How to record a podcast – the stress-free way
If you’ve been thinking about starting a podcast but aren’t sure where to begin, then you’re in the right place. This article is designed to take you through all the necessary steps towards recording your podcast – from the basics of how to record a podcast to advertising and perfecting it.
If you’re here, then it’s probable that you’re aware of how important podcasts have become; they’re now an integral part of business strategy whether you’re a sole trader or a multi-million corporation.
Podcast stats for 2020 that you need if you want to know how to record a podcast brilliantly
Ambition is a great driving factor for many people looking to learn more about how to record a podcast. Here are some statistics to help you understand the most important benefits of starting a podcast.
- Since 2019, podcasts have been included in Google search results making it easier for you to reach a wider audience
- Podcast ad spending is forecast to hit $354 million this year
- Over half of podcast listeners say they’re more inclined to purchase from brands they hear advertised on podcasts (Edison Research)
- By 2021, podcast advertising revenue is expected to exceed $1 billion (IAB Podcast Ad Revenue Report)
- According to National Public Media, 75% of it’s listeners will take action after listening to sponsored content (National Public Media)
How to record a podcast at home, in your office or in a studio
Surprisingly, you don’t actually need a lot of very specialist equipment to record a decent podcast. Most people can organize a decent set-up in their spare bedroom or in a corner of their office.
Another positive is that a lot of very good software can be downloaded for free.
If you live in an area without a lot of noise pollution, you should be able to record a good quality audio without having to resort to heavy editing or spending a lot.
There’s no need to assume that a professional studio is needed at first – you can tap into a wide audience with limited equipment.
What software do I need to record a podcast?
At the top of everyone’s list of questions related to how to record a podcast is editing.
Editing software is a must. There will almost always be blips in your recording which can’t be left in. Whether it’s those sniffs, coughs or fumbles we’re all guilty of when talking at length or the outside influences that we can’t control such as traffic or even weather.
You don’t have to pay out a lot for good editing software though – some of the best are free. Here’s a list of the best free podcast software available.
- GarageBand – from Apple, this app “turns your iPad and iPhone into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio — so you can make music anywhere you go.”
- Audacity – Audacity is “an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.
Developed by a group of volunteers as open source.”
- Power Sound Editor – is “an all-in-one tool which enables audio enthusiasts to create, record and edit tracks within moments. It is not a very technical program, so it can be a welcome departure from more complicated software.”
- WavePad – is “a full-featured professional audio and music editor for Windows and Mac. Record and edit music, voice and other audio recordings.”
Some of these programs are more complex than others; Power Sound Editor is a great choice for the not-so-technical out there whereas Audacity offers more features so could be seen as a more comprehensive choice on one hand but overwhelming for beginners.
It’s best to read up a little on as many as possible and see which software speaks to you.
What about microphones?
You need one. Preferably a good one. A poor model will really affect your recording – besides, it’s nice to sit behind a swish looking microphone and feel like an old-time radio star! Who doesn’t enjoy using a bit of specialist equipment?
Saying that, if you’re strapped for cash and looking for answers on how to record a podcast for free, you can use your built-in microphone but the quality won’t be great. Here are some better options.
USB Microphone – connecting directly to your computer, they’re an inexpensive but effective way to record decent audio.
Dynamic Microphone – these are ‘dynamic’ because they focus only on the speaker’s voice and ignore other sounds such as distant chatter or even an opening door.
Condenser Microphone – these are the most professional option and are industry-standard. Sensitive without creating hiss, they’re great when there’s more than one speaker present.
How to plan and script a podcast
There’s merit in winging it for some podcasts but most require planning and some scripting. Let’s assume you know why you’re starting your podcast- it’s probably for business purposes. Even if it’s solely entertainment based, most podcasts are designed to bring some financial gain to the creators.
So you know why you’re recording a podcast – the question is, how do you make it happen? How do you get all of your ideas out of your head and into other people’s ears?
Begin by making a bullet-point list. This is your initial ideas list. Here you can get out all of those vague thoughts you’ve had related to your podcast planning.
Once you’ve done that, see which items on the list seem as though they could support a complete episode. Bearing in mind that the average podcast is 43 minutes long, is there enough material in each idea? Can you talk for that long?
If you think that your idea has merit but feel as though it’s not quite enough to sustain a complete episode, can you think about having someone else join in? Interviews can be valuable when it comes to increasing your audience and your material.
Script or no script?
Somewhere in between is probably best. Fully scripted podcasts can sound a little robotic. Natural conversation can be far more engaging than formal speech giving.
Write out the general direction you want each episode to take; make sure to include points you want to make and references you want to give.
Bullet-points can come in handy as you record so that you don’t lose your thread.
Consider the general tone of your podcast
Will it be humorous? Serious? Will you have lots of interviews with other industry members? Try to aim for a good balance of entertainment and information.
People love learning but they also love laughter. If you can get some light humor into your recordings then do it.
How to sound great on a podcast
It’s all very well launching a podcast but how do you sound? Most people hate the sound of their own voice when they hear themselves recorded. Why is that?
Mostly it’s the surprise of hearing your own tone and accent but there are other issues at play which can be fixed.
Slow right down
It’s easy to slip into garbled speech when you’re nervous. Usually this is because you’re trying so hard to get it all over and done with that you’re blundering on from point to point without breathing.
Make sure you’re sitting comfortably too – shifting about in your chair won’t add anything positive to your recording!
