How to build a profitable podcast.
Let us welcome our guest writer Kendra Beckley!
Sound effects (SFX) are a huge part of almost every interactive piece of media. Whether you're listening to the radio, a podcast, watching YouTube, cartoons, or even a movie. SFX are engaging, and they emphasize or dramatize particular instances of the clip that would otherwise be lost or missed by the audience.
This is your complete guide on using them, finding them, and ultimately making your podcast pop.
Podcast sound effects are the transition music or background sounds that make your favorite podcast more exciting and immersive.
With these enhancements, you can take your podcast's production quality to a whole new level.
Podcasting is Difficult, but sound effects make the process of capturing your listener's attention and keeping them hooked a little easier. After all, you don't just want to bore your listeners with endless talking. You want to make your shows exciting, so they love you and come back for more!
However, there's no denying that some podcasters will have sound effects held with a bit of a bad name. Imagine the cheesiest, most stereotypical sounds effects you can imagine. Perhaps canned laughter or 'bonk' noises. Yeah, unless this is your theme, using sound effects like this will only lessen the quality of your cast.
The trick is to find the best sound effects that actually work for your podcast and enhance the overall listening experience, doing so in a way that's of high quality and doesn't put people off. In other words, there's a bit of a knack to it, which takes a bit of trial and error.
My personal favorite use of sound effects is to tell a story. Imagine a fantasy-styled podcast where you're perhaps RPing in DND, or you're telling a story of one of your guests. Now imagine adding sound effects to the scenes to really bring them to life. Say you're in a bar, and you have ambient bar music or crowd noises playing in the background.
It's a subtle addition to the show that a lot of listeners may not even directly notice, but it's a technique that will make your story incredibly immersive. It's up to you as the presenter to really take some time to think about your show and then try to find unique opportunities you can do this to bring your conversations to life.
In the case of podcasts, SFX are great storytelling tools that can create an immersive atmosphere if they're used subtly or be bold and absurd for comedic effect. Glass cracking, gunshots, crackling flames, and occasionally just a piece of music that inspires emotions are examples of other sound effects that you could use.
All of this can help to create a scenario that is more than just music. In the past, radio shows didn't have the opportunity to use pre-recorded sound effects ready to integrate into a scene to create depth. In the modern-day we're in, you do.
Aside from the intro, you can utilize SFX to separate portions, such as the beginning, middle, and end of your show.
They can also fill the negative space in a podcast, which is where there isn't a spoken monologue, dialogue, or other audio recordings of human voices. SFX can also be used in an outro to augment emotions by overlapping with the human voice.
Before delving too further into the world of podcast sound effects, consider how important they are to your production. If you're going to make a music-reviewing podcast, you might not require SFX. And if you're doing a podcast where the hosts just talk, you might not need SFX either.
There's no reason why you should try and shoehorn sound effects into your podcast if you don't need them. By all means, try it for a handful of episodes and see what you can come up with, but if it doesn't feel natural and as though you're forcing it, it's probably best left to the side.
However, if your podcast concentrates on telling fictional stories, for example, it may be extremely beneficial to consider SFX in the same manner that filmmakers do.
If you want to find out about where to find royalty-free SFX for your podcast and how to use them effectively, read on!
If you're looking for quick places to start sourcing sound effects for your podcast, both free and paid, check out the links below before moving into the key considerations you need to be thinking about, such as copyright and editing practices.
Before you start browsing online for some cool SFX, you must understand copyright laws to avoid finding yourself in some hot water. When someone creates something, they automatically have the creative rights to it, they don't need to register it anywhere for it to be theirs.
Owners can sell a license to use it or sell it onto a marketplace where you can buy the right to use the SFX. If a sound effect isn't clearly labelled for sale, you must reach out to the owner and ask for permission to use it, in writing.
There are plenty of sites where you can find SFX that are not subject to copyright which are completely free. The most popular is The Free Sound Project, which is a platform where creators can upload their own creations and download those of others for free under various "Creative Commons" licenses. Zapsplat is also a good free website option where you may find what you're looking for.
Cecilia Waters, a business writer at Origin Writings and Write my X, gives us her take on royalty-free SFX- "Whilst these sites are beneficial if you're just getting started and, on a budget, be wary you may end up sifting through poor quality SFX for a long time before you find something you want to use".
Certainly, the quickest and easiest way to get good quality and unique sound effects is to pay for them. There are many different types of sites where you can find great SFX for your podcast, at cost, of course. Some websites require you to pay for a monthly subscription and will give you a monthly download allowance, whereas others are based on a pay per SFX model. Whichever one you choose to use depends on how often you're looking to use different sound effects and how many you'll realistically include on your podcast.
ASoundEffect.com and Storyblocks are two great sites you might want to check out to discover some great SFX.
If you start downloading a good amount of SFX after a while, you may need some help managing all the different files to keep track of where they are and have the easily accessible for use.
There are some convenient desktop apps such as Soundly that will come in very handy when keeping your files organized. Some of these apps are free, and others come with a price tag, depending on how many files you need to use and how often you use them, you may choose one or the other, it all depends on your needs!
Although having your own podcast doesn't require a long list of equipment, you certainly need a few basics. To start with, you need a good computer that will be able to handle editing software and audio production software. If you're a mac user, don't be shy to use tools like garage band to edit your audio, it may seem very "entry-level", but it's a handy app to start with. Apps like Audacity are also great to edit in your audio clips.
Kevin Cubb, a project manager at 1 Day 2 Write and Brit Student, says, "you don't need to have the fanciest equipment or the most expensive apps; just be sure to use the basics to your advantage. SFX show and reinforce your personality and brand. Keeping your audience engaged is the most important part".
Your podcast's general mood must be determined first. What do people think? What does it feel like? The music that fits your podcast's tone will be learned from these answers. For a murder-mystery or a positive vibes-kind of the podcast, you'd like to choose melancholy or heart-pounding music.
Think about the topic of your podcast. Consider how you want your audience to feel. Collect ideas for some possible music and contemplate what it makes you feel about the podcast's topic. Finally, decide where you want the music to enter—intro, midsection, outro, etc.
SFX can boost the production value of your show and add depth to your content, however, it is essential to use them sparingly. You can highlight an important part of your monologue or interview with a well-chosen effect. Do not use too many effects, however, to make your content messy. Overall, podcasts are on the rise. If you want to ride the wave and get started, be sure to follow these tips and see your podcast take off before you know it!