Time moves quickly and you never know when things will change. In episode 10 of On the Mic with Ad Results Media, our team discusses the importance of preparation when setting up your podcast. From content calendars to editing to direction, you have to be prepared for whatever life throws at you.

Be sure to subscribe to the "On the Mic with Ad Results Media" podcast through iTunes.  It's a podcast about the business of podcasting and audio advertising.  We aim to educate, enlighten and push the industry forward.

Podcast Transcript

This episode of On the Mic with Ad Results. Media may sound a little different too. Our listeners in accordance with the Harris County stay home, work safe ordinance. My co-host Nathan spell editor, Freddy, Trey Hoh, and I are all recording from our homes, which I feel is timely. Given our current series, focusing on sound and your podcast. In today's episode, we will discuss how proper Preparation plays into a successful Podcast Episode, which we definitely learned through our own experiences this week. So let's get started. That's the great thing about stamps.com. They grow with you as much From, as I had. I couldn't wait to get back to my sleep number bed.

I love my third love bras. They're hands down the most comfortable bras I've ever owned. I love making blue apron. I love it. It's my me-time. So since we've been all working from home and Nate and Freddie deal want to talk about your own home set-ups and what you've done to prepare for this week. Sure. Yeah, I'll go first. So I have been used at well, we've been having online meetings, so I've been using my Scarlet solo. It's a little interface that allows me to hook up a L XLR Mic, which the one that I'm using is the Audio-Technica 80, 20, 20.

(1m 26s):
It's an accordion condenser microphone that I've had for a few years now. And it's super reliable. It's I love it. I, it looks great and pictures too, which is an added bonus. And throughout the week I've been just testing to make sure that I'm not going to hot on my volume or too quiet. So I've been, I'm pretty well familiar with this, these things cause I use them a lot. What about you, Nathan? Yeah, on my end, I was not as prepared as I could have been. Actually I, I, I had some, some stuff that I know that I've used relatively recently, but I updated my Mac book to like a, like the Catalina beta.

(2m 8s):
And for some reason there's some issue where I can't download this driver. That's not there. So I ended up having to use another interface, but it worked out I'm using an SM 58 classic sure. Vocal Mic, just a dynamic Mic. And I was going to get a pop filter, but of course all the stores are currently closed because pop filters are non-essential Apparently during the time now that you know, we all have the free time to start a podcast. I know I actually just snagged one of the shore Mike's From the Ad Results studio and yeah, I, I ran up early one morning.

(2m 50s):
It was like 6:00 AM. And I, I grabbed that. So I've got that setup here at home, and then we are also doing this via Google meet. Yeah. So we can see each other, otherwise it would just be, it would be an awkward phone call, very awkward phone call and the everyone's recording on their own station and all the Audio will be sent to me and I will put 'em together and edit them. So that's going to be fun. Yeah. That it will definitely be different from, From recording in the studio. But I was kind of excited about this week. This episode was actually supposed to be On tone, but with all of the changes that have been made, it kind of evolved into more of a Preparation Episode.

(3m 34s):
And the first point that I kind of wanted to touch on was structuring your podcast to what your episodes will be About and what they won't be About. And so surprisingly, this fit in perfectly with the overall theme of the, On the Mic Podcast, which I think is one of the best places to start when kind of talking about what your episodes will be about or, or more importantly, what they won't be about. You want to make sure that you're really fitting in with the entire Podcast theme. You can throw a wide net out there, but it's not always the best course of action. A smaller net is really going to net you some more loyal listeners.

(4m 16s):
And I don't know, I just believe that if you're going to do something, you should just focus on one thing and do it really well. Yeah. And I think it's interesting how, like, even though we're like building the structure of the Podcast as a whole, and then you had an initial structure for this Episode, it's interesting how there's some flex even within that, right. Like how this was able to evolve, but it's still very, Yeah. They're definitely points that you want folks to like focus on by the end of this, which in this instance it's just being prepared no matter what I'm hoping that Preparation is the, is the main point that everyone takes away after today's Episode. Okay. I think it's been really cool also for us to like, be prepping the episodes and, and to see that side of the Podcast creation.

