You might already think your podcast sounds pretty good, and that’s fantastic. But in this episode, I want to check on a few common mistakes that I hear even experienced podcasters making… maybe you are too and we can instantly take your audio quality to the next level. And, it all starts with…
The Listener’s Perspective
I once went out to the streets to ask podcast listeners what would make them stop listening to a podcast. The top two reasons they mentioned were, number one, wasting their time with mindless chatter and, number two, you guessed it, poor audio quality. That’s exactly what I tackle in this episode.
I want you to put yourself in your listener’s shoes for a minute. Picture what they are doing while they are listening to your podcast. Okay, well, I hate to break it to you but they are not likely to be sitting there with dedicated podcast listening time. They’re probably multitasking. They could be washing the dishes, walking the dog, or driving. If they have to strain to hear what you’re saying, your podcast instantly becomes annoying. It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are or how impressive your guest is; bad audio can be a deal-breaker for your listener. And what’s worse, it can damage your credibility.
In this episode, I’m sharing the top five mistakes podcasters make with their microphones and, more importantly, how to fix them. So, let’s get you using your microphone correctly and sounding like a pro.
Your Earpods Are Not Acceptable
Mistake number 1: Using a Bluetooth or wireless mic. Let me be blunt: this is never a good idea for recording a professional-sounding podcast. No debate – it’s just not. What you need is simple, clean, and clear audio quality, and for that, an $80 Dynamic USB mic does the job. You’re not recording an album; you’re podcasting. Dynamic mics are more forgiving than condenser mics and are perfect for podcasting. I recommend starting with a Samson QU2 or the Audio-Technica ATR 2100. The key is that they are wired into your recording device.
Oops, Wrong End
Mistake number 2: Using your microphone incorrectly. Different microphones require different techniques. You must know what kind of mic you have and how to use it. Mic placement is key. It’s so damn important that it was my very first podcast episode, seven years ago – don’t listen to it; I’m embarrassed. But I’ve got some YouTube videos too, so if you want to see my gorgeous face… just a warning, it’s very distracting. I’m very beautiful, you know.
Mic Placement Demo Video
Puhlease, Don’t Puhunch My Earholes with Your Puhopping Ps
Mistake number 3: Not using a pop filter or pop screen. Those plosives and your breathiness can be real show-stoppers. Think about your listeners using earbuds or noise-canceling headphones; every ‘P’ you pop feels like a punch to the ear. Invest in a pop screen or a foam muff for your microphone, or better yet, get both! Don’t make your listeners uncomfortable.
Settings Schmettings, It Worked Last Time (NOPE) [OR] Never Set it and Forget It!
Mistake number 4: Not paying attention to your microphone settings. If you ignore this, you might end up recording with the laptop’s onboard mic, and that’s brutal. You should start caring about this. Just because you set your mic up correctly once does not mean that you are good to go. Test, for the love of podcast gods, test! It takes just 30 seconds. In episode 124, I explain how to do this with a pen.
Hello, Your Mic is Up Here!
Mistake number 5: Not being mic-aware. You don’t want to drift away from the mic as you record. Pay attention to your microphone’s placement. Know where the mic is in relation to your mouth at all times. It’s like driving; you need to pay attention and keep the car on the road. I shared some key tips on how to avoid mic fade in episode 166.
Hold Your Podcast Guests to the Same Standards
Remember to apply these five mistakes to your guests too. Prepare them with some guidance on how to show up ready to sound great. Educate them on how to use their microphones correctly. Listen to how they sound, test, and guide them before hitting the record button. If they drift off or start to sound off, pause the interview and fix it. Don’t make your listeners choose between annoyance and not listening.
Care About Your Listener’s Experience
Do your listeners a favor and care about their listening experience. It will make you sound better and increase the chances that they become fans and customers. Your authority and credibility are on the line.
Make sure you use the right microphone, learn how to use it correctly, including using a pop screen, test it every time, and stay mic-aware. Make sure your guests adhere to the same standards. There’s no excuse for putting your listener in a position where they have to decide between not listening or being annoyed by your poor audio quality.
Get a Professional Opinion
If you feel like your show could sound better but you’re not sure what needs to be addressed, I can help in less than 15 minutes. I could probably troubleshoot your issue in 15 seconds. But I’ll give you the full 15 minutes when you take me up on my FREE Podcast Coaching call. Let’s get you sounding like a pro.
Book your free 15-minute coaching call HERE.