How to Make Your Podcast Sound More Engaging

Getting your podcast to stand out in the crowd isn’t easy, it can be a challenge to grab your audience’s attention and keep them coming back for more episodes. In this article, we’re going to explore a few ways to make your podcast sound more engaging.

Choosing the Right Host

Choosing the right host can really make or break a podcast. Whatever the genre or style, your host needs to be confident, knowledgeable, and relatable. They need to be able to strike a balance between presenting the content naturally and sticking to a pre-planned structure to keep your audience engaged and interested.

Having multiple hosts can also widen the appeal of your podcast by offering different personalities and opinions and also encouraging conversation – the golden ticket when it comes to engagement.

Podcaster wearing NTH-100 using PodMic attached to PSA1+

Choosing the Right Microphone

It goes without saying that when it comes to podcasts, the sound quality of the voices being recorded can affect how the show will be received by your audience. If you want your podcast to sound professional and your hosts to sound crisp, and clear, then you need to think about how you’re recording them. It all starts with choosing the right microphone.

Dynamic microphones are ideal for most podcasters as their lower sensitivity means they pick up less background noise and are less likely to pick up the voice of your other hosts or guests. Examples such as the PodMic and PodMic USB are purpose-built for speech applications, and are excellent at capturing that rich, broadcast sound.

On the other hand, condenser microphones like the NT1 Signature Series are more sensitive and are great for capturing detail, but this increased sensitivity means that they’re more suited to rooms and spaces that are better soundproofed and treated.

Your microphone choice is important, but you also need to think about your recording environment, mic placement and technique, and monitoring. Take a look at our article on How to Make Your Podcast Sound Professional for a more detailed look at this topic.

Podcaster adjusting PodMic on PSA1+

Using a Diverse Sound Palette

Listening to too much of the same thing can get tiring, and with so many other forms of content out there fighting for our attention, this can easily be the reason someone loses interest in your podcast.

Finding different sources of audio to aid in delivering the message can keep your audience engaged by offering a palette of interesting sound textures throughout your show.

Guest interviews, phone conversations, audio grabs, and even sound effects or voice effects can help, as long as they’re used to reinforce your show’s message, rather than distract from it.

Smart Editing and Mixing

Most, if not all podcasts go through an editing and mixing process, usually by a dedicated audio producer, but there are some steps that even a solo producer can take to sculpt a show into something that audiences will find easier to listen to.

Editing of a podcast can be split into two categories — editorial and technical. Editorial editing is where a producer cuts and stitches together content based on the purpose and message of the show. This is helpful to avoid unnecessary details or even just to shorten the duration of the episode.

Technical editing is when a producer cuts out fumbles, mistakes, retakes, unwanted noises and sometimes re-stiches breaths back together to make sure it sounds natural after it has been edited.

RØDECaster Duo and PodMic desk setup

Next is the mixing process, where all the audio is then treated and processed to sound clearer, cleaner and more balanced. An unmixed podcast may cause the message to get lost as unbalanced levels and unpleasant sounds can be distracting.

Some simple level correction, equalisation, compression and de-essing can usually go a long way to keeping your audience focused on your content.

Introducing Music

Music is one element that can take your podcast to the next level. Having a catchy theme song to intro and outro your show is a good way to brand your podcast and make it more recognisable.

Using music as a bed underneath voiceover elements can also really help to convey certain emotions, the same way it does in movies and TV shows. There are two types of music you can use in your podcasts — original music and production music.

Original music is where you pay a composer or music artist directly for the rights to use their music. With their permission and a fee, you can either use something they’ve already written or even ask them to compose something unique for your podcast like a theme or an audio logo, but this will cost more in both money and time.

Podcaster putting NTH-100 on

Commercially released original music requires permission from the artist and any associated label or management so it’s best to steer clear of this kind of music unless you intend to seek this permission.

Production music is far easier to access and there are many online platforms that offer extensive libraries of tracks to choose from. Again though, there are licensing costs and terms associated with using this music so do your research before you start downloading tracks and putting them into your podcast.

Engaging Sound Design

The last element we’ll look at is sound design – another impactful tool you can use to boost the production value of your podcast. Sound design is the use of various sound elements and production effects to create soundscapes you can use to enhance storytelling or to brand your podcast.

This can be anything from a stinger or bumper which can be used between segments of your show, to a realistic soundscape of a particular scene to give the audience some perspective of what is being described.

Similar to the way music can be used to evoke certain emotions, sound design can also be used to get your audience to feel something – a powerful tool that can make your podcast memorable and give your listeners a reason to come back for more episodes.

Our industry-leading range of podcasting equipment offers everything you need to record a podcast, from microphones, studio arms and headphones to complete, all-in-one production studios.