Guest post from Mackenzie Patterson from Quill, Inc.
It’s no secret that the pandemic brought with it a whole slew of challenges for individuals and businesses alike. However, it would also be fair to say it made some aspects of the working world easier and more streamlined, while accelerating the remote work revolution at top speed.
When it comes to podcast production, the pandemic has resulted in a mixed bag of changes to the industry—some good, and some, well, not so good. While an increase in the use of video conferencing tools has made it easier than ever to connect with like-minded creatives and people working in your industry without having to fly across the country, social distancing restrictions have also made it more challenging to connect and collaborate in person, which can be a detriment to the creative process for obvious reasons.
With major revolutions happening in almost every industry, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse so you can stay current and take advantage of all the technological advances at your disposal. If you’re just starting a podcast and want to set yourself up for success, use the tips below as your comprehensive guide to podcasting:
Plan, plan, then plan some more
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity, so take all the time you need to brainstorm, ideate and create comprehensive outlines in advance of recording. Here are some tips for the pre-pre work that should be done before you even look at a microphone:
- Not only is it a great idea to plan out each episode in as much detail as possible before you record it, but it can also be hugely beneficial to engage in a few general brainstorming sessions with your team or trusted colleagues to determine the theme of your podcast, what it’s really about and the core message you’re trying to convey.
- Aligning on the overall theme of your podcast is essential because specific episode ideas will flow much easier from forming that initial strong foundation. The key to landing on the ideal underlying theme for your podcast is to ensure it revolves around interesting content that can be seamlessly tied back to your business without sounding like an infomercial for your products and services.
- Try drafting a mission statement for your podcast that serves as an anchor for every episode and piece of content you release. It can be similar to your business’s mission statement, but specific to the podcast so you can stay focused on what you’re trying to accomplish through the medium.
Once you’ve aligned on the overall theme and purpose behind your podcast, it’s time to start planning your episodes. Here are some tips for this part of the process:
- Before you start drafting a script, consider which format will be the best fit for your content theme and business. For example, a solo, narrative approach could work for a detective looking to engage an audience with true crime stories from their career, while a travel expert may want to go with something more advice-oriented like a list of tips for traveling to Europe.
- While the interview format may be the current go-to episode format for most podcasters, consider stepping away from this to try something more engaging. For example, you could try a documentary style or a compilation of the most impactful lessons you’ve learned throughout your career.
- If you do decide to go the guest route, take the time to source guests who are interesting, credible, engaging and somehow related to your field or topic. Finding the right guests can make or break a show, so do your homework and vet potential guests before reaching out to them. See if you can find a video or audio recording of them speaking to make sure they’re someone your audience will be able to connect with easily.
- When it comes to the nitty gritty of getting organized before an episode, make sure you’re adequately prepped in advance so you don’t waste time or resources. For example, make sure you’ve drafted a script or at least a rough outline of the points you want to cover, all your tech is charged and ready to go, and you have a quiet space to record (more on this later!).
If you’re planning on recording a podcast episode from home, the first item on your to-do list should be taking stock of the equipment you have and determining the tech items you’ll need to order. Whether you’re going for a super simple solo setup or an elaborate, professional studio-style arrangement, you’ll need at least one or two pieces of equipment to record your podcast with. Below is a list of items you may want to consider purchasing or borrowing for your recording session:
- A microphone. From mini USB mics to blue yetis, there are quite a few microphone options on the market to choose from. Select one that fits your budget and your needs so you can make sure your sound quality is top notch.
- Headphones. If you’re going to be recording a podcast remotely, headphones are pretty crucial, especially if you’re interviewing guests (no one likes an annoying echoing sound!). Feel free to use your average pair of earbuds, or go all out on a fancy set of sound isolating headphones.
- A computer. It’s pretty much a given that you’ll need a computer to record and edit your podcast. But you’ll also want to make sure you have enough storage space on your hard drive before you start recording, and that you have some sort of editing software installed like Adobe Audition.
