What I Learned From My One Year Podcasting Experiment

by | Feb 3, 2019 | The Internet

Let’s travel back in time to look at what I learned from recording, editing, and publishing 54 podcast episodes. This included 26 interviews with authors, doctors, an NFL player, and more—with guests spanning 3 continents.

In this post, I give you a brief recap of my podcasting journey, I then detail 21 things I learned from my experience, and finally, I share several of my podcast episodes in case you want to give one—or all—of them a listen.

You may also be interested in: How To Safely And Easily Manage Your Passwords

 

Quick Navigation

My podcast story

My 21 Podcast Learning Topics

  1. Don’t forget to push record
  2. Record to more than one source
  3. Have a back-up plan for the many things that could (and will) go wrong
  4. Don’t try to do everything yourself
  5. Pay some money for a nice mic and a few key add-ons
  6. Don’t be afraid to hire out the audio editing if you can afford it
  7. Prepare for each episode—don’t just wing it
  8. Over communicate with your guests (if you’re interviewing)
  9. Be consistent with your episode cadence
  10. Don’t over edit—it’s ok to be heard making some mistakes
  11. Pay for a course to shortcut the learning process
  12. Be flexible, yet not too flexible with interview times
  13. Use co-scheduling software to book times with guests
  14. Be a guest on other shows—and reciprocate with other show hosts
  15. Silence your devices (and ask your guests to do the same)
  16. Beware of furnaces
  17. Don’t eat peanut butter before you record
  18. Use a guest service to find experts to interview
  19. Create and use a pre-record checklist
  20. Send your guests thank you cards
  21. Have fun and let loose

BONUS: A few other random podcasting tidbits

Listen To My Podcast Episodes

  1. Episode #008: The Journey Of Success With NFL Star Ben Troupe
  2. Episode #009: Discover Your True Motivation And Change Your Life With Bryan Falchuk
  3. Episode #010: How To Raise Responsible Kids While Living A Life Of Your Own With Dr. Marvin Marshall
  4. Episode #018: How To Parent Your Parents With Charlotte Canion
  5. Episode #032: The One Secret That Will Help You Raise Self-Reliant Children With John Vespasian
  6. Episode #038: Building A Foundation For Your Family With Kathy Brodsky

My Story

It all started in December 2016. I’d been obsessed with podcasts for several years, and I finally decided I wanted to start a podcast of my own.

Why?

Well, I had a topic I really wanted to learn more about, and I thought there would be many others interested in learning along with me. I also liked the idea of learning the technology behind podcasting, and I knew podcasting would help me grow professionally as a speaker.  

If you know me at all (or talk to my wife), when I decide to do something…

I go ALL in.  And, that’s exactly what I did.

Pre-Launch Madness

Before moving too quickly, I talked someone else (my wife’s uncle, Charles) into helping me co-host the show. For some reason, and lucky for me, he said yes.

Together, we picked a name and theme for the show. It was called “The Timeless Family,” and the goal of the show was to cover a wide variety of family-themed topics—parenting, relationships, education, and personal growth.

Next, we spent January through March 2017 learning everything we could about podcasting as well as prepping for our launch.

Here’s what I did to prepare…

  • Participated in podcasting communities.
  • Took an online course.
  • Purchased (and learned how to use) all of our equipment.
  • Set up and designed our website for our episode show notes.
  • Registered our show on all of the platforms (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and iHeartRadio).
  • Had our podcast cover art designed.
  • Paid a professional voice-over artist to record our intro and outro.

I’m sure there were several other things we did to prepare, but you get the picture—there were a lot of steps that went into getting to our launch date.

Nevertheless, it was finally time to press record.

Image: This is “The Timeless Family” podcast cover art that we had designed for our show. Now you see where I got the main photo for this blog post from 🙂

A Change Of Plans

We made it to episode #13 with just the two of us talking—primarily using family-themed articles for our topics.

Then we decided to pivot.

We wanted to change the format of our show to an interview style. But, there was only one problem. 

We didn’t have anybody to interview.

This ended up being no problem at all. Crazy enough, thousands of experts are out there looking to be interviewed. We posted a request for people to interview, and the guests came flooding in. Within 24 hours, we already had our next 10 episode interviews booked.

However, this led to another challenge.

How would we interview all of these people located in other cities (and even other countries)? It proved to be an easy problem to solve with a little help from technology—namely Skype, an audio mixer, and easy to use co-scheduling software. 

Image: This was taken prior to recording my very first first episode. There I am in the basement of my house (my co-host off camera to the right) with a folding table, plastic chairs, and kid’s toys all around me. It really doesn’t matter what things around you look like when you podcast. You just need a quiet space and some equipment.

Podcast Interview Time

Something crazy happened with this whole interview idea. Our very first interview was with former NFL Tight End, Ben Troupe.

Needless to say, we were super nervous.

We were just two guys in the basement of a home in Iowa, and we were about to interview an NFL player. The interview went great (aside from some audio quality issues—which we learned how to correct going forward).

From there, we completed 25 more interviews with so many great people.

