As a podcaster, you aim to create a great podcast episode each and every time you sit down to record. That’s obviously the goal, but how do you make that happen? How do you ensure that you get the best out of each guest, or ensure that when you’re flying solo, you’re hitting it out of the park?
As it is with most things in life, it’s really the small, consistent things that end up making the most difference in the longterm. And the same is true for your podcast, there are a few seemingly small checks or practices that you can implement that can help you achieve great success.
So today, we’re going back to basics by sharing some best practices for recording your podcast. We’re dubbing this your pre-, mid-, and post-podcast recording cheat sheet as these sneaky little tips often go overlooked, but are really key to helping you reach podcasting success!
Let us help you nail the basics with these insider tips which will see you ace every recording!
Let’s dive right in!
This first section of this “cheat sheet” really does a lot of the heavy lifting, and this is because the tasks set out for pre-recording shape the way the rest of the processes unfold.
These pre-recording tips focus on your planning process and your set-up procedure. Get these right, and you’ll always be on track for crafting another fantastic podcast episode to share with your audience.
Two simple words, “prep sufficiently” and yet they entail so much! You always want to make sure you’re fully prepared before ever hitting “record.” This could mean making sure you have all the equipment you need and that it is in working order well in advance, or making sure you’ve booked that state-of-the-art recording studio for the day you’re set to record.
Your prepping could also involve scouting for your next guest, sending out invitation emails (check out this post for fleshed out guide on this. Hint: you’ll even find handy templates for EVERY step!), and finding a time that suits you both, not to mention drafting a working script for all the content you need to cover.
Whatever you need to do to make you’re fully prepared for recording, the key here is that this should be done well in advance to avoid any stress-inducing hiccups or hurdles.
2. Plan the Recording Process
The next tip involves kicking the planning process up a notch by finalizing the plan for the recording process. If it’s a solo episode, this could mean writing and practicing the final draft of your script and making sure you’re on schedule to record on time.
If your episode is an interview, you want to ensure that both you and your guest are on the same page in terms of the time and date the interview is set to take place, how the interview will happen, as well as what content your conversation will cover. This will help put you both at ease, and get some amazing insights right out of the gate.
3. Set-Up Efficiently
Our last item on our pre-recording cheat sheet is to set-up efficiently. This is particularly important if you’re interviewing a guest! And for the set-up to happen efficiently, you need to make sure that you leave enough time to do this properly!
We could sum this tip up with: “Always expect the unexpected.” A cable could be missing, your laptop randomly decides to do an update, or there’s more traffic to the recording studio than usual! All of which can throw a serious spanner in the works when it comes to recording! But if you’re A) well-prepared right from the beginning, and B) given yourself enough time to come up with a great solution, you’re still going to end up with an amazing episode!
*The real take-away from these pre-recording tips is that if you can put certain practices in place to reduce as much of the stress as possible, not only will you be in a much better space mentally and emotionally which is key to longterm health, but you’ll also be in a much better place to get a great episode when you sit down to record.
These mid-recording tasks take place while you’re recording. They are a slightly more difficult to remember as you’ll naturally have most of your attention directed at actually recording your podcast or conducting your interview.
That is why these “cheat sheet” tips are so important, as they help keep you on your game and in top form, without you having to do too much thinking while you focus on getting that great recording!
And because you’ll be pouring most of your attention and energy into nailing your interview and getting all your carefully-crafted content recorded in the way that you envisioned, we’re kept the mid-recording checklist short, there are just two items:
1. Monitor Audio Levels
Your first order of mid-recording business is to periodically monitor your audio levels throughout your time recording. And your trusty pair of headphones really earn their keep here! They will help monitor the sound levels of your voice, that of your guest, and just generally make sure that everything is running and sounding as it should.
One of the main reasons for monitoring your audio levels comes down to the fact that a great raw recording can mean quicker, easier editing, and a top-quality final product. By occasionally checking that both yours and your guest’s microphones are set to the right level, making sure that you’re speaking into your mic from the right distance, and generally just making sure that there’s nothing affecting your raw recording, you’ll save yourself so much time in the long run!
BONUS TIP: But making a point of periodically checking your audio levels throughout the recording process has another great benefit. It will help you ensure that your mic is plugged in! And working properly. I’m not going to say too much else on the matter except, “Lesson learned.”
