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Be the Best Podcast Guest… From Your Sofa
Everything you need to know about being a podcast guest during Covid19 isolation

Remote (Isolation) Podcasting

The Covid-19 crisis has hit every industry and podcasting is no different. But not to worry, in this case, the show can and will go on! Here are the top tips to carry on as a stay at home podcast guest.
You’re about to learn the top 5 things you can do to make your podcast host really happy and make your episode sound great over the internet!

  1. Equipment
  2. Microphone Technique
  3. Setting
  4. Preparation & Communication
  5. Hydration
  6. Bonus tip for an A+ guest

1. Equipment

There isn’t much you need, but damn it makes a huge difference! Bad sound quality is the number 1 reason people turn off an episode.

Firstly, headphones. You don’t need an expensive pair but over ear ones are the best as they block out any other sound and most importantly, they stop your microphone picking up an echo!

Speaking of microphones, this is the only other really important piece of equipment for home recording. If your pockets are deep you can splash out £350+ on a studio quality Shure SM7B but honestly, it’s more hassle than its worth! There are some really good, really cheap microphones, made specifically for podcasting.

Top of the list with a high recommendation and one I have used many times before: Blue Yeti £119
A good, cheaper option by the same manufacturer: Blue Snowball £55

Both options are really simple to use and connect to your computer via a USB. Just plug it in and you’re away!

2. Microphone Technique

You can buy the best microphone in the world, but unless you use it properly, you might as well be shouting into a tin can. Here are our 3 top tips to make you sound great.

1) Positioning – your mouth should be 10-15cm from the mic. It may seem close at first but pop those headphones on and listen to how much the sound drops off as you slowly move further away. It’s best to place the microphone on a table or similar surface for the reasons in the following tip.

2) Microphone handling – moving and knocking your microphone will create loud bangs in the audio recording (and in your headphones), so avoid moving the mic when speaking. If it must be moved to a more comfortable position, do so at a pause in the conversation.
Something to also be mindful of is putting a cup down on the table the mic is on. The sound waves will easily be transferred through the solid table top.

3) Head movement – This one is really easy to forget. If you turn your head to the side or sit back while speaking, the microphone won’t pick up what you are saying as clearly. The final recording will at best have inconsistent sounding audio and at worst the audience may struggle to hear certain words.

If you are not used to using a microphone, you may want to have a little practise.

3. Setting

You’d be surprised how much difference the room makes to the final sound of the recording.
You don’t need a studio to get good sound quality from a room… but it helps to know the characteristics of a great recording space. 

Use:

A furnished room, full of sofas, carpets & curtains to absorb the sound. It may sound silly but a walk in wardrobe (if you should be lucky enough to have one) can make for the perfect home recording studio. Most living rooms or studies work well too.

Avoid:

Bare, large rooms. Plain, solid walls and floors & high ceilings bounce the sound waves around the room. This means the mic will pick up the sound waves at different times causing distortion in what it records.

Here’s a short check list of things around the house that could hinder the quality of the recording:

– Dishwasher/washing machine. Please make sure these are off while recording.

– The fridge/freezer. If it’s noisy, you may wish to record in another room.

– Noisy road. Move to the other end of the house as far away from that road as you can go! & get those curtains drawn.

– Cats/dogs/kids/fish. Fish? Yes, some fish tanks have filters. If yours does, just pop it off for a fem minuets won’t you? Cats, dogs and children can all be noisy in their own charming ways. I’ll let you decide how best to mitigate those noises.

Important side note: Recording over the internet does depend on your internet connection, there are two easy things you can do to ensure your signal remains strong throughout!
1) Close all non-essential web browsers & tabs.
2) Disconnect other devices in your home from the Wi-Fi (phone, tablet, other pc’s).

4. Preparation & Communication

Think about what you want to say. It may be best to jot a few bullet points down so you don’t forget any key takeaways.

Communicate with your host before the day of recording. Here are a list of useful questions you may want to ask to help prepare you.

Will this episode be edited?

Most podcasts are and if this is the case for you, it will be ok to re-answer a question if you stumble or miss-speak.

How do I join the conversation?

Podcasters use a lot of different methods to record over the internet. Make sure you know exactly what’s going on

What will you be asking me about?

All podcasts are different, some are just off the cuff chats and don’t require a question like this, others however have an agenda and will be asking some pretty specific questions. You may want to have prepared questions for these.

How educated are your audience on the subject?

Let’s say you’re a physics professor, unless the show is dedicated to highly educated physicists, you’ll need to tailor your answers to the education level of the audience. 

5. Hydration

Drink some water!

You may or may not have realised but when you have a dry mouth, you’re constantly making annoying little clicking noises as you speak. In a face to face conversation, you probably wouldn’t realise, but these little clicks are picked up really well by microphones and don’t make for pleasant listening.

Do:

Eat a juicy apple (before, not during the recording) or water with some lemon squeezed in to help reduce the thickness of your saliva.

Don’t:

Eat crisps, chips or starchy foods as these thicken your saliva making louder noises.

Staying hydrated is a little healthy habit we should all be doing anyway!

Bonus Tip to be an A+ Guest

Promote the episode you are featured in!

The podcast host is being really helpful to you and spreading your message to all of their subscribers, why don’t you be an absolute gem in return and help them grow their audience.

Be sure to find out what date your episode will be released on and offer to share promotional materials on your social media pages. It goes a long way & they’ll love you for it!

Example from The Holistic Healing Project – a Fascinate Productions podcast

Note: Your host may ask for a nice photo of you to help promote the episode so have something nice standing by.

One last thing to mention- make sure you enjoy yourself!

Happy podcasting,

Sam Brown

Founder and Producer at Fascinate Productions &
Host of Fascinate Pod

Hopefully this is helpful for you. Please let us know in the comments below.
If you have any more questions & want to speak to the experts, get in touch with the team here at Fascinate Productions.