Updated: Dec 12, 2019
It can be pretty scary, and confusing starting a new podcast, especially if you’ve never done it before, and don’t have a following. If you are choosing to start a podcast now, chances are, you have something to say and want to be heard. There are plenty of people who have started successful podcasts and they all have been learning from their own mistakes, as well as others’.
I’ve compiled a list of a few things that I see most commonly holding people back when they first start podcasting. These will not only help you get the best audio possible, but hopefully you can use these to make your life a little easier and less stressful.
This is one that I was guilty of with my podcast. It’s not as if I thought we were going to rocket up to number one on the charts immediately after our first episode, but I thought more people would find us with the amount of work we were putting in. Managing your expectations is huge when you are first starting out your podcast because once you realize that you are not going to be handed listeners, and you have to gain your listeners one by one at the start, you start to focus less on the amount of listeners every episode, and focus more on the quality of the content.
Your podcast may grow to be super successful and gain you a really great following for your business, or for your brand, but just be able to realize it’s going to take a long time for people to find your podcast at first. Just keep at it, and enjoy the process!
Knowing your equipment is pretty important for any industry, that’s true when it comes to podcasting as well. If you are just starting a podcast, or you’re trying to figure out why your audio isn’t as good as it can be, I would suggest doing some research on microphones to figure out what the best fit for your set-up would be. Here’s some broad differences between dynamic and condenser microphones. You can check out my other article for a better idea on what microphone to get.
Picks up a wider area of sound
Only picks up what’s in front of it
May need a preamp
Go check out some microphones for yourself, do a little bit of research. Anything is going to sound better than using your built in computer microphone in a large empty room.
Speaking of large empty rooms, you should be aware of the space that you are recording in. The larger the room the more echo you are going to have to deal with in the recording, that is something that’s almost impossible to get rid of in post. You can deal with recording in a larger room a little bit by proper mic technique and making sure there are no reflective surfaces in the area. If that means you have to cover some hard surfaces up with a blanket, it’s better than your audience dealing with bad distracting audio.
You want to be in the smallest room possible with the most amount of “absorbent” material. That will help with the audio that wants to bounce around the room, which is where you get the echo.
You also want to control as much of your environment as you can. This is similar to picking where you are going to record, but this involves making sure there is no unnecessary noises going on in the background. If there is a fan on in the room, make sure to turn it off, make sure the A/C isn’t going to kick on in the middle of your recording. If you have any roommates, try asking nicely for them to be quiet for an hour during your recording. This will all culminate into a better recording, and no distractions.
Front-load Your Work
This is another one I have learned through experience. We used to do most of the work for the episode on the day of the recording. Meaning if we had any research we had to do, or any notes we had to take, we did it right before we recorded. This wasn’t so bad when we first started the show, but quickly recording sessions turned from one hour sessions to 3 hour sessions. That made both of us a little sick and tired of going into recording an episode because we knew it was going to be a lot of extra work, that probably could’ve been done earlier.
Getting all your work done before your actual recording will lead you to enjoy the recording process that much more, which will get you to record more episodes in the long run. Doing the research is the hard part of any podcast, stretch that out throughout the week, don’t try doing all that work in one session, split up the work amongst the hosts. The research and the boring part is what is going to set your podcast apart from the other shows that don’t put in the work.
In order to grow an audience, you have to build trust with that audience. In order to build trust you need to be consistent with the uploads. You have to be upfront with the amount of times you will be coming out with episodes right from the start of the podcast. You and whomever you are starting the podcast with have to discuss it with each other, and make sure the audience knows as well. The more episodes you upload, the more trust you build, but if you also upload them as consistently as possible, then your audience will always know exactly when to expect new episodes!
It’s important to tell your audience exactly what they should expect throughout, not only the episode, but the show as a whole. The first minute of your podcast is going to be the most important. This is where you will lose listeners the fastest, therefore, you want to let them know exactly who you are and why they should listen.
It’s a good idea to have something scripted out for the beginning and the end of the show. That way it builds consistency with the audience, and you’re not wasting their time. The script should contain a description of the podcast in every show (just in case you have any new listeners), the names of whoever is going to be on the podcast, and what you will be talking about in that episode specifically.
When I first started podcasting, I didn’t know about hosting, or RSS feeds, or the uploading process at all. Turns out it’s not too difficult, but it can be confusing if you don’t know anything about the process going into it. I’m a strong believer in getting a few episodes recorded and then figure out exactly how to obtain hosting and get an RSS feed.
Do some research on all the different hosting platforms (Buzzsprout, Lybsyn, Anchor, etc.) and see which one will best suit you. Once you’ve picked a host, the rest is usually relatively painless, it might require a bit of extra research online, but it’s pretty easy for the most part to get your RSS feed registered to all the different podcasting platforms.
I think it’s a good idea to upload about 3 episodes right at the start, that way your audience has something to binge a little. It’s enough to get your audience hooked right at the start, they’ll be expecting your next episode, and want to listen to it right away. If you have any sort of following going into it, maybe have a trailer episode that explains the day it will launch and exactly what the show is going to be about.