All Eyes and Ears: Best Practices for Podcast Cover Art

Graphic showing the planet earth wearing headphones, with audio waves in the background and covers of various podcasts spread around the image.

So you’ve entered the vibrant world of podcasting, have you? You've brewed up the perfect blend of wit, insight, and hilarity. You’re all set up and ready to inspire the world with your unique perspective … but hold on! You need a podcast cover. Or maybe you have one, but it’s just not cutting it.

What are you going to release into the crowded digital landscape of podcast-dom to vie for the attention of billions of daily users? A podcast cover isn't just eye candy; it's the first impression, the tantalizing teaser, and the magnetic force that says, "Hey, listen to this!" 

So, buckle up as we reveal our best tips for making your podcast cover the secret sauce to transforming curious browsers into dedicated listeners.

Cornea Catchiness

Your podcast cover is the visual equivalent of a catchy jingle that sticks in your head and elicits a feeling — comfort, shock, or what have you — each time it is seen. A well-designed cover serves as the face of your show, creating a lasting impression that lingers long after the episode ends. It's the sly wink that says, "Remember me?" when your audience is scrolling through a sea of listening options.

As Spotify puts it, you should never “​​start designing a cover before understanding your podcast’s visual identity”. So, before you dive into graphic design mode, here’s a simplified version of their step-by-step guide to doing just that:

This approach is exactly how we helped our client Point NorthEast develop the cover image for their podcast, Level Up Your Business. Given that Point NorthEast is a business consulting firm, we wanted to make sure that the keyword “business” was not only in the podcast title, but also prominently displayed on the cover art.

Podcast cover with blue background, white text that reads "Level Up Your Business", with yellow arrow behind the text that points up into the top right corner of the image.

We took inspiration from Point NorthEast’s “Up and to the Right” mantra, which focuses on the upward momentum that is necessary for a business to grow. We not only incorporated the “level up” keyword into the podcast title, but used a non-linear, up-and-to-the-right arrow to give a visual example of this.

We tied it all together with Point NorthEast’s logo (which features mountain peaks with the same upward trajectory as the arrow), their brand colors, and text that really pops off the image, giving an almost 3-dimensional look. We think it really works!

Quick Tips:

How to Captivate “Your People”

As previously mentioned when discussing Spotify’s tips, you have to consider this: Who is your target audience? A successfully captivating cover invites your type of people — the ones to whom you wish to cater and convince to take the plunge into your content, promising an experience that's as delightful as the imagery suggests. After all, who can resist the allure of a podcast that satisfies the eyes and the ears?

Podcast cover with illustrated images of Gareth Reynolