If you’re interested in starting a podcast, you’re not the only one! Podcasts have become an increasingly popular platform for all types of creators who wish to produce an audio series.
There’s a huge pool of competition already out there, but there’s also huge potential if you get it right. While you may already have loads of exciting ideas and interesting topics to talk about, learning how to record a podcast interview requires a bit more than just that.
What makes a good podcast is going to be subjective, but there are a few simple general rules of thumb that you should follow to get your podcast interview recorded and to give it the best chance of success.
To help you get started, we’re going to introduce you to the fundamentals of recording your first podcast, including which subjects you should talk about and what equipment you need.
There’s also a frequently asked questions section to make sure we’ve touched on all bases with some great tips! Ready? On air in 3, 2, 1… ACTION.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Should You Talk About in Your First Podcast Interview?
- 2 How Long Should a Podcast Interview Be?
- 3 What Equipment Do You Need to Start a Podcast?
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
What Should You Talk About in Your First Podcast Interview?
The best podcasts are indeed the ones in which conversation flows freely and naturally between the host and their guest, but you’d be foolish to think that means you don’t need to prepare. For starters, if you don’t prepare, the conversation could end up being really boring.
This is the first time you’ll be introducing your interviewee to your audience, so asking them to tell us a little bit about themselves is a great way to start the podcast. It immediately helps us get to know your guest, and you can lead the conversation in any direction.
Try to steer away from asking closed-ended questions, which will hinder the conversation and lead to awkward pauses. *Inserts crickets noise.* If the answer is limited to yes or no, it’s less inviting for the guest and less interesting for the listeners, so try to ask only open-ended questions where you can.
Likewise, sticking to an obviously scripted set will come off as forced or awkward. Regardless of the topic, one thing that you should always strive for is authenticity. Trying to be false won’t sit well with your listeners, and it’s a sure-fire way to get them to turn off.
Last but not least, our final tip would be to try and link every podcast episode back to one overarching theme so that your listeners have a reason to tune in each week (or however often you’re planning on uploading).
That way, they will feel like they’re connecting more with your content and will actively seek out new episodes.
How Long Should a Podcast Interview Be?
In terms of length, there isn’t really a golden number we can give you. It’s completely dependent on the format of your podcast and the subject you’re covering. Podcasts will typically range from anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours long.
Try to keep episodes to a similar length. They don’t have to wrap up at 45 minutes on the dot every time, so don’t abruptly cut off your guest or anything if they’re still mid-sentence, but sticking to a standard episode length will make it easier for your audience to plan when to listen to them.
For example, if episodes are roughly 30 minutes long and so is your listener’s commute time, they will know they can fit the latest episode in on the way to work.
Our best tip is: only make it as long as it needs to be. Don’t try to fluff it out, as you’ll end up rambling, which won’t be as interesting. Editing is your friend here, as you can cut out anything that doesn’t add value to the interview or if there are awkward pauses and errors.
What Equipment Do You Need to Start a Podcast?
One of the great appeals of starting a podcast is that it’s actually not as expensive as you might assume. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or a complicated setup; in fact, you can get away with just using your iPhone (assuming you have one) and some headphones.
Suppose you’re thinking about investing a little more into your podcast, and you’d prefer to set yourself up with some specialist equipment. In that case, we highly recommend checking out the Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Cardioid Dynamic microphone. However, you will need a Focusrite to plug an XLR mic into your computer, or you could get a USB mic.
This will allow you to produce podcasts that sound more professional as it delivers high-quality audio and minimizes the amount of background noise that is picked up during recording. It’s also still pretty reasonably priced if you consider that the podcasts that land in the iTunes top ten will usually have spent around $1,500 to $3,000 on their setup equipment.
The equipment you need will also vary depending on the type of podcast you’re recording and the number of people involved. For example, you would need two microphones for two guests (three in total, including the host), whereas non-interview podcasts may only have one host and would therefore only need one mic.
There’s also editing software to think about, with programs like Adobe Audition giving you the tools to turn the first draft of your interview into a polished podcast episode. You can choose to use free software while you’re starting, but you will have to pay a fee to use some more professional editing software.
If you’re worried about sound quality, you needn’t worry too much. When the content you’re producing is interesting and engaging enough, your listeners will tune in anyway, and you probably won’t be held to standards that are ridiculously high when you’re just starting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I record a podcast on my iPhone?
