Making a podcast is a daunting process. The learning curves that need to be overcome, or the traction that needs to be made can be uninviting when starting out. After producing over 1000 podcast episodes, we’ve had our fair share of learnings, and seen other podcasters go through the same experience. Some of the biggest mistakes podcasters make when starting out are relatively straight forward, and more importantly, avoidable.
Failing To Prioritise Audio Quality
Not to sound like a broken record, but yes, audio quality is perhaps the most important thing when it comes to making a podcast. It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about or who you’re talking to, no one is willing to struggle their way through a 45-minute episode.
Use the right microphone for podcasting
The easiest way to improve your audio is by finding the right microphone. We’ve previously written about the best microphone for podcasting, the Audio-Technica ATR2100X. Finding the right microphone makes a world of difference. Whether you’re currently using your built-in microphone, your phone, or a condenser microphone (a Blue Yeti, PodMic etc), look to prioritise dynamic microphones. Dynamic microphones are built for vocals, live performances and spaces that are untreated; they reject background noise and focus on your voice. Find yourself a dynamic microphone, and get podcasting!
Recording a podcast
Another useful way to improve your audio quality is to take a look at the process of recording your podcast. These questions are great prompters to ask guests before coming on the podcast:
- Are you in a quiet space with good acoustics?
- How are you recording podcasts? Locally using Adobe Audition or Audacity? Zoom?
- Is your internet reliable? Are you on Wi-Fi, mobile data or Ethernet?
- Are you wearing headphones to eliminate echo?
- Is your computer into power?
- Is the microphone close to your face?
One of the most common mistakes made in the podcasting industry is trying to be perfect; having the perfect intro, having the perfect podcast artwork, having to sound perfect by cutting “ums” and “ahs”.
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that your podcast is never going to be perfect. There’s always going to be something that can be done better, and it’s worth gradually working your way towards those things, but you don’t need these to start. These improvements and learnings come with time and don’t need to be rushed or edited out. Focus on what matters to you and your tribe, and what brings the best return on investment (ROI) – your investment being time and learnings.
With that in mind, here are a few suggestions about how to go about becoming content with what you put out:
- Eliminate editing – Editing gives you an out, an escape and an opportunity to fix what didn’t need fixing. Eliminating editing saves time and forces you to learn and filter yourself in real time. Trust yourself.
- Release episodes consistently – The frequency at which you release your podcast episodes has the biggest impact on how you iterate and learn. By publishing two episodes a week instead of one, you’ve doubled the rate at which you’re learning. By publishing 5 episodes a week, you’ve been able to achieve some of the learnings that may have taken place over five weeks in just one. We’re big fans of the daily format, and thinking that upping the frequency of your episode releases is the best way to impel learnings.
- Use tools to your advantage – Yes, podcast artwork and intros are important, but you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars and hours making the perfect piece of artwork when you’re just starting out. As we’ve previously mentioned, Envato Elements has been instrumental in creating intro music and podcast artwork for all the podcasts on the BIG MEDIA COMPANY Podcast Network.
It’s cliché and accurate with everything in life – being patient and setting expectations.
What do you expect from this podcast? What’s it for? What are your intentions? What’s the ROI you’re seeking? How willing are you to consistently show up without any signs of that ROI?
There’s immense power in getting clear with your intentions and expectations. At The Daily Talk Show, we’ve produced a podcast episode every day without an expectation of a dollar. It’s taken 900 episodes, 900 times when we’ve shown up every day with the understanding of our expectations, our ROI and what we want to achieve.
Among new podcasts, it’s common to see the expectation that after 10 episodes you’ll be successfully monetising your podcast and have a large audience.
Forget the big launch and just start. Commit to your promise and craft, and show up until you’ve achieved what you set out to do – without the expectation of becoming the biggest podcast in the world.
It might take 50 or 100 episodes to figure out how to monetise your podcast or that this podcast was a stepping stone to something else. Set your expectations and be patient.
The biggest mistakes in podcasting come from a technical standpoint, but also from an intentions point of view. Yes, it’s important to have the right microphone and tech, but get clear on who is it for? What’s it for? What’s the ROI you’re seeking? And how can you best serve your listeners and your own calling?
With an understanding of where you want to go and what you want to do with the podcast, weathering the storm becomes a lot easier.