When it comes to creating a successful podcast, it takes more than using a basic audio recorder and uploading it to SoundCloud. It requires strategic planning, quality equipment, engaging speakers, superior recording and editing software, appropriate space and knowledge of the best platforms to host your podcast. All of these requirements can be quite daunting when you start a podcast, but if you can get them right then you’ll quickly get your listeners. So, without further ado let’s get into the do’s and don’ts of creating the prefect podcast:
1. Room Setup
DON’T: Use a room that has glass walls and tables, wooden floors, hard unfurnished surfaces, in fact, the emptier the room feels, the worse it is for recording podcasts. If there are no soft furnishings, the sound waves from your voice will bounce around the room creating echoes within the space. If you’re outside, avoid noisy areas, crowded places, aircraft noises, or recording on a windy day, all these can have a lasting effect on your podcast.
DO: Get some sound soundproofing foam panels or if you don’t want to spend all that money, blankets and pillows will do just as well. Ensure to cover as many corners and walls in the room as possible. The idea is to stop vocal waves from bouncing off the wall and into your microphone. All this will prevent your room sounding as if you are recording in a bathroom.
DON’T: Use a basic device such as your phone to record audio, you will not have the best audio you could potentially achieve. Also, don’t think you can get away with basic earphones you use to listen to music on the way to and from work. You need to be able to hear the recorded audio without minor noises in the background. Hearing your true audio allows you to recognise mistakes before editing. I can recommend these: https://podcast.co/create/10-podcast-headphones. But if you have a pair of beats headphones lying around, they will be just fine.
DO: Invest in a good mixer. It can be used to eliminate minor sound problems, clean up tracks and any other problems that can commonly occur not to mention you can combine and modify sounds. You also need a laptop with an audio editing software installed. Which can be easily connected to the mixer via USB port.
Probably one of the most important things to have is the right microphone. Do make sure you know how to use them to get the best sound. I recommend checking out this blog to get advice on the right microphones: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/mic-need-professional-podcast-10-best-podcasting-microphones/119254/
Do: Use microphone pop filters that help soften popping sounds when the speaker uses “p” words. Would you believe, they also protect the microphone from rogue saliva to give your mics a longer lifespan. ATTENTION! It is important to ensure that when setting up the filter that it is in perfect line with your microphone, I would say around a closed fist distance away is a good reference. If your speaker sits too far away, their voice sounds fainter as if they are speaking from a great distance which is not what we want.
Don’t: Upload the audio straight to a hosting site. Also, don’t think you can get away without editing podcasts, there is always something you can tweak or add to make your recordings better from adding jingles to cutting out long pauses. There is always something that can be resolved.
Do: Have software that successfully captures your audio while recording your podcast. I personally use adobe audition. I love this software because not only does it capture audio it also allows you to edit and add other sounds to your track. It’s easy to use and doesn’t take long to become familiar with the user interface. If this is slightly out of budget, I would recommend “Audacity”, a free audio editor that is compatible with both Mac and Windows.
4. Being prepared
Don’t: ‘Wing it’. If you go in totally unprepared without a topic in mind or what type of questions to ask, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Even the most experience of talkers need a heads up and rough idea on what the podcast will be about. Be prepared for a lot of awkward silence, long pauses, ummms, ahhhs and who knows what else. Don’t mention any dates or years as this will limit the listening shelf life of your podcasts.
Also, do not over plan and script every word. A listener can tell if you are reading from a script. We want you to sound real and authentic like you’re having a conversation with the person next to you instead of sounding as if you are auditioning for your first play. Also, do not over talk each other, this is especially important if you only have one track for two or more audios. Editing will become tricky if one person makes a mistake when someone has made a valid point without losing both at once.
Do: Create a short intro jingle to give your podcast some branding. Make sure it is not too long, and then create a script to introduce the interviewer and guests, plus a little bit about what the podcast will cover. Remember, you want your listeners to listen for as long as possible, so make sure it stimulates some interest to keep them engaged.
Do a practice run, no need to record, this is just to get everyone warmed up for the actual recording. Take turns when speaking and make sure it’s not just one dominant voice through the entire podcast. After a question is asked don’t immediately answer, give the listener a chance to come up with an answer of their own to make them feel a part of the podcast. Also, make sure you thank your guests and most importantly your listeners for their time and being part of your podcast.
5. Uploading, sharing and getting traffic to your podcasts
Don’t: Think you can just upload your podcast to a hosting site and get plays immediately. Firstly, you need to get people to notice your podcasts even exists. Also, remember not all social platforms allow you to upload the full audio. You need to get creative on how to share your podcasts on social media while giving your listeners a small taster to get them interested.
DO: Have an account on a podcast distribution website. This is primarily the home of your podcasts, where people can view your entire playlists. Also, make sure you have an Apple ID for your podcasts so you can submit them to the Apple Podcasts Connect panel. iTunes is the biggest source for people to listen to podcasts. You can also interlink it to other platforms such as SoundCloud. The process happens when an RSS feed is generated from the hosting site, in our case SoundCloud, which then links to iTunes. You can even get your hosting site linked to Spotify and even YouTube! In simpler terms when you upload your podcast to SoundCloud it will automatically appear on your iTunes account.
To help draw in more listeners to your podcasts, include small soundbites. I usually include no more than 60 seconds of the podcast. The trick is to include a small part that makes the listener want more. It also helps tremendously if you have artwork to accompany the podcast with some branding to grab the attention of people scrolling through their social feeds. Don’t forget to include your call to action and point listeners to your podcast hosting site!
- Embedded players and links:
Be sure to include links to your podcast in whatever you do. This could be including a button link in your email signature, a dedicated podcast page on the company’s website with an embedded player. It’s all about thinking strategically on how you can get more plays from sources outside your hosting site.
Now, if you can nail everything in this article, you have the recipe for a successful podcast programme!
By Yvonne Eskenzi
Yvonne Eskenzi is Co-founder Director and Founder of Eskenzi PR.
It was Yvonne’s time at News International Exhibitions launching massive consumer shows that gave her the impetus to start her own business. Her first client was Reed Exhibitions, the owners of Infosecurity, who took her on for her golden touch at turning any new show she worked on into a success. It didn’t take long before the cybersecurity industry came knocking on her door to turn them into household names too, and so Eskenzi became known as “The Cybersecurity PR agency”. Helping more than 300 clients over the years, Yvonne has been described in PR Week as “the matriarch of technology PR – what Yvonne doesn’t know about PR or her security clients cannot be categorised,” they said. With one journalist quoted as saying “If you could clone Yvonne and her team then you could invade China.”
Yvonne had her proudest moment this year when the agency received the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for outstanding achievement in Export, which is the highest accolade a British company can receive. Yvonne and Neil were both invited to Buckingham Palace to receive their award.
When Yvonne’s not being a “PR professional” she’s usually renovating a house, designing the interiors, making pottery very badly and most importantly eating and drinking with her family and friends or travelling to far flung places. And of course she’s been known to have “no carbs before Marbs”, so she can hang out and behave very badly with her girlfriends.
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.