In our college years, we typically grow our world views, empathy, and opinions as individuals in a collective society. That sounds like the perfect recipe for a podcast if you ask us.
Students can and absolutely should start a podcast for their own use. You don’t have to make it a school-based one (although you can), and you don’t have to pick the most impactful topic.
Pick a topic that you’re passionate about, find some friends to do it with you, and get a weekly recording time set up. Oh yeah, and follow the rest of this guide so you know what direction to head in.
Why Creating A Podcast for Students is a Good Idea
You can do whatever you like with itl, and that’s powerful. If it’s centered around your campus, college, or collegiate activities, you can give a voice to other students in your community that otherwise wouldn’t be amplified. Another reason it’s a good idea to start one:
- Production Experience: If you ever want to work in something that’s professionally produced, this is the best experience that you can possibly start with.
- Credits: In some instances, you can get the experience you earn on a podcasting project—provided that it’s done long-term and you have proof—into credit of some sort for your electives.
- Professional Speaking Experience: People are going to listen to you. Even if it just starts out as friends, family, and that one estranged roommate. This teaches you how to speak to a crowd, even if you don’t quite know it yet.
- Marketing Experience: You have to get your podcast out there, right? Find out how to publish, distribute, and get the conversation going around your podcast. It’s an invaluable experience for the future.
- Scriptwriting: Some podcasts focus on scripted content, and that’s okay. You can make a scripted segment as a skit, or write down talking points so you stay on target during your entire podcast episode. Either way, it’s also a writing experience.
- Earn Money: Podcasts aren’t the most efficient way to make money in the beginning, but depending on what platform you choose to distribute it, there will be some money to be made.
Creating a Student Podcast
To start a student podcast, you want to get your ideas together and formulate a story. A way that things will go, what topics you want to cover, and pick a name that can emulate the message.
Once you have a name, premise, and basic theme, find out how you want the dialogue to be.
Is your podcast audio-only, or does it have a video element to it? Do you offer both? Podcasts are something that people listen to during their morning commute, on their iPhone while they go on a jog, and while they work.
You want to consider offering both mediums, or at least beginning with audio and moving up to video at some point as well.
There’s additional rendering and uploading involved with offering both mediums to listeners. Next, how long is it going to be? An hour? Half-hour? How frequently are you going to release episodes?
You should have a specific time, day(s) of the week, and use the same publishing platform(s) each time so you can offer consistency to your viewers. While planning, be extremely hard on yourself about one thing: the amount of time you can reasonably dedicate to it.
If you have to work instead and can’t prioritize the podcast, which is understandable, consider a weekly release schedule.
If you’re not too busy during the week, maybe 2-3 episodes every single week. At that rate, you would be able to see growth a lot faster.
Find out your goals with your podcast idea. Do you want to make money, and inspire an audience? Planning sounds as simple as saying “I want a podcast about X”, but there are a lot of steps you have to go through, and a lot of ideas that you have to generate early on. Don’t skip the importance of this step.
How do you plan on recording a podcast? As an audio-centric medium, you absolutely cannot skip quality assurance when it comes to audio.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do about recording. Even if you purchase some inexpensive $50 Rode lapel microphones, you need dedicated microphones.
You can buy a HyperX QuadCast and use the podcast feature to record bi-directional audio, so one microphone can be effortlessly used by two people to save you money while producing excellent quality.
Explore audio options, and even if you’re also going to be a video podcast, prioritize good microphones first and foremost.
In editing, you get to add EQ to your audio to make it nice and crisp, trim video, and remove portions of your podcast recording session that might just not hit home or be all that interesting (it happens to everyone). Editing is arguably the longest part of podcast production.
It takes a while, and requires decently powerful hardware to make it as quick and painless as possible. Don’t get us started on render times.
While podcasting can be long-form, predominantly uncut footage, you can do a lot of subtle things during video editing and audio editing to bring things up a notch without affecting the content.
Add color filters to add a mood to your podcast, bring the audio up with EQ, and don’t be afraid to add some ambient royalty-free background music. It doesn’t sound like it does a lot, but it can help fill in those awkward 2-3 second gaps that pop up that you don’t want to delete for pacing purposes.
Editing is powerful. Learn it, master it, and apply it to your podcast. You’ll stand out against 99% of the podcasts out there.
Now you have to choose how you want to publish it. Even though you just got through with editing, you still need to take a minute to re-listen to the podcast before it goes live to make sure you’re adhering to the FTC guidelines (especially if you have a sponsor on your show).
Publishing can get tricky, because you have to agree to a certain set of rules and publication guidelines to follow with the platform that you choose. Let’s help you pick which one is right for you.
What Platform to Use for a Student Podcast?
Here are a few of the best platforms and what we think about their strengths and weaknesses. You want to go with something that fits your methodology and publishing preferences.
If it just makes sense to have it on one option based on what you want out of a publishing platform, then go with it. Don’t think twice.
Fujll-length video podcasts are great, and YouTube loves long-form content that keeps viewers on the platform. More watch time means more money, which also translates to money for you.
It’s not too hard to get monetized on here with long-form content if you have a small, dedicated audience, and it has so much potential for sponsorships and scaling.
Google Podcasts, as outlined in our full guide, is a distribution network and not a podcast publishing platform. Still, they’re able to bring traffic and genuine interest to your podcast, which is why they’re absolutely worth your time.
Once your podcast is hosted somewhere, be sure to use this powerful publicity tool to make sure everyone can find it with a simple Google search.
Apple Podcasts aren’t the most popular way to promote your podcast project, but they’re definitely a powerful tool to have on your belt.
It’s worth it to get familiar with their terms and conditions and get acquainted with how their platform works if you want to publish there. Apple Podcast listeners tend to be hardcore fans.
While there’s definitely some context about how they’re forcing podcasts on people, they wouldn’t be investing nine figures into podcast production and hosting if they weren’t making some money off of it on the back-end.
Spotify is a way to monetize and distribute to one of the largest podcast-hungry audiences on the internet.
Site-Hosted Podcast (Squarespace, Wix)
You can self-host a podcast, whether it’s video or audio, all on your website. There’s some money that has to go up front to website hosting fees and/or custom domain names and email addresses, but it’s worth it if you want to take your brand to the next level.
If you even think that you could take podcasting one step higher, it’s worth it to self-host as one of your platforms for content distribution.
Free Flow of Information and Debate
Make your podcast about whatever you want, as long as you understand the FTC guidelines. Put your heart into it, and you’ll find that not only is the process a ton of fun, but you could end up with something really special on your hands.
A lot of podcasts start out small for years. As you start to get sponsorships and make money, reinvest and grow your podcast. Bring on guests, talk about new ideas, recent events, or whatever you’d like!
A dedicated audience will follow you right out of your college days and into the podcast’s continued success.