There are literally millions of podcasts on the market, with new episodes being released every day. It begs the question: how do these podcast hosts stand out from the pack? What’s the secret sauce that makes a successful podcast successful? Is it the size of the audience or the revenue it generates? The answers to these questions will vary from host to host, but there are two surefire ways to prime your podcast for success: planning and preparation. With so many resources available, it can be hard to know where to start, especially for beginners. If you’re in the market for practical tips and proven strategies to streamline your podcast production workflow, look no further. WriteForMe has got you covered.
From planning and recording to editing and production, there are tons of ways to optimize your workflow to produce high-quality episodes more efficiently. Implementing these podcast tips will empower you to save time, reduce workload, and improve the overall quality of your podcast in no time.
Podcast Planning and Pre-Production
Check Recording Equipment
Have you ever gone on a trip and realized you forgot to pack something? Realizing that your recording equipment isn’t functioning properly right when you’re to hit ‘record’ feels very much the same. Planning ahead can help avoid embarrassment with spotlighted guests and wasted time.
Moreover, your podcasting equipment doesn’t have to be top-of-the-line when you’re first starting out. It simply has to be quality enough to get the job done without posing distractions to your audience. When it comes to mics, you can use your headphones (if the mic quality is good), or use a USB mic or XLR mic. USB mics tend to be more affordable. XLR mics tend to last longer but they’re also a bit more expensive for beginner podcasters who might not have the budget.
A commonly overlooked piece of podcast production equipment is a pop filter. Ever listen to a recording and you can hear every pop of certain letter sounds? A pop filter can reduce these distractions so that words that start with letters like ‘b’ or ‘p’ will sound more natural.
Understandably, it can be tempting to skimp a little too much on podcast equipment just to get started. Note that while we’re advocating for not postponing your podcast dreams just because of budget concerns, we’re also not suggesting that you settle altogether. Start with what you can realistically afford (without sacrificing too much quality), and plan ahead to see how you can economically improve the quality of your equipment over time.
Since podcasts fundamentally rely on sound, prioritize investing in a killer microphone rather than a sound effect machine if you can’t both. You know it as well as we do: no one’s sticking around to listen to nails on a chalkboard for an hour. Invest accordingly!
Choose an Area or Room With Good Lighting (And No Distractions!)
Just because podcasts rely mostly on sound, that doesn’t mean location isn’t important, too. Choosing a good location for your podcast production directly impacts your ability to produce a high-quality podcast. Choose an area or room with the right amount of lighting and minimal to no distractions. This way, you can create a comfortable and focused environment for your podcast for you and your audience.
Selecting an area or room that is free from noise or distractions helps to ensure crystal-clear audio and a good podcasting experience. This is so important because even if your content is relevant and engaging, people might not come back if the audio or visuals are distorted and distracting.
What makes one location better than another? Here are some podcast tips to consider:
- Noise Levels: Avoid rooms that you already know are prone to noise. Not sure? Try doing an unrelated, quiet task in the area. If you get distracted by the noise, it might be time to choose a new location.
- Room Size: Choose a space that is full but not cluttered. Empty or large spaces prompt more echoes, after all. Having a few objects of various sizes in the room will help reduce this.
- Window Proximity: Although windows provide great natural light, try to keep a reasonable distance. Being too close can allow outside noises to seep into the background of your podcast and distract both you and the audience.
Create a Production Checklist
Having all of your equipment together is one thing, keeping it organized is another. Everything should be easily accessible and ready to set up without difficulty. This makes for an optimal pre-production/production experience.
One way to do this is by streamlining your recording sessions before you start. Try using a pre-production checklist. A well-thought-out checklist can ensure that all equipment and materials are prepared and ready to go. No last-minute rushing around before you have to get behind the mic.
Proper planning can boost your self-confidence when you go to hit ‘record’, which will ultimately elevate the quality of your conversation and how your message is received.
