From Serial to Diary of a CEO, podcasts have exploded in popularity over the past decade. If you’re thinking of starting a podcast or have started one recently, you’ve chosen the perfect medium for modern commentary and storytelling! But that doesn’t mean you can jump right in without any research – and one thing you’ll definitely need to know is how to record a podcast in the first place.
The good news is that recording a podcast is straightforward once you have your concept and your equipment set up. It may be slightly intimidating to research and pay for the equipment… but in really good news, you can rent a professional podcast studio to handle all your equipment and production needs. Check out our Premiere Podcast Studios pricing packages to see which booking option is right for you.
Now we’ve established where to record your podcast, let’s dive into the how. Here’s our complete guide to how to record a podcast in six steps, from the initial planning stages to editing the final product.
Premiere Podcast Studios is a bespoke podcast recording studio centrally located in London. Book or contact us to secure your recording time today.
1. Plan out your podcast
The first step to recording any podcast is to figure out what you want to say. In other words, you’ll need to put pen to paper before you think about putting voice to mic! This will help you organise your thoughts and ensure you’re saying exactly what you want to say.
If you haven’t yet established your overall concept – the subject matter, the format of your podcast and what you want listeners to take away – you should nail this down before anything else. Even if you do have a concept in mind, it will be helpful to do some exercises to firm it up! To start, try writing down the following:
- Your podcast title – if you’re on the fence, come up with a few different titles to weigh up
- Your mission statement – what your podcast will cover, what you hope it will achieve, and how you intend to do so (e.g. with hard-hitting interviews, passionate commentary, eye-opening stats – maybe all three!)
- Your first season outline – how many episodes you plan to have and the subject(s) that each episode will tackle; all of this should coalesce into a satisfying, meaningful trajectory for listeners
Once you’ve thought about these things, you can move onto planning your first few episodes in detail! Think about how to introduce key questions and discussion points, what evidence you’ll present to support these points, potential guests for your podcast, and (perhaps most importantly) what listeners will be getting out of it… and why they should stick with you past the first episode.
2. Write a (flexible) episode script
Having considered both larger goals and specific methods for your podcast, you’re ready to write a script for your first episode. This doesn’t need to be a word-for-word manifesto of what you want to say; in fact, you may be better off leaving things a bit open-ended.
That said, the first instalment of anything will follow certain conventions, and podcasts are no different. You can start your first script by introducing yourself and your qualifications, as well as why you wanted to start this podcast and what listeners should expect (though don’t give too much away!).
Then you can get into the meat of the episode. The nature of this will vary depending on your podcast – for example, if you’re reporting on a series of real-life events (as in a true crime podcast), you’ll want to go chronologically. But if you’re doing a deep dive into a topic, your first episode might simply go over the basic facts that listeners will need to know. Or you could start by talking about a key figure, event or phenomenon that you know will grab people’s attention. To use journalistic lingo: you’ll want a strong lede to kick things off!
Now, if your podcast is narrated mainly by you, you’ll want a more detailed, structured script. But if you intend to have guests on your podcast, you’ll want a broader, more flexible script to leave room for improvisation and additional discussion – maybe just bullet point questions for your guest(s). And speaking of which, the next stage of how to record a podcast is to…
3. Book in your amazing guests
Though podcasts don’t need frequent guests in order to succeed, it’s still a good idea for listeners to occasionally hear from people who aren’t you – new voices to provide fresh, useful perspectives. And of course, many podcasts do have a new guest every episode who’s in conversation with the host!
In summary, no matter what the format of your podcast, you’ll need to book at least a couple of guests for your first season – and you’ll want to choose carefully to ensure they’re providing value and entertainment. Indeed, having smart, interesting guests with whom you have good conversational chemistry can really make a difference to listeners! So be sure you do your research, take advantage of your connections and always look out for home-run guests to have on your podcast – whether for an entire episode or just a crucial soundbite.
