It seems like just about anybody and everybody has at least a few favorite podcasts that they’re always ready to recommend – in fact, it’s likely that you can think of at least a couple that even you suggest to friends and family on a regular basis. Podcasting has exploded in popularity in recent years and building a career as a professional podcaster is now a professional path that’s more attainable than ever. No matter what you’re interested in, from sports and fashion to true crime and storytelling, it’s possible to build a successful podcast from your passions.
Because getting started in podcasting is pretty simple, there’s a huge spectrum of quality when it comes to podcasts in general. Of course, content is key, but so is the actual quality of the audio itself. With just a few clicks, you can tune into extremely high-quality podcasts from media outlets like NPR, complete with big-budget music and sound effects, or struggle to listen to poorly-recorded podcasts with terrible audio and far too much background noise. And since the quality varies so dramatically, podcasts with professional-sounding recording quality immediately stand out, giving them a far better chance to succeed.
That means that if you’re hoping to launch a podcast that actually has the opportunity to make it big, you’re going to need to know how to create audio recordings that will keep your audience happy, interested, and ready to come back for more.
Recording Tips to Sound Like a Podcasting Pro
Ready to start your podcasting career on the right foot? Here are our top recording tips for creating professional-quality podcasts that your audience will love listening to.
1. Choose the right equipment.
Sure, you can record a podcast with just about anything – including the tiny microphone on your smartphone or laptop – but that’s not necessarily the best choice. Clear, professional audio requires just a few simple pieces of podcasting equipment, including a quality microphone. You don’t necessarily need to purchase expensive equipment to record quality audio, but upgrading from your smartphone will have a huge impact on how professional your podcast sounds.
2. Warm up your voice before recording.
Even though it’s tempting to just turn on your microphone and jump right into recording, warming up your vocal cords and mouth is actually very important. Techniques like reading your script aloud and saying a few tongue twisters (or even using specific vocal exercises) can help you avoid stumbling over your words or mumbling.
3. Make a quick noise profile to check for background noise.
It can be difficult to noise background noise – that is, until it’s painfully obvious when it’s distracting from the actual content of your podcast. Before you begin talking, allow your microphone to record for four or five seconds while you remain silent. Then, go back and listen to the recording. Pinpoint any potentially problematic background noises. You can either mark those for removal later in editing, or simply eliminate the source of the noise before continuing recording.
4. Do your recording in a small, quiet space.
Picking a fairly small and very quiet room for podcasting recording can help minimize distracting background noise and echoing. Make sure to shut the door, close any windows, and turn off devices (like fans) that constantly make noise. If you have pets or children, be sure that they won’t be interrupting you in the middle of recording. Try to fill the space with soft items, like pillows and carpet, that will absorb noise.
5. Using correct microphone techniques.
Proper microphone techniques is a skill you can perfect in a media and production training program and does require some practice. It’s important that your microphone is at the right height (at your mouth), and that you allow for a few inches of space between your mouth and the microphone. Be sure to maintain a consistent distance while speaking, because moving closer or further away will have a marked impact on the volume. While it’s true that editing can be used to change volume, using the right microphone technique can save you considerable time and energy.
6. Keep an eye on your volume levels.
If you’re using recording software, you have the advantage of a visual display of your volume. Typically, most software programs depict volume on a scale that ranges from green, to yellow, to red. Aim for green for a pleasantly conversation volume, edging slightly into yellow if you’re trying to emphasize a certain point. Always avoid the red section of the volume display, because it’s the point at which your sound will become distorted.
7. Be aware of your breathing.
Obviously, you can’t avoid breathing while you’re recording – but you can breathe in a controlled manner. Be mindful of your inhales and exhales, so that a loud exhale or gasp doesn’t disrupt your recording. Sitting up straight and taking smaller breaths can help minimize the sound of your inhalations. If you do need to take a big breath, simply move away from the microphone.
8. Stay still.
You may not realize that even the smallest fidget can result in a significant amount of background noise, especially if you’re recording using earbud headphones (due to the wire rubbing against your chest). Body movements, including shifting your arms and legs, stretching your back, drinking water, or even shuffling papers creates distracting noise. Before you start recording, make sure you have everything you need within reach, get comfortable, and try to plant your feet to keep you anchored.
9. Take advantage of editing.
Podcasts aren’t live, which gives you the benefit of being able to clean things up in editing. If you’re tangled in your words, need to grab your notes, or are dying for a big gulp of water, it’s as easy as noting the pause and removing it later in editing. Give yourself some kind of indication for editing, like saying, “Note for edit here!”. Do what you need to do (take a breath, clear your throat, review your notes), then move on with confidence.
Build Your Podcast Recording Skills with Media and Production Training
If you’re interested in becoming a professional podcaster, great podcast tips can be useful, but there’s one thing that could truly be the key to unlock your dream career: the right education.
At the Media Schools of Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, and Miami, we provide our students with the training and hands-on experiences they need to break into the industry. Here, you’ll get an in-depth look at all sides of podcasting – from producing content and recording to editing and publishing – and you’ll be ready to jump into your professional future with confidence. Whether you already have some podcasting experience or are just starting out, you’ll be able to learn new skills and build solid experience in one of our many diverse multimedia programs.
For more information about how to step up your podcasting skills and bring them to a professional-quality level, contact the Media Schools, located in Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, and Miami today.
Image Credit: Getty/bulatovic