(5m 6s):
Because I don't, I think as a podcast listener, you don't always think about all the prep that goes into episodes that you might really like value. And it seems like there's not maybe as much writing, but I mean, you know, as you know, from writing this episode of, In, from other episodes, we have worked on like, there is a lot. Yeah. You'd be surprised, you know, for our listeners, we actually have this Episode bulleted out. And so when you just read it over, it doesn't look like a lot, but this actually took this trip several days for me, just because I was putting a lot of research into it, looking at weather, what other podcasters were doing, a reading various articles on setting up in launching your own podcast and, you know, focusing on that structure and, and the various aspects to your point, not necessarily as a podcast listener, but like as a voiceover actor, you kind of miss how much research and prep goes into this, because whenever I do voiceover for other folks, I just get the script and read it and send it off to show up and you're out, then you're done.

(6m 18s):
Yeah. I mean, I may read it over before I hit the mic, but you know, I didn't do any of the actual set up. So my involvement is pretty minimal. Yeah. And I don't know. I think, especially like you said, like with everything going on and everyone's spending more time at home, I'm sure there's people who are like, now's the time to start that Podcast I've been wanting to do, Which I think you should. I mean, you've got the time, why not jump in, but so, so during some of my research, I read multiple articles that talked about just getting in front of a microphone and just recording whatever comes to mind, which I really don't agree with.

(7m 5s):
Like I said earlier, I think that you should do one thing and do it really well. So I do think that instead of just kind of having like a word dump, you should at least have a general outline of what you want to talk about for your first Episode. And that comes through. Like you can tell whenever the Podcast is just like wheeling and dealing as opposed to like something that was thought out, you can hear it. There's a clear difference between like folks who write everything down, who make notes and others who just kind of get in front of the mic. So, you know, that being said, my, my first word of advice for preparedness is honestly, to script your entire Podcast.

(7m 48s):
Even if it's just a general outline, that's better than going in blind. I fully believe in developing show templates. Like I mentioned earlier, this Episode is bulleted out and that is my preferred method, but I also do have a tendency to write in stream of consciousness as if I'm recording. And I just type that all out that way. I have a very clear point of reference. I know exactly the message that I want to get out and I can kind of clean it up because your own stream of consciousness can be a little muddled just as you're going. So you have the opportunity to kind of clean that up as long as you're writing it out as you go.

(8m 30s):
Yeah, this is so meta, like <inaudible> for us to be, you know, referencing the, the process as we're like looking at the dock, but it's, it is so true that having this, as opposed to just trying to go in blind, this is so much better. And I did the same thing whenever we did like the copywriting focused podcasts, I kind of just let myself go for a while and you get a, of your natural language out onto the page and you look at it and you make edits that's, you know, writing, right. So you, you know, it's the same process, but bringing it down to just the bullets where you have like the structure, it leaves more room for us to kind of, you know, have a conversation, as opposed to just maybe reading a script.

(9m 23s):
It adds focus to the whole conversation because now you're just not just going one topic, one topic, one topic, one topic, it's all, like you said, scripted, and we're all, okay, we do this, we do this, we do this. And then going and expanding into that. And it adds this nice flow to everything else because you have an idea of where you're going to go. This is the little map that you have in front of you allows you not to be lost. Yeah. It keeps you from, From rambling on too much. And I know that I mentioned and scripting and, and some folks really do like to script their entire Podcast. They'll just read straight from that. I think that that's a fine approach if that's what your most comfortable with, but no matter what you do, whether it's a straight script, whether it's bullet points, I think being open to rewriting, removing, editing, like that's all super important, which is something that I kind of want to touch on kind of looping back around to voiceover acting.

(10m 23s):
I know that I said that I usually just kind of jump in. I may read the script before I actually do the recording, but I know that that sounds kind of flippant, but I really do think that you should practice your recording first and, and really listen to it. That way you can get a general feel for what sounds a natural, if there is any content that just doesn't fit in, you can get an idea of where to cut. I think that this is especially important when you're first starting out, maybe as you become more seasoned and you become more comfortable in the process, that's a step that you can consider getting rid of, but when you are starting out, I think it's very important to listen through and take note of just like I said, things that don't feel right.

(11m 17s):
Maybe content that you've shoe horned In. You don't have to include everything in one Episode, it could be information that would be better presented in two episodes or in a series, kind of like what we're doing. Like when we launched, we decided that we wanted these to be in between 15 and 20 minutes long. So we had to be really mindful of the content that we were covering In, you know, in each piece. And also us working as a team, as opposed to, I mean, if you're an independent Podcast without any sort of third, you know, objective feedback, I think it's really hard to know sometimes like it can be, it can be really hard.

