You don’t know what you don’t know…
So many profit-centric podcasts start out right up against it, because they fail to use a professional podcast producer. As a podcast production and consultancy business, I pride myself in being very transparent about what I offer, and what it’ll cost. My pricing is very clear. But of course, if you don’t know what my offerings are, how can you appreciate the value?
Let’s explain why a podcast producer is important
This is why it’s equally important that I educate you, because if you don’t know what podcast production is, how on earth can you make an informed choice to work with a podcast producer, whether it’s myself or somebody else? Of course, many will look at the prices and say “whoa, spend that much on producing a podcast? No thanks. I can do it myself for next to nothing!”
What they don’t realise is that by starting out sounding amateurish and low quality, they’re already diminishing their chances of success, right from the beginning.
A successful podcast production’s evil nemesis – ‘podfade’
The podfade is real
I’m not going to lie to you, your podcast will probably ‘podfade’. Disillusionment is a real danger within the first six episodes. Do the research before you start podcasting. Don’t go in blindly, fully expecting the success to just ‘come’. It doesn’t. Podcasts don’t become a huge hit overnight, and certainly not without some level of effort from the producer.
The secret to podcast production success is…
I tell all my clients the same thing. The difference between your podcast’s success and failure is the first seven seconds. That’s how quickly it can all go south, if you don’t know what you’re doing.
We need your listener loving what they’re hearing. If they’re not, you might lose them forever. It’s unusual for a podcast listener to ever revisit a show they weren’t blown away by, because they have so much choice. This means the odds are against you from the beginning. But if you win, the rewards are unrivalled by any other form of content marketing.
So how do we go about getting it right?
TL:dr; Hire a professional podcast coach or producer!
I imagine you want to produce an excellent sounding podcast.
If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this.
The processes involved in podcasting can be quite complex, and unless you know what you’re facing right from the beginning, it can all seem quite daunting! A lot of people I speak to don’t realise that podcasts aren’t directly uploaded to apps like Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, for instance. And they’ve never even so much as heard of a podcasting host or producer that can manage your RSS feed for you (like my Podknows Podcasting Network ‘Lite’ and ‘Pro’ plans do).
If you’ve come to this page, it’s probably because you’ve searched for, “what do podcast producers do?” Or maybe even, “what is a podcast producer?”
It’s understandable. Like with anything in life, unless you have knowledge of the space, there will be a lot of things that are foreign to you.
My aim is to take you through the process of podcast production now, as simplistically as possible, so that you can be fully aware of what the podcast producer is, what a podcast producer’s responsibilities are, and why – at least initially – you’ll probably need one if you’re going to get started with your podcast marketing plan at the right pace.
My hope is that by the end of this, not only will you have more of an idea of what podcast production is, but you’ll fully appreciate how hiring a professional will quickly more than pay for itself several times over.
Professional podcasting companies
There are a few businesses and hundreds of individuals positioning themselves as ‘podcast production companies’ across the UK. London in particular seems to have more podcast producers than people!
Kidding, but not entirely.
I think it’s important to understand what a podcast producer can and should be doing, before you make a financial commitment to work with them.
How to record your voice
The first task within the podcast production workflow is to take the audio of your voice, and that of any guests, and take care with it so that it’s at an acceptable standard for publication, and ultimately, listener consumption.
Now it all depends who you work with, but your podcast producer might help you capture that audio using their own equipment. The most likely case is that as an aspiring podcaster, you’ll probably purchase your own equipment, and so the producers job starts at the moment you send them what you’ve captured. If you want to know more about options for recording, I cover this in depth in my own podcast, in episode one.
It’s free? The Audacity!!!
I’m willing to bet that any experience you have with recording podcast audio will have been using Audacity (free audio recording software). Audacity is ‘ok’. (It has its limitations. I’ll get into those another time.) Either way, it’ll get your audio into your system using a USB microphone or a XLR mic plugged in via an input device.
When I’m working with podcasters remotely (as in they’re not using my equipment, rather their own plug-in microphone) I will always recommend the software for it’s quick-start functionality.
If you’re running your own podcast and handling your own editing, I can’t stress enough how important it is that you invest in professional grade software like Adobe Audition.
It’s not that expensive, as you’ll see from clicking the link.
To be honest, your money will be better spent on something like this, than some of the other stupid add-on options you can buy.
They largely do the same things as this one DAW, anyway!
Once the audio’s saved, it will be in the form of either a WAV or MP3 file.
This means it will be a case of simply sending that audio to your producer via the cloud or any web based transfer software. I personally like to use ‘we transfer‘. The free version will be fine for your needs.
If you’re handling it all yourself, you’ll be wanting to learn how to use Adobe Audition.
