PodSchool Podcast | How to improve your podcast with audio production


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How audio production can improve your podcast

How to add some bells and whistles to your show

Audio production is just a fancy way of saying the bits of audio in your podcast that aren’t you speaking.

So what are the different types of audio production you can have in your podcast and what does it add to your show?

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Intro and outro music

Adding music to the beginning and end of your podcast episodes is the simplest way to make them sound more professional.   

Your intro music is the first thing people hear and it sets the tone for your show so it’s important to choose a track that fits well with your content.

You can keep these intros and outros simple using just music and your voice to introduce the show.

Or you can step it up a notch by adding a voice-over and sound effects so another voice introduces you before you welcome listeners to the show.

How to build the perfect podcast intro and outro



This is a radio word for a short audio divider that’s used to separate different sections of your show.

A sting can be as simple as a voicemail from a listener, a grab from a movie that has relevance to the episode, or it could be a mix of music and voice-over where you include information about your show.

Adding stings throughout your content can be a great way to break things up, keep your show moving and take care of admin you don’t want to cover in the content like details of your website, email or social media handles.

Do you need social media accounts for your podcast?


Segment intros

These are similar to stings in that they’re placed in between sections of your podcast but they’re designed to introduce content that’s coming up.

If you’re doing regular segments it’s nice to have a produced intro for these so they sound professional and so you can get your audience used to them being a regular part of your show.

How to improve your podcast with segments


Sound effects and other audio

Production can be as simple as inserting sound effects or grabs of online videos into your show.

If you’re using sound effects don’t overdo it or drop them in for no reason because they can be irritating if they sound gratuitous.

And, if you’re using audio from television, film or online videos you need to be careful.

‘Fair use’ is a defense for using content that isn’t yours but what constitutes fair use is pretty grey.

If you’re using content that belongs to someone else it’s always best to err on the side of caution and only use music, sound effects and audio elements you’ve downloaded or purchased from production websites so you know you’ve got the correct rights.

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello there. Well, if you've clicked on this episode, that's exciting, because that means you're thinking about improving your show and that’s always a good thing. Audio production is just a radio term for anything that isn't speaking. So, it could be music (that's the simplest form of audio production) and I'm going to step you through a few other options that you have. And this is a really nice way to add some bells and whistles to your show. So, it's not just somebody turning on audio and then hearing a couple of people sitting around a microphone. At the bare minimum, in terms of production, you should have a musical intro and an outro on your show. It doesn’t have to be a produced intro and outro with a VO like I’ve got at the start and end of my show, you can just choose a piece of music you like and intro your show ‘live.’ Having that music there just makes the whole show sound more professional and you should think about it like your audio version of McDonald's golden arches. It’s your audio brand. So you want to pick a piece of music that sets up the tone of your show and makes people feel like, “Yes, I'm ready for your content now!” So, pick the right mood.
A word of warning, searching for music can be a real punish. You can lose hours, months, days, years of your life, searching for the right track, so make sure you are prepared for that quagmire. But it's really important to have something on the beginning and end of your show because it ties a nice little professional bow around your podcast.
So, in terms of the simplest and most essential piece of audio production, music is a must. After that, some of the things that can lift your show are things like stings. That's a radio term for a really small piece of pre-produced audio that you can slot in between segments. So this is excellent if you are thinking about breaking your show up into little bits where you talk about different things in each little segment. Or maybe you have some regular spots on your show and you want audio to break up those spots, stings air a great way to do it.
You can also create segment intros. So, if you've got something that is happening in every single episode or it repeats every now and then, then have a little intro made up so your audience knows it’s coming. These stings only need to be a couple of seconds and you can include some of the admin bits of your podcast in there by sharing your website details or Facebook page.
You can also jazz up your intro by making it a bit more produced with voice over and some sound effects. It’s also a good way to get a little tagline out for your show so you can just get on with the content.
Some other really easy ways to add production include sound effects or bits of online videos but just make sure you’re not playing the whole thing. Little bits can add colour for your audience and fall under ‘fair use.’ Just make sure you read up on the licensing terms for anything you’re using, because you don't want to use anything that gets you sent to jail.
The final option is ‘audio devices.’ Basically, a bit of music or a sound effect you can drop in for a bit of theatre. In my old podcast, Paul and Rach, I used to use The Spanish Flea to pretend we were popping off to have a think about something. It’s really just a theatrical device but whatever production you use you don’t want to be gratuitous. Everything needs to be there for a reason otherwise it can go from creative to annoying to listen to.
Hope that's helped you think a little bit more about audio production and how it might help add a bit of sparkle to your show. My online podcasting course is opening very, very shortly for enrolments, so if you want even more in-depth help and a step by step guide to how to start a really high-quality podcast, make sure you check it out. You can join the waitlist at PodSchool.com.au and you'll get an email as soon as the course opens. Of course, if you're enjoying the show, please share it with somebody who needs a little help with their podcast or who has dreams and is waiting to start one of their own. Let's help them get it started on the right foot. I'll see you next week, and until then, happy podcasting.

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!