It’s 2020: Is It Easy To Make A Good Podcast Yet?

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Photo by Ashley Jurius on Unsplash

A year ago, I told you it would never be easier to make a good podcast than it was right then. But I’m always a fan of rechecking my assumptions. Let’s examine this topic for 2020, shall we?

As I said last year, it’s never going to be any easier to make a good podcast. Do I think that’s still the truth? Yeah, I do. I still think it’s never going to be easier to make a good podcast.

There can be no doubt that in the almost 16 years podcasting has been around (and certainly the last) gigantic improvements have been made that make it easier to podcast. I’ve zero doubt about that. New tools and services coming out with great frequency, all designed to make podcasting easier.

And in fact, they do. It’s a lot easier to record a podcast today than it was 10 years ago. It’s a lot easier to post a podcast episode today than it was when I started in 2004. It’s a lot easier to manage your RSS feeds. More podcasters are aware of best practices and standards.

So yes: the process of podcasting has gotten easier. Moreover, it will continue to get easier over time to make a podcast.

But it still isn’t any easier to make a good podcast.

With few exceptions, all of those products & services that make it easier to podcast are designed to eliminate the rote and repetitive tasks that get in the way of the act of podcasting. While removing those low-level tasks from your brain might leave you with more time to focus on making your podcasts better, that’s not what they were designed to do.

As with all things, there are a few exceptions to that rule, as some low-level tasks might inhibit your show from being good.

Perhaps your podcast suffers from egregious background noise, and it’s getting in the way of people enjoying your content. Noise-removal software has gotten much better in the last 15 years.

And it’s a lot easier to control that room noise at the source. You might still be recording under blankets to control sound reflection. I’m not. I invested in these fabulous Audimute panels to absorb and eliminate unwanted sounds from the room where I record this show.

It used to be quite difficult to get a consistent perceived volume level for the different speaking parts of your podcast episodes. But software solutions like Auphonic and the Vocal Rider plugin from Waves make fixing that as easy as point-and-click.

So there certainly are some improvements to make your podcast sound better. But if your waiting for a future where you will sit down, talk into a microphone, and everything else will be done perfectly for your good podcast, well… Keep hope alive.

The reason why that’s not going to be the case is the same reason it wasn’t the case a year ago:

It takes time to create good content.

I don’t care how clean you make the audio signal. If the content itself is boring to everyone but you, your co-hosts, your guests, and your tiny audience, it’s probably not a good podcast. Yes, I’m being intentionally harsh. A pristine signal isn’t going to cover up shoddy work.

Other than what was stated above, software probably won’t replace your need to focus on making really good content.

I suppose you might say it’s easier to hear examples of better podcasts because there are a lot more great podcasts available. Of course, there are still plenty of examples of really bad podcasts. They aren’t slowing down. So if you’re able to discern between the two, great.

But still, it’s not going to get any easier to make better podcasts. Just like it’s not gotten any easier to make a better movie. Think about the last movie you watched. If you sat through the credits, you noticed the credit roll didn’t get any shorter. In fact, the credit roll has gotten longer and longer. Because it’s still hard to make a really good movie. Even with all the tech advances in movie production, it still takes all those people to make good content. Technology doesn’t stand still, and new tech not only requires someone to know how to use it, but it also allows creators to go deeper and make things better. And more complicated. It goes hand in hand.

Here’s the rub: better content means audiences are getting more demanding. As they see how good content can be, they become less forgiving of half-assed attempts. You have to step up your game to make your content attractive to them.

In the year since I first raised this topic, I’ve done a lot to make this podcast better. I hope you’ve noticed a difference. But it certainly isn’t any easier for me. In fact, making it better has increased the time I spend on each episode. And that’s OK. I think it’s worth it as I have a better podcast.

(The only way to make it easier to make a better podcast is to offload some of the work to people who are more qualified or have better processes or systems than you. That should make it easier for you, but the sum total of hours it takes to produce an episode and to keep your podcast running is likely to increase.)

Since you got this far, how about mashing that 👏 button a few dozen times to let me know you dig the written-word version of my thoughts on these podcasting topics? I’d sure appreciate it!

This article started life as a podcast episode. The 254th episode of my four-times-a-week short-form podcast called, oddly enough, Podcast Pontifications. It’s a podcast for working podcasters that’s focused on trends in our growing industry and ideas on ways to make podcasting not just easier, but better. Yes, you should listen. Here’s an easy way: 👇

Evo Terra (hey, that’s me!) has been podcasting since 2004, is the author of Podcasting For Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and is the CEO and founder of Simpler Media Productions, a strategic podcast consultancy working with businesses, brands, and professional service providers all around the world.

Podcast philosopher. Professional contrarian. On a mission to make podcasting better. Hip he/him. คุณ | http://PodcastPontifications.com | http://Simpler.Media

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