Here, you can follow the behind-the-scenes development of CultureKlatsch, from equipment selection, to interview preparation, to content curation. We hope this blog will be a useful resource to those who are interested in creating their own podcasts, or in podcasts generally.
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You’ve bought all your shiny new equipment, you’ve prepared your topic for your first episode, and you’re ready to start podcasting. Now what? Recording day is what you’ve been waiting for, and it’s time to clear your throat, test the mic, and get started. If you’re brand new to podcasting, chances are you’re recording your first podcast episode at home rather than a fancy studio, but that doesn’t mean it can’t sound great. Here are some tips to get you ready for recording day.
Set up your recording space
The first thing you need to figure out is where to record. If you’re recording at home, it’s best to opt for a smaller room with a lot of soft surfaces (like plush furniture) to absorb sound. A large, spare room will result in an echo-y sound, so a bedroom tends to work best (sit by the closet with the closet doors open so you can use all those sweaters as sound-proofing!).
Make sure you have all your recording equipment handy -- you’re going to need your laptop, mic, headphones, and anything else you’ve purchased for podcasting. You want your voice to project naturally, so make sure you have a comfortable seat and a stable surface for your equipment. If your mic and headphones are separate (not a headset), then make sure you’re sitting close to the mic and you remain at relatively the same distance from it during recording so your voice’s volume remains consistent.
Reduce background noise
Next, you need to take care of any background noises that your mic might pick up. The better quality mic you have, the more background sounds it will capture. Make sure you close the windows and doors and turn off the air conditioner or anything else in your home that is making a noise. You might be so used to it that you don’t notice it, but the mic will. Of course, unless you have a dedicated studio, there will always be some noises that sneak in -- a neighbor’s dog barking or a truck driving by. Don’t sweat the small things, but make sure you take care of any sounds that are easy to turn off before you get started.
Get your notes and resources together
Depending on your type of podcast, you might have a script you’re reading from, an outline to guide your interview, or some notes to help you remember the most important topics you want to talk about. Make sure you’ve gathered everything you need before you get started so you don’t waste time clicking around trying to find a link or flipping through the pages of a book you’re referencing.
Get every document and resource lined up so you can have it easily at hand once you start recording. Especially when you’re recording with a co-host or guest, you want to keep the conversion flowing and avoid awkward moments when you’re trying to find that one quote you can’t fully remember. (An outline will be a great asset, but that’s a topic for another blog post!)
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you really don’t want your throat to run dry in the middle of the most exciting part of your podcast episode! I’m partial to a cup of green tea with honey before I start recording, and I always keep a full water bottle on hand. You’d be surprised how quickly your mouth can get dry when you’re doing all the talking, and taking a sip of water is also a good opportunity to catch your breath for a moment. Your voice is your most important asset when you’re podcasting, and you don’t want it to get scratchy mid-episode.
Have fun, and don’t worry about mistakes!
Ideally, you’re making a podcast because you’re really excited about your topic, so have fun with it! Your listeners want to hear your personality come through, so feel free to share some laughs and have a good time while you’re recording. Don’t worry about sounding perfect every time -- unless you’re podcasting live, you can easily start over if you’re stumbling on your words or lost your train of thought mid-sentence (we’ve all been there). But it can sometimes be fun and relatable to hear your favorite podcasters make a joke at their own expense or own up to a mistake. This might be the most over-used cliche, but there’s a reason it has endured -- just be yourself!
As you record more episodes, you’ll start to figure out what works for you -- which beverage you like to enjoy, how you prefer to have your notes organized, which cozy socks keep you warm while you’re recording with the heat turned off… Get started with these tips, but feel free to experiment and create your own perfect recording day.
I’ve just wrapped up my own recording day for episode 2 of CultureKlatsch! You can check out the new episode, Jordan Peele & Millennial Horror, on SoundCloud, Spotify, and iTunes. I had some awesome conversations about what makes Peele such an interesting filmmaker and the recent trends in the horror genre, and I got to attend a film theory class and hear the students discuss the film Us. Check it out, and make sure to leave us a review on iTunes!