You’ll also want to decide how to host and distribute your podcasts. Check out Podbean’s Enterprise Podcast Hosting for a full suite of corporate podcast hosting and management tools.
Make use of handy recording tools
There’s no worse feeling than conducting a stellar interview, only to later find you weren’t recording it properly. If you’re planning on interviewing a guest on your podcast, there are a few options you can choose from to make sure you’re creating a trustworthy audio recording:
- SquadCast. This easy-to-use platform allows you to record your conversations to create professional-level podcast episodes. For just $20, you can record five conversations a month, and all you and your guest need is a Google Chrome browser.
- Riverside. With this tool, you can record studio-quality podcasts or video interviews using just your desktop browser, which means you don’t have to fuss with any extra apps or plugins. Riverside is used by big name brands like Disney and Spotify, so you can rest assured you’re in good hands.
- Cleanfeed. Also operating from your browser, Cleanfeed is another great option if you’re looking for a recording platform that’s easy and intuitive, but doesn’t skimp on quality.
- Podbean Live. If you’re looking for a simple recording option or to be more candid and interactive with your audience, you may want to consider Podbean Live. With Podbean Live, you can get started in just a few minutes, invite people to speak, take calls and chat with listeners to represent multiple voices and perspectives in your community without anyone having to leave home! You can use Unlisted Mode for private recordings and simply invite co-hosts and guests to join you with a link. Podbean Live automatically records your session, for direct upload to Podbean or to download for post-production and upload to your platform of choice.
Take it seriously
While podcasting from home may feel unofficial, it’s all about creating a dedicated time and space so you can get in the right frame of mind to record. Even though you may not be in the office or a fancy studio space, it’s still important to schedule time in advance to record, create episode plans and if you can, prepare a separate physical space where you can record without being disturbed.
Creating the right environment and setting the tone for your podcast can go a long way in helping you get one step closer to being a pro. Here are some steps you can take to make your podcasting routine feel official and run as smoothly as possible:
- Use Google Workspace or Outlook to schedule recording sessions and book time with guests. When scheduling time with guests, things can get lost in translation easily, especially if they’re living in a different time zone. Be sure to stay in communication with your guests to ensure you’re on the same page and you don’t waste your time or theirs.
- Designate a space in your home (no matter how small) as your podcasting nook. Even if you live in a studio apartment, try to designate a specific spot to use as your podcasting space. It should be quiet, comfortable and inspiring, so feel free to decorate it with motivating, on-topic visuals or soundproof it DIY-style using blankets or mats. Or, if you’re feeling really motivated, you can purchase a nifty soundproof recording booth for your bedroom (just don’t blame us if your spouse complains…)
- Plan your episodes in advance. If you’re speaking with a guest, it goes without saying that you’ll want to prepare some questions or at least conversation prompts beforehand. Likewise, if you’re recording solo, try to take a couple minutes beforehand to jot down the ideas and key points you want to touch on. Even if you’re an intuitive, off-the-cuff kind of podcaster, taking a moment to organize your thoughts before you hit record can pay dividends when it comes to the finished product.
When it comes to podcasting, the post-production phase is your BFF. It gives you a chance to clean up any mistakes or audio errors, add music and sound effects and overall, make the episode sound more professional, clean and engaging.
Here are some post-production tips you can follow from anywhere with a wifi connection:
- Leverage music to bump up the energy of your episode and engage listeners. Premium Beat by Shutterstock gives you access to an exclusive music library full of great tracks curated by experts. At a cost of $12.99 for five tracks per month, you can’t go wrong.
- Need some more hands-on assistance? Hire an agency to help! At Quill, we’re here to support podcasters with all their needs, whether through our in-house corporate podcast agency or our network of freelancers.
About the Author
Mackenzie Patterson is Quill Inc.’s digital content strategist.
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