April 2020 is officially here, and what a strange year 2020 has been so far? Around one-third of the world’s population is currently under some form of lockdown, an unprecedented statistic in our day and age. With no one really knowing “what happens next”, we are forced to make sense of our new normal and find our way forward with all this uncertainty. One small mercy, however, with everything so topsy-turvy, is the fact that most of our favorite podcasts continue to bring us great content. The podcast industry is one of few that is continuing to function with relative normalcy as practically every aspect involved in making a great episode come together can be done remotely. Even aspects that technically involve human interaction, such as interviews or co-hosting, can be done remotely! Yup, that’s right! There’s no need to cancel that great interview you had coming up, or drop your co-host for a solo podcast career when it’s so easy to successfully record your content remotely.
Successful remote recording is really a two-stage operation. Stage 1 involves adequate preparation, and Stage 2 focuses on the right software to get the job done. Apply these strategies, and you’ll be recording amazing content remotely in no time at all!
The first step to ensuring a great remote audio recording is to be diligent in your planning process. There are a number of things you need to do before you even record that interview or record with your co-host in order to make the long-distance recording sound amazing.
1. Plan The Content
First up, you need to plan the content. If it’s an interview, you should send the questions to the person you will be interviewing well in advance. This gives your interviewee adequate time to think through and prepare their answers. You should also ask your interviewee for any questions or follow-ups they suggest you ask in order for your listeners to get the best out of the show. This should be your standard procedure for interviews, but it is even more important when you are recording remotely. In terms of remote co-hosting, your prep might include extra content research on both your ends or more in-depth outlining or episode scripting than you normally do in order to compensate for not being together when you record. You may need better cues or scripted segues in order to transition smoothly to new content as you are not able to “read” each other as you normally would when you’re in the same room.
2. Check Logistics
Next, a vital step in your preparation will be a logistics check. The most important logistic for recording podcasts remotely is checking that all involved have a sufficient Internet connection, as the software you use (we’ll cover that in a bit!) will depend on a speedy Internet connection. The next aspect you’ll need to check is that both you and whoever you’re “sharing” the mic with is adequately set-up to capture quality audio from wherever you may be. This could mean anything from making sure you’re in the quietest part of your house when you record to setting-up your own recording studio, depending on your needs. (If you need any guidance in just how to create a quality home recording studio, check out our previous post here!) It goes without saying that if you want to record your podcast remotely, you’re going to need a device to actually capture the recording, so you’ll also need to check that there’s access to some form of microphone. If actual microphones are not a possibility, then your mobile or other devices will work just fine, just bear the available hardware in mind when choosing your software.
3. Do A “Blocking Rehearsal”
In drama, a “blocking rehearsal” takes place to plan who comes on when and from where, where each person should stand so they’re not blocking another actor, as well as marking the direction different actors should face when delivering particular lines. For your remote recording, your blocking rehearsal is essentially working with your interviewee or co-host to determine the finer details of your show. How you work this rehearsal will depend on your format, but it could include asking your guests to share their insights or answers with you ahead of time so that you have time to prepare your own responses if necessary. Knowing their responses will also allow you to plan natural ways to lead on from question to question. It will also help prevent you from interrupting your guests before they are finished answering the question. With regards to co-hosting, this aspect of preparation will help minimize occurrences of one person speaking over the other or cutting each other off, which can be awkward and annoying for your listeners. If you make notes or annotations as to where and when it’s your time to speak, not only will there be a lot less editing post-production, but it will really enable your conversation to flow better and sound more natural and authentic.
4. Break The Ice
Your last step in preparing for your remote recording should happen just before the actual interview, but it is often overlooked. Whether it’s for an interview or a normal episode with your co-host, you should always spend a little time conversing before actually recording for the show. This will help “break the ice” as telephonic or video calls can sometimes start a little stilted as you warm up to each other. A relaxed chat beforehand will help you find your groove with each other, and help get that great banter flowing right from the beginning of the recording. If you start recording “cold turkey”, it may take some time for the conversation to sound natural. But if you dust off the proverbial cobwebs beforehand, you’ll be warmed up and ready for another stellar episode, and you’ll be able to deliver your valuable content in a way that is engaging and enjoyable for your listeners.
Pro Tip: Even though you’re just warming up, our pro tip is to always record these sessions. While you’re relaxed and joking around, rehearsing or ad-libbing, you never know what gold nugget. These can make fun little inserts for your show, or it could be released as bonus material, so it’s a great idea to keep that tape running!
Related read: 8 Best Practices for Podcast Interviews
We now move on to Stage 2 of our operation for getting great remote podcast recordings: Finding the right software for the task at hand. Recording great quality audio remotely becomes a breeze when you’ve got an interview software that’s up to the task and has all the features you’ll need. But just what software is right for you and your show? There may be many factors to consider unique to your situation, but to give you a headstart in finding the software that’s the perfect fit for you, check out our brief overviews of some of the top interview software other podcasters are using to record their content remotely.
SquadCast may be one of the newer kids on the block, but it’s fast becoming a go-to choice for remote recording. Not only does SquadCast enable you to connect with your co-hosts and guests from anywhere with ease, but it delivers top-notch audio. An added bonus is that the platform allows you to do a video interview whilst only recording the audio. This means you can have that face-to-face connection with your guests without having to be together in person.
Another well-known name in the remote recording game is Ringr. Ringr is super simple to use and is available for both iOS and Android devices, in addition to their web app, making it really accessible as you’re able to connect up no matter what device you’re using. The audio quality of the recordings produced by Ringr is excellent, and this, coupled with how easy it is to connect makes it another solid contender.
Zoom has definitely seen a surge in popularity during recent weeks, as business meetings and colleague check-ins have all had to happen in the virtual world. Zoom makes it easy to connect face-to-face and simulate real-life conversations, which is why it is another popular choice for remotely recording your podcast interviews. Simply use the record feature to capture your conversation and you’re all set.
Lastly, Zencaster is another option to consider when looking for software to record your podcast remotely. Zencaster saves the audio of each speaker as a separate track, giving you plenty of editing freedom when it comes to putting the final audio together. The quality of the audio is excellent, and the cloud drive integration makes it super simple to save and access your recordings.
For a more in-depth look at the above software, including pricing plans and additions features, plus a few more alternatives, check out our post on the 8 Top Interview Softwares for Recording Your Podcast Remotely.
There you have it. Everything you need to get great audio from remote locations when being in the same place as your guest or co-host is simply not an option. And while part of the appeal of interviews or even of having a co-host is capitalizing on the special chemistry that happens when people get together to share their knowledge and passion, if you implement our strategies, you’ll still get great content for your show, even when recording remotely. Follow our pro tips for preparing for that interview and for sharing the mic with your co-host from a safe distance, and you’ll be well on your way to getting high-quality content that sounds so natural, effortless, and engaging that your listeners would never guess you weren’t recording in a studio, let alone, that you were not even in the same room!
Related read: The Top 8 Benefits of Having a Podcast Co-Host