Yes, you can record a podcast on your iPhone, as well as using it to record, edit, and even publish your podcast. Using your mobile device saves you from buying any new, expensive equipment, and it can be a great way to enter the podcast sphere when the budget is limited.
Your iPhone can also be a useful way to record a podcast when you and your guest are in different places, limiting the amount of travel you will need to do. However, the audio quality won’t be at the same standard as a professional’s.
This is rarely an issue when you’re just starting as you’ll still be building your audience, who will probably be more forgiving, but it’s still worth considering your options.
Apps like Facetime and Whatsapp will generally record better audio than your phone line. Ringr is another great option that uses the phone’s microphone instead of relying on an internet connection or phone line signal.
Can you record a podcast in two locations?
Yes, you can record a podcast in two locations. There are some amazing platforms out there, such as Zencastr, Ringr, Riverside.FM and SquadCast let you record a podcast in two locations, although there might be a slight drop in sound quality, and it will be harder to build the same banter or chemistry between you and your guest.
However, remote recording is one of the advantages to having a podcast, rather than a vlog or television show where two people must travel to one location to record. This allows you to interview people from all over the world from the comfort of your own recording studio.
Remote recording in two different locations has also turned out to be invaluable over the last year or so, as otherwise, instead of video and radio, it would have been Covid-19 that killed the podcast star. Fortunately, this ability has allowed podcasters to continue and even thrive.
Can you record a podcast on Zoom?
Yes, you can record a podcast on Zoom. Skype has long been used for this purpose, but more recently, Zoom has entered onto the scene, which allows you to record audio and/or video directly on their platform.
Zoom is a great way to record your podcast if you’re recording from remote locations. It allows you to see your guests even if you’re not actually face to face, and you’ll build a better rapport together, which will help you feel more comfortable and relaxed with one other.
It also means there won’t be a stark difference in audio quality, which, for example, could occur if the host were to use a professional-quality microphone but if your guest did not have access to one. Zoom keeps it to an equal playing field which improves the overall interview.
The audio, in general, won’t be as high-quality as what you could achieve with a more professional recording setup. Still, it’s a great alternative if you can’t record another way.
Can you record a podcast without a microphone?
Yes! Contrary to what most people think, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to record a podcast without a microphone. While having one can improve the quality of the audio, you’re recording, it’s not essential if your guest doesn’t have their own mic to use.
There are plenty of ways to record a podcast without a microphone, for example, using a platform like Skype or Zoom. These will allow you to record a conversation with someone using the microphone built into the program, which saves you from going out and purchasing expensive equipment of your own.
Some programs like this will also deliver a surprisingly high standard of quality, so if your only two options are to record without a mic or with one that’s pretty poor quality, you might even find that recording without a microphone produces better audio results in the end.
What app should I use to record a podcast?
You can use a few different apps to record a podcast on your phone, but the answer to “which one?” depends on your needs.
For example, do you have your own microphone, but your guest doesn’t? Or are you both mic-less? Are you tech-savvy? Or will using a new, complicated program end up confusing you and your guest?
For Android users, there are apps available to download to your phone like Speaker Studio, Anchor (also available for iPhone users), Podbean, Soundcloud (for editing, not audio recording), and Podomatic Podcast Recorder. However, the best option is probably Dolby On.
If you have an iPhone, you have the option to use apps such as Lexis Audio Editor, Awesome Voice Recorder X, or our personal favorite, Hokusai Audio Editor, with a special mention going to EditPoint for being an excellent editing tool.
Is GarageBand good for podcasts?
GarageBand is a great (and most importantly, free!) option for anyone looking to record a podcast without racking up too many upfront costs. It requires minimal investment from you in terms of money and time, as it’s also user-friendly and easy to set up initially.
That’s not to say it’s perfect. Originally, it was designed to create and record music, not podcast recording, so there are a few areas where it could definitely see some improvement.
For example, choosing the ‘voice’ setting might sound like a good idea before you start, but when you playback your audio, you will probably notice that this has distorted your voice’s natural pitch when you’re talking to sound weird or false. This is because it has tried to ‘fix itself in places like you would if you were to autotune to a song.