How to record a podcast: Tips from the experts

Starting a podcast is a thrilling prospect. Imagine having your voice and your ideas reach a whole world of eager listeners – what could be better?

But amidst all the excitement you might feel about getting your podcast off the ground, there’s also a touch of the unknown. You want to sound polished and professional. Above all, you want to deliver a memorable listening experience. And that’s no simple feat. There are microphones to choose, software to master, and that’s before you even consider the content itself!

What you need is a clear guide, highlighting the key things to focus on – and that’s exactly what we’re here to offer. Whether you’re gearing up to hit that record button for the first time or looking to level up your audio game, these eight top tips from the experts here at Liverpool Podcast Studios will help you create a podcast that captivates your audience.

Let’s dive in!

1.  Prep time is paramount

Some of the very best podcasts adopt a loose, conversational style – that’s what makes them so enjoyable! But even if you want to emulate that approach, it doesn’t mean you can just hit record and let your thoughts flow freely.

Even the most open-ended podcast will benefit from putting some prep time into structuring your episode – and that applies doubly if you’re going to be interviewing a guest.

Before the recording session begins, you should take some time to:

  • Write an outline. Get your key points and most important thoughts down on paper to help guide you. Ideally, these should be in a rough order in case you find yourself losing the thread midway through the episode. Just make sure they’re simple enough to refer to while you’re recording – if they’re too detailed, they’ll just confuse you even more!
  • Prepare questions for guests. This is hopefully an obvious point, but if you’re doing an interview-based show, you need to have your questions written out in advance. Research your guest and come up with some insightful topics that will provoke interesting discussions.
  • Talk to your co-host(s). If you’re doing a show with multiple hosts, be sure to share your ideas and main talking points with each other before you start. This will help you ensure you’re all on the same page and even spur some ideas for discussion before you get going.

Your prep doesn’t have to be rigid, and you don’t necessarily need a full script. Think of it as setting the stage for a great conversation, allowing your spontaneity to shine without the risk of complete derailment. Even a few minutes spent jotting down bullet points or organising your thoughts will give you the confidence to deliver a clear, engaging, and focused episode.

And trust us, when you find yourself losing the thread of your chosen topic twenty minutes in, you’ll be very glad you’ve got some notes to refer to!

2.  Master your recording software

Even the most basic DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) come packed with features designed to boost your audio quality. The trick is to explore and experiment with these tools!

Dedicating a bit of time to learn a few key features of your chosen DAW can dramatically enhance your podcast’s professional feel. Don’t be afraid to play around – many programs offer free tutorials or have helpful user communities for guidance.

Key features you should explore include:

  • Noise reduction. Most software has some form of noise reduction tool. This helps to minimise distracting background hums, hisses, or other unwanted sounds, resulting in cleaner audio.
  • Normalising. This feature balances the overall volume levels across your recording. No more jarring moments where one speaker is significantly louder than another – it creates a smoother listening experience.
  • Intro/outro music and effects. Most programs will let you import audio files, and this feature is a great way to add short music clips or other sound effects to give your podcast a bit of personality.

Each different piece of software will have its own way of implementing these features. The best way to master them is through experimentation and exploring tutorials specific to your chosen program.

3.  Don’t skip the sound check

Imagine spending an hour recording a fantastic podcast episode, full of insightful commentary or a brilliant interview, only to discover later that your audio is barely audible or riddled with distracting noise.

This nightmare scenario is easily avoided if you just take the time to conduct a simple sound check before you press record. And this doesn’t have to a complicated or time-consuming process. Just make sure to cover the following steps;

  • Test your microphone level. Speak into your microphone with your normal podcast delivery, paying attention to your software’s level meter. Ideally, your voice should be loud enough to hear clearly, but not so loud it peaks and causing distortion.
  • Check your mic placement. The distance between your mouth and the microphone impacts your sound. Too far away, and you might sound muffled; too close, and you risk harsh plosives. Experiment to find your sweet spot.
  • Do a short test recording. Hit record for a minute or two, speaking in your regular podcast voice. Play back the test recording and listen carefully for any issues like static, unwanted background noise, or volume inconsistencies. This allows you to make adjustments before your main recording session.

A simple sound check is your insurance policy against the disaster of discovering you’ve been left with a low-quality recording. A few minutes dedicated to a proper sound check can save you hours of frustration in post-production. Make this preventative step a non-negotiable part of your recording routine, and you’ll be rewarded with cleaner, more professional-sounding episodes.

4.  Microphone technique matters

So, you’ve done your sound check, and you know that your levels are perfect and your workspace is ready to go. But it’s crucial to remember that how you interact with your microphone throughout the recording matters just as much as getting the technical setup right. A few simple technique adjustments will ensure you maintain that top-notch audio quality from start to finish.

The most important thing to bear in mind is the distance between you and your microphone, which significantly affects your sound. Ideally, you want to find a sweet spot that captures your voice clearly without being too close. Being too close can lead to an overwhelming boominess, and speaking at an extreme distance might make you sound muffled. Experiment during your sound check to find the distance that delivers optimal clarity for your voice.

You should also consider investing in a pop filter. Those “p” and “b” sounds we all use in speech can create a harsh popping effect when captured by a microphone. A pop filter is a simple mesh screen placed between you and the microphone that diffuses these air blasts, resulting in a smoother, more professional sound. They’re affordable and make a noticeable difference, especially if you tend to speak closely to the microphone.

5.  Find your quiet place

Background noise is the enemy of clear podcast audio. Even seemingly minor noises like distant traffic, the hum of your refrigerator, or the neighbour’s dog can add up to a distracting listening experience. That’s why prioritising a quiet recording space is essential.

