With lockdown looking likely to extend a few more weeks at least, marketing teams the world over are likely to be looking at ways they deliver the richest content possible to their audiences while still adhering to the various social distancing measures and guidelines. After all, some things can sit on hold for a while, but eventually the show really must go on!
With that, I thought I’d put together some tips to help folks to produce content to a standard as professional as possible using the restrictions that come with working from home and turning them to their advantage.
So, I thought I’d begin a series of articles – with the first one on podcasts!
I chose podcasts because I feel they are perhaps the easiest win in the working from home locker. Most people will have the bits and pieces necessary to record one, and while you may not have studio quality surroundings, you can get pretty reasonable results without much effort.
Working from home for most companies utilises some sort of video conferencing software, which often has a record function that you can use to your advantage. From here you may also have been furnished with a snazzy USB headset or perhaps you own a funky pair of headphones for listening to your tunes at home or on your commute?
The most essential thing is making sure that the audio quality is as good as you can get it. If you have a podcast mic and pop guard in your cupboard, great! However, most people won’t have this kind of kit laying around. A wired connection from your headphones to your computer is going to give you the best results. It’s worth noting that quality can be degraded when using bluetooth headphones, however in the higher-end units especially the quality is pretty decent these days. That said, a plugged-in set (either USB or headphone jack) remains the best option.
It is also essential to have a decent broadband connection, this is almost as important as the audio quality as you don’t want your connection being choppy or dropping out. If you are using Wi-Fi get as close to the router as possible. Avoid walls or solid obstacles between you and the router. A wired connection works best as you are piping directly into your service provider.
Along with technical and broadband quality, physical location has to be reviewed. Unfortunately, as most of us have found already, working from home may involve kids, dogs or noisy neighbours. All of which will disrupt your final recording. As all homes, apartments and shed offices for that matter are different, the best suggestion is to find a space that’s quiet and has minimal echo – even if it’s the back of your wardrobe (yes I’ve been there!).
So, you’ve solved the recording, the audio quality has been considered and your broadband connection has been optimised – so what next? You’ll need to workout the format. Most podcasts fall into three categories: 1) two-way chat or interview, 2) panel discussion between 3-4 people (usually with a chair or presenter), 3) an audio blog where the presenter monologues to listeners. Once you’ve set your style, set up a video call with your participants and hit record.
Once you have recorded your session in an app like Teams, Zoom or Skype you need to convert it into an audio file. The recording will likely be a full video with audio – so, using another app like Apple Quicktime or VLC player you will be able to save it as an MP3 or WAV file format (which are audio only) ready for uploading to your chosen podcast platform.
Now, get out there and get creating!