There were a few bumps along the way (i.e. power outages, a computer dying mid-interview, and others), yet we always found a way to persevere. 

In case you are interested in starting your own podcast, I’d like to dive into many of the things I learned during my podcasting journey. 

I Had So Many Lessons Learned

So, what did I learn?

First, one of the most important things I learned during this process was that there are so many great people in the world helping countless others. We hear of the big names on TV, but there are so many other people—non-mainstream—who are changing real lives.

From an author who wrote books geared toward helping improve kids’ self-esteem to a doctor looking for alternatives to medicine for treating ADHD, we came across some amazing people. 

Okay, here we go into 21 important things I learned from my podcasting experience…

Actually, one quick note before diving into the details below.

Full disclosure, some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. If you click any of the product links below and purchase them from Amazon, we (Pixelayn) will get a small commission from the purchase. With this said, this won’t impact how much you pay for any of these products.

No worries at all if you want to search for the items on Amazon directly rather than clicking the links. It’s all good either way.

Anyway, I wanted to make you aware… now we can dive into the list.

 

#1: Don’t forget to push record

Seriously! This is easier to overlook than you think. Make sure you have a reminder set to push the record button before you start talking.

I don’t remember ever doing this, but I was close on multiple occasions. My trusty checklist (which we’ll get to later—#18) helped me.

And, taking this a step further, I would always do a quick 30 second test recording before starting an episode. This allowed me to make sure both microphones sounded as expected. The last thing you want to have happen is start recording with your built-in laptop mic, when you meant to be recording with your primary mic.

I would then quickly delete my short test recording and would be ready to record for real.

 

#2: Record to more than one source

Not all podcasters do this, but I was super paranoid about losing anything we recorded. Most people don’t trust recording to a computer—because of the possibility of your computer crashing during a recording—so an external recorder is best practice.

We had audio exporting from my Mackie 1202VLZ4 12-Channel Compact Mixer and going to two places:

  1. My MacBook Pro, recording into GarageBand.
  2. My Zoom H5 Recorder.

With this configuration, we had redundancy in place. And, this gave me peace of mind.

 

#3: Have a back-up plan for the many things that could (and will) go wrong

As you can imagine, there are a million things that can go wrong when you’re about to record (or in the progress of recording) an episode.

I remember being about 15 minutes deep into an interview with a guest when our computer we use for Skype just shut off. And, even worse, it wouldn’t turn back on. I quickly ran upstairs, grabbed an iPad, hooked the iPad to our mixer, logged into Skype, and called the guest right back to continue the interview.

This was my back-up plan for this exact scenario. I knew exactly how to get the iPad setup if we would ever need to use it.

There was another time when the internet went out. Because the internet was down, we couldn’t use Skype on our normal computer (at least not how it was currently set up). Instead, we had to make a quick decision.

Option a: We could use a cell phone as a hotspot and use the same computer.

Option b: Use a cell phone with Skype and hook the cell phone up to our mixer.

Option c: Go cry in the corner.

We ended up going with option b, and it worked great. We wanted to keep things simple, and we felt that using a hotspot would’ve added one more potential thing that could fail.

Another story for you… this one’s good.

We were about 10 minutes from showtime when the power went out completely at my house. I quickly checked the power company’s website, and there were a total of 23 houses (or something like that) without power. That’s right, a very small number. And, one of those houses was mine.

This presented us with a real problem. We didn’t have a generator or any other battery back-up to run a show with. Because losing power at my house is such an uncommon thing, it just didn’t make sense to have a back-up option—short of relocating to another place.

We decided there wasn’t anything we could do in such a short period of time, so we needed to call our guest and reschedule. But, something crazy happened.

As I went to my email to grab the PR person’s phone number for our guest, we had an unread email from five minutes prior. It was from the PR person letting us know our guest had a last minute conflict. We no longer needed to request a reschedule, it magically happened for us.

It’s funny how things just happen to work out.

 

#4: Don’t try to do everything yourself

Unless you have way more time than you do money—or you’re really into learning a lot of new things—find other professionals to help you.

It’s possible to outsource nearly every single part of your podcast. You have to decide what specifically you want to do, and then begin the process of filling in the gaps. This can be a scary process to hand over control to other people, but it really doesn’t need to be scary. There are many places you can look for talented (and experienced people) to help.

When we were starting the podcast back in late 2016 and early 2017, we used a couple different sites to find people to help us.

  • Fiverr—this is great for finding people to help you with pretty much every aspect of your podcast, especially when you’re on a tight budget.
  • Make My Intro—it’s not super cheap, but this is what we used to create the second intro/outro for the podcast. We initially had someone on Fiverr create our intro/outro, and then we had it completely redone with this service around our 15th episode or so.
  • Upwork—you can find all types of freelancers on Upwork to help you with your podcast. You have the option to post fixed bid projects, or you can pay by the hour. Upwork can get a little expensive depending on what you’re looking for.

There are a number of other online resources for hiring out work. Give one a try, and it will make starting and managing your podcast so much easier.