Spare rooms or home offices can be surprisingly effective recording spaces – especially given that this is most likely where your computer is already set up. But to make sure it’s suitable for recording, you’ll need to take steps to minimise noise.

Closing the door and keeping the windows shut are obvious steps – and don’t forget to turn off any devices likely to create noise while you’re recording. Nobody wants to hear your phone notifications pinging in the background!

Of course, there will be some sources of noise – traffic sounds, for example, or barking dogs – that you can’t always control. But, as far as possible, consider scheduling your recording for quieter times – late at night or early in the morning – to reduce the impact.

6.  Warm up your voice

You’ve meticulously prepared your recording setup, your content is organised, and the excitement to hit record is palpable – but don’t just launch into your first take. Your voice is your primary instrument for delivering a captivating podcast, and just like any instrument, it deserves proper preparation. Similar to how musicians warm up before a performance, a few simple vocal exercises will significantly enhance the clarity and impact of your podcast delivery.

Think of a basic vocal warm-up as a way to gently wake up your vocal cords and prepare them for optimal performance. A warm-up can help prevent vocal strain and fatigue, especially during longer recording sessions. Even just doing some simple humming before you start – trying out different pitches and volumes – can help get you ready to deliver a clear and consistent performance.

Staying hydrated is another crucial step to ensure your voice is up to the strain of speaking for thirty minutes or more. Make sure you have a glass of water ready to hand when you’re recording. Taking sips throughout your session will ensure your voice sounds its best and maintains its natural resonance throughout the episode – just make sure you mute your mic first!

7.  Speak with confidence

Podcasts thrive on more conversational, engaging speaking styles – being stiff and formal can often make for a less engaging listening experience. But that doesn’t mean your delivery should be flat or subdued. Striking the right balance between naturalness and energy is key to keeping your audience engaged.

In order to keep your delivery engaging, try the following tips:

  • Strengthen your posture. When recording, sit or stand up straight with your shoulders back. This simple adjustment not only makes you sound more confident but also allows you to breathe deeply for optimal vocal projection.
  • Avoid the monotone. Pay attention to your inflection and pitch. Aim to subtly vary your tone throughout your sentences and emphasise key words or phrases. This prevents your voice from falling into a monotonous pattern, which can quickly bore your listeners.

Don’t be afraid to let your personality and excitement for your topic shine through. Your natural enthusiasm is contagious, and it will resonate with your audience, making for a more enjoyable listening experience.

However, remember to consider your audience’s expectations. If your podcast is to help market your B2B business, or if you’re going to be tackling more sensitive topics, adjust your energy and tone accordingly. Aim for a balance of confidence, professionalism, and authenticity.

8.  Consistency is key

In the world of podcasting, consistency is fundamental. Imagine subscribing to a podcast that constantly leaves you wondering when the next episode will drop. Eventually, your excitement fades, and you might even forget about the show entirely. A regular release schedule is vital in building a dedicated listener base.

When planning your release schedule, consider the following:

  • Be realistic. Choose a release schedule you can confidently maintain, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Overcommitting and then failing to deliver will likely erode your audience.
  • Prioritise quality. When it comes to setting your schedule, frequency isn’t everything. You might be able to manage weekly episodes – but if it means your quality control will slip, it’s not worth it. Rushing content out the door for the sake of rigid adherence to a schedule will ultimately hurt listener retention.
  • Create a content cushion. If possible, try to record a few episodes in advance. This gives you a buffer in case an unexpected event or illness disrupts your schedule. Having episodes prepared acts as an insurance policy for consistent releases.

And there you have it! From mastering your recording environment to ensuring a consistent release schedule, these tips provide a strong foundation for creating a high-quality podcast.

Remember, podcasting is a journey, and with practice and dedication, you’ll continue to refine your skills and grow your audience. Now’s the perfect time to start implementing these strategies and let your voice be heard.

The podcast studio advantage

So, you’ve learned the essentials for launching your podcast with a DIY approach. But is going it completely alone the best option for everyone?

For some podcasters, especially those striving for a professional sound or aiming for a higher production value, partnering with a professional recording studio can offer a multitude of advantages.

The benefits of working with a podcast studio include:

  • Top-tier equipment. Access to professional-grade microphones, mixers, and audio editing software that can take your sound quality to the next level.
  • Technical expertise. Experienced sound engineers handle all the technical aspects of recording and mastering, freeing you to focus purely on your content and delivery.
  • Controlled environment. Acoustically treated studio spaces eliminate distracting background noise and ensure pristine audio quality.
  • Save time and effort. Outsource the technical and editing work to studio professionals, saving you precious time and allowing you to focus on creating fresh content.
  • Elevate your sound. Achieve a polished and professional sound that sets your podcast apart and attracts a devoted audience.

If you’d like to learn more about why you should consider working with a professional podcast studio, read our blog on the benefits of using a podcast studio to record your podcast.

Perfect your podcast with Liverpool Podcast Studios

With the above tips in hand, you’ll be well-placed to deliver a top-quality listening experience that will have your listeners coming back week after week.

But if you really want to deliver a professional-standard podcast with unbeatable production values – and without having to invest months or years of effort in learning the ropes – working with a podcast studio is a great alternative.

Here at Liverpool Podcast Studios, we’ve helped podcasters of all levels of experience and ambition turn their podcast idea into a fully realised, audience-friendly listen. We don’t just offer professional-grade equipment and expert editing and post-production – as important as that is! You’ll also benefit from your very own producer, who can help you troubleshoot your technical challenges and bring your episode ideas to life.

We offer both one-off studio sessions and competitive monthly packages, so visit our services page to learn more. Or why not get in touch to discuss what we can offer?



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