The Beginner’s Guide To Podcasting For Churches | Ep. #106

Pro Church Daily is the show where - in ten minutes or less - you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

May 10th, 2018

So many people listen to podcasts, and churches are uniquely positioned to use this tool as statistically more Christians listen to podcasts than those who identify themselves otherwise. Brady talks about what you need to get started.

What’s In This Session?

  • What do we use? (1:30)
  • Step #1 – Recording Source (2:37)
  • Step #2 – Editing Software (5:06)
  • Step #3 – Hosting & Sharing (8:34)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

The Full Transcript

Alex Mills: Well hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Daily. This is the show where in ten minutes or less you’re gonna get a daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we try and navigate the biggest communication that we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills. I’m joined as always by the boss man. It’s Brady Shearer, and today we’re talking about a beginner’s guide to podcasting for churches.

Brady Shearer: On episode 97 of Pro Church Daily, Alex, we talked about how podcasting for churches, not just your sermons but actually native podcasting, kind of like what we’re doing right now, is just a huge opportunity for churches, especially for younger people. This, of course, led to some questions. How can we get started with podcasting? So we wanted to offer up Pro Church Nation three simple steps, a beginner’s guide to getting into podcasting.

Alex Mills: You know, we talked about on that episode, not only are so many people listening to podcasts, but churches are positioned very uniquely in this space because more Christians are listening to podcasts on average than people who don’t identify as a Christian. So we really are uniquely positioned in this space with a great audience, and it’s such a timely medium. You can take podcasts wherever you go, wherever you are, whenever you are, whatever you’re doing. And we have this message that we get to share at any time. So there are new creative ways that we can do it, and this is how you can get started.

Brady Shearer: Let’s first talk about what we’re actually using right now, Alex, because people are surely interested in that. These microphones that we’re recording into right now are Heil, H-E-I-L, Heil PR40 microphones. It’s kind of like the pinnacle, the peak, of podcast microphones. You definitely don’t need one of these to get started. There are about $400 each. We’re recording right now into the video camera that’s shooting the video portion of Pro Church Daily, the Black Magic Ursa Mini 4.6K. So we’re actually XLR plugged right into that directly from these mics. In the past we’ve used actual dedicated audio recorders such as the sound devices 702. I’ve also used the Behringer-Xenyx K802USB when I was recording directly into my computer, into the iMac, because that’s the thing with the XLR microphone like this. You need an XLR input to actually record it. So I would use USB mixer, like the Behringer-Xenyx K802, plug the microphone into the mixer, mixer into the computer.

It can be a lot more simple than that to get started, so we’re gonna give you the three steps to getting started with podcast. And the first step is the recording source itself, the microphone. What I would recommend is the Blue Yeti microphone.

Alex Mills: The classic.

Brady Shearer: It’s about $100, it’s a USB mic so it can plug directly into your MacBook, into your laptop, into your desktop computer. It’s also portable, comes with the stand built directly in. Our microphones come just as a mic. We had to buy separate stands. The Blue Yeti stands on itself and it also has a number of different pickup patterns so you can change the pickup pattern of the microphone to set up for dual recording, two people. You can have single directional recording, and it has a number of different options that gives you a handy guide kind of showing you which ones you should use as well.

The second option is if you wanna go mobile and record directly on your mobile device, we’ve used the Shure MV88 microphone before so it has a lightning port, can go directly into an iPhone. It has a number of different versions to plug into different phones, I believe, as well. This is great for recording directly into your phone if you’re just on the go. Maybe you’re not recording two people like we are. It’s just a single person podcast like so many are. Just plug it into your phone no matter where you are. Pastor, you’ve got a brief thought, record that, that’s a podcast. People wanna hear that. The MV88 by Shure. It’s about $150. Perfect for that, and it comes with a free mobile app from Shure as well to optimize your sound and to actually help with editing within the app itself, and then you can publish directly from there as well if you care to do so.

Alex Mills: I think that one’s such a great solution for pastors. We talked on episode 97 about three kind of new creative ways that you could use podcasting to reach your community with this message of Jesus, and one of those ways was an off-the-cuff very casual ten minutes or less, similar to Pro Church Daily, episode from your pastor, but what’s going on in his life, what did he learn today, how did he fail today. Just this real-life stuff, this invitation to pull back the curtain. So it’s perfect to be on mobile wherever you’re at. Keep it in the car and when somebody cuts you off and you have a very divine thought about them instead of a not-so-divine thought, you can record that on your phone wherever you are and share that with your people and really invite them into that daily life that we’re all living. So I think that’s a really cool opportunity.

Brady Shearer: And what’s great about the Blue Yeti as well as the Shure MV88 is that both drug directly into a recorder that you already own, a recorder or a mobile device. Normally, like our mics, you have to plug them into an external recorder and then get that into your computer. It’s one extra step. These simplify the process, make it easier.

