Podcast Tips to Make Your Podcast Sound More Professional
Podcasting is the new novel: everyone says they’re doing it, but few know how to do it right.
More than 4 in 10 Americans have listened to a podcast. That’s a testament to how widespread they’ve become. But like writing a novel, it’s not tough to separate the true professionals from the dabblers. If you want podcast success, you need a professional upgrade to impress your audience.
Below, we’ve put together some podcast tips to give you a professional makeover.
Tip #1: The Intro
Let’s start at the beginning. If you’ve listened to many podcasts or even followed enough Youtubers, you know the top guys use standardized intros. Even the most casual intro, like a simple “What’s up, guys and girls?” follows a standard format.
Codifying your intro is a strong path to a more professional sound. It’ll make the opening of your podcast clear and help ease listeners into the main content.
A strong intro also establishes your tone and your brand, whether that’s a casual shout-out to your fans or a more formal greeting.
Standardizing your intro also allows you to swap it out (if necessary) with ease. This is also a good place to put the latest news, updates, and instructions for liking and following your podcast.
Tip #2: Tune Up Your Sound
Nothing separates the best podcast shows from the little fish like audio quality.
Even a beloved podcast will receive a wave of negative comments if its audio quality is off, even for a single episode. For a new podcast starting out, poor audio can kill it before it ever gains traction.
You might have to spend extra at the outset to get the kind of audio quality a modern audience expects. This means investing in sound-proofing, quality condenser or dynamic microphones, and even the production knowhow to bring out the best mix possible.
Tip #3: Put in the Research
If you’re starting a podcast, you probably have something important to say. If you want listeners, what you say had better be worth their time.
Put in the hours it takes to understand your topic. A non-fiction podcast will attract more fans if it speaks with authority and delivers valuable content. Excessive and meaningless fluff will only cause listeners to tune out.
If you plan to deliver authoritative content, you might consider working with a fact-checker. Failing to do so could make you look less professional in the eyes (or ears) of your listeners.
This might be less relevant to a fictional podcast, but similar advice still applies. Put in the time to create a well-crafted package that delivers on fan expectations. You need to show you’re putting in the work if you want to build a fan base.
Tip #4: Schedule Your Success
Podcasting is still young enough that the template to success isn’t quite set.
But we can look at a part of Internet history to see how to build something which lasts. For instance, take a look at webcomics. Like podcasts, there was a time when everyone seemed to be starting a webcomic.
The webcomic genre experienced a decline; many died off and left fans disappointed. The ones that have endured to become institutions, like gaming comic Penny Arcade, achieved it through the power of scheduling—regularly delivering its content.
Recurrent scheduling keeps your audience invested. Just like a newspaper or TV show would lose its audience if it kept jumping around the calendar, a podcast needs a regular schedule that its fans can count on. This can be daily, weekly or monthly, whatever makes sense for you and your audience.
Tip #5: A Matter of Length
The benefits of consistency also apply to the length of each podcast episode.
Sticking to a consistent broadcast length lets your listeners know what to expect when they queue your show up for listening. A sudden change in length can mess with those expectations, leading to a frustrating experience for your fans.
Setting a runtime for your podcast also helps you manage segment length, like how long an interview should run. This will prevent segments from running too long or too short. Utilizing a podcast script can help maintain some control.
There’s no definitive authority on how long a podcast should run. The “correct” length will vary by genre and audience. The key is to hit that length on a consistent basis.
Tip #6: Watch Your Mouth
In an age dominated by social media, a slip of the tongue could ruin your reputation overnight.
It’s vital to control the tone of your podcast, which means controlling both yourself and your guests. Even if you want your podcast to be an open forum, you should still take care to set the ground rules for acceptable content.
Stay away from controversial subjects unless you’re tackling them head-on. Don’t turn your podcast into a soapbox for your personal views. Likewise, keep your guests on-topic when possible, and discuss the questions you plan to ask in advance.
You’ll need to consider your target audience to set your standards of tone. Bad language can be a dealbreaker for some. It may also make it harder to find sponsors and advertisers, so it’s worth considering your monetization plans when you set your standards.
Tip #7: Closing the Deal
Your sign off is as important as your intro, so a professional podcast should take the time, and make the investment, to get this right.
If you didn’t feature them in the opening, now is the time to feature any ads. It’s also a good spot to acknowledge the hard work of contributors. Failing to give credit where it’s due won’t do you any favors when trying to get people involved.
Consider slipping a little hook into your outro to keep your listeners engaged. It’s tempting for a listener to switch off when the bulk of the podcast finishes, so go the Marvel route and drop some post-credits content. Welcome To Night Vale’s end-credit “proverb” is a fantastic example of this in action.
Podcast Tips for the True Professional
These podcast tips will help you establish your podcast as a professional production. In a world saturated with amateur acts, even a small bump in your professionalism can translate to a huge bump in your audience.
Need help making your podcast more professional? We’d love to help. Check out our production services.