I felt I ought to write a post like this. It’s a very uncertain time for everyone so I hope I can help out as many people as possible – I’m still trying to figure it out too. I thought I’d share some of my experiences so far with trying to adapt and produce my podcast, as well as others during this crisis.
I was very intrigued to see how many people are still listening to podcasts as the majority have lost their commute. 90% of my podcast listening happens while commuting into work and now that’s gone I am barely listening to any. I wondered if anyone else was noticing the same thing, so I put it to Twitter:
40% of people are not listening to podcasts currently, that’s a huge amount of your audience cut out already. The good news is, people are still listening, but just in a slightly different way. Surprisingly, many people are listening to your dulcet tones while cooking up their next treat (after watching Jamie Oliver or Kenji Lopez-Alt).
Sally Fox responded saying:
So what should you do about your format?
- I’d keep it as short as possible, people have lost their commute times and are finding new ways to listen to podcasts. This is a great time to hone in on your editing skills and really crafting an interesting narrative in your episodes. For all episodes I’m aiming for no more than 30 minutes. If your podcast relies on length, maybe cut it down into multiple parts?
- Take some time to listen back to some old episodes and add in clips from previously recorded episodes. How I Built This often do replays of old episodes that go to the top of the feed.
Experiment with a few different options and see how your audience react. Ask them on other channels what they’d prefer, then go from there.
Recording & Software
Similarly to a lot of people who are now working remotely, my default video conferencing software is Zoom. The majority of people now have Zoom installed on their computers, so hosting your podcast using this is a great option. It is reliable and has fantastic recording capabilities.
To make sure you get the most out of the software and to give you the most flexibility when editing, make sure you select ‘Record a separate audio file for each participant‘ in the recording settings [preferences > recording].
Although Zoom is a great option for recording podcasts remotely, if you want to upgrade your quality (or if your co-host / guest has a high-quality microphone) you might want to look into using Cleanfeed. Cleanfeed is built to generate the highest fidelity audio recording over the internet so is perfect for those wanting the best possible production.
Thank you to Mark Runacus from the Wax Lyrical podcast for the recommendation.
A final option, one that I use for the Agency Startup podcast, is to each record your audio natively and then to sync together in the edit. This will give you the best possible quality if every member of the podcast has the technical know-how and equipment. If you choose this option, record your call as a backup.
Now not everyone will have a broadcast level audio recording setup in their homes, but for relatively little money you can get very close to it. More than ever it is a great time to upgrade your home audio setup given that we’ll all be at home for some time. This will give you extra work brownie points in conference calls too.
This being said, if you don’t have the resources to get the extra equipment then do not worry at all – these are tough times for everyone and if you focus on making your content as entertaining and engaging as ever, no one is going to notice.
My current home setup is as follows:
- Shure SM58 Mic (£100)
- Zoom H6 (£300)
- Neewer Mic Stand (£20)
- Bose QC35’s (£250)
This is not the cheapest home setup, but you can replace a few items to make this far more palatable. For me, the Zoom H6 I use for most productions and the Bose QC35’s I own for listening to music anyway. Here’s another great setup:
- Rode Procaster (£130)
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (£100)
- Neewer Mic Stand (£20)
- Earbuds (£10)
Both these microphones require an interface to plug into your computer as they are XLR. If you wanted to save some money (and cables) for the most straightforward setup, there are a few great USB options:
- Rode Podcaster
- Rode Podmic Mini
- Blue Yeti (use with caution)
All of the above are great options for having fantastic sounding audio. If you don’t have the equipment or the ability to get hold of some – do not worry – focus on making great stories and entertaining content.
Publishing & Promotion
As for getting your podcast out there, service as normal is what I am seeing so far – but be mindful of the context you’re posting. I have a few episodes of the Marketing Mashup that I recorded pre-Coronavirus that I’m wary of promoting too heavily right now. Instead, I recorded an episode with Joe Glover of The Marketing Meetup to cover the topic and how we can all be a little kinder too each other right now.
If you’re new to podcasting and aren’t sure on how to get it out there, I’d recommend using Transistor to host and follow the steps in their guide to get started. I’m always around on Twitter if you need a hand.
Now is a great time to get creative with your promotion:
- You could create some snippets using Headliner.app or Veed.io to post on your social channels.
- You could make a highlight show to post in your feed or on socials again.
- Make a trailer to showcase your upcoming episodes.
- Write a blog post with the 10 things you’ll learn from that episode. Post it on relevant subreddits and communities.
Keep up the great podcasts
I hope everyone carries on making fantastic podcasts. If you haven’t started – get together with your friends to discuss a topic you’re interested in. If you’ve been meaning to get cracking for months with it sitting on the bottom of that long to-do-list; start now!