So you want to start of fiction based podcast? Awesome, you totally should! The world needs more stories. The world needs your stories. There is lot’s to consider when using the podcasting distribution medium to deliver your story. In fact, there are enough things to consider that I started a podcast about podcasting fiction called Fiction Casting. The goal of this podcast about podcasting is to discuss an old way of telling stories and this new way of making them available to hear. As a companion to that podcast I wanted to outline a very high level overview of the things you will need to start a story based podcast.
It shouldn’t surprise you that these things are the same things needed to start a regular podcast, but, it may absolutely knock you socks off to learn that there are some foundational differences between casting fact and casting fiction. Let’s take a look.
Title and Logo
It’s not necessary to start here, but you will eventually need to give your podcast a title and develop some sort of logo for it. Your logo does not have to be amazing. In fact it should probably be simple and easy to understand. Make sure it looks good when presented in a square and is understandable at small sizes.
You are going to need the piece of audio you want people to hear. How you get this audio, what is sounds like and what it’s about are topics for upcoming posts. This step has a lot of sub steps which can be as simple as recording into your smart phone or as complicated as hiring professional voice actors and recording in a studio. We could also dive into mics, cables, audio interfaces and recording software but that’s all overkill for where we are at right now. All you need is the thing you want people to hear. If you have a phone or a mic on your computer you already have what you need for this step.
Online Audio Storage
The magic of podcasting is that you audio file is available to everyone. It’s available to everyone because that audio file is store online instead of on your hard drive or on a cassette. There are lots of options for where to store you audio. You can store them on your website, you can use an all in one service like Libsyn, or you can use Amazon’s Web Services. I use and recommend AWS.
An RSS Feed
Your RSS, or really simple syndication, feed is an automatically generated text file with some extensible markup language in it that tells podcast listening apps like Apple Podcasts, Overcast or Spotify when new audio is released, where to find it and what its all about. Your RSS feed is generated automatically by the content management system you are using to post your podcast episode with. Again, you can use an all in one solution like Libsyn or Blubrry or you can use WordPress with the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin. I recommend the WordPress with plugin method.
A Listing in a Popular Podcasting Aggregator
Once you have your first episode audio done, and it’s been uploaded to a file storage place like AWS and you’ve published information about this episode to your RSS feed using Libsyn or WordPress you then need to tell an aggregator about your podcast. An aggregator is a service that keeps track of all the podcasts feeds available, Apple’s Podcast App is the most popular but Spotify and iHeartMedia are catching up. All you need to go is get the web address of your RSS feed and follow the steps at Apple or Spotify or iHeart to submit your podcast. They all have slightly different rules and methods for submitting and approval takes 1-7 days on average. You only do this once, once your podcast is approved, you don’t need to submit it for every new episode. Your RSS feed handles that for you automatically.
In the simplest terms all you need to start a fiction based podcast is an MP3, somewhere to store that mp3 online and an RSS feed that will update with episode details every-time you release a new one. Once you have that you just submit that URL of that RSS feed to Apple and you have a podcast. Of course, you will need a story and that’s the hardest part, by far.