So that’s the first step. Step number two is … step number one is the recording source. Step number two is the editing software. You can use Garage Band on Apple for free. You can use Audacity for Windows for free. We use Adobe Audition, which is great. If you already have the creative cloud from Adobe because you use Photoshop or you edit videos through Premier, you’ve already got access to Audition. It’s pretty user-intuitive; you could use that. That would also be free if you have an existing subscription with them already.

Another tool that we use after we actually export from Audition is a tool called Auphonic. Auphonic.com. What’s great about Auphonic is, in their words, they analyze your audio and do whatever is necessary to achieve a professional quality. So because we’re recording with two people, Alex and I, sometimes Alex’s voice is quieter than mine or vice versa, and there’s a lot that goes into making sure that you deliver your audio at kind of a same level. We’ve all been in the car when one podcast goes from another or even worse, when you’ve got headphones in. One podcast goes from another and you’re like, “Oh my goodness! My ears hurt so much!” Because the previous podcast was so quiet you turned it down, then someone with an actual good podcast came in and, like you said, RIP headphone users.

So Auphonic, what it will do is it will intelligently level your audio. It’s gonna normalize the overall loudness of your podcast to deliver so that it’s gonna be the same loudness as all the other podcasts that have professional audio engineers. You can also add Metadata here, which is perfect for adding the album artwork and the description and the composer and the year, which all shows up in the actual podcast hosts like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and those other places. And it also has optimal encoding for making sure that your file size is small. You don’t wanna send a 320 kilobytes per second giant audio file for podcasting because it’s just voice. 64 or 128 will be fine. Auphonic can do all of that. We use it for every single podcast.

Alex Mills: This tool’s awesome. It’s kinda just like magic. You do your best in these other programs whether you’re using Audition or whatever, and we’ve got presets and auditions. We throw them on and we do our best to manage the audio, and then we throw them in Auphonic and just click the button and it comes out better than we ever could have made it, and it really is that final touch, that magic touch. Without using it you could think, “Oh, this audio’s fine,” but after you use it it’s like, “Oh yeah, this is a much better listening experience.” And in my personal experience, if I’m listening to a podcast and the audio quality is not great or it’s peaking or there’s … things just aren’t where they should be, not only is it disengaging for me, but it also may hinder me from revisiting the podcast another time. I have so many podcasts I’m listening to, you gotta kinda reach the mark for me, and audio quality is one of those things. It’s an audio medium, so you really have to be excellent to convey that message for your listeners, to keep them engaged, to keep them coming back and listening. So this is one tool that’s just gonna put that final touch and really help you out.

Brady Shearer: Third and final step to delivering your podcast is the hosting and sharing process. You’ve exported your audio, it’s on your desktop, it’s in your My Documents. How do you share it with the world? You need a podcast host. There are websites that can automatically create an RSS feed for you. Maybe you’re using a website provider that offers that as a service. That might even be something we add to Nucleus in the future. But even if we do, I would not recommend using that. I would recommend using a dedicated podcast host. The company that we use is one of the oldest in the business, Libsyn. It’s short for Liberated Syndicated. It’s L-I-B-S-Y-N.com. And for as low as $5 a month, they’re gonna host your audio, create an RSS feed, and this RSS feed is the single URL that you give to Apple Podcasts, to Spotify, to TuneIn, to … not SoundCloud, that’s a dedicated host. But that RSS feed is the actual URL that you submit to all of these destinations where you want your podcast to be listened to. Libsyn’s also gonna give you analytics. It’s gonna allow you to publish your podcasts, schedule them. It’s just a more robust platform. It’s incredibly affordable. I really see so many churches skimping on here and trying to save that five or ten bucks a month and I understand why. I just don’t think this is the place to do that. Get a dedicated podcast solution.

Final tool I’ll get in really quick is smart URL. If you go to ProChurchDaily.com you can see this tool in action. Basically it creates a single landing page where the user can choose where do I want to listen to this podcast? Where do I want to subscribe? Somebody wants to listen to Apple Podcast, their native app, like me. Someone else wants Spotify. Someone else wants TuneIn. Someone else wants Google Play. Someone else wants SoundCloud. Someone else wants YouTube. This compiles every single destination for your podcast in one beautiful landing page, and that way the user can choose where do I want to subscribe. You can create a single URL like prochurchdaily.com, and now every time you give a call to action through your podcast, you can just say, “Go to prochurchdaily.com and subscribe,” and now you’re not limiting that to just Apple Podcast, let’s say. Now the end user is the decision maker and they can choose where they want to listen.

Alex Mills: Awesome. That’ll do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you next time.