The Mini-Blog feature is one I’m launching this summer while the rest of No Extra Words is on a reduced schedule: bite-sized blog posts that answer some of the questions I’m asked a lot while giving you lots of links. Look for them select Sundays in July and August.

The whole idea of podcasts feels daunting, but in simple terms it’s just audio done in episodes. You don’t have to know what technical stuff is working in the background, but you do need an app to listen. Many people use iTunes (on your iPhone, that’s the default Podcast app,) but you can also find podcasts using Google Play Music, Spotify, or a number of “podcatcher apps,” like Overcast, Podcast Addict, or Stitcher. Check your app store and try one. From a podcast app, you can search for podcasts, listen to select episodes of podcasts, or just hit subscribe and your app will automatically populate with episodes of shows you like (the quickest and easiest way to make sure you get all those new episodes right away.)

One awesome thing about podcasts is that anyone can produce one. Honestly. Anyone. Okay, there’s a little more technical setup than writing a blog, but not much. You don’t have to know exactly how the tech works, and if you want to keep it simple, your costs can be quite low (I started No Extra Words with a $10 mic, a $5/mo. podcast hosting plan, and a free website. I have since upgraded to an $80 mic.) As with anything out there, though, there’s a lot of advice and a lot of it’s bad.The good news is that some of my favorite podcasters have made a Podcasting 101 course and it’s free!

I am often asked what my favorite podcasts are, and the truth is that the answer has changed a lot since I started listening to podcasts in 2008. I have been really into indie podcasts and fewer NPR shows lately. I love The History Chicks, a great take on women in history, She Podcasts, which is about podcasting and so much more, and I recently discovered Write Now with Sarah Werner, which I’m really enjoying. I also recommend The Wisest, which is the coolest interview show out there IMHO and although she hasn’t come out with a new episode in a long time, First Day Back has to be one of my favorite podcasts ever. (Note: I’m giving you iTunes links for these show because that’s where most people listen. If you don’t listen in iTunes, don’t worry…you can search for any of these shows in a podcast app of your choice.) The great news is that if you don’t like what I like, there are thousands of podcasts out there waiting for you, and all for free. I started podcasting because I love podcasts and I’m happy to say a year into the podcasting scene, I still do.

Happy listening,