You’ve come up with a great idea for a show. You’ve built a podcast studio. Installed your recording software. Maybe you’ve landed the perfect guest(s). Everything is set for your podcast recording. Now all you have to do is hit record. It can be very exciting when a podcaster gets ready to record their first, second, even their 1000th episode. But that excitement could lead you to a simple mistake that will make all of the hard work you did absolutely moot.
With that in mind, here are 8 things to consider when you get ready to do a podcast recording. These will ensure you sound good and don’t waste your time, and/or your guest’s time.
1. Get Comfortable
You could be sitting in front of a mic for an extended period of time, up to an hour or two in some cases. What you don’t want to do is move around a lot because that will create inconsistencies in your recording. Make sure you are in a good chair that will allow you to be in front of the mic while sitting up straight. Also, try to avoid chairs that squeak. Some folks will prefer to stand when recording, but if you’re going to be at it for a long time, you’ll have to pay extra special attention to swaying so you stay in front of the mic.
2. Keep the Mic About a Fists Distance Away From Your Mouth
Make a fist, put it on the end of the mic, and then put your lips on the other side. That’s the ideal distance to be from the mic. Any further and you will have to jack up the mic to get a good level which will invite extra noise. And there’s no need to put your mouth on the mic. NONE. Your mouth touching the mic will create all sorts of weird noises. Stay about a fist’s distance away for your entire podcast recording.
3. Silence Your Cell Phones During Your Podcast Recording
A ringing cell phone is the worst thing you can do to a guest during a recording. Also, it can be really distracting to you. And putting it on vibrate isn’t enough. A vibrating phone on a hard surface can make just as much notice. Really, you need to put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” so that you can remain focused on the interview/recording.
4. Silence Everything Else Distracting
Spouses, parents, kids, pets, open internet tabs, other applications, TV’s, etc. If it can make noise it can be a huge distraction to your flow, and again, be considered very rude to your guest. And turn off fans in the summer. It will get hot, but fans blow air. Sound is just moving air. If a fan is blowing into your mic, it is going to ruin your recording. Make it cold ahead of time and suck it up during the podcast recording.
5. Check All of Your Recording Settings Ahead of Time, Every Time
There’s nothing worse than laying down an amazing track, or finishing up that perfect interview only to learn that your settings were off. a) You’ll never recreate that magic b) you’ll be flustered from your mistake to have another good take and c) your guest may not be willing to record again. Check it every time. EVERY. TIME.
6. Make Sure You Actually Hit Record
So you did a practice recording to check your settings. Now you’re ready for the real thing and you forget to capture it. Even as a 10+ year veteran of radio, I would do this from time-to-time. It’s frustrating as hell and will lead to the same three problems we outlined in the previous response. Create a recording routine that will help you develop muscle memory so you never forget. Or if you have notes in front of you, make sure “Check Your Recording” is in between your first and second questions so you don’t get too far.
7. Skip the “Radio Voice” and Be Authentic
You’re not Howard Stern. (Unless you are Howard Stern, in which case I am glad you found our site). But most of you are not. Most of your fans are not listening to you because you are a huge radio personality. The appeal of podcasting has been the authenticity of the host and their passion for the content. If you are creating content around something that excites you (and you should be) then you will be able to project that enthusiasm. That will attract a larger audience. If people want to hear Howard Stern, they will turn on Howard Stern. But they have chosen to listen to you. So deliver on that.
Even though podcasting is usually audio only, the listeners can actually hear if you are smiling. You will sound warmer and more inviting. The difference is night and day. Plus, you should be smiling anyway. You are podcasting! No one has to podcast. So if you are taking the time out of your day to do this, you better damn well want to. And if you want to do it, you should be super excited every time that mic opens up.
Bonus: It’s easy to hate the sound of your voice. I have been in radio/podcasting for 10+ years and have been told by nearly every person I meet that I have a great voice for broadcasting. And yet, to this day, I still cringe when I hear my own voice. Can’t help it. But it doesn’t mean I should stop. In fact, there’s even some science explaining why most of us hate our own voice. Get over it. If you are excited and knowledgeable about the content, people will want to listen.
Now go out there and have some fun!
This article was written by Mathew Passy, Podcast Producer/Consultant at MPassy Productions