To give you an idea of some areas of your podcast you could consider outsourcing, here’s a quick list. By no means is this all-inclusive, but it’ll give you a good place to start…
 

  • Intro and outro music
  • Podcast artwork and logos
  • Podcast title ideas
  • A creative description of your podcast to be used on the podcast directories
  • Website design for sharing your episode show notes
  • Editing your episodes (more on this in #6 below)
  • Publishing your episodes
  • Marketing your show (i.e. social media posts, etc.)
  • Writing your show notes
  • Transcribing your show
  • Finding and booking guests to be on your show
  • Use an existing studio in your area—this would help you avoid the need to buy any equipment, etc. But, come on, playing around with the equipment is one of the best parts
  • Booking you on other podcasts (more on this in #14 below)

Image: There are many resources that make it easy for you to find qualified people to help you with your podcast. 

#5: Pay some money for a nice mic and a few key add-ons

When I say a “nice” microphone, I don’t mean an expensive microphone. Basically, don’t use the built-in mic on your laptop or the mic on your earbuds. If you’re going to create a podcast, then do it right.

Poor audio quality is a great way to get people to stop listening to your show. Some quality issues can be fixed with post-production audio editing; however, it can’t fix everything without being an audio editing wizard—or spending a fortune to hire an audio editing wizard. So, unless you’re a wizard (or you have a lot of money to burn to hire a wizard) a nice mic is a must.

In addition to a quality mic, you need to include a couple add-ons.

  • Pop-Filter—a pop filter will help eliminate the pop sounds that come from you saying certain words.
  • Shock Mount—your mic is going to move while you’re recording, and this is why a shock mount is so important. A shock mount will help ensure you don’t hear any vibrations coming from your moving mic.

Below is the mic and add-ons we used:

Although these products worked for me, there are many other product options out there for you to consider. You’ll find some cheaper options and many higher end options. Just remember, you can always upgrade your equipment later, so don’t break the bank when you’re getting started.

If you like gadgets and technology, you’ll love the process of researching, buying, and installing your podcasting equipment. And, if you don’t like gadgets, well… you may need to find someone who does, and get them to help you.

#6: Don’t be afraid to hire out the audio editing if you can afford it

In #4 above, I suggested that you should consider hiring others to help you with your podcast. This is a continuation of that same message.

One of the parts of a podcast that can take a huge amount of time is editing and publishing each episode. Although we didn’t outsource our podcast editing to another person or a company (I handled it), it’s something we looked into on multiple occasions. If we would’ve continued on with the podcast, we would have paid someone else to handle the editing and publishing to free up more of my time.

As podcasting has become more-and-more popular in recent years, a number of podcast editing companies have popped up. Pricing can be a little steep, but it will save you time so you can work on other important things. Imagine recording your episode and then uploading your audio file to another company to handle the rest.

If you can’t afford to pay another company to do your editing, then expect that the editing process will take you 2x-3x the length of the episode. For instance, if one episode is 45 minutes long, it’s going to take you 90-135 minutes to finish editing. And, it may take you even longer when you first get started.

One quick note on what software to use if you do end up editing yourself.

If you’re using a Mac, then you can’t go wrong with editing in GarageBand. It comes free with the Mac, so you can simply download it and get started. This is the software I used to edit all of our podcast episodes.

Another free option—for both Windows and Mac—is Audacity.

If you struggle to figure out how to use GarageBand or Audacity, you can find many detailed tutorials on YouTube.

Image: I used GarageBand to edit all of our podcast episodes. This is a screenshot of one of our interviews being edited in GarageBand. You can see that I have the hosts on one channel, post-production recording on another channel, and the guest on another channel. 

#7: Prepare for each episode—don’t just wing it

We’re all different, so the level of preparedness you need for an episode is going to be different than what another person may need.

Maybe you’re really good at using a basic outline and elaborating on each talking point without a script. Or, maybe you need more detail than an outline. Do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. 

If you’re doing an interview style podcast with guests, don’t waste your guests’ time. If they’re willing to join your show, you need to do an appropriate amount of research. If they wrote a book, at the very least skim through it and find some good topics to bring up. 

I’ve listened to many podcast episodes where the hosts clearly had no clue what the guest even did, and this made for an awkward and bad interview.

We created a list of questions and key bullet points that we both had in front of us during each interview. In addition to this, we would have a small marker board handy to take notes on the fly. I used the marker board to jot down questions or ideas that came up during the interview.

One piece of advice I’d give you is to avoid using paper for note taking. Your mic will pick-up the noise of crinkling paper.  

#8: Over-communicate with your guests (if you’re interviewing)

If you’re producing a solo show or you’re producing a show with a co-host and no guests, then this section isn’t going to be super relevant for you. 

However, if you’re planning to have a show dedicated to interviewing guests (or you plan to interview guests once in a while)—you need to have a thorough communication plan.