(12m 1s):
I think obviously listening back is the first step, being able to at least set aside time to record, to listen in, play with it before you publish. But it really does help that, you know, we have, you know, Freddy and others in those early episodes. And like, you know, we, we have people that are giving feedback, you know, even now, and then we get feedback to each other. I think having all of that as much objective input is really, For sure you can just kinda be rocking and rolling and you think that it sounds great. And then you hear from others as well.

(12m 43s):
Maybe not. Yeah. And it's hard because like you want to do what you want to have a Podcast that is something that you are interested in. And, and that, that sometimes it means that you'll listen to something and think that everything is great because you're filling the gaps. 'cause, it's your pet subject or whatever it is. And someone who maybe is less familiar can really give you like a problem that you didn't realize. I don't know if you guys have had that experience where you're like listening. And I was like, where there's a missing chunk of information in this podcast. Like I have no idea what just happened. Oh, for sure. Like assuming that all of your listeners are on the exact same page as you, on the other side of the coin, there's you can also get too granular with your subject matter and it might just be too much for some of your listeners.

(13m 43s):
Like sometimes you really just want to hit on the high points and, and then, you know, kind of move on from there. Yeah. It's super important to continue to be specific about what you're talking about, but also continue to be accessible too, to the group that you're addressing. There's a bit of a fine line. And I know that it's something that Fred and I have talked about about not finding that line of making sure that your audience has all of the information that they need, that you're being very clear on your subject matter, but also not talking down to them at the same time. And then being aware that maybe the way you're speaking, cause this is something that you have brought two up to me, Lindsay, is that, you know, maybe my way of speaking, I don't think it's talking down, but I have to be aware like, Hey, in another context, this sounds like you're talking down the people I'm like, Oh, I probably shouldn't do that.

(14m 36s):
And without that extra point of view, I wouldn't have been aware of it. It's, it's great having those different perspectives. Yeah. Repeating yourself and having your cohost repeat information back to you can be interpreted by listeners as your talking down to them. And as you viewing your listeners, as, you know, quote unquote stupid, I had a situation that I ran into with a podcast that I was listening to where the hosts were talking about a cult and the code or whatever the main host would say the cohost would repeat back like, Oh, you mean that they you're telling me that they know.

(15m 21s):
And it just, it felt it. So you're saying they were repeating things and they were repeating things. So She's doing a great job of telling the story I was following along. And not only did the, did the repeating take me out of the story, but I was left sitting here thinking like, they think I'm an idiot. They, they think that I can't follow along with this and, and it totally just took me out of the subject matter. So it's just something to kind of be aware of when you're hosting your own podcast, other points to be aware of being mindful of your tone, speed, pacing, your pitch. You want to try to keep everything as even as possible.

(16m 1s):
I know that naturally when we speak, we have a tendency to pitch our voices based on our emotions. So excited tends to get a little bit higher up in pitch. And even if you're really stoked about what you're talking about, if you're really excited about your subject matter, you still just need to be aware of keeping it very even keel as even keel as possible. I'm speaking directly into the microphone. Is that a hard one for you? I think so. Yeah. I noticed, so I'm always worried that I'm going to sound monotone and a lot of times what actually happens, especially it probably just happened a little bit ago.

(16m 41s):
I'll get excited and if I'm laughing, sometimes my pitch will go way up. So yeah, I know that's a, that's a note for me to remember. I, you can always tell when I'm excited because I started talking to really quickly and exactly what Lindsay said. I'm like, yes, I get really high pitch and really excited. And those are, I would say that speed and pitcher, like the main notes that I give most actors, honestly, one way that you can kinda help with that is you can get some of that energy out by speaking with your hands naturally in conversation, we talk with our hands and I'm not sure if you can see me doing it on, on the screen, but I'm even doing it now as I sit at my desk. And so that's just a way to displace some of that energy that may come across when, when you're speaking and your, your speed and, and in your pitch, That's a good tip.

