How to start podcasting your research


As you can tell, I love this work. So much so that I started a second podcast on the side called “You’ve Got This” for higher education professionals wanting to increase their confidence and capacity for dealing with the day-to-day demands of academia. Rather than an interview podcast, this is a solo show that usually only runs 8-10 minutes per episode so that listeners can squeeze it into their busy academic lives. This show has only been running for about a year, and the weekly episodes cover things like getting book contracts, keynoting, building a scholarly pipeline and being an impactful teacher. It’s also available on iTunes and SoundCloud.

You’ve Got This” and “The Anatomy of a Book” are excellent examples of how anyone can create a podcast. I produce both completely on my own, with no support team, from a closet in my house. I record and edit the audio, write up show notes and market the shows on social media all on my own. (I do outsource transcription because I don’t always have the time to do it myself).

For those of you who might be intrigued, and who might want to dip your own toes in the podcasting waters, here are some of my recommendations to get started:

  • Listen to a bunch of podcasts and figure out what you like. What kind of show format draws you in? What episode length do you like the most? What kind of topics are most interesting to you? There are also several great podcasts on podcasting. One of my favorites is The Podcast Producers.
  • Find a gap. Just like our research contributions, developing a new podcast is all about finding a gap and filling it. Several people have emailed me to say that “Research in Action” is the only research podcast they’ve found that’s producing episodes regularly. Similarly, “You’ve Got This” was created because I wasn’t finding generalist podcasts for higher education professionals. I started “The Anatomy of a Book” because I love hearing about process and couldn’t finding anyone talking about book writing in academia.
  • Carve out some time. Producing a podcast can be a big time commitment. You’ll want to make sure you can commit to a regular posting schedule before you get started.
  • Choose a platform. There are many free options available (SoundCloud is a good example) and other audio hosting platforms just require a small fee (I use Libsyn to host all of my shows). Posting your show in iTunes is free. You may also want to build a small website where information about your podcast can be shared. (For “You’ve Got This” I bought a domain for under $15 a year and then used a free WordPress theme to organize the website’s content. I’ve built other websites before using WordPress, so I was able to do this over a weekend. “The Anatomy of a Book” is currently housed on a sub-domain of my professional website.)
  • Get some equipment. I have access to a studio setup at work (and you might too if you’re affiliated with a college or university), but my home setup is a closet lined with noise reducing foam that has a chair, small table and a microphone. Microphone equipment is relatively inexpensive and good audio quality is pretty important if you plan to make podcasting a regular thing. There are also a ton of blog posts that talk about the best kinds of equipment for podcasters – a common place to start is Pat Flynn’s “How to Start a Podcast” tutorial. You can learn more about the equipment I use in the show notes of this “You’ve Got This” episode.
  • Record. You can’t really launch a podcast without content, so get started with recording! For all of my podcasts, I pre-record several weeks’ worth of episodes so I don’t have to worry about getting behind.
  • Editing and post-production. For the podcast I produce at work, there are a couple rounds of edits that happen because we want to help our guests sound as good as possible. I work with our audio technician using Splice, which allows us to collaborate on audio editing.

For the podcasts I produce on my own, I can usually get the episodes in one take. I then edit in GarageBand, which mostly just means adding a pre-recorded intro and outro to each episode’s content. I taught myself to edit in GarageBand using some YouTube tutorials in about an hour, so the learning curve is relatively small.

For all of the podcasts I host, I provide transcripts for accessibility. As I mentioned, this is something I outsource for the podcasts I produce on my own (I use Transcript Divas). You may also want to create show notes for each episode. Although there are certainly podcasts that don’t do this, I think it’s a nice resource for listeners who want to follow up on resources that you might mention in each episode.

(If you have the funding, there are also a ton of podcast service providers that will help you edit your audio, produce show notes and complete all kinds of other tasks associated with podcast production.)

  • Post and share. Once your audio is ready, you can upload it to your platforms of choice. Again, there are a lot of online tutorials about how to do this, so you can check out those or just follow the instructions offered by the platforms you plan to use. Once the audio is up, make sure that people know about it by posting on social media channels and emailing friends and colleagues.

Podcasting can be a great way to share your passion for a particular topic, connect with a community of people with similar interests in that topic, and learn a new skill set that could be useful for your own professional development. For example, in addition to learning a ton of new things about research, I’ve also learned more about marketing, social media, creating images for social media (I recommend Canva for this), audio editing, sound quality, accessibility and much more.

I hope you’ll jump on in – the podcasting water is fine!

Author Bio: Dr. Katie Linder is the research director for Oregon State University Ecampus and the host of the “Research in Action” podcast and the “You’ve Got This” podcast.