Here are some things to consider when creating your podcast production checklist:
Intentions and Goals
While some more free-flowing podcasts amass huge audiences, all podcasts must still have some kind of objective in mind. What are you hoping to accomplish with this week’s conversation? What value do you want your audience to gain from it? Determining this will help you to choose your topics, flow, and episode length.
Research, Planning, and Materials
Are any articles or media needed that support your podcast? Brainstorm interview questions and have a general idea of the flow. If necessary, write a script, or basic outline (bullet points work, too!) to stay on track and include your resources.
Where will the session take place? Choose one where you have the most control over noise levels. If you are using a location you’ve never been to, plan to scope out the site beforehand and see if any noise reduction methods are needed.
Scheduling miscommunications are a dime a dozen. Confirm the date and time of each scheduled podcast with your spotlighted guest and build your team around that schedule. Schedule ahead any calendar invites, emails, and notifications to everyone involved and determine how you will keep them up to date.
Now that you’ve got your equipment together, it’s time to ensure you have everything set up for your specific recording times and locations. A recording at your home office might look different than one recorded live or at a guest host’s location. Include all audio equity and software or applications for recording. Have a backup if possible of critical equipment just in case, or at least know where you can get some on short notice.
Now that you’ve thought about how you want your podcast to be formatted, your audience, location, and all the equipment needed to make it happen, now all you need to do is make it happen! A big part of that is the actual production and editing.
Podcast Production and Editing Tips
Streamlining your workflow during the production and editing phase helps to make your experience easier, leaving you with more energy to engage your audience. Think about the pace you want your podcast to have so that your production efforts can support this. Do some research ahead of time about any shortcuts for editing software to edit your sessions more efficiently. Over time, you’ll get a feel of any plugins or presets that you like and can even create your own.
If this is your first podcast, breathe! You don’t need to put so much pressure on yourself. Try a soft launch instead with podcast trailers to further ease this anxiety. This helps to build interest with your niche audience. It can also reveal anything you may have missed in preplanning.
And of course, don’t go at it alone! If you’re comfortable with doing this in the beginning, then lean into that, but it’s important to know your strengths. Find people to outsource specific tasks like editing and double-down on creating a cohesive wardrobe.
After you get through the podcast intro, the next impression your audience has of your podcast is you! Dressing appropriately for your recording session majorly impacts the feel you give your audience and how they can relate to you.
If your podcast is more casual, it wouldn’t make sense to show up in a suit (unless you’re doing so ironically, of course). Generally, though, try on a thoughtfully put-together shirt and bottom set for size.
It can also help you feel more confident and professional. Whatever you wear should be well fitting and not distracting, especially if you will be on camera. You’ll want to avoid any potential wardrobe malfunctions. By minimizing distractions for yourself, you minimize them for your audience too. This includes avoiding clothing or accessories that are overly noisy.
Need some tips on how to look and feel your best for your next podcast production? Keep these in mind:
- Noise and comfort: Clothing should be quiet and comfortable. Whether that’s business formal or boho chic, what you wear matters. Ensure that you can breathe comfortably and that your accessories don’t jingle when you move.
- Minimal to mild fragrances: This is particularly important if you’re co-hosting or are in a small room. As you get into a podcast, your natural body heat may draw out the fragrance. This can be overwhelming to the senses for some. Aim for a light or neutral fragrance, or none if you feel comfortable. And if you choose to use a fragrance, don’t apply it in the studio as it can damage podcasting equipment.
- Stationary jewelry: If you choose to wear jewelry, choose something that doesn’t move. Post earrings or a well-fitting watch can compliment your outfit nicely without the jingle and jangle that many items have. It may seem excessive, but microphones are very sensitive and can pick up the slightest noise–yet another distraction.
- Hydrate: This may require a bathroom break beforehand, but it’s helpful to hydrate before you get on set. After talking for a while, your mouth can get dry. If you are adequately hydrated, you can avoid sips in between the conversation and minimize unnecessary editing.
