How to build a profitable podcast.
Before we jump into the tips... let's get clear on what we mean by podcast production...
You see, it's actually much more simple than it seems.
We simply mean producing audio content that your customers would want to listen to, it really is that simple.
Learning how to produce a podcast can seem like an elusive skill that requires years of training before you can begin to take action.
Thankfully, this is NOT the case.
Podcast production doesn’t have to be daunting, and you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on equipment or training before you start.
Before you grab your microphone and start recording, take some time to learn how to record, edit, and export a podcast that sounds as good as it looks. You don’t want to waste time or wind up with a poor-quality product.
This guide gives you 27 insanely valuable tips for podcast production that will make the entire process easier and more enjoyable from start to finish.
Let's get started...
The goal of pre-production is to have everything in place before you start recording. Doing a thorough pre-production job can make your life easier during production and editing and give you higher quality audio.
Here are a few things to check off before you hit the record button;
Get together all of your microphones, headphones, cables, adapters, and anything necessary to complete your podcast setup. Make sure they’re all charged up or working correctly.
Test each piece of equipment before using it on your actual podcast recording day. You want to know how it sounds with your voice and how easy it is to operate. Also, figure out where you’ll store them, so they don’t get lost when not in use.
We will talk about the actual kinds of equipment you need to start and record your podcast in the subsequent section.
While many people start podcasts with a specific topic in mind, others find success by simply talking about whatever interests them.
Either way, make sure you know what you’re going to talk about before hitting the record — you don’t want to waste time dicking around when you could be getting content out there! And if it's a video show and you are wondering what you should wear.
It doesn’t matter too much what you wear when recording your podcast—just make sure it isn’t distracting.
It may seem silly to practice reading a script.
Still, many podcasters find that if they rehearse their material ahead of time, it flows more naturally once they begin recording – this can save you from awkward pauses or forgetting important points while recording.
Be careful, though—over-practising might lead to memorising lines which aren’t ideal either.
Before hitting the record, think about who your audience is and how they might react to certain parts of your podcast.
Keep these thoughts in mind as you go through each section of your script. Have fun! It should be fun! Even if it feels like work, try to keep things light and enjoyable. Remember why you started doing podcasts in the first place.
When you’re ready to hit a record, double-check that everything is set up correctly and just do it! Don’t overthink it; just let yourself talk naturally.
Side note: Try not to worry too much about getting every word perfect because having some umms and ahhs often makes people feel more comfortable listening to your podcast. We will touch more on that subsequently.
The best place to record a podcast is in a professional recording studio. However, these studios can be costly, so most podcasters record in their own homes or other places that they can control.
It is essential to make sure that you are recording in a quiet environment and can control noise levels such as echoes and traffic noise.
The microphone should be placed approximately 1-2 feet away from your mouth with no echoes behind you.
If possible, try to use headphones rather than speakers. It will help eliminate any background noises caused by outside sources.
If you do not have access to a professional recording studio like we previously mentioned, consider using an app on your phone like Audacity or GarageBand.
These apps will allow you to edit out any background noises easily and can give your podcast a more professional sound quality.
The length of your podcast will depend on what type of content you are producing.
Typically, most podcasts range anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
A good rule of thumb is to keep it under 45 minutes if you want people to listen all the way through.
Anything longer may cause listeners to lose interest and stop listening before finishing your entire podcast episode.
You can record a podcast with just about any recording device; however, if you plan to record at a recording studio and want a great sounding podcast. In that case, there are many different microphones and audio editing software packages available for free and some for purchase, depending on your budget.
Depending on where you plan to record your podcast, you will need different types of equipment. If you plan to record at home or another location that does not have professional equipment available, then a simple USB microphone and computer would suffice.
Here’s what you’ll need:
A Computer — The most important thing you need to record a podcast is a computer (or other digital devices) capable of recording audio. You don’t need anything fancy, but it needs to be able to plug into your microphone. Look for something with at least 4 GB of RAM and plenty of disk space.
An Internet Connection — Many podcasters like to record their podcasts in front of a live audience, so having an internet connection is essential.
Microphone — Most computers have built-in microphones that are fine for casual use, but you'll need an external mic if you want your podcast to sound professional. There are tons of options, from USB mics that connect directly to your computer to large condenser mics meant for studios.
Headphones or Speakers — If you plan on recording solo podcasts, headphones will work just fine; otherwise, you’ll need speakers or a mixing board.
Recording Software will help turn your raw audio files into a polished podcast. GarageBand comes preinstalled on Macs, while Windows users have Audacity. Other popular choices include Adobe Audition and Logic Pro X.
