What I’ve Learned about Producing Audio and Podcasts

Wednesday I announced the end of the Art Marketing Action podcast. While it was time to move on, I learned plenty of lessons from trying something new.

I know a lot of you are trying audio and Internet radio. Maybe these thoughts will be of some benefit.

I know how to create my own audio!

I do all of my own recording using a cheap microphone and GarageBand on my Mac. I wrote about this and shared a photo in an earlier post.

I have a better voice for recording now.

In 2008 hired a private voice coach to help make the podcasts sound more animated. I can't begin to tell you what a difference this made! Oh, what am I saying. Listen for yourself. (You really just need to listen to the first 20 seconds to get the gist of it.)


After voice lessons and adding music:

She taught me to stand up, smile, and use my hands while I'm recording. It's hard when it's just you and the mic, but you should try to act natural–like you’re really talking to someone and not just speaking into a mic. I've heard that some people post a photo of their ideal listener as they're recording.

I also learned that I probably shouldn’t be recording on my steel desk! I added a piece of fabric to the desktop to help buffer the tin-ny sound.

I have a better idea how iTunes works.

I know what it takes to get audio on iTunes! Granted, I had much help with this from Pat Velte. But I can quickly fill out an iTunes submission form and make sure my album cover is with every episode. I've tried to be meticulous about seeing that all of the fields are complete and consistent for each episode.

I now get easily annoyed with others who don't take this care with their audio — probably because I import everything into iTunes and must clean up the files that don't include enough info or that aren't consistent.

I can mix audio!

Earlier this year I started jazzing up the podcast with music I purchased from BumperTunes. Yes, I add it myself.
My “audio enhancing” skills leave a lot to be desired. I still don't know what all of the gizmos are for on the GarageBand screen, but I'm not afraid to click on them.

My GarageBand Screen

I can miss an episode here and there.

There were a few weeks that I just didn't feel like doing a recording. OR, I thought that the written text didn't lend itself well to audio. So I just skipped those weeks. It was a big deal to me that I missed recording an episode, but not a single soul ever asked me what happened to them.

You can't slap a bunch of podcasts on a CD and make a quick product to sell.

A couple of years ago I tried repackaging the podcasts as CDs to sell. I thought there might be some people (a lot of people) who don't like or know how to use MP3s. I'd also have CD products to sell at my workshops and events.
Here's the thing: It doesn't work that sweetly! The intros and exits for each podcast gets annoying after a few episodes. Transferring podcasts to CD should require more editing. IMHO, it would be faster to re-record them.

It's easier to get good reviews when you ask for them and tell people how to do it.

Until earlier this year, I had only 2 or 3 podcast reviews on iTunes. Since iTunes doesn't rate a podcast until there are enough reviews, this was a big deal. I went on a campaign where I asked for reviews with each episode. And I got 'em! My listeners are the best. Thanks to everyone who posted a review. If I knew your contact info, I probably sent you a personal thanks.
Do you create audio? What lessons have you learned in the process?

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10 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned about Producing Audio and Podcasts”

  1. Yes, after listening to earlier and current recordings, your speaking skills have improved. They were decent in the beginning, but you almost sound as if part of Toastmasters or Dale Carnegie.
    To your missing a podcast here and there: you ALWAYS explained why there was NOT a podcast, therefore, left no reason for anyone to complain, question, etc. Other podcasters have a pattern and then drop out of pattern for no apparent reason. They leave NO written blog post, sentence, one minute reason, etc. as to why no blogpost. It is so annoying, that I try NOT to do that on my blog!!! Those podcasters are irritating, but how much right do I have to complain when the information is offered for free?
    Even if you did not leave an explaination as to why (like the one about Facebook, etc.) there was no podcast, do you think your already grateful fans would begrudge you a break every now and then? =)
    I look forward to enjoying your future endeavors. In the meantime…I’m checking out the recommended Abundant Artist. =)

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Thanks, Angeline Marie. I think I maybe missed 1, 2 at the most, per year. I wasn’t aware that I always explained.
      I think it’s important to live up to what you promise people. Otherwise, they won’t know what to expect from you.
      I’m thinking about my first new recording right now. It may be my December gift to my newsletter subscribers.

  2. You know – I noticed a difference. Just last week. I usually wait and download 5 or 6 at a time, then listen to that block all at once. While listening, I was thinking how nice they sounded, how there was a change and how far you’ve come since the beginning! At the same time, I’ve always enjoy(ed) them … all the way from the beginning.

  3. Hi Alyson,
    I love both podcasts you used to explain your progress here. In the second one you sound more relaxed and easy with the process, but both
    are fantastic. Thank you for this. Your post probably explains why I haven’t managed to learn this particular skill yet. Plus I see why you
    might find it a bit too much. But I know so many people who downloaded your podcasts and listen to them for inspiration when they paint.
    You are probably the most generous person on the Internet.
    Thanks again for this.

  4. Aren’t you just a little too pretty for radio? I’d put this all together(understanding of voice & image) into a video of one of your seminars, & sell it online for us all who live kind of far to meet you in person…

  5. Thanks for sharing your lessons here. I especially like the tip to stand while recording.
    I’ve been playing with audio for awhile and what I’ve discovered is how fun it is! It lured me into video and now I can play with both audio and visual, all the while learning more skills. It’s fun!

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