Depending on the guest, you may be communicating and coordinating with a PR company and not the guest directly. This is where you need to confirm several key details around the interview. Such as…

  • What date and time is the interview?
  • How will you conduct the interview? Phone? Skype? In-Person?
  • Will you call them or will they call you?
  • How long will the interview last?
  • What is the guest promoting? A book? A service? A charity?
  • Does your guest have a preferred bio to use in introducing them?
  • Are there certain questions or topics the guest doesn’t want to discuss?

Leading up to the interview, these are all details you’ll want to communicate multiple times. Don’t simply send everything once, and then expect your guest to show-up prepared. Ideally, this is what would happen, but you need to communicate during the void. If you book a guest two months in advance, you can imagine that it would make sense for you to shoot them a note a month in advance, two weeks in advance, a few days in advance, then the day before the interview. Find a communication cadence that works for you. 

If you do it right, you won’t be annoying, you’ll look organized.

I had multiple guests and PR firms tell me that they thought we had been running the podcast for years. It wasn’t because of our podcasting skills, it was because we were organized and did a solid job communicating. 

Another thing:

Make sure you have a quick pre-interview set of questions. Before you click the record button, spend 1-2 minutes talking to the guest about what to expect during the show. This is helpful when you’ve been dealing with a PR person or company and not the guest directly in your prior communication.

On our show, we had three questions we’d ask every guest (What is your favorite quote? What is one piece of advice you’d give to the parents listening? What is a book you’d recommend to our listeners?). We’d provide these questions to our guests in advance, so they could be prepared. In our pre-interview, we’d always confirm with them that they were ready to answer these questions.

Ok, you get the picture, communicate, communicate, communicate. 

#9: Be consistent with your episode cadence

Once you commit to a frequency for publishing your podcast episodes, you need to stick with it. If you decide to release a new episode every Monday morning at 8am, then you need to have a new episode available every Monday morning at 8am. 

Because it’s so important to be consistent with your schedule, don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’re concerned that you will struggle to record, edit, and publish a new episode every week, then change the cadence to bi-weekly.

You can always increase the frequency at a later time if you receive this feedback from your audience.

My podcast (The Timeless Family) was released once per week on Mondays. We also had a 3-month Finance Friday series that we recorded and published. During those three months, we had two episodes released each week. One episode on Monday and one on Friday.

Here’s one piece of advice for you to help keep you on a consistent cadence…

Record your episodes in bulk and get ahead. Unless your podcast is about current events, it’s best to have your episodes published a couple of months in advance. 

This protects you from any emergencies or illnesses that may come up.

If you’re always recording, editing, and publishing just in time, you’re bound to fall behind.

So, get ahead, eliminate the stress from just-in-time recording, and you’ll be a happy podcaster. 

Image: A quick way to lose interest from your audience is to publish your episodes inconsistently. If you release your episodes weekly, and start missing weeks here and there, it will turn people off quickly—especially when you’re a new podcast trying to attract listeners. 

#10: Don’t over edit—it’s ok to be heard making some mistakes

I have to be honest, I was terrible at this throughout the entirety of the podcast. I spent way too much time looking for every little speaking mistake my co-host or I made, and then I would edit out as many mistakes as possible. This was a bad idea for many reasons.

Firstly, this made the editing process take way too long. I often spent 2-3 hours editing 30-minute episodes.

Secondly, mistakes are ok—because it shows that we’re human. Editing out every mistake can make us sound like robots or “too” perfect.

What I should have done was used the editing process to eliminate any annoying or major episode mistakes ONLY. The last thing your audience wants to hear in the background is your cell phone dinging every other minute or your heavy breathing into the mic. It’s ok to edit out things like this.

Yet, if you stumble over your words for a moment… so what? We all stumble over our words on occasion. You don’t necessarily need to edit these minor mistakes out. Instead, have fun with it on the fly. You can make fun of yourself or just move along like nothing happened. Try different approaches and find something that works for you.

Because of my constant editing out of minor mistakes, I started using the editing process as a crutch. Rather than trying to improve as a speaker, I wouldn’t worry about it so much because hey, “I can always just edit that part out.” We would often stop in the middle of an episode and make a comment that “we should edit that part out.”

Ultimately, use your best judgment to determine what could be perceived as annoying or distracting by your audience. Edit those things out, and be as pure as possible with everything else.

Just be yourself!
 

#11: Pay for a course to shortcut the learning process

Even if you’re on a tight budget, I’d strongly recommend looking for a paid podcasting course. You don’t need to break the bank and buy from some crazy expensive “guru” charging $1,799 or $2,799 on Facebook—there are many (affordable courses) you can choose from. I’ll talk about a couple of options in a minute.

What value will you gain from paying for a course?

  • There are a lot of considerations with starting a podcast, and a course will help you skip right over the trial-and-error part. Most courses hold your hand (with in-depth videos) through every step of the way.
  • Many courses also come with an online community for you to connect with. This is helpful when you have questions you’d like to bounce off of other experienced podcasters.

Although there are free courses out there, studies have shown that when you pay for something, you’re more likely to be committed to the process. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try a free course at all… By all means, if you find a good one, give it a try.