Check Recording Software/Platform
As with anything in life, expect the unexpected. Sure, chances are things will go smoothly, but it doesn’t hurt to check your recording software or platforms. This includes reviewing your plugins, presets, and audio tests. It’s also helpful to double-check your internet connection and leave adequate time for troubleshooting.
Choose reliable podcast production software to record with. There are multiple options from cloud services to software applications. What matters most is that it’s a tried and tested option. Don’t try new software right before a recording session. Instead, set time aside to play around with it and make sure it works how you want it to.
Have a backup plan in place if your go-to options don’t work initially. Consider using a mobile hotspot if your internet connection is faulty. If you have software that requires updates, plan ahead by installing updates ahead of time so that the update process or bugs don’t hamper your recording session.
A helpful way to check is to do a test episode. Simply record a test episode and upload it to your chosen platform. Listen back to it for any sound issues or unexpected production errors. If you’re unsure, ask someone you trust to listen to the episode and give you feedback.
Organize Audio Clips and Channels
In addition to organizing your show and equipment, you’ll also need to organize its audio clips and channels. Having these organized channels allows your production to have maximum impact and quality. Thoughtfully label and categorize your audio files in a way that’s easy to understand so you can easily locate every piece of content. This lets you streamline the editing process and workflow.
Organizing these two elements helps you create a polished final product. You balance levels and mix audio effectively without chasing around the files that you need. This saves you time without pushing back episode release dates.
Review The Recorded Session
Now that you’ve got fresh content, you must review the recorded session. You can check for the obvious elements, like if the session meets your intentions and goals. Also, keep in mind any issues like sound quality or excessive buffering. Listen to it once before editing to make note of any background noise, gaps in the conversation, or visuals that should be edited out.
It’s always a good idea to give the raw media a once over before putting it out into the world. Be thorough and review the entire recording to make sure it’s cohesive. You can also reorder the sequence of any tracks. Reviewing your recording in its entirety can also help you see how to refine your recording and editing in the long term.
Proper Recording and Editing
Two majorly impactful elements of efficient podcast production are recording and editing. Consider how your audio sounds. No doubt, the sound quality can make or break the ease and success of your editing process.
Planning, Listening, and Editing
Make things easier on yourself by using well-thought-out and executed planning. This gives you a better idea of how to prepare and what equipment to use.
Keep in mind that recording and editing may take longer than you think. When you record an episode, you don’t just jump in. You set up, get more acquainted with your guest or cohost if you have one, and then get things going. Before you begin you may even go over any points you’d like to talk about or general expectations.
Your recording session also doesn't stop once you hit stop. If you have a guest, you may review any next steps in your podcasting process, or choose to go back over some discussion points you may have missed.
Since editing requires listening to individual sound clips and adjusting them, it can take far longer than even recording the episode. Rest assured you’ll get faster over time as you get comfortable with the editing process and software.
Take Your Time And be Efficient
With the many demands that life places on us, it can be easy to want to cut corners and just get something released. Don’t! Slow down and think things through. Well-thought-out planning makes the podcast workflow preparation process invariably easier. You can then record with ease, minimize takes, and let your equipment shine. Delivering the crisp audio and sound experience your audience deserves from the jump will ultimately save you hours of work and keep them coming back for more.
Ready, Set, Record! Go Maximize Your Podcast.
Podcast production is a great way to build credibility, maximize your reach, and keep your audience in the know. Bloggers, non-profits, businesses, and more can all benefit from exploring this digital content. So, why not do so efficiently and strategically?
Developing a podcasting strategy is an important part of content marketing, but it sure isn’t easy. With WriteForMe, you never have to go it alone. Sign up for a customized free playbook packed with new ideas for podcast organization, scheduling, and content creation today!
Have questions on how to get started with podcast production, podcast tips, or how to use podcasting to elevate your unique brand? Great, that’s exactly what we do! Contact us today!