Once you know which guests you want to feature, get in touch with them ASAP to book them onto your podcast. (Busy professionals may need weeks or even months’ worth of notice!) Then, for the best recording results, send them the episode brief at least a week in advance. Even if they’ll only be featured for a few minutes, it will be useful for them to have the full context.
At this point, you may be picturing the recording process more vividly: where you and your guest will sit, how your mics will be positioned, etc. The best way to make this dream a reality is to rent a polished, professional podcast studio – a soundproofed space with a carefully cultivated atmosphere, somewhere you and your guests will feel grounded and at ease. When it comes to both production value and personal comfort, a professional studio is simply unparalleled. To book a session with Premiere Podcast Studios, go through our booking calendar here.
4. Look into equipment and software
Next up is looking into the equipment and software needed to record your podcast. Whether you’re planning to set up your own recording studio or rent a professional studio, you’ll want to understand the equipment you’re going to be using. On that note, here’s what most people need (at minimum) to record a podcast:
- Sound console
- Editing software
The mic and headphones are most important equipment for the actual recording, whereas the sound console and software are more helpful for additional effects and post-production editing.
In terms of which mic to choose, we’d recommend a multi-pattern condenser microphone, such as the NT2-A microphone by Rode – which we have for recording purposes at Premiere Podcast Studios. (For more information, check out this detailed comparison of the Rode NT1-A vs NT2-A microphones.)
As for which headphones to choose, it mainly comes down to personal preference; namely, comfort level and how important sound cancellation is to you. We’d recommend full-coverage headphones rather than earbuds, as they tend to give a better “aural impression” of recorded sound… plus, if you happen to be filming your podcast recording, headphones just look better on camera than earbuds.
Depending on your setting, you may also wish to invest in soundproofing – or, again, just book a session at a podcast studio that’s already soundproofed, well-lit and stocked with top-notch equipment. Once you’ve decided whether to create your own studio or rent one, it’s time for the moment you’ve been waiting for: recording your podcast!
5. Record in the right style for your podcast
Something many podcasters fail to consider (at least at first) is that the recording process isn’t just about getting the best equipment and the right guests. It’s also vital to consider the style and tone of your podcast; in many ways, these elements determine the genre of your podcast as much as the subject matter itself!
So before (and during) the recording process, think about how you want to sound and what would be suitable for the topic at hand. Try some voice exercises, and if you’re having a guest on the podcast, you could even have a “test conversation” before officially recording to ensure that everything flows smoothly and you’re both striking the correct tone!
If you’re really in doubt about style and tone, think about your own favourite podcasts, especially those that are similar to the podcast you’re recording. Ask questions like:
- What do the hosts sound like?
- What about their voices makes you trust them and take them seriously?
- At the same time, what makes them charming or appealing enough to listen to?
Finally, besides your demeanour, you need to think about pure audio quality: what else can you do to make your voice sound better? Again, much of this comes back to equipment – besides a high-quality condenser mic, you can also employ a pop filter (to reduce extraneous sounds) and ensure the mic is positioned comfortably so you never sound strained. If you have an especially high or soft voice, you might move a bit closer to the microphone for better clarity. And remember, voice exercises and audio tests are your friends!
6. Export and edit your podcast
Congratulations – you’ve successfully recorded a full-length podcast episode! The most effortful part is over (though we hope you enjoyed it!), and now it’s time to export your audio file and start editing.
As with acquiring your recording tools, much of the editing process is at your discretion. You could use software like Audacity or even GarageBand to cut out random noise and awkward pauses, add in segments (such as ads and supplementary information for listeners) and fine-tune your podcast overall. However, keep in mind that even editing a 30-minute podcast can take hours – which is why, on balance, we’d recommend enlisting professionals.
Our production experts have years of engineering and production experience, and can help edit your podcast on the same day you visit to record. At PPS, we offer support for voice compression and mastering, multitrack recordings and even extended audio editing for particularly complex interviews. So if you’re a podcast novice who’s already fretting over the long and difficult editing process, save yourself the stress; just go with one of our experts.
With that, you’ve got everything you need to know about how to record a podcast! If you’re feeling ready to record with us at PPS, book a recording session today.