7 Tips for Podcast Guests

seven tips for podcast guest checklist

 

  1. Everyone has a podcast these days, but why are some better than others? It’s all about the audio! 
  2. Whether you’re just starting out in interview podcasting or you’re a guest for the first, fifth, or even hundredth time, there’s always something one can do to improve their delivery.
  3.  
  4. The key to your success as a podcast guest lies in your audio! In this post, we’ll cover the top seven tips for podcast guests so you can be a guest that shows want back over and over again. Let’s get started.

7 Tips for Podcasting Success

  • Picking A Room

  • When most people think of capturing clean and clear audio, they think of their equipment being the saving grace, but really equipment is secondary to the space you’re in. 

What makes a room ideal to record in?

– A room on the smaller side (less room for sounds to bounce around; also easier to fix any issues you run into with the space)

– Lots of sound-absorbent materials (thick carpets, drapes, plush furniture, blankets; these help to deaden the reflections of traveling noise)

– In a quiet area of your home or office (as far as possible from the noise makers in your environment)

  • Here is a quick way to evaluate your recording space and mitigate any issues you find. 
  • The Hand Clap Test

  • In the room that you are planning to record in, clap as hard as you can one time. If your clap gives off any kind of echo effect, your recording room could be improved.
  • Here are some quick fixes for echoes.

First, identify:
– the source of the sound
– the entry point or how the sound enters the space
– the reflection point or where the sound reflects from after it has entered the space.

Then, using thick blankets and rugs, heavy window treatments (or more blankets), and weather stripping can help absorb the noise and echoes in your recording space. Put these items at the source of the sound, the entry point, and reflection point for best results. 

If all else fails, hang some heavy blankets up in your closet and record there!  

For more info on soundproofing your recording space on a budget, check out our other blog post here. 

    • THE SETUP – Before recording….

      • 1. Ensure all potential noisemakers are turned off or taken care of ahead of time. 
      • Ideally, you don’t have anyone doing anything around you during your recording session.
      • Make sure all potential noisemakers are turned off or taken care of ahead of time. This includes:
        • →  Heater/air conditioner
        • →  Home/office appliances (printers, copiers, washing machines)
        • →  Music or television
        • →  Noisy furniture
        • →  Your mouse or scroll wheel (consider using the touchpad)
        • →  Telephone
        • →  Notification sounds from non-essential programs on computers
        • →  Kids and pets 
2. Use headphones. 
Make sure you use headphones and turn your computer speakers down completely. This will prevent the microphone from picking up unnecessary feedback and electronic echoes.
 
3. USB Microphones 
Using a USB mic will provide the best audio possible. While the microphone and speakers that are built in on your computer are sufficient in a pinch (or if you don’t record often), but they won’t provide the sound quality we need. Often, they’ll mess with your volume/tone and we’ll get feedback. If you’re going to do one and only one podcast interview ever, it may not be worth the money to buy a higher end mic. Should this be the case, use the microphone that is built into your earbuds. In most cases, the mic built into headphones is better than your computer mic.
 
If a mic is a worthwhile purchase for you, there are a few options (and price ranges) to choose from. (Note: these microphones are available through many different vendors; Syntax does not receive any monetary compensation for items purchased at the links below.)
 
In our podcast studio, we use Yeticasters by Blue ($199.00), and we love them! Once we perfected the settings, they’ve consistently provided fantastic audio for all of our shows. 
 
Affordable options for USB mics that require little to no set up are: 
 

Please, whatever you do, do not use a Bluetooth connected microphone. Their connection can be unreliable and we want to hear everything you have to say! 

4. Test your setup!
Check your recording software (Skype, Zoom, Zencastr, etc.) for which audio device you’re recording from — make sure the proper device is activated and not the microphone built-in to your computer Mac or PC. The majority of these recording programs also allow you to test your input/output – use this feature! Plus it will save you and the producers lots of time and trouble later on. 

BONUS TIP for podcast guests: ADJUSTING YOUR MIC LEVELS.

The mic level or microphone level is the voltage level that comes out of a microphone when someone speaks into it. The voltage changes in response to changes in voice level and in the talker-to-mic distance. Mic level meter is typically depicted as a scale that moves from green to yellow to red (as shown below).

podcast tip - adjust your mic levels
Your mic level meter might look like this if you have a Mac.
tips for podcast guest Microphone levels reacting to recording
Or the mic level meter could look like this if you use a Windows machine.

To check your mic levels, open up the audio preferences of your software (Skype, Zoom, Zencastr, etc.). Then navigate to the Audio input and check your mic levels.

Think of mic level meter as a scale that starts at 0% and moves up to 100%. Your mic level should be between 45% and 60%. You should be consistently in the green area of the meter. If the mic level is too hot (too much yellow and red on that meter), you will likely end up with distorted and unusable audio . 

If you’re using one of the mics suggested above you won’t need very high mic levels and that will help diminish the recording of unnecessary background noises, while also protecting your audio from becoming unusable. 

BONUS TIP 2: FOR NEXT TIME

Once you’ve got your mic level in a good place, take note of where you are. How far are you from the mic? Remember this for the next time you are going to record. The mic level does not automatically adjust and it may result in capturing imperfect audio (if any audio at all). 

  • WHILE RECORDING…

While recording, a good tip is to have a notebook
Before you start recording, make sure you have everything you need.
  • 1. Minimize fidgeting.
  • It’s hard to resist, but it will make a world of difference in your recording. It’s amazing what a mic can pick up. 
  • Avoid bumping the table, scooting things around your desk, clicking pens, or anything else that might make noise. If you’re like me and need to fidget while you think, get a noise-less fidget toy like putty!

2. Take a breath! 
It’s okay to take an elongated pause to collect your thoughts before saying anything or responding to a question. These are the easiest thing to edit. However, run-on sentences are not easy to edit because context can get lost if anything important is removed.

3. Drink up. 
Have a glass of water nearby during your chat. You would be surprised at how dry your mouth can get when interviewing!

Expert Tip for podcast guests: Keep a Notepad Next to You

As your record, you might say something and think wow that was really good or I want to highlight that more. Let us know! Either use the time code master clock in Zencastr or set a timer to run from your phone the minute you start recording. Then, after you’d said something noteworthy, write down the time code. You can write the time code such as 00:14:25 — which means at zero hours, fourteen minutes, and twenty-five seconds. 

Once you write the time code, make a quick note as to what you said. It doesn’t have to be verbatim. After your recording session, go back and elaborate on your note. Share these notes with the host or producer and they’ll make sure that those areas are given special attention. 

Hopefully, these tips for podcast guests will help you excel and land you many more interviews. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Syntax team for clarification or even more tips!