Common mistakes to avoid when producing a podcast

As a big advocate of marketing your brand by leveraging the popularity of podcasts, I wanted to pull back the curtain and give any current podcasters, as well as aspiring ones, a head’s up on what to look for (and what to avoid) when recording shows.

While one of my motto’s is “be good, not great” I can’t help but sound the alarm on these eight items that will drag your podcast into a blackhole, never to be listened to again!

Follow these bullet points and your podcast will instantly be upgraded to a professional-sounding program.

Bad sound levels (i.e. “volume”)

If you have to turn the volume on your device up all of the way to hear you, or, your microphone settings while recording are so loud they’ll blow out a speaker (and sound distorted) you’ll have to adjust levels to make sure your audience can you hear you: and clearly.

There may be multiple areas to look while adjusting your levels and they will be different for each person speaking. The first place to look is if you’re using a sound mixer. Adjust the individual microphone channels, but also the “master” out to make sure you’re not sending an imbalanced signal to your recording device.

If said recording device is a PC or Mac, your operating system may have individual input settings for a microphone “in”. Check this setting next before making further adjustments within your recording software.

Finally, as part of post-production, you can “compress” some of your audio wavelength but be careful to make it still sound natural. Cutting your peak levels to an acceptable high, in the range of -3db, ensures a positive listening experience for your audience.

Poor audio quality

Following the adjustments made above, make sure that your audio sounds clear and crisp. Poor quality can arise not only from levels, but other pitfalls such as a shoddy microphone or interference from another device.

Be sure to not record near noisy appliances in your home such as a refrigerator or air conditioning unit. If possible, turn off fans to limit any sort of constant “noise” in the background of your recordings.

Unwanted noises

If you’re recording a podcast at home, you may need to kick everyone out!

Pet owners and parents of small children may struggle to find some quiet time to record a podcast. Be aware of noise from rooms above and below you, as well as the neighbors deciding to mow their lawn or work on a car next door as you’re in the middle of an episode!

There’s a certain level of forgivable noises that your listeners will accept. However, some major ones that have to be edited out, or can be prevented, include loud bangs or a cellphone ringing in the background. Putting your other devices in silent mode will go a long way in making sure your followers don’t shut your show off… perhaps for good.

Edit, edit, edit!

Achieving a perfect podcast in a single recording session can be difficult. You may get an itchy throat, need a glass of water, sneeze or any number of unwanted noises could disrupt your recording.

Don’t worry: simple stop, save your progress, and continue from where you left off. You can string the individual clips together later with editing software, cutting out the noises you don’t want left for your listeners to hear.

You may also want to snip the beginning and ending of your podcast so it doesn’t take ten seconds of silence before your listeners hear you. This is also true for areas with long pauses. Some natural breaks aren’t the end of the world, but you won’t want your fanbase to believe there’s a technical issues with your program, or worse, shut it off because they think it’s over.

Get to the point: faster!

Hand-in-hand with starting your show ASAP, make sure you get to your talking points and the benefits of listening to your episode within the first minute. Make sure listeners know what you’re going to talk about and why they should continue listening.

Too much small talk, or for those of you with sponsors, too much advertising, can ruin a podcast before it begins.


One of my main reasons for having anyone start a podcast is to position themselves as an expert in their field.

So why would anyone say “I’m not good at (insert topic)?”

Beats me!

Avoid saying things like “I’m not an expert at” or “I don’t know this” or “My show sucks” while recording. You’re going to validate why your potential audience should not listen to you!

It never hurts to be honest if you’re not entirely sure of something, such as being caught off-guard in the moment. That’s human of us. However, a pity party is the last thing people want to listen to when they’re searching for advice or seeking an escape by listening to your podcast.

No show notes

This is an important item to note: you must use show notes!

Show notes appear with your program and are the description of a single podcast episode aside from the title. They don’t have to be elaborate and in many cases,  you can copy and paste the same vital information (such as your main website or social media links) within the notes, saving you time.

At the minimum, however, you must make sure you describe what listeners will hear on your podcast. Doing so also gives you an opportunity to increase your SEO by utilizing industry keywords which will help others find your podcast, and potentially become advocates of yourself and/or your brand.

Copyrighted materials

Finally, using copyright materials will harm you in many ways. This should be obvious to most, but in case it isn’t, unless you have permission to use a popular song in your podcast, don’t do it. You can find yourself in a lawsuit, with your archive of shows taken down and all of your hard work lost.