When we started our podcast, we paid for John Lee Dumas’ course, “Podcaster’s Paradise“. Dumas is the creator of the extremely successful “Entrepreneur on Fire” podcast. So, he’s been successful at the topics he teaches. The price is more expensive today than it was when we purchased it a few years ago, so you’ll have to determine if this pricing fits into your budget. Plus, it’s a recurring fee now. It was a one-time fee when we paid for it previously. At the time of this post, it is $997/year or $97/month to join his podcasting membership site.

His videos were extremely helpful in laying out our entire podcasting strategy. From the importance of a podcast logo to step-by-step instructions on how to get your show on all of the most popular directories (i.e. iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Spotify, etc), the membership site has A LOT of content. In fact, it can be a little overwhelming. If you do join, you’ll want to take things one video at a time.

Another option that is less expensive—and is from another super successful podcaster—is Pat Flynn’s “Power-Up Podcasting” course. Flynn is the creator of the “Smart Passive Income” podcast.

Now, I haven’t taken Flynn’s course, so I can’t speak to what it’s like on the “inside.” However, having listened to Flynn’s podcast for several years, he’s a good (and smart) guy. At the time of this post, Flynn’s course is a one-time payment of $799 or 3-installments of $299. So, it’s not something you pay for each year like Dumas’ course. Also, I believe he only opens up his course a couple of times per year. You may have to join a waiting list if enrollment isn’t open when you click the link above.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either of these courses. Regardless of what you decide to do, getting help from others who have taken this podcasting journey before you is a must.

One last thing, I’d recommend you check out both Dumas’ and Flynn’s podcasts to learn about great entrepreneurial topics as well as to see how professionals run a show.  

Image: A podcasting course will help you improve your podcast’s success, and it will help you fast track your launch date. It doesn’t matter where you’re located either, you can take an online podcasting course from the comfort of your home office or couch.

#12: Be flexible, yet not too flexible with interview times

If you’re scheduling guests for your show, you need to come up with a time when you’ll complete your interviews. It’s important to figure out what works best for you, and then have your guests fit into your schedule.

Sure, there’ll be times when you need to flex outside of your schedule to help a guest out, but try to stay firm. When you start scheduling interviews at all hours of every day, your podcasting journey can quickly turn to chaos.

What did we do for scheduling?

Because we needed to record all of our interviews over lunch, we dedicated Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 11:30am-12:30pm for recording. All of our guests were required to fit into this schedule.

Now, there were a few occasions when we needed to adjust our schedule and interview someone in the evening. In fact, I believe we recorded one of our episodes at 10pm one night because of a guest’s busy travel schedule.

Another thought:

If you’re able to commit an entire day or a half day for interviews, then I’d suggest stacking multiple interviews together. For example, let’s say that you have from 8am to 12pm on Tuesdays available for recording interviews. You’d then be able to record in bulk with 3 interview slots on that single day. This will be a good recipe to get your episodes published well in advance of their release date.

In this example, Tuesdays would be your recording day. All other days during the week would be used for other tasks.

Most guests need you as much as you need them. Remember, your guests need to get something out of your show as well—generally a platform to spread their message. Because of this, your guests will be flexible.

Although, if you’re going after a big name guest, well… you’ll likely need to be more flexible for him or her.

 

#13: Use co-scheduling software to book times with guests 

This one piggybacks off of #12 above…

Whatever you do, don’t try to manage interview scheduling without the help of co-scheduling software.

Going back-and-forth with a guest or a guest’s PR company to find an interview time can be a nightmare. Instead, subscribe to a co-scheduling product, and let it handle everything for you.

Here’s how it works…

  1. Set your availability
  2. Give a link to your guests
  3. Your guests will pick a time slot that works for them (and you)

Most co-scheduling software can even handle all of the reminder emails leading up to the actual interview date. This will save you a lot of time because you no longer have to worry about reminding your guests. Granted, I’d still recommend a periodic check-in when booking a guest way in advance. It’ll be much more personal than just relying on your automated co-scheduling software.

What software should you choose?

There are so many options! The good news is that most products have free trials which will allow you to kick the tires before committing and spending any of your money. 

We used a product called Schedule Once to book our guests. I can’t say whether it’s the “best” out there because I haven’t used any other co-scheduling products. Yet, it worked well for us.

As of this post, the cost is less than $10/month for a single user account. Not too shabby for something that will save you many hours per month! 

#14: Be a guest on other shows—and reciprocate with other show hosts

What better way to grow your audience than by being on other podcasts in a related niche. I didn’t do this during my podcast run, but it was something I should have done.  

The idea behind this strategy is that you identify other shows that you’d like to share your expertise with. Then, you reach out to the host of the show, and explain why you’d be a great guest. Essentially, what value will you provide to his or her show and the audience? The last thing you’ll do is reciprocate and see if they also want to be a guest on your show.    

Image: Don’t forget to silence your devices and ask your guests to do the same. Also, think about anything else that can make noise where you’re recording, and turn them off. I guess you can’t turn kids off—so if you have kids—you’ll have to record when they’re not around. 

