Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Tuesday's Tips-Gettin' by With Help From Our Friends: Creating a Podcast-Heather Murphy

{This article contains an affiliate link for Buzzsprout.  If you use this link and purchase a service from Buzzsprout you may qualify for a $20 Amazon gift card and Heather Murphy may receive compensation.}

Share Your Family Stories Through Podcasting
Ask anyone what they love most about family history and most often the answer will be learning the stories of their ancestors.  In today’s fast-moving world it is difficult to gather multiple generations to hear those stories, let alone keep everyone engaged for an hour, or sometimes more, as older generations reminisce. Podcasts are a great way to share your family stories across generations and can be listened to in almost any circumstance.  Here are 5 tips to help you start your own family history podcast.

Tip #1:  Find a Podcast Hosting Service
Podcasts work best when you have a podcast hosting service to hold all your episode audio files.  This is where you will upload your audio files, graphics, and show notes.  Even if you have a family website, those websites often come with limits on how much data you can transfer.  Self-hosting your podcast may cause you to exceed those limits. Many of the podcast hosting services include a webpage for your show, one less thing to do if you don’t already have one.
Podcast hosting services range from free to about $20 per month if you upload 4-6 hours of audio a month.  There are many services available; I recommend Buzzsprout (affiliate link) or Libsyn.  Buzzsprout has a free option with a cap of 2 hours of audio each month.  There is a completely free service, Anchor, but the trade-off is that technically the company will own what you produce.

Tip #2:  Good Audio Quality Does Not Have to Be Expensive
Most people listen to podcasts through headphones which makes good audio quality important.  To record you can use a headset with a microphone, even some earbuds have a microphone feature or purchase an external microphone with a USB connection.  It isn’t a good idea to use your computer’s microphone as it generally is not good quality and it will pick up more of the background noise of your computer running.  To test a microphone you already have, record audio and then listen back using earbuds.  Find a quiet place to record where there isn’t much of an echo.  Some people record in their closets because all the fabric absorbs the sound resulting in a nice clean recording.

Tip #3: Use Free Software for Recording and Editing
Audacity is free software you can use to record and edit your episodes.  Save yourself the headache of learning new software by finding an introduction video online before you get started.  Use the free version of Zoom if you want to interview another family member.  Make sure the recording setting will record a separate audio file from the video file and then you can put the file into Audacity to edit.

Tip #3:  Batch Content
Putting out podcast episodes every week can quickly get overwhelming.  It can feel like recording/editing/posting is always on your to-do list and if you miss one episode it can quickly snowball into missing more.  Batching content means setting aside time to do batches of work to help you get ahead.  This is especially easy if you are recording the family stories yourself.  Choose one week to record a certain number of episodes, another week to edit, and another week to create show notes and upload.  You can produce 1-3 months of content in one block and your podcast hosting service will post them according to your schedule.

Tip #4:  Keep Episodes Short and Focus on the Story
Your episodes can be any length or frequency you choose, but keep in mind who you want to listen.  Do they have time to listen to a 45-minute episode or would 15 minutes be a better fit?  You are more likely to keep your listeners, especially younger ones, engaged and coming back if your episodes are short.  Keep your dialogue focused on the story of the ancestor.  For instance, telling how old they were at a certain event is more relatable than telling the audience what year it happened.  You can put the specific biographical dates, places, and relationships in the show notes.

Tip #5:  Make it Easy to Find
When you have 2-3 episodes finished is the time to submit your podcast to directories like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or many others.  This is where people can find and listen to your podcast.  Listings on these platforms are free and you only need to set it up once.  Then, each time you publish an episode in your podcast hosting service these platforms will grab the new episode and add it to their directory.  After you are listed share with family members and encourage them to subscribe on their favorite platform.  If they subscribe new episodes automatically pop up in their podcast app and make it easy to catch every episode.
Share Those Stories
Podcasting is a great way to share those family stories genealogists gather over the years.  Many people multitask as they listen to podcasts on their way to work, clean house, or ride the bus.  What stories will you share?

Heather Murphy is a genealogist, family history coach, speaker, and host of the Stories in Our Roots Podcast. She helps people gain clarity and strength by learning not just names, but the stories of their ancestors. To learn how researching the stories of your ancestors can guide your life, head over to heathermurphygenealogy.com.

Such good tips, Heather!

What podcasts do you listen to? Have you ever thought of starting your own?
We'd love to hear from you!

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Helping you climb your family tree,

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