Editing is not the ‘whole story’ with podcast creation
Once you’ve sent your file, that’s when the podcast producer responsibilities come into action. Again, do your research. There are various types of podcast producers out there, and the ones on sites like Fiverr should probably be avoided if possible.
Some will offer basic editing and call that podcast production. It isn’t. There’s far more to it than simply removing the “ummm” and “ahhhh” that litter your conversations. That’s literally the very least they can do to help improve your show. Some slightly more experienced podcast producers will also take steps to remove some or all of the breaths. These can be quite distracting, particularly if the conversation has been recorded on poor quality equipment.
But again, that’s really the basic stuff. If your ‘podcast producer’ is only going through your audio taking out “umm”s and breaths, they’re still not quite doing the job of a full producer.
Take your edits ‘next-level’
Here is one such example of one of my edits for a client.
With advanced techniques, you can get some great results on imperfect podcast recordings and glitches in audio
You might watch this, and think to yourself, “cool skills bruh. But how is having audio that polished worth it, when I can just get the basics done for no more than a few quid on Fiverr??”
That’s where your mindset comes into play.
You need to figure out what kind of podcaster you’re going to be.
A> A podcaster who is just pushing out content because ‘everybody else is’.
B> A podcaster who really wants to ‘own’ your space, ooze integrity and professionalism, and manage a legitimate effective pipeline, with a huge measurable ROI.
If you’re A, you should stop reading now, and head to Fiverr. That site will more than take care of your needs. I wish you luck on your podcast production journey. I suspect you’re going to need it!
If you’re B, keep reading. You and I might well be able to work together…
Respect your listener’s time! Take care with sentence structure during your podcast production workflow!
The really important thing to remember with any kind of content, but especially with podcasts, is that time is the most precious commodity that we all have.
For that reason, your audience will really appreciate your efforts to save them some of it!
I’m yet to have audio sent to me that I couldn’t trim at least a minute from.
Even if you disregard the false starts, stammers, and other natural word repetitions, you’re still left with the ‘stream of consciousness’ fuelled half-thoughts.
These are those moments when a host or guest starts to say one thing, but then goes off on a tangent, changing their point mid-sentence.
A professional podcast producer like myself will pick up on this narrative flow change, and remove what isn’t necessary.
Be cruel to your content, to be kind to your listener!
In most cases, a thirty five minute audio clip can be easily shortened down to as little as twenty minutes.
But it’s not just about time. The very sound of the episode can change for the better just by applying some care to the editing process.
And this is without even adding the final ‘sparkle’ like music, transition effects and other incidental format pieces.
This brings us nicely on to the subject of music and branding.
Your unique sonic logo
You will definitely want some sort of music ‘signposting’ and branding on your podcast.
For one thing, it gives your brand a theme tune that your audience can identify you by.
If you want to listen to a comprehensive demonstration of why that’s a good idea, I cover it in depth in my episode entitled “Music”.
Most podcast producers work with third party websites to obtain their client’s brand audio, and as a result, they’re often stuck using “that will do” compositions. Thankfully, as well as being a podcast expert, I’m also a highly experienced audio engineer and music producer. For this reason, I’m in a unique position of being able to compose custom music for you.
Want something raw and ‘rocky’? I can put together a piece of music that tells your story with guitars and rock drums.
Want something vibey and ‘dancey’? I can get your listeners heads nodding with an EDM or techno-fused music theme.
Give me the music!
My regular customers on my top tier production plans get this service included in their monthly packages.
If you’re wanting to just buy one in for use on your existing podcast, I can provide you with a one-time buy-out royalty-free custom theme.
Just click here to contact me and arrange.
If you need to hear how the music can really help brighten up a production, have a listen to Podknows Podcasting’s newest network client Wendy Harris’ “Making Conversations Count”.
We’ve used incidental music, and different elements of her main theme to really punctuate the transition between different types of discussion and content within her show.
Getting it ‘out there’
Once you’ve got the finished audio ready to unleash to your legions of fans, it’s time to upload it to your chosen podcast hosting company. Personally, I swear by Libsyn.
This US based company offers everything I need, and will undoubtedly look after you with their friendly support and industry-leading infrastructure and resourcing.
The next steps
Once you’ve got your audio out there, and serving your brand, that’s just the beginning. Keep an eye on this blog for more information on how to really own your podcast marketing strategy through distribution, measuring and promotion!
If you’ve read this, and you’re still at a loss on what to do, where to buy, and when to start, and with whom, book a free chat with me.
Don’t panic! I won’t sell you anything at this stage.
I want to help you, but I can’t do that until I’ve learned more about the kind of help you need.
Best of luck, and enjoy podcasting for business!