Editing Software — Once you’ve recorded your podcast, you’ll need editing software to trim down your episodes and add intro/outro music/voices/etc.
Recording your podcast is much easier if you take care of a few details ahead of time. There are many different ways to achieve successful recording sessions for a podcasting setup, location, and process.
If you want your audience to feel right in front of you at a live event—which is often best achieved through studio recording—consider using high-quality headphones or headsets when talking into your microphone.
It will help eliminate background noise while also providing clear audio quality.
However, if you’d rather have listeners hear more of what’s happening around you during an interview or other podcast segment, consider getting a lavalier mic that clips onto your shirt to pick up sounds from your environment instead.
If you plan to use guests on your show, make sure of time for pre-production prep with each guest before their episode airs.
Because each guest offers their perspective and experience level—ranging from no previous podcast experience to seasoned podcasters themselves.
It’s essential to understand what they need and expect before their episode goes live so that everyone can be satisfied with how it turned out.
For example, if a guest is a professional who has previously appeared on many podcasts. In that case, you might want to check in ahead of time about any requirements or preferences they have regarding format or recording equipment.
Or if a first-time guest is nervous about being interviewed by someone they don’t know very well. Consider scheduling some additional time during their interview to get to know them better as a person and help them feel more comfortable in front of an audience.
There are two main ways to make your podcast sound professional: Invest in a good microphone and know how to use it, or invest in one of these podcast production companies.
Since you have just started, let us focus on the former.
If you want something more advanced, check out Adobe Audition. After recording an episode of your podcast, listen back to it—and don’t be afraid to ask someone else for their opinion. It might not be perfect yet, but the chances are that you’ll hear some things you can improve on next time around.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost much money to get started. Many people set out to create podcasts, but a steep learning curve is involved. You need basic audio editing skills, plus enough knowledge to pick equipment that will give you good results without breaking your budget. And if you already own a computer and an Internet connection, all you need are some free tools and some time to practice.
There are two main types of microphones: dynamic and condenser. Here are some tips to help make sure your podcast sounds as professional as possible:
Dynamic mics tend to be less expensive, making more background noise than condensers. Condenser mics tend to be more sensitive and can capture a broader range of frequencies, but they’re also more expensive—and they require an external power source (such as a phantom power supply) to work correctly.
The type you choose will depend on your budget, recording, and what you want your final product to sound. If you don’t have much money, go with a dynamic mic. It will get you started without breaking your bank account.
And if you decide podcasting is something that fits into your long-term plans, then it might make sense to invest in a condenser mic later on down the road. Just focus on getting good audio quality from whatever equipment you have available.
Not really; as long as you have your laptop with an inbuilt microphone, a stable internet connection, and a soundproof spot for recording, you can get an explicit sounding podcast.
You need to also get recording and editing software on your computers like Audacity or Garageband. As your show progresses, you can consider buying better equipment.
Many people like to edit out ums and ahs—and even sometimes other mistakes—from their podcast episodes. But while it might sound good to remove these, there are some reasons you should avoid doing so.
If you’re looking to improve your podcast, try recording multiple takes of each episode instead of constantly editing. It will allow you to become more comfortable speaking on-air, one of the most critical aspects of successful podcasts.
Be that as it may, use automatic um removal software if you want to edit. However, it won’t work perfectly every time. It will help you create a more professional-sounding podcast without changing your voice's authenticity.
Timing is everything when it comes to podcasting. Think about when your listeners are most likely to listen and time your episodes to release in advance of those times. Doing so will help you drive downloads and build a loyal following—the key to building an audience with any podcast.
If you’re just starting, don’t worry too much about timing. Consistency is one of the most significant factors driving organic growth on social media. The more consistent you publish new episodes, the better chance you can grow an audience.
For most acclaimed podcasters, uploading during the evening and very early in the morning when people are just starting their day are a great time to drive people to your show and stay focused to listen to you.
Most people enjoy listening to podcasts on their commute to work or when they close from work, and usually, these are early in the morning or late in the evening, except they are running shifts and have to be at work in the afternoon.
Nevertheless, evening and morning are extraordinary times. You can experiment different times with your first few episodes and see what works best for your audience.
While there are no hard-and-fast rules here, consider these guidelines:
Publish on major podcast agencies like Fame, bCast, Apple podcasts, and Google podcasts if you want to focus on creating a community around audio.
Publish on YouTube if you want people who watch video content to see your show. If you’re unsure where to start, we recommend using both platforms.
