The Quality Question - How Good does your podcast need to sound?
The Quality question.
How good does your show need to sound in order to get people to listen?
This is a tough topic to answer because if you look at YouTube,Twitter, and Facebook you often find that some of the best performing content is done by teams that aren't professionals, but rather, highly skilled amateurs who pour their souls and passion into their projects.
So what's the deal with this?
The secret is that there a minimum level of content quality that listeners are willing to tolerate. Whether you're one of those toy opening channels, or a small animation studio, you need to have a minimum quality and set of production values to be tolerated by wider audiences.
(NOTE: There are a FEW rare exceptions to this that use low quality as part of their shtick, but that's another article for another day.)
Your show needs to make sure that it stays above that minimum line. This is how you actually get people to listen to your production.
How do you do this?
The first thing you need is a quiet space .
The second thing you need is quality mic.
And the third thing you need is your audio mixed so that things like breathing and other atmosphere sounds are minimized.
Let's talk quiet space...
Finding yourself one of these it can be quite challenging especially in a work from home situation or in an environment that has noise built; like a factory, workshop, or busy office.
The goal here is to find the quietest, hopefully enclosed, space you can to set up your recording rig.
Make sure that you take steps to minimize any echoing or other characteristics of the room that might make the recording in there undesirable.
A few quick fixes to this can include pillows, blankets, and pads on the wall.
You can get acoustic pads from Amazon or sometimes you can get the acoustic foam and build your own.
Setting up your studio is important to make sure that you have that minimum level of quality when you are recording it's not echoing and it's not driving people crazy with the extra sound artifacts that find their way into your show.
The second thing you need is a quality microphone.
There's huge amounts of debate as to whether there is a perfect microphone on the market for podcasting. Many people swear by the brand Shure for high quality send desirable sound profiles. Let's be real, you probably don't need $400 mics starting out.
Others May find themselves using USB mics like a Blue Yeti would it's all in one recording capabilities and multiple recording profiles. A much better, more flexible deal for sure, but at the cost of some sound quality.
No matter what equipment you choose, know that you will most likely need a dedicated microphone for each participant in your show. That means they need a stand and you'll need to account for having 2 lines into whatever you're recording with. This can be a point of contention, especially for podcast that are on a tight budget or need to prove that they're a good investment.
Whatever you do -- don't use a built-in phone on a laptop or cell phone. Recording qualities of these microphones are going to pick up nearly everything around them and make your guests or you especially challenging to hear.
Lastly, be sure to mix and master your audio before you release your show.
There's definitely a market for and a charm to unedited episodes, but keep in mind that if you have explicit language or other things like that present in your show from not editing it you may actually be harming your show on the podcast platforms.
Platforms like Apple and Spotify have explicit tags for shows that contain excessive course language or other topics sensitive to the General Public. And while being coarse and uncut works for a number of shows, generally if you're doing a podcast for business you want to keep it pretty squeaky clean. (Black Rifle Coffee Co. and other shows definitely get a big Plus from their audience when they drop F bombs in their show, that's their brand image.)
Mixing and mastering audio take out all of those words that you don't want in your show, but also let you add things like transitions, background music, and intro themes. You can make sure that your show sounds even more professional than when you did it in your little studio by doing a bit of creative editing.
---One of the best tips we have here at Westport Studios when recording a podcast is that if you mess up a line stop, don't make any sound or reaction, and restate the line you just messed up starting at the last sentence.---
For example, in our own podcast, Recruiting Hell, the host sometimes trips up on the last line of the show.
Instead of just replacing the words that weren't correct, he makes it sound better and flow better by restating the complete sentence. That way when it's time to edit, it flows in more smoothly as a whole rather than trying to match the info in the 1-2 words in the sentence that was botched.
In a nutshell the quality of your podcast direct impact on how willing and how often people will listen to it. the more effort you put into your show the better results you'll have and the more you'll sound like a real deal professional podcaster to your clients.
Need help launching your podcast or making it sound more professional? Book some time with us!