Worse, you could face financial penalties on top of it.

Avoid the temptation of using copyrighted materials. If you’re a news source, you may be able to use small clips within the limitations of “Fair Use”, however, unless you have legal counsel to determine you are using others’ intellectual property legally, I suggest avoiding the risk entirely.

5 of the best podcast recording programs for any device

Recording a podcast doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether you have a set of earbuds or a fancy microphone, there is one component that can make or break your plans to dominate the on-demand radio spectrum: recording software. I’ve chosen five recording programs for a variety of devices to help you get on the right track. These applications span different devices from Microsoft Windows to Mac OS X and smartphones too. Here are my choices to for the best of the best to get your podcast going.

Adobe Audition

For those of you with a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, this is the no-brainer option. A full commercial application used by major corporations, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Audition. The interface, as with most of these programs, may take some getting used to. However, editing and exporting a final high-quality file becomes second nature not after long. The other benefit if Audition is that you may already have it as part of a subscription, costing you nothing extra. It also plays nicely with the rest of Adobe’s editing suite and works on both Windows and Mac OS X. Download Adobe Audition:


On a shoestring budget? Even if you’re not, the next option is free of charge… but you’d never know it! Audacity is my favorite application to work with when recording a podcast. It’s available on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and more. The open source software has many of the same features as the big boys like Adobe Audition and in many case is the go-to for serious podcasters to get their shows recorded digitally. As with the first three programs listed here, you can visually see your waveform as you record and export to a number of different audio formats. Audacity even saved my butt once during a laptop crash, offering to recover an unsaved file! I highly recommend it. Download Audacity:


An Apple-only application, GarageBand is widely available free-of-charge to most Apple users, but it’s not exclusive to only Mac OS X: Garageband is also available on iPhone and iPad, opening a world of portability for podcasters on the go. My only gripe with Apple’s recording product is that it can be a bit fussy to setup for each use, and the mobile versions (phone and tablet) often restrict the length of your track. Then again, when you’re looking for something free or low-cost to record a show, you’d have trouble finding something better than Garageband. You can download GarageBand here:

Griffin iTalk

If you try searching for recording software in Apple’s App Store you’re going to be barraged with a ton of useless apps that won’t get the job done for podcasts. It took me a long time to find this, but iTalk is one of the best iPhone apps you can use for recording audio. (It also works on the iPad too!) There are so many solid features which make iTalk great. First, it’s easy to use: just tap a big red button. Hit the red button to stop and you’ll have a number of options to get the resulting MP3 file off of your device. The premium version will even allow you to upload to cloud services such as Dropbox. However, the biggest selling point of iTalk for iOS users is that it has a studio monitor feature to hear what you’re recording via headphones (with the proper equipment, of course) and also visually see your levels as you speak. I’ve also found that the app you use also helps with picking up ambient noise. Garageband was notorious for a consistent “hiss” in the background of my iPhone recordings while iTalk sounded much clearer and natural. Download the proper version of the program here:

Audio Recorder

Developed by Sony, this free app available to Android users offers many of the same benefits I mentioned above with iTalk. Recordings are saved to the device, audio from microphones have less noise, and while it’s not as simple as the iTalk’s one button interface, it’s about as easy to use of an app you’ll find anywhere. Did I also mention it’s free? Download it here:

Why you must consider starting a podcast

Once upon a time I thought to myself: “Who would listen to me talk about X?”

Today, my mentality has totally changed. Now I tell anyone who will listen why they must have a podcast.

If you’re wondering what those reasons are, look no further than the list below which outlines all of the various ways a podcast will help benefit your business.

Long form content

The biggest takeaway from speaking in an audio format is that you can say a lot more, and have people listen to it, versus doing the same with a blog.

If you were to write 3,000 words in a blog post, chances are most people will skim your article or not read all of it. It takes more time and effort for readers to read; on the contrary, podcast listeners will listen to many more minutes of content than readers will ever read.

That sounds wordy, but it’s true. It’s also why audiobooks are huge these days. Putting on a pair of headphones while working or playing a podcast during your daily commute makes the medium much more accessible than reading a blog post.