#15: Silence your devices (and ask your guests to do the same)

It’s bound to happen, you’ll be in the middle of a great (and engaging) discussion, and then… DING! Or even worse… RING..RING..RING…!

Sure, you can always edit these noises out, but it’s not always easy when they happen at the same time as someone talking. Plus, why even deal with the possibility of your device going off when it can be easily avoided.

Add to your pre-recording checklist a quick “silence your devices” reminder. Check your own devices, ask your guest(s) to silence any of their devices, and then you’ll be ready to roll.

Even better, don’t even bring devices into your recording room. Although, this wasn’t always possible for us because we used iPads for interview notes and questions.

One noise that is often overlooked is the noise that comes from Skype itself. If you use Skype to interview guests, you need to silence all Skype sounds.

We failed to do this during one interview, and we had both a loud “DING” and an incoming call ruin our interview flow.

It’s not the end of the world if this happens to you, but you should do everything you can to avoid these unnecessary noises.

 

#16: Beware of furnaces

It’s not just your devices (i.e. mobile phones, tablets, etc.) that can interrupt an episode. I’m going to assume you don’t have a soundproof room at your home where you’ll be recording. And because of this, there are many noises that could sneak up on you—such as:

  • Doorbells
  • Air conditioners
  • Furnaces
  • Pets (i.e. meowing or barking)
  • Flushing toilets
  • Knocking on doors
  • Construction
  • Loud Neighbors
  • Bad weather (i.e. rain, lightning, wind, etc.)
  • Lawnmowers

We recorded a few episodes at Charles’ house, and his dog always wanted to hang around while we recorded. Because his dog was too excited and loud, we had to let him outside while we recorded.

There was another time when we were about to hit record, and we heard a lawnmower loud and clear through a basement window. His neighbor had just started mowing his yard. We ended up moving the recording equipment to an interior basement room where we could better control the exterior noise.

We eventually moved things back to my house to an interior basement room. It was so much easier to control outdoor noises when the equipment was in a room without windows.

What else do you have around your home that could interrupt your recording? Think about this, and then take the necessary steps to mitigate it from impacting your show.

 

#17: Don’t eat peanut butter before you record

Ok, I want you to try something.

It goes without saying, but obviously don’t do what I’m about to ask you to do if you’re allergic to peanut butter. You can do this same thing by eating a mouthful of crackers. If you’re NOT allergic to peanut butter, here’s what I want you to do:

  1. Go get a jar of peanut butter
  2. Go get a spoon
  3. Eat a spoonful of peanut butter
  4. Now, go record yourself speaking

Do you hear how gross your mouth noises are as you talk?

Moral of the story… pay attention to what you eat and drink before you record a podcast episode. Your food and beverages can impact how you sound.

I’ve even heard that drinking coffee can dry out your voice.

I didn’t always follow any strict rules around eating and drinking, but I tried to stick to only drinking water just before recording. You’ll at least want to understand what food or drinks mess with your voice—and then avoid them before you record.

It’ll take some trial and error.

 

#18: Use a guest service to find experts to interview

In addition to many other mediums you can use to find guests to interview, there are many online services that can help you.

When we switched our podcast to an interview style, this was our initial challenge. How were we going to find enough guests to interview when we weren’t well known?

In our podcasting membership community, we came across another podcaster who had just used a site called Radio Guest List. The name is misleading because it’s no longer only about finding radio guests. In our world where podcasting has become so popular, it’s for finding podcast guests as well.

The site allows you to submit a detailed request for guests. The request is then sent out to authors, doctors, experts, and PR firms who may have an interest in being a guest on your show.

We decided to give it a shot. So, we filled out the request form, and we didn’t have a clue what to expect.

It wasn’t more than 24 hours later, and we already had a number of guests and PR firms scheduled. We ended up booking nearly all of our guests through Radio Guest List—and many of them were really high quality.

You’ll have to research each potential guest to make sure they’re a good fit for your show. Some will be a good fit and others not so much.

Oh yeah, did I mention it’s FREE? At least it was still free as of the time of this post.  

Image: To keep your podcasting experience as consistent and smooth as possible, you need to create several checklists. One of those important checklists is a pre-record checklist.  

#19: Create and use a pre-record checklist

The importance of a checklist cannot be overstated. If you just wing it, you’ll forget things. And, those things you forget will come back to bite you.

It really won’t take you that much time to create and use a checklist.

Here’s what my co-host and I did for The Timeless Family podcast:

  • We created a podcast episode slide deck in Google Slides
  • The slide deck template contained several slides with checklist tasks
  • Each time we’d prepare for a new episode, we’d copy the slide template, and then customize it for a specific guest
  • Before we would hit the record button, we’d go through each checklist item

This slide deck served multiple purposes for us. Not only did it contain our pre-record checklist, but it also included our interview questions.

We were able to pull up Google Slides on our iPads, go through our pre-record checklist, and then dive into our interview real smoothly.

Whether you also use Google Slides or something else, I strongly recommend creating a checklist that you use for every episode you record.

 

#20: Send your guests thank you cards

After every interview, we would mail out a physical card thanking our guest. I think we had all but one guest who was willing to provide us with a mailing address.

