How to Record a Podcast: Advice from Your Friendly (but Haggard) Podcast Producer

how to record a podcast

Ahhhh podcasts… one of the easiest and hottest marketing tactics for today’s savviest content pros.

Want to expand your audience through a personable, informative, impactful, and entertaining medium that has very little start-up costs? Invest your time in podcasting! All you need is a computer with a working mic and you’re set!

WAIT.

Stop.

No.

Please.

Take it from this pleasantly haggard podcast producer that you need more than that.

Podcasting is only as successful as the time you spend on it. If you toss somebody on the line for a quick 30-minute chat about an upcoming book launch, one of two things will happen:

1. Nobody will listen to it.
2. People will start to listen to it, stop, and never come back for more because they’ve made up their mind about you already (and p.s. it’s not good).

If you want to make friends with your audience and the most important member of your crew (ahem… that would be your producer), then PLEASE listen up. I’m about to take you to podcast school to teach you how to record a podcast that leaves your audio shining and your audience coming back for more.

Shut the Dog Up

Most of us have dogs. They’re great. Soft, snuggly, fantastic floor cleaners—and they keep the robbers at bay. But unless properly corralled, they will keep your listeners at bay, too.

Animal sounds are extremely distracting and will yank your listener right out of the ~zone~, leaving them annoyed and uninvested in what you’re saying. Literally the exact opposite of what you want.

So take five, put the pup in another room, lock the cat in the garage, oil the hamster’s wheel, and put a blanket over the birdcage.

How to Record a Podcast: Advice from a Podcast Producer

If a pet (human or otherwise) makes a peep in the background, the best thing to do is pause for 3 seconds, do a quick countdown (3..2..(1)…) and start over again. Producers can work magic with audio editing but even the Harry Potter of Dolby Audio cannot untangle a dog bark from the middle of your words.

Stop (talking). Drop (a second). Roll (on).

Speaking of pausing and restarting…

When you find yourself tripping over your words or losing your train of thought (it happens to the best of us), the best remedy is to stop and start over again. There are a few reasons for this from a production perspective.

Pausing causes your voice inflection to reset which makes the audio roll along as if nothing had happened. If we have to cut you mid-phrase or right after a chuckle because that’s the cleanest spot, it will be an obvious edit that the audience can hear. The more bumps they hear, the more they pull their attention out of the podcast and the less likely they are to come back.

Most of us skim your audio files for obvious “oopsies.” Those pauses not only reset your voice but they act as a signal to us that something has gone sideways.
How to Record a Podcast: Advice from a Podcast Producer

And because money talks, if you keep rambling, it makes it very difficult for us to find a clean spot to cut. We end up spending more time on your audio which costs you more money per episode. The sooner you stop and start over, the sooner we are done editing.

Keep Walking

Another key to a quick and professional podcast is to stay on topic. Don’t lose sight of the task at hand.

There are two aspects of this: organizational and technical.

Organizational

Before hitting record you need to have four things on hand:

1. The topic/title of the episode
2. A list of questions
3. Your guest’s information (name, pronunciation, title, company)
4. A glass of water

It sounds simple but having these four things at the ready will make your recording run smooth like butter.

Keeping the topic or title up for reference will be your lifeline when the conversation meanders off-script. With a single glance, you can remember why you’re talking to this person and bring it back to center quickly. We will all thank you for this later.

How to Record a Podcast: Advice from a Podcast Producer

If you don’t know what to ask your guest, why are you talking to them? A list of questions ensures that you have thought through the conversation and that you have something to talk about when/if the natural flow of conversation stalls.

Mispronouncing your guest’s name is rude so… just don’t do that. And, lastly, water will keep you from coughing and rasping after 30 minutes of talking.

Technical

Listen. We all experience technical bumps in the road. It happens! But recover quickly and don’t mull over the why’s and how-to’s of the whole thing. Get that call back online, get that recording rolling, and KEEP GOING. Every second spent discussing the problem gets both you and your guest farther off track and it becomes harder and harder to pick that thread back up.

How to Record a Podcast: Advice from a Podcast Producer

Technical difficulties can throw anyone for a loop but they don’t have to derail your conversation. Keep that convo with your guest walking no matter what and the end result will be a comfortable and cohesive podcast.

Captain Obvious

A schooling on podcast do’s and don’ts wouldn’t be complete without a list of obvious worst-offenders. Here they are for your eye-rolling pleasure so I can sleep better at night knowing I left nothing to chance:

1. Don’t eat while podcasting. Save the snacks for later.
2. If you have long hair, put it up! Those lovely locks make not-so-lovely scratches on your mic.
3. Do you wiggle around while talking? Gesticulate wildly? Just make sure you stick close to the mic or you’ll take listeners’ ears on a roller coaster.
4. Try not to multi-task. We can all hear your typing and know you’re checking Facebook.
5. Turn off notifications on both your phone and computer.

How to Record a Podcast: Advice from a Podcast Producer

Yes! That’s it. With these tips and tricks, you can create a stellar podcast from scratch—and help your haggard podcast producer sleep a little better at night.

Now go forth and record!

Looking for more podcasting advice? Here are three different podcasting formats you should consider before you launch, how to find interview guests, tips on writing better show notes, plus how to create gorgeous cover art for your show.

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