Building a personal connection

Just like talking on the phone or in person, you can build a better rapport with a podcast. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Another touch point for your audience

I’m a fan of repurposing content where possible. A case in point is this very blog post, which first appeared as one of my early podcast episodes. It may not be as detailed as the audio version, but this blog post will reach those who don’t listen to the show.

Likewise, I often take articles I’ve written and talk about them on the podcast. It’s really that easy and also makes your content accessible to a larger audience who may prefer reading or listening to one or the other.

Position yourself as an expert

If you really do know what you’re talking about, it won’t take long for others to recognize it.

Podcasting is another great way to help set yourself apart and position yourself as an expert in your trade.


While podcasting is a great way to reach potential clients and customers, you can also leverage the platform to connect with other experts within your industry. This helps all ships rise with the tide by collaborating with others in your field.

You may even be invited as a guest on another podcast, which will only help your own numbers grow.

Less competition

While podcasting is growing, it’s nowhere near the mass saturation of blogging.

With far less competition, your podcast could reach more listeners than a blog. You may also happen upon an untapped niche that’s missing an audio version, further elevating your content marketing campaigns.

SEO and reach

While everyone’s fighting for first page position in Google search rankings, a podcast is just as effective at getting you or your brand noticed. Apple iTunes, YouTube and others have excellent search algorithms which will help increase your SEO and the overall amount of people your brand can reach.

Google will even give priority to videos, especially YouTube videos, in their rankings. That’s something to consider: even if you do not have the ability to produce a video podcast, it only takes a few extra steps to add a graphic to an audio file and have a “video” published on the world’s largest video website that’s also owned by the world’s largest search engine.

Barriers to entry

While I can’t cover how to begin a podcast without making this post too long, I can say that its easier than ever to get started.

Many of the tools you need to get started with a basic podcast may be right in front of you right now. Smartphones have apps which will record audio from its built-in microphone or a set of plugged in earbuds. Microphones which attach to a laptop are relatively inexpensive as well, and free software (downloaded or included with your computer) can assist in the recording process.

Even if you don’t have a lot of technical know-how you can upload your file to any number of pay services that can host your podcast. While I don’t necessarily recommend someone else holding or controlling your content, it’s an inexpensive and easy way to get your voice heard.


If podcasting is something you’re truly interested in, but you need some help, feel free to ask me about better methods of recording, hosting and/or editing your own audio program.

What does this do for YOU?

This may seem like a very innocent question in the world of content marketing, but it’s a noteworthy one. Every blog you write, every post you make on social media, every word you speak on a podcast or publish in an email or eBook is significant.

For example, if you mention a third-party product (i.e. not your own) in a campaign, you may be seen as endorsing it. Worse, you could be giving away free advertising.

The first thing to understand is that anything you say or do with you audience carries weight. A simple thank you or mentioning a mutually beneficial partner is an act of good will: randomly mentioning something else may have a negative impact, which a brand spinning its wheels to gain traction cannot afford to do.

Therefore, always ask yourself: “What does this do for you?”

That’s not a selfish stance, but something that must be thought out when focusing on your content marketing strategy. Your primary focus should be sales or new business. In order to attract those customers or clients, your efforts should spotlight your brand or company.

Generally speaking, you want to bring your audience to you. You do that by sharing information on social media, however, it’s not always that simple. There’s no harm in sharing posts from someone else or publishing photos on your social media networks, but there’s little “juice” to be gained to get those potential buyers to take the next step. A breadcrumb trail leading back to your website (where your sales pitch is, hopefully, well defined) should be your primary goal.

Sharing the local weather report, that someone can get anywhere else (such as the source) probably won’t help your return on your investment of time and money. That’s an issue I see with many potential new and even existing clients. They share/post a lot on social media, but it doesn’t generate any conversation and certainly if it’s not leading back to their website with a link or call to action, it disappears into the oblivion with no interaction.

“Sharing is Caring” but you have to be careful to not overshadow your own efforts. Think of it this way – you wouldn’t buy a billboard or radio spot for someone else, so we need to ask ourselves why we’re freely promoting something, if, “it does nothing for you.”

Again, that may come off as self-serving, but that’s the entire purpose of marketing. Far too often I see people with great drive expend their energy on things that aren’t directly helping their bottom line. Don’t be that person. Get down to basics and ask yourself the question above. You may find that this concept helps streamline your overall efforts and makes them more efficient and effective!