Producing and Reviewing Podcasts: What I Have Learned So Far
To be totally honest, I stumbled into producing and reviewing podcasts. I was in the midst of re-starting my voice over business while, at the same time, listening to a ton of great podcasts. I also received some voice over orders for podcast introductions. Since I love audio production and used to work in radio creative services and imaging production, I thought I would give podcast intro production a whirl. I really enjoyed the work, but I also found that new podcasters had a lot of questions about getting started. I didn't feel totally comfortable with all the answers, so, I decided to start my own podcast. The Pro Voice Guy Podcast really started as an experiment, so I could figure out what I didn't know about podcasting.
The podcast intro work really took off. Along the way, I had a client ask if I could produce a whole show from her audio. I initially said no, but she was pretty insistent. So, since I was already producing my shows, I told her I would try it for a while to see if I could figure out a pricing model that would be affordable for her and still let me make some money. We are now on episode 40 of her show. And along the way, I added another show. I also work for several people who have me help with their programs when there is something extra that needs to be done. When some podcast hosts have an episode that needs extensive editing, have a syncing issue with an interview, or have some other audio problem that needs some specialized work, they hire me to help fix it.
Just a Little Podcast Help
Once I started doing that, I began receiving smaller help requests. Someone asked me to listen to a show and see how it sounded. I listened and made some technical recommendations. From there, my Podcast Technical Review Service was created. It is usually just a one-time thing for most clients. It is fascinating to hear the improvements podcasters can make with just a little help.
Finally, I started seeing more requests for help in getting started. It becomes easy to become overwhelmed with all the details of starting a podcast. Some people just pick it up, and others need a little more help. For that, I added my "Getting Started with a Podcast" package. In this, I offer support and advice in just about any area of starting a podcast: hosting, recording, studio setup, vocal delivery, intros, software, etc.
So, what have I learned so far from working with all of these great podcasters?
Small Changes can Make a Big Difference
Adding a professional intro, recording in a different space, or changing a couple of settings can completely change the level of a podcast for the better. Most podcasters don't realize how great they can sound with just a little help.
For Podcasts, Content is King
This isn't something I recently learned, but it is now even more apparent. Give me a show with great content and a few audio problems over a perfectly produced show with "blah" content any day. My only goal with podcasters is ensuring that lack of quality doesn't get in the way of great content.
A Lot of Podcast Audio Problems Can Be Solved in the Closet
90% of the audio problems I hear on podcasts are related to the space they were recorded. I don't care how great your microphone is, if you are recording in a big echoey room you will likely sound like you are on speakerphone. If you are in a space with a lot of background noise, that noise will be distracting. (I once reviewed a podcast for someone and asked if they could record somewhere with less bird noise. Huge improvement!)
At the time, I was still cutting my own vocals in a closet because I hadn't gotten the sound of my studio quite right. So, I started recommending it to my clients, and some of them saw substantial improvements in their sound.
More Podcasters Should Ask for Help
That sounds like a sales pitch, and maybe it is. However, I hear so many good shows that could be great shows with just a little help. Podcasting is a great equalizer. There is nothing to stop an individual with no budget from creating a show that sounds as good as anything Gimlet Media produces. It might just take another set of ears and a little expertise to figure out what changes need to be made to take a podcast to the next level of sound.
Podcasters Shouldn't Wait for Perfection
There are too many podcasters stuck with a great idea and an inability to get started. Some people will tell you to get everything perfect so you can launch with your very best. Unfortunately, for some people, that means never launching. I am a fan of cutting some episodes and getting them out there. You can make it better as you go. Sure, if you have the time and resources to start with a flawless first show, great. But, I would encourage you to post that episode that still has a few kinks to work out rather than waiting and waiting until someday, it turns out your voice on that subject will never be heard.
I Love to Help
Helping podcasters is the best part of my job. Do you need some kind of help that I don't offer? Let me know, and I will find someone who can help or figure out a way to help you myself. I want you to have a great podcast!