes, you can subscribe to the audio-only version of #TheNainaRedhuExperience on iTunes now!
Having always fantasized about gaining a following like Joe Rogan, after the boy introduced me to his podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience“, I wanted to start a podcast of my own. ( Yes, “The Naina Redhu Experience”, at least in terms of the name, was inspired by what Joe calls his podcast. Luckily our names are totally different, so I have my ass covered when it comes to copyright / IP etc. )
But, I wasn’t sure what I was going to talk about. Joe’s podcast has more than 800 episodes and he usually does a few each week. He doesn’t run a blog like I do and he has “fuck you” money, which I don’t. He also, sometimes, flies down his guests to his LA studio to record the 3 hour long episodes. I don’t even have a studio and I’m certainly not inviting anyone over to my apartment to “record” anything, least of all someone I respect and can learn from. Heck, I couldn’t think of a single person who would even agree to talk with me, be recorded and then published.
Technology was a hindrance too. Was it ok to record using my mobile phone? Should I also record video? It would only be a “talking head” video and I wasn’t sure if that was a good strategy. Would people really want to just look at my face while I, essentially, talking into the selfie camera of my smartphone?
Instead of focusing on the podcasting, I started recording videos, which was also filed / published under the “The Naina Redhu Experience” series. I wasn’t sure I wanted to upload separate audio files just yet.
But then, one day, my YouTube channel hit 200 subscribers and I decided that this could be a thing. I certainly enjoyed making the videos and answering questions that viewers sometimes sent in. I mostly talked about blogging and professionalism and sometimes I talk about photography and life and even answered interview questions.
When the #WTFNaina series on the blog kicked off and garnered quite a bit of attention, I decided to leave out the subject of professionalism from my videos. I also ended up giving up the videos altogether for a good nine months. I didn’t have an editorial calendar I was following and I got really busy with the blog and photography assignments.
Lately, after having contemplated an editorial calendar for the blog, I realized I only had two series that I did regularly. One is the #WTFNaina series, which publishes at 0815 hours each Monday and the other is the #FragranceOfTheMonth series, which is supposed to publish once a month on the 15th. That brought the total of my “regular” blog posts to 5. I still had 25 days to fill in.
At this same time, I was also considering an experiment of blogging at least once each day ( more on that later ). Having attempted this previously and failed after day five, I wasn’t particularly confident about seeing it through the second time around. The crucial change I made this time was that I would not announce this experimental attempt publicly. I would just go ahead and do it.
After doing it successfully for fifteen days, I realized I would need more regular content, which is why I came back to #TheNainaRedhuExperience – 0900 hours IST, every Wednesday. It’s not like there is a dearth of subjects to speak about – there’s a lot happening across the world and I didn’t have to stick to blogging or photography. But this time, I also wanted to make the audio files available to that section of the viewers who did not want to look at my face for 15 to 30 minutes each week. Providing an MP3 file for download within the blog post was easy. I needed to figure out how to turn it into a podcast.
As it turned out, it was superbly simple. ( If you have SOME background in blogging / wordpress / RSS feeds etc. ) If you have been sitting around, delaying starting a podcast, because you think it will be hard, it isn’t. But it is a LOT easier to figure out if you already have a blog. Something that has an RSS feed. Self-hosted. ( So you need to have hosting space on a platform like DreamHost ( referral link ) for example, which is where I host. I’ve been with them since 2005. I made the mistake of switching to another service a couple of years ago and came running back to DH. ) Self-hosted mainly because you will need to upload audio files.
About uploading audio files : I looked at a variety of services like Libsyn ( expensive ), SoundCloud ( very limited storage space unless you sign up to their annual plan – which makes no sense for someone who is only testing the waters as a podcaster ), etc. Invariably, like I recommend for photos or content on social media, one must always have a blog or one’s own platform where all the content FIRST resides. Then you can re-share on social media channels – because what if that channel shuts down tomorrow? Like Vine did? You need to have control over your content as much as possible. And if you’re already paying for hosting space for your website, adding a few MP3 files to it will incur no additional costs. Not till you hit so much volume that you need to upgrade your plan.
I already pay about a total of $300 for hosting one managed WordPress blog AND I have some shared hosting as well. I’m already paying for the space that the podcast files will be using.
So, having your own website and self-hosted blog are two per-requisites. If you haven’t started yet, what are you waiting for?! Go do it!
This was Part I. In Part II, next week, I share how I prepared the RSS Feed and what I did with FeedBurner and how I validated the feed on iTunes and submitted it. In Part III, the week after next, I talk about the equipment and my workflow, which will wrap up this series on how I got started podcasting!