Think about what you’re saying as you say it – don’t be afraid to pause. One tip I learned when working in radio is that while there shouldn’t be too much ‘dead air’ in your recording, a little is natural and actually helps your listeners to process what they are hearing.
Don’t forget to breathe
Breathing is vitally important. Take a deep breath before you begin to record anything. Try to relax your shoulders and face – when you hold tension in your body, it comes out in your voice and you’ll sound stressed or anxious.
Your breath is what supports your voice much like your muscles support your limbs. If your breathing is shallow and fast, then your voice will show that – it will sound breathy and worried.
Breathe deeply. You’ll know when you’re breathing effectively because your ribs will move. If your chest is doing all the work then your breathing is too shallow. Get that air circulating around the full capacity of your lungs.
A good tip is to lie down on the floor in a warm room before you begin your recording and slow down your breath. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Don’t try to control your breath too much or you might panic – just concentrate on slowing it down and breathing more deeply.
Turn the volume up – or down
When we’re nervous we feel defensive of ourselves. This can result in speaking too softly or too loudly. Overly loud speech can come across as aggressive whilst very quiet speech is hard to concentrate on.
Try to moderate your volume; speak naturally and clearly. If you have an accent, be aware of it. You don’t have to try to wipe it out entirely, people enjoy hearing regional accents – just be sure you’re speaking clearly enough that certain words don’t get swallowed.
Even if you’re talking about serious matters, your voice should convey a positive attitude. Humans naturally prefer to listen to happy sounding voices. Keep it upbeat and energetic so that people feel invigorated when they’re listening to you. You can inspire more people with a cheerful voice.
If your voice is naturally downbeat, practice some physical activities before you begin your recording. A quick workout coupled with ten minutes listening to a comedian can do wonders for your energy levels.
Tell your story
Think of each and every podcast that you record as a story telling session. Stories have three parts; a beginning, a middle and an end. This structure is applicable not just to fairy tales but to movies, plays, novels, sitcoms, marketing strategies and yes, podcasts.
The beginning is the scene-setting. You can talk a little about what the episode is about, mention what you’re covering and then launch into the subject. The middle is the meat in the sandwich, it’s your most valuable content. The end is a round-up – it’s the conclusion of your episode and should finalize things for your listeners in a satisfying way.
Grab the best guests
Even if you’re not planning on a chat show format, renowned guests can have a hugely positive influence on your metrics. You’re going to double the audience with each guest you invite on to your show because their followers and fans will tune in.
Call in favors, network and push a little – it’s not difficult to snag some great guests and you don’t even need to be in the same country. With today’s technology it’s possible to use Zoom to collaborate.
How to launch a podcast successfully
Launching your podcast properly is vital to your future success. Try to record more than one episode in time for your launch. Listeners who like your content will almost always look for the next episode and they like it to be available. Sustaining interest means encouraging loyalty.
Get your podcast heard – submit to directories and aggregators
Sometimes referred to as a podcast catcher, an aggregator is basically an app that plays podcasts. The best known is Apple Podcasts which comes automatically with IOS but there are lots more – think of them like TV channels. A place that will host your podcast and make it more visible as well as accessible to your audience.
- Google Play
These are just a few – there are a lot out there and all have their strengths and weaknesses. For example Castro allow users a lot of control over what they see and when they see it, whilst Deezer is considered to be the Spotify of Europe – so if you want to reach a global audience, list your podcast here.
Interact with your listeners
Don’t be backwards in coming forwards – always ask your listeners to subscribe, ask them to share, and leave a review of your podcast at the start and end of every single episode.
Be authentic and not pushy. Be honest and explain that your podcast is new and more subscribers will help you to make better content.
Get to know your community
Other podcast creators can be very helpful so join communities and groups dedicated to improving the art. Here’s a few to try out.
Joining a community of other podcasters can be a valuable tool. It’s a way to learn new tricks, stay abreast of the latest trends and news on podcasting and as an important way to expand your network.
You may find people who you can invite on to your show or receive invitations for yourself.
Maximize your reach
Referencing a story or product? Always reach out to those people who are related to it as they will already have a vested interest in your show. Another easy way to boost your audience is to re purpose your podcast for YouTube.
It’s not hard to do – you’ll need to convert the MP3 audio file into an MP4 format. Then add a branded image that should show for the entirety of the video. Display notes and links to your website in addition to subscribe links to other listening platforms as well as social channels in the description.
Create a landing page for your podcast
This is quite important. Fill your landing page with all of the information people need to know about your podcast. Including a good, strong headline that illustrates the benefits of your show. Here’s a fictitious example for a podcast about the real estate market.
“Listen to an insider talk about what really matters when it comes to getting your property sold”
Then, a few clear paragraphs which describe who you are, your show and it’s endgame – what purpose does your show serve? Add a few reviews if you’ve got some and then some live links to the latest episodes. A subscribe button is the cherry on the cake.
Kick start your podcast
We understand that this is a lot of information to take in at once – if you’re only at the very start of your journey, remember that each step you take will bring you closer to launching your own successful podcast. Take it one step at a time.
Here are a few tips to get you started on creating a podcast.
- You probably already know your subject matter well, so begin your planning by listening to as many related podcasts as possible.
- What makes yours different? What makes it stand out from the crowd? That’s your power.
- Focus on your unique take on your subject matter and use that to leverage your audience.
If you’re short on time then consider Speedlancer’s Podcasting Team for support. You’ll get expert help in all aspects including music, editing, launching and syndication to name but a few.