And, guess what? Our guests were thrilled by this gesture.

We were truly appreciative that each guest gave us their time to be on our show, and we wanted to tell them that. Sure, they were getting something out of it personally as well for their own business, but we still wanted to tell them thank you.

Here’s what one guest emailed to us after receiving the card:

“You two are a first rate class act! The postal mail card you sent me was the first I had ever received from an interview. With all the mail I have received throughout the years, I have never received anything that impressed me more. It’s on my desk where it will remain—except I may have it framed.”  

You see how powerful a thank you card is?

Not a thank you email… a physical card!

There are many online services that can help make this “mailing out cards” process easier for you. We used a site called Send Out Cards.

The site allows you to create a custom card cover (which we did for every guest—one example is below), enter a custom message (which we customized personally for each guest), and then ship the cards out.

You pay for credits that are used for cards and postage. They also have subscription options which give you a certain number of credits and postage per month.

The only thing the service is missing is your own handwriting (which would be even more powerful), yet it’s still very personal.

However you decide to thank your guests, try to send something physically through the mail rather than sending a less personal email.    

Image: This is a tweet from one of our show guests (a great guy—Bryan Falchuk). We created custom 5″x7″ physical cards and mailed them to each of our interview guests.  

#21: Have fun and let loose

In the beginning, I was pretty stressed out trying to keep up with all of the different parts of the podcast (on top of spending time with my family and working a fulltime job). I was trying to be too perfect. I felt like I couldn’t make any mistakes or people might judge me.

After all, I was putting myself out there every week with the possibility of any number of millions of people to potentially discover the podcast. Yet, this was a terrible way to think. It took me some time, but I eventually started to loosen up.

I’m not sure what episode things finally clicked for me, but I ultimately stopped being so scripted. You’ll hear it in the episodes when you listen to interview #008 and then go listen to interview #038. I’m a completely different person.

It’s hard to be someone you’re not for an extended period of time. So, I’d encourage you to do everything you can to try and be yourself… warts and all.

BONUS: A few other random thoughts

As I was typing out this post, I thought of a few other nuggets that may be of value. I’m not going to go as deep into these topics, but I’ll at least mention them.

  • Use a media hosting company to store your podcast audio files. I used Libsyn, but there are many others out there. Don’t store your podcast files on the same hosting as your website.
  • A tool that came in handy was ID3 Editor. I used this to update all of the properties on our podcast audio files before uploading to Libsyn.
  • Consciously slow down when you talk. I’m a fast talker, and I had to constantly remind myself to slow down. The funny thing is, I often listen to other podcasts and audiobooks at 1.25x and 1.5x speeds, and I wasn’t able to do this with my own podcast early on. I was already speaking at 1.5x speeds! Anyway, this is something to keep in mind… Set a reminder to slow down.
  • Don’t worry about low download numbers. You may only have friends and family download and listen to your show in the beginning. If you remain consistent, with a thoughtful marketing plan, you will begin to build a following. Our first several episodes only had 20-30 downloads. We spent countless hours working on those episodes, and it hurt a little bit at first. We stuck with it, and our numbers eventually went up to the hundreds of downloads per episode.  
  • I heavily used Trello to manage all of my tasks associated with each episode. It helped me visualize the status of each guest (i.e. Upcoming, Interview Complete, Editing Complete, Publishing Complete, etc.).

Next up, let’s take a look at a few of the episodes I co-hosted, edited, and published.

A Look At A Few Of My Episodes

Now that you’ve had a chance to learn from some of my mistakes and other things I learned along the way, here are a few of the episodes I recorded. Feel free to listen to one, a few, all, or none (frowning face).

One note: as mentioned earlier, we initially hired someone on Fiverr to record our intro and outro for something like $30. It got the job done to get us started, and we used her version until we got to episode #15. After that, we started using a better fitting and more professionally sounding intro and outro. This was when we hired Tim Page’s company, Make My Intro. So, you’ll notice when you listen to episode #018 below, the intro and outro will be different than #008, #009, and #010.

Another note: all of these episodes reference the website “thetimelessfamily.com” as a place to go checkout the show notes page. That site is no longer active, so if you try to go to any of the show notes pages referenced, the page won’t load.

Episode #008: The Journey Of Success With NFL Star Ben Troupe

This was our very first interview episode (after switching from our original talking head approach), and we were pretty geeked out that it was with a former NFL player. Ben’s a really nice guy, and the work he’s been involved with after his NFL career has been great.

One thing you’ll notice about this episode is that the audio quality wasn’t the best—it cut in and out from time-to-time. We didn’t really know what we were doing during this first Skype call. We had Ben keep both his audio and video rolling, and in hindsight, we should have asked him to turn off his video. Who knows if that would have fixed the quality, but we didn’t make this mistake again with any of our other interviews.

You can learn more about Ben on Twitter here. 

