Podcasting is a strange medium. Most content consumers don't really know what a podcast is, yet despite several predictions to the contrary, podcasts are still steadily growing in popularity.
A lot of people thought that podcasting would dive with the advent of easy and cheap-to-stream video. But that hasnt been the case. Because audio if a different medium, much easier to consume on the go.
The following are 4 steps that I believe that can really go a long way to make a podcast sound much more professional...
1) Use a great microphone
Back in 2006 when I recorded my first podcast, and when podcasting as a broadcasting medium was very much in its infancy, nobody cared about the quality of audio.
However, fast forward seven years and its incredible how professional the standard of some podcasts have become. One of the ones Im thinking of is Entrepreneur On Fire by John Lee Dumas.
As far as Im aware John records his podcast in a home studio without any outside assistance, but his show is still regularly featured as one of the more popular podcasts on iTunes.
One of the reasons that Johns managed to achieve this is right from the start he committed to delivering the highest possible quality audio by using the equipment recommended by Cliff Ravenscraft.
2) Have a show structure & publish consistently
Sadly the majority of podcasts fall by the wayside, victims of a lack of focus and unclear set of objectives. However, one podcast thats stood the test of time is Internet Business Mastery by Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden.
These 2 have been publishing episodes of Internet Business Mastery since 2005, so its very impressive that they're still at it, and indeed still one of the top podcasts on internet marketing.
So whats their secret?
Jeremy and Jason have a very strict formula for their shows " and they've committed to delivering a new show at least once a fortnight. Having a pre-defined show structure and publishing on a consistent basis has been key to their success.
3) Edit your audio
In addition to having good quality audio, having well edited audio will significantly add to your listeners experience. I recommend using 2 free tools called Audacity and The Levelator to enhance your audio.
With Audacity you can edit out umms and ahhs and remove any excess background noise. The Levelator tool is a great way to level out the volume of your sound. This is particularly useful if you're interviewing someone and one of you has been recorded at a significantly different volume.
Both Audacity and The Levelator are free to use.
4) Use professional bumpers
The fourth step is to look at introducing intro's, outro's and other sound bumpers as part of your podcast. Thanks to sites like Fiverr and oDesk its now really easy to find audio professionals who are willing to produce audio segments for you at a very reasonable price.
Just make sure you check out the podcasting competition first, and be very clear about what you're looking for. But if you do your research, its not unusual to be able to get a professional voiceover artist to create a podcast intro and outro for you for as little as $5.
If you've just got started producing a podcast for the first time, or if you're considering starting your first podcast, hopefully these snippets of advice will persuade you that its not too difficult or too costly to produce a really great show. The tough part is the planning and the doing, but its a great medium. Hopefully you think so too!