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Legal Podcasts: Guide and Resources: How To

Guide to podcasting

Image of a microphone next to a gold coloured laptop

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Contact library staff in the first instance. They will point you to relevant guides or find an IT Librarian who will give you help and advice.

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This guide is intended to assist users who wish to create online content in the form of a podcast.  Creating a podcast is simple, fast and easy using everyday technology such as laptops, phones or tablets.  The emphasis is on  what you have at hand to produce outputs but will refer a few features that you might find handy for other projects.


Who is this Guide for?

This guide is primarily for academics, students, librarians or support staff, in fact anyone who wants to produce a podcast.  The accompanying directory of podcast relating to the legal profession is for anyone interested in the law, legal study or careers in the legal profession.


Why Podcast? 

Creating a podcasting enables the creator to:

Image of the tick symbolExplore topics to aid research
Image of the tick symbolReach a wider audience 
Image of the tick symbolEncourage engagement
Image of the tick symbolImpart experiences

What is a Podcast?


Historically podcasts were audio broadcasts, produced for the Internet or radio which could be downloaded to devices such as MP3 players.  Most podcasts were episodic and/or focused on a particular topic.  An accompanying RSS feed ensured the latest episode was always available to the end user.

Later developments included streaming services and apps that enabled podcasts to be downloaded to phones, laptops or tablets, In 2005, Apple added podcasts to iTunes.

Nowadays podcasts content consists of  audio, video, or  a mixture of both.  You can find a host of podcast on the School of Advanced Study YouTube channel, including the IALS PhD Masterclass Podcast Series.


Image of a yellow question mark enclosed in a blue trapezoid shaped box Blogging? Vlogging? Podcasting? What's the Difference?



Written records of thoughts and opinions accessed via an Internet website.  


Recorded thoughts and opinions accessed via the Internet.  Uses audio and video in their creation, hence the term Vlog.   Vlogs are hosted on a website or 3rd-party video sites such as YouTube or Vimeo.  Social medial apps such as Instagram are also used for vlog series.


Discursive recordings on topics or subjects; usually episodic in content with one or more presenters.  Uses audio and video although originally audio only.

The subject will determine suitability for a podcast. For example you might want to document your experiences studying for an LLM in London in a regular blog post, but reserve short discussions with other students highlighting their experiences of study for an audio/video podcast series.

Steps to Podcasting


Before You Start


1. Prepare

First things first, sort out your hardware and software. Work out what you will need to use, eg. Will you edit as well as give the demo/presentation? Are you just interested video content? Will you use just audio? Once you have decided, see what you already have access to.  For example, your university or college may already be using Microsoft Teams or Panopto.  If not, assess what you need and install the appropriate software.


2. Work Out What You Want to Achieve

Come up with a plan and stick to it. Podcasts can include demonstrations, presentations or discussions with one or more individuals, so planning is essential. Write a short script and get the sequencing right.  This will help with timings.


3. Get Permission 

If you are planning to demo software, use images or sound recordings make sure you have permission to do so. Also if you have a guest speaker or speakers, get  their written consent before uploading your podcast.  


4. Prototype

Prototype first (even in a small way).  This will make sure that the podcast flows and that you have enough content.   A storyboard comes in quite handy especially if your podcast includes visual contents, for example a demonstration on how to use a library catalogue or legal database.


5. Find a Content Host

Where will your content live? If you are an academic or student then the likely home will be your university website or approved 3rd party host via your university or college.  


Image of a white letter i enclosed by an orange circle indicating informationHints & Tips


Podcasts are easy to produce once you get the hang of it. Production becomes quicker;  after the first podcast, you should have a structure, both of content and way of working which can be applied to subsequent podcasts.

Don’t Underestimate the Time 

A short screen capture can take hours to perfect; editing, an entire afternoon.  Don't underestimate the time it takes for production.  Try, if possible to delegate if a task takes you too long.  For example,  if you like the presenting and production but don’t like editing, ask a friend, colleague or IT buddy to help with editing.

Sound Quality is Important  

Drilling in the background never makes for a good recording. If sound is an issue, invest in a new microphone, or wait until you have a quieter moment. Alternatively find a quiet spot and experiment with some impromptu sound proofing using cushions, throws or even the odd cardboard box.

Storyboard so Content Flows

 It never works to podcast on the fly.  The result will be disjointed or hesitant.  Even if you know the content will be edited, take the time to work out what needs to be done before you begin the edit.

Make Your Podcast as Accessible as Possible

To make accessible: add captions, include a transcript of the text, give detailed explanations of images and screen casts.  Podcasts should be designed to be inclusive, not exclusive.


Engage with social media to promote your podcasts.  This will help build a following, and help you to assess the success of your podcast series.