Podcasts are emerging as one of the most exciting forms of new media. Giving power to the people, practically anyone can start a podcast in just a few easy steps and get their voice heard by millions around the world… or at least that’s the idea. While some podcasts manage to gather a huge audience, most podcasts typically see less than 50 downloads per week.
The podcast space is a tough, competitive environment. Independent podcasters must often contend for their audience’s attention against major podcasts that have huge teams of creatives working around the clock to produce, promote, and market them.
Thankfully, with consumer electronics providing surprising quality, it’s surprisingly easy to produce a quality podcast on a low budget. We wrote a whole article about the best, low-budget mics you can buy for your podcasting journey. You can read all about it here.
Believe it or not, people still care very deeply about the audio quality of the podcasts they listen to. If it’s too expensive or time-consuming to improve your marketing, one of the best ways you can stand out is by investing in superior audio quality.
In the age of visual media, it’s easy to forget that podcasts are first and foremost an audio experience. This is because watching is active whereas listening can be more passive. You can’t read a book while you drive a car, but you can listen to an audiobook. Research shows that many people enjoy listening to their favorite podcasts while doing something else.
Some people listen to their favorite true crime podcasts while driving to work, others like to listen to educational podcasts while they exercise, and others enjoy listening to talk-show podcasts while they prepare dinner. Podcasts with great, high-quality audio are in huge demand.
Apart from buying the best microphones for your budget, there are a few ways you can easily improve the audio quality of your podcast. Better audio quality will give your show a better listening experience, soothing your listeners into listening for longer. So, let’s take a look at the easiest steps you can take to get your podcast superior audio quality.
Microphones can be surprisingly sensitive. If you’re working with a good microphone (which you should be!), there’s a strong possibility that you’ll pick up unwanted noise from your background. Even if your microphone isn’t the best, background noises can still ruin your sound quality.
Background noise distracts your audience from your podcast and, at times, can make it difficult for your audience to hear what you’re saying. If people have to strain or rewind to listen to your podcast, there’s a good chance they’ll just stop listening to it in favor of one that doesn’t require so much effort to hear. You want to make the listening experience easy and comfortable for your audience. This begins with choosing the best recording space.
You don’t want to record in a space that’s very big, wide, and open. This will create echoes and reverberations as you speak that will translate to noise in your audience’s ear. You want to record in a small room without any hard surfaces. You can cover the walls in cheap, easy-to-find soundproofing foam to further isolate your sound. The more isolated your sound is from any external influence, including echoes, the better it is for your audio quality.
You can also take your sound isolation a step further in post-production. After you’ve recorded your audio, you can use a digital audio workstation (DAW) to make further changes to your sound quality. There are a variety of DAWs to choose from, such as adobe audition, pro tools, and many more. Most DAWs feature a plugin known as a noise gate. This plugin allows you to deaden any noises below a certain volume, allowing you superb control over your podcast’s noise profile.
However, do not rely too much on the noise gate. It’s miles easier to simply record in a quiet, undisturbed environment than it is to remove sounds in post. Noise gates should only be used to take your sound to the next level.
Isolating the sound you want is vital to the podcast production process. With this step firmly enacted, you can explore a few of the other ways you can greatly improve your podcast’s audio experience.
The average podcast lasts anywhere between 30 minutes up to an hour. People spend dozens of hours listening to their favorite podcasters. Many of the most successful podcasts are hosted by former performers who understand that a vocal performance can be just as riveting and engaging as a musical performance.
Arguably, the most successful podcast in the world is the Joe Rogan Experience with over 11 million listeners. Joe draws on his years of experience as a comedian to inform his vocal performance choices. Joe regulates the pace and pitch of his voice in accordance with the tone of the message he’s trying to deliver, and the effect is his audience is hooked for every word of his weird, exciting tales.
While it helps to have years of experience as a professional performer to start a successful podcast, you don’t need to be one. You can simply draw inspiration from their success and apply the same principles to your own show.
Nobody likes listening to long, monotonous speeches. When presenting your podcast, make sure to place emphasis on keywords by changing your vocal tone. You can even adapt a variety of different tones for different types of emphasis. For example, you could use a higher-pitched tone when you’re dealing with comedic topics and a lower tone when you’re highlighting serious topics.
There are dozens of ways to practice your speech. The most effective would be to take a page from the performer’s playbook and start each recording session with a brief series of vocal warmups.
As the name suggests, vocal warmups help you get your vocal cords into perfect condition. Vocal warmups can also help you get a better understanding of the intricacies of your own voice. By practicing vocal warmups, you’ll get familiar with how you sound and learn your natural range of speech. You can find a few great vocal warmups to practice before you record your podcast here.
The greatest challenge is making a lasting impression on your audience. For people to listen to your next episode, it’s not enough that your first episode was just entertaining or interesting. They must keep thinking about you and your podcast long after your show is over. That is the best way to ensure that you have returning listeners.
There are many ways to achieve this. The most certain of them is to produce high-quality content that provides your audience with something highly entertaining or educational. However, there is also a shortcut that can make your podcast many times more memorable. This shortcut is theme music.
Have you ever had a song stuck in your head that you just couldn’t get rid of? Music is a unique art form in that it is emotional before anything else. When you listen to a nice song, you don’t even need to know the lyrics. You can simply hum along or dance along, and this is why theme music is such a great tool for podcasters.
By including a short, catchy tune at the start and end of your podcasts, and by attaching that same music to many pieces of microcontent, you can create strong memory links between your audience and podcast. Every time your audience thinks of the theme music, they’ll be subtly reminded of your show.
Does all this sound a little confusing? Well, recording a podcast doesn’t have to be so complicated! At Poddster, our dedicated team of professional creatives will help you with every step of the podcast process, from concept to promotion.
Record your podcast at our professional studios and set your mind at ease about any background noise. If you’d like to start your own podcast the easy way, contact us for a free consultation now. Just click here and get started on your podcast journey.