(17m 32s):
I'm going to have to use that to hit your mic right now. And we're as much to say right now because of how precarious my set up has to be at this moment. I'm worried if I use that too much, I might knock something, but it's good because like you said, like I can feel even as I'm like, I, you know, half they have been like seriously trying to get, I can, I can tell that it makes my voice feel more controlled It's control. And it, it helps with your natural sound. If you're ever worried about being monotone. Try speaking with your hands in the last Episode. One point that I hit on was wearing your headphones, which I see everybody is doing, wearing your headphones and, and being able to hear others and to hear yourself, you're able to course correct really quickly, especially if you catch yourself getting a little high in pitch or speaking a little too quickly, your brain wants to fix those things and, and can do it on its own.

(18m 27s):
It's, it's very good at self-regulating. So kind of moving back to what we were talking about earlier in the conversation about rewriting and removing things, you know, listening back through what you have recorded is really helpful in the rewriting process. Especially if you listen back and there are tricky words that are maybe tripping up your performance, you know, as part of that process, you want to make sure that, you know, the proper pronunciation of words and especially names, and, you know, during the process, don't be afraid to Mark up your script.

(19m 7s):
If listeners could see our Google doc, I mean, it is just yellow. There, there are tons of highlighted points and there are notes from Nathan. So even though it's digital, we definitely marked this one up. Yeah. It's like a living document for us. Like we we've thought it out at the beginning and then we've kind of thought through it with those. And I feel like, especially like if you mentioning like pronunciation makes me just the whole, like, it just, it feels, it just, what's the word. I mean, obviously if you're just starting out, you might not necessarily think of yourself as like a professional yet in Podcasting, but if you're a, you know, if you're a Business or if your, you know, wanting to take a journalistic kind of stance, you know, to, to miss details, like pronunciation of names is a big one.

(19m 59s):
Oh, it just makes me so nervous. I'm, I'm always afraid I'm going to mispronounce someone's name, especially. So another good point to keep in mind when, you know, kind of preparing and, and in the process of recording is to break up your recordings. Don't, don't, don't be so worried about trying to knock it out in one. Go, I can tell you that you won't hear all of the pieces that are going to be edited out of this episode because we have, we have a tendency to continue on with another conversation, or if we hit a point that we need to stop and redirect on, I know that personally I've allowed my portion of the recording to just keep going the entire, but it's good to stop and regroup here and there.

(20m 52s):
And, you know, on that same point, don't be afraid to have retakes. That's one thing to absolutely not shy away from. It's really rare that you're going to get everything in one go. When I record stories for the storytelling podcasts that I've voiced for, I usually submit three or four. And if I don't do the entire story, then I may submit multiple takes of, you know, a single paragraph or sometimes even just a sentence. I feel like this is a, you know, all of these are things that I needed more of whenever we started out, because I can't even remember how many takes we did of the first episode.

(21m 35s):
The first, the first episode of On the Mic was that was a long day. Actually, it was a long two days. I want to say that we were in the studio for what, like two hours the first day. And then we came back the next day and it was like another four. And I want to say that the cause of all, I mean, I don't want to belabor this, but you know, I, I was really needing to take the multiple takes more. And I think it was, there was a part of it where I was just afraid of the retake. Like it was not hard to just start the recording over, but I built it up as a bigger deal. The idea of like, Oh, I'm doing this, I'm doing this again.

(22m 16s):
And I'm like, it's totally okay because you're getting it right. This is the cool thing about it. We're not running on tape. It's all digital. So you can do a hundred takes. Yeah. And until you feel comfortable with it and you're like, yeah, that was a good one. Then we can keep going to the next part. That was the fun part of that first episode. It's practice, you know, in, in any medium, you're going to do multiple takes in theater. It's all part of the rehearsal process. So to piggyback off of retakes, you also shouldn't be afraid of direction. I know that taking and giving direction can be incredibly difficult. You know, sometimes it's a matter of humbling yourself and it can be hard not to take things personally.

(23m 1s):
So you want to try to approach giving and receiving direction in a positive way. Just think of it as everyone involved, wants to produce the best Podcast possible. So when you have to approach that conversation, just keep that in mind. You want to be sure that when you are giving direction, you're being very specific. If there's a certain word or a phrase that seems off, try to avoid any kind of nebulous direction, like watch your pronunciation, let them let your guests or your co-hosts know what they need to focus on specifically. Like which word they're mispronounce. Like, you know, not just the general yeah. Mispronouncing literally what I just did there.

