Using a Professional Studio for Your Podcast

Created: Monday, June 10, 2024, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am

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By Maz Farsani, Outset Studio

Starting a successful podcast isn’t an easy task. It takes skill to create content that engages and captivates an audience, as well as technical know-how to record high-quality audio. Navigating this learning curve is a major challenge for many new podcasters.

Studio for Your Podcast
Image: Yay Images

That’s why a growing number of creators are opting to use professional podcasting studios. Working with a studio can provide numerous advantages.

1. Improved audio and production values

The podcast market is increasingly crowded and competitive. If you want your show to stand out and attract loyal listeners, putting out high-quality content is essential. When comparing similar podcasts, audiences will usually gravitate towards the one with better production quality.

But setting up your own studio with all the latest gear and keeping it updated over time is very expensive. Most individual podcasters simply can’t afford it and it doesn’t make financial sense for a weekly podcast.

Professional studios solve this issue by giving you access to state-of-the-art podcasting equipment and the technical expertise to use it optimally. You get amazing sound quality without having to make big upfront investments and studios are also continuously upgrading their gear to stay on the cutting edge.

Plus, their audio engineers have loads of experience with the equipment and know how to configure everything just right to get you the absolute best results on your recordings.

2. Ability to incorporate video

While audio is the traditional format for podcasts, adding a video component opens up exciting new ways to grow and engage your audience. Different people prefer to consume content in different ways – some like listening to full podcast episodes during their commute, while others enjoy watching short highlight clips on social media. Having video lets you reach fans on any platform regardless of their personal preferences.

Video also makes your podcast more discoverable, since YouTube videos tend to appear higher in search results compared to audio content. What’s more, major podcast services like Spotify and Apple Music have recently introduced video support, making it an increasingly important feature when trying to stand out in a crowd.

However, producing quality video alongside your audio adds a load more technical challenges that take time, money and expertise to overcome. You need to consider things like lighting, camerawork, set design, makeup and wardrobe. It also requires a whole other skill set for recording and editing.

Sure, it’s possible to handle every aspect of production yourself. But there is lots to learn, and you’re bound to experience some trial and error along the way that could compromise your podcast’s quality and reliability, and that risks squandering your hard work.

Many podcast studios were early adopters of video and have years of experience with it. By partnering with a studio, you can tap into their expertise to create professional video content right from the start, without having to go through that steep learning curve yourself. This lets you focus your energy on doing what you do best – developing engaging content for your podcast.

3. Consistency, week after week

Growing a dedicated following for your podcast is a marathon, not a sprint. Popular shows with large audiences often have hundreds or even thousands of episodes in their back catalogue. The key ingredient in their success is almost always consistency.

Establishing a predictable, reliable rhythm with your podcast assures listeners that your content will be there for them and is worth committing to. It’s crucial to put out new episodes on a regular schedule and maintain a consistent format, production quality, host, and overall vibe.

Doing this requires coordinating a lot of moving pieces, both human and technical, to pull off each recording session without a hitch. And you need backup plans in place. What if a key crew member gets sick or a critical piece of equipment fails at the last minute?

Professional studios are set up to provide the consistency you need. They’ll work with you to book regular studio time and handle all the logistics to make sure you’re able to record your episodes like clockwork. And they have redundant systems and staffing so that if issues come up, there’s always a solution to keep things on track.

4. Budget-friendly option

When you’re just starting out in podcasting, it’s natural to want to limit your spending. But getting the cheapest equipment will result in inferior audio (and video) that makes your show less competitive. As a result, your podcast is unlikely to gain much traction, wasting the time and money you put into it.

You might also try to save money by managing the various roles yourself, thereby reducing staffing costs. But doing it all solo is also enormously time-consuming compared to what a professional studio can achieve. For example, a podcast editor who knows what they’re doing can usually polish an hour of audio in about four hours. An amateur might take several times longer and still not get the same quality result.

Ultimately, trying to save costs with a budget DIY solution will often result in wasted time, money and effort.

Studios, on the other hand, give you a way to test the medium of podcasting while controlling your costs and ensuring a high-quality product. Then, if your show takes off, you’ll be in a great position to deliver consistent, engaging content that will hold your audience’s attention for the long haul.

5. Valuable pre-production support

There’s a lot more to a great podcast than just the technical elements. The most successful shows are carefully planned out well in advance of hitting the record button. If a podcast sounds (and looks) effortless, it’s because of preparation.

Some podcast studios provide pre-production support to help map everything out. They’ll collaborate with you to develop questions, outlines and rehearse before your recording sessions. Having these planning meetings with experienced producers keeps everyone aligned and leads to a much more polished podcast.

The studio team will also be on hand during your recordings to manage all the little details, like keeping timestamps, identifying parts that would work well for ads or promo clips, and even doing live editing. This can dramatically speed up post-production and allow you to release episodes almost immediately after you record them, for a more timely, organic feel.

Additionally, by bringing a studio on board early in the process, you’ll benefit from their knowledge of how to manage the production elements efficiently to minimize headaches, wasted time and budget while getting the best quality product from the outset.

6. Improved experience for guests

Interviewing guests on your podcast is a fantastic way to offer your audience fresh perspectives while cross promoting your show to the guest’s following. But if you’re not careful, a guest appearance can quickly go off the rails.

In a casual conversation, people often end up talking over each other, which doesn’t translate well to an audio recording. Guests might also speak too quickly due to nerves, or struggle to express their ideas clearly.

Professional studios are well-equipped to help you avoid these pitfalls. The studio team will coordinate pre-interviews with your guests to review the questions in advance. That helps them feel prepared and minimizes awkward moments during the recording. And producers in the studio can give you visual cues when it’s time to jump in with a question or comment, to avoid crosstalk.

Studios can also handle logistical details like scheduling and sending out invites to your guests. Many studios have multiple locations so the guest can record at the studio nearest them, rather than having to dial in remotely and risk poor audio quality, patchy internet connection or interruptions.

Getting the most from your studio time

Of course, studio time isn’t free. While it may be more cost-effective than managing production entirely in-house, you are on the clock during your recording sessions. To stretch your podcasting budget as far as possible, you need a game plan for using that time efficiently.

Here are a few suggestions to help you maximize your studio experience and walk away with an amazing podcast:

  • Do an in-person tour before booking to get a feel for the studio’s set-up and location, and ensure it fits your needs. Meet the producers and make sure you click with them.
  • Hold a pre-production meeting to nail down your topic, episode flow, interview questions, and other key details. The studio can help you refine your plan and offer suggestions to enhance it.
  • Decide on any set design elements like backdrops and props that will make your video content visually striking and reinforce your podcast’s brand.
  • Allow enough time for your recording. While it may only be an hour-long podcast, you’ll need at least 30 minutes for setup. High-tech configurations like remote interviews may require extra time. And you’ll need time at the end to pack down and do any file transfers. If you’re unsure, ask your studio producers for advice and check their policy on overrun costs.

Ultimately, using a professional podcast studio is all about unlocking the full potential of your content. From the technical benefits of better production values and video capability to practical advantages like consistency and cost management, partnering with a studio can help you develop a podcast that attracts and engages a loyal audience.

Maz Farsani
Maz Farsani is co-founder of Outset Studio which provides full-service podcast and video production studios in London and Manchester. Outset specializes in pod- and vlog- casts, live streams and live shopping. The team works collaboratively with the client to make high quality content that attracts an audience and increases engagement. Recording can be done at their studios in London and Manchester, or on location. Whether a client simply wants studio space or would prefer someone to manage the full production, Outset’s experienced teams have it covered.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog post or content are those of the authors or the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.

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