Episode #009: Discover Your True Motivation And Change Your Life With Bryan Falchuk

In our second interview episode, we had another great guest. Also, we ended up making some changes with our interview format starting with this episode. We began asking our guests three common questions:

  1. What’s your favorite quote?
  2. What is one piece of advice you’d give to the parents in our audience?
  3. What is a book you’d recommend our audience read?

The rest of the interview was based on specific questions we came up with for each individual guest as well as things that we came up with as a natural part of the discussion.

Since this interview, Bryan has gone on to speak at multiple TEDx events, and he continues to build a large following on social media. You can find Bryan on Twitter here.

His story is both cool and inspiring.

Episode #010: How To Raise Responsible Kids While Living A Life Of Your Own With Dr. Marvin Marshall

Dr. Marshall was our second guest we were able to book on the show through a PR firm (Ben Troupe being the first). As an aside, I’d say our interactions with guests directly versus interacting with PR firms was 60% guests and 40% PR firms.

Having three young kids myself, this was a really interesting and helpful interview. Just like our first two guests, Marv was an experienced speaker. This made the interview process so much easier.

The toughest interviews are when you ask a guest an open-ended question, and you get really short answers. We experienced a few of those interviews, and they were difficult at times to find a nice flow.

This wasn’t the case with Marv. He knew his subject matter, and he shared a lot of valuable information.

You should check out Marv’s YouTube Channel where he consistently publishes solid content every couple weeks or so.

Episode #018: How To Parent Your Parents With Charlotte Canion

As I mentioned previously, starting with episode #015, we used a new intro and outro. You’ll notice in this episode with Charlotte that the intro and outro are different than the three prior episodes shared on this page.

In my opinion, the new intro and outro were much better. What are your thoughts?

Charlotte covered a topic that was tough to think about. Nobody wants to think about taking care of their parents. It was an educational episode, and we really enjoyed the conversation.

You can find her book on Amazon here.

Episode #032: The One Secret That Will Help You Raise Self-Reliant Children With John Vespasian

This was our 5th international guest that we interviewed on our podcast. By using Skype for our interviews, this didn’t pose any technical problems at all. It really didn’t matter whether a guest was 100 miles away or 8,946.91 miles away (in Sydney, Australia), it always felt like they were close by.

The only thing we had to work around with our international guests was timezone differences. But, even this didn’t cause us many problems. 

You can find out more about John on his website where he continues to stay active on his blog.

Episode #038: Building A Foundation For Your Family With Kathy Brodsky

Our interview with Kathy was our last interview of the show. We then recorded one more episode after this to recap our experience.

Kathy was super inspirational because she proved it was never too late in life to become an entrepreneur. No matter what age we’re at, it truly is never too late.

You can learn more about Kathy and check out all of her children’s books on her website. 

In early 2018, Charles and I decided to take the podcast offline as we ended this chapter of our lives. We ended up with 38 regular show episodes, and another 16 “Finance Friday” episodes. If you add in our pre-launch episode and our about us (#000) episode, we ended at 56 total.

We never really had a massive following, but we would consistently get between 250 and 400 downloads per episode. It was still pretty cool that we had that many people listening to our show. Obviously, there was a bump in downloads based on who our guest was because each guest would bring along their own audience. 

It was a bittersweet decision in the end because we really enjoyed the podcast and all of the people we were meeting. And, there were real people downloading and listening to our show. We didn’t like the idea that we were letting them down by ending things.

Plus, we had another ten guests lined up to interview for our show as we headed into 2018, and we had to cancel on them. I reached out to all of them individually and explained, and they were all very understanding. 

I’m telling you, there are a lot of great people out there in this world—regardless of what you read in the news.

Overall, this was an amazing experience, and I would do it over again in a heartbeat.

Do you have any more detailed questions about starting your own podcast?  I’d be happy to offer up some suggestions…

Hit me up on Twitter (@TeamPixelayn or @rdglick) or you can shoot me an email (ryan at pixelayn dot com).

Ryan has been heavily involved in the world of Information Technology and entrepreneurship since the early 2000s. From small business consulting to Fortune 500 IT leadership, Ryan has a wide array of industry knowledge. He earned his BBA from the University of Iowa in 2004 majoring in Management Information Systems and later earned his MBA from the University of Iowa in 2009 with a focus on Management and Marketing. When he's not spending time with his wife and three young children, you'll find Ryan pounding away at his keyboard, spinning on his Peloton, or listening to a good audiobook or podcast.

Connect with Ryan on Twitter or Instagram.

Ryan Glick

Co-Founder, Pixelayn Innovations

Ryan has been heavily involved in the world of Information Technology and entrepreneurship since the early 2000s. From small business consulting to Fortune 500 IT leadership, Ryan has a wide array of industry knowledge. He earned his BBA from the University of Iowa in 2004 majoring in Management Information Systems and later earned his MBA from the University of Iowa in 2009 with a focus on Management and Marketing. When he's not spending time with his wife and three young children, you'll find Ryan pounding away at his keyboard, spinning on his Peloton, or listening to a good audiobook or podcast.

Connect with Ryan on Twitter or Instagram.

Ryan Glick

Co-Founder, Pixelayn Innovations