2. Monitor Background Noise
The second thing you should be doing during your mid-recording process is keeping an ear out for background noise. It’s always a good idea to do this before hitting record, just in case your neighbor from two doors down is singing along to My Chemical Romance (again!) like it’s 2002, or if any sort of construction is taking place nearby. If it’s just you set to record, you might then decide to simply postpone the recording for a few hours, or hunker down in your closet for better sound-proofing.
But it is always a great idea to make a point of listening out for background noise throughout the recording process. Again, your headphones will greatly help with this, but it is also a good idea to take a pause, and listen. That way, you’ll quickly pick up if a lightbulb or the AC starts humming, or even if your guest is nervously clicking their pen or tapping their foot. You can then pivot quickly to get the recording back on track and sounding great!
Your post-recording tasks involve editing, advertising, and distributing your latest episode. These steps are really important steps in your podcasting process (besides doing the actual audio recording, of course!) because these are the steps that package your amazing content in the best way possible so you can share it with as much of your target audience as you can.
1. Edit with your Listener in Mind
It should come as no surprise that our first post-recording tip is focused on editing your latest podcast episode. It’s in the editing process where the true magic of your podcast is brought to life. From cutting out the unnecessary side stories, and trimming down the tangents, editing allows the heart of your message to shine brightly, which then connects you even deeper to your audience.
Our tip when it comes to nailing the editing of your podcast is knowing what to cut. And you’ll be surprised at how hard this can be! It’s easier to cut out the blunders and missteps, but it’s another thing to cut out that great joke you told that was hilarious, but really, if you’re honest with yourself, adds nothing to the heart of the conversation. These call are tough, but if you learn to edit with your listeners in mind, you’ll consistently put out the content their after, which will see them coming back episode after episode.
And if you applied the mid-recording checklist properly, your editing process will flow a whole lot smoother! You’ll be able to focus on crafting a conversation that flows expertly, and not spending your time trying desperately to edit out that humming lightbulb or that squeaky chair!
Related read: 10 Editing Tips To Increase Your Podcast Sound Quality
2. Save Your Progress!
We really can’t stress this one enough! As you’re editing your audio, writing your blog, or creating your audiograms, make sure to constantly save your work! The finer details of this process will depend on the program or software you’re using at the time – some may save automatically every couple of minutes, but some still require that human element of hitting the save button – but the important thing is that you’re constantly aware of the need to make sure you’re content is safely saved.
Related read: 8 Strategies for Faster Podcast Editing
3. Write Stellar Show Notes
Not only do show notes do wonders for your SEO, but they also just really improve your listeners’ experience as well as making your podcast more accessible. (For more on podcast accessibility, check out this post, Podcast Accessibility: Why And How To Make Your Podcast More Accessible)
Show notes must become a crucial part of your podcasting workflow. Creating them for your episode is just as important as publishing the episode itself, which is why we’ve included this point on our Cheat Sheet.
Related read: Why Your Podcast Needs Show Notes
BONUS TIP: While you’re busy creating your stellar show notes, don’t forget to include those all-important links! These links could be to resources mentioned in your episode, they could be to profiles of your guests or other notable figures that come up in the conversation, or – and this one is especially important – links to any call-to-actions you make during the episode.
4. Create Promotional Content
Putting out a successful podcast episode certainly doesn’t start with hitting record or end with the uploading of your next installment. If you want to ensure the longevity of your podcast, you need to put on your marketer’s cap and delve into some podcast advertising.
This could involve creating eye-catching audiograms for all your social media platforms, sharing teaser trailers or behind-the-scenes footage featuring your next guest, your even participating in the latest TikTok challenge! Or it could involve all of the above! How and where you decide to promote your podcast is really up to you based on your audience demographic and the type of content you know they are looking for. Whatever you decide, it should be clear that creating advertising content for your episodes is a vital element of your overall podcasting process and should never be overlooked.
Related read: Social Media Marketing Options For Podcasts
While not an exhaustive list, this Podcasting Cheat Sheet lists key tasks every podcast host or creator should complete during their podcasting process. Whether it’s helping you make sure your pre-recording game is strong, guiding you through while you’re busy recording your next stand-out episode, or helping you bring the episode in for landing with some post-recording checks, keep this list handy, and you’ll set yourself up for podcasting success with each episode you share with the world!
Related read: How To Build And Strengthen Your Podcast Brand