(23m 44s):
Yes, yes. Literally focus on what they're spread out sick. Or if they have a fallback such as an om or a fallback word that they're using, whenever they're looking to fill space, you can call that out as well. In theater, we call giving these very specific examples. We call giving them line reads. If you want a line to sound a certain way, you read it to the other person, the way that you want it to sound. So when we decided to launch On the Mic, one of the things that I did to prepare for hosting was to listen to other podcasters and pull what I liked from them.

(24m 34s):
So that's actually a big word of advice that I have when you are preparing to launch your own podcast, or even if you're just preparing to launch a new Episode, listen to other podcasters and emulate them. Honestly, I'm a huge fan of crime junkie. I think that Ashley Flowers has a really soothing voice. It's not lulling or tiring her cadence and toner consistent from episode to episode. And it's really clear that she does her research and she outlines all of our episodes that tell a clear story, that leaves room for Brit to jump in with, you know, questions and color commentary.

(25m 15s):
And it also leaves room for Advertising that doesn't feel jarring. And so honestly, when I, when I approach every On the Mic Episode, I kind of emulate the way that Ashley talks and Presents her episodes. I, I think that that was a really, it was an exercise for me in, in practicing my own kind of Podcast, hosting abilities, Very similar to learning how to play a new song. You play different people's songs and you learn those techniques. And once you feel good about that technique, you're able to do it on your own and you feel more comfortable and make it your own. So When you put your own stink on it exactly, That's what my dad used to say.

(26m 1s):
That's what my dad used to say. Especially in jazz band, you know, we would, we would learn the songs and then when he would kind of let us go to just riff, he would tell us to put our own stink on it. It kind of goes back to the line, read idea two, because you can tell someone with the wrong In maybe like a prescriptive way, even a descriptive way, but that description, as opposed to a demonstration might not be as powerful. And as you're listening to a podcast, whether it's, you know, cram junkie influenced you a lot, I think I've been influenced by a lot of podcasts in general.

(26m 42s):
I don't think I have emulating them now, but what I love about, you know, maybe Malcolm Gladwell or, you know, in the polar opposite side, maybe Joe Rogan, even sometimes, you know, it's like you, you pull all of those things together and they kind of form your taste and that as you're listening back and adjusting, you know, you kind of shape it, you put your sink on it and you, you know, you make it, you. Yeah. I, I think that's a really, really good point. And then kind of to close this Episode, the, the last point that I really wanted to touch on was create a schedule, not, not just for your Podcast, but for your script's and for your research as well.

(27m 35s):
When I first started Justin Podcasting before On the Mic existed, I didn't have a schedule at all. I just kind of went with it, you know, I would receive scripts and I would just do them at my leisure, but, you know, looking back on it, I really do wish that I had followed a little more structure. I think that it would've saved me many late nights trying to record at 2:00 AM because I just put it off and put it off. And I know that having a content calendar has been really helpful with structuring on the mic and preparing for each of our episodes. And one of our meetings, I did mention that we're actually set on episodes through may, which is a great place to be in.

(28m 23s):
Now we do still have to record them. But as far as knowing what we need to research and what we need to write out, we have our drop-less set up until like mid may. So it definitely leaves me feeling like I'm a little bit ahead of the curve. And so, you know, during preparations for things like that, I try to set a date for recording. And I tried to set personal research time and I have, and I'm trying to get better at setting days for when scripts will be finalized. That part, I'm still struggling with a little bit, but it is something that I'm trying to work into the overall schedule for consistent.

(29m 7s):
Yeah. And being prepared like that. I mean, it allows you, if you have months of, you know, even if it's just months of scripts, whether you recorded them or not, if you get ahead, then whenever things come up in the process of recording, whether you were recording weekly or however often, you know, things are going to happen the last minute in life. And like, yeah, it's like suddenly working from home and, and lots of changes like everyone is going through. So being, you know, being extra prepared for, you know, however much content you've planned out as far in advance, as you want to give yourself that buffer, that is going to be something that you're going to be thankful you did.

(29m 53s):
You're going to be glad that you are prepared. I'm definitely thankful that we put in the work prior to the work from home order going into effect. Otherwise I'm not entirely sure that this Episode would of happened the way it is. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe for updates on future episodes and leave us a comment with your feedback, questions, or ideas for future segments. If you would like more info on Ad Results Media and what we do, please visit us online at Ad Results. Media dot com. This podcast was written and hosted by me, Lindsey Boyd and Nathan spelled. It was mixed and edited by Freddie. Trey hope. This podcast is an Ad Results, Media production.