You can post your podcast as a video on YouTube and add an audio file. That way, viewers can choose whether they want to watch or listen!
You may be squandering a great deal of opportunity if you’re posting once per month or even every two weeks. Be sure to post on a regular schedule so that people know what to expect from your podcast and don’t forget about it.
Try setting up a schedule so that new episodes go live on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. That will help drive subscribers in your direction all week long.
Frequency is critical when it comes to releasing new episodes of your podcast. Some creators aim for weekly releases, while others go daily or multiple times per day. Experiment with different frequencies and see what works best for you!
You can also try taking advantage of other holidays or special occasions by creating themed episodes. For example, if Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, you could make an episode featuring love songs and romantic poetry. Or maybe Easter is around the corner? Consider doing an episode with Easter-themed stories for kids. The possibilities are endless!
Just make sure that you have enough content to fill out these types of episodes without relying too heavily on filler content. It’s always better to have more than less when recording and release times.
As far as frequency goes, try scheduling out a few months at a time and set specific days for each of your future podcasts. You won’t get overwhelmed trying to plan too far ahead.
If you wonder how many minutes of music goes into your podcasts, the following tips will help you.
Your opening music should be about 15 seconds long to match how your ears perceive sound. It should hit a C major chord which is musical shorthand, for everything is fine.
Shifting from that into your voice with a question like, Hello and welcome to another episode of XYZ podcast, signals that things are not, in fact, okay, and you're about to get real.
You can use any song or music as long as it fits within those parameters.
You don't need to pay royalties if you're just using it for your podcast, but if you want to make money off your show, I suggest talking to an entertainment lawyer specialising in copyright law.
If you decide to go ahead and pay for licensing rights, there are many great sites online where you can purchase them. Just search for something like royalty-free audio clips or royalty-free music. You might also try Googling some lyrics from one of your favourite songs - some musicians allow people to record cover versions without having to buy licenses first, so it never hurts to ask!
The key here is: There isn't a magic formula here, except to have fun with it and remember that everyone has their own opinion on what makes good editing music. (I've heard some podcasts start with people blowing bubbles underwater.) Keep trying different things until you find what works best for your podcast.
Many new podcasters make mistakes that, if avoided, would improve their podcast’s quality and their enjoyment. If you have already made some of these mistakes, don’t despair. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! The following are some things you should not do in your podcast.
It is a mistake I see far too often. You can get an inexpensive microphone (like those $10 mics sold at big box stores), but you won’t be happy with it. The sound will be thin and tinny, making it hard to listen to for more than a few minutes at a time.
Investing in a good microphone like Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone or Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone will pay off over time as you improve your podcasting skills.
A room filled with echo or reverberation may seem like an easy way to add ambience to your podcast. Still, it can make listening difficult, especially for the hearing impaired.
Most computers come with a built-in microphone that ought not to be used for recording audio unless you have no other option. It picks up every little noise around you, which results in distracting background noises when editing your audio later on.
Audio editing is one of those skills that tend to be self-taught, like blogging. Many podcasters say they had no idea what they were doing in terms of audio engineering until after they’d produced their first few episodes,
So if you’re just starting, do yourself a favour and pick up some basic editing skills. There are tons of free tutorials online—just Google audio editing tutorials or something similar—and most software programs have built-in help systems.
Once you have a recording you can use as an example, go through it section by section (I typically edit one segment at a time) using Audacity and whatever program(s) you prefer.
Be sure to take notes along the way so that when it comes time to mix, you can look back at your edits and make any necessary changes or additions before proceeding with the production of each episode.
It is thinking ahead of the future. Do not start editing the current episode when it's due in the next few days or hours. It is vital to edit some episodes ahead of time as this will give you ample time to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.
So basically, if you are releasing your podcast's 10th episode the following week, you shouldn't be editing it the week before. You should be editing subsequent episodes before the 10th episode submission.
Even if you are not chanced on a particular week, you know that there’s already an episode already edited for release.
You can’t always do everything alone. Sometimes you need someone to help you. We mentioned some podcast production companies and agencies in the previous section that can help with your production, editing and launching at a friendly price.
You need an assistant. Hiring an agency or freelancer that won’t cut into your budget is one way to get help. There are other cases where podcasting can be a hobby or flank hustle.
There you have it... 27 insanely valuable podcast production tips that will propel your show to that top-rated XYZ podcast you have always wanted.
Go through each one and follow them to the letter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of any great tips you learned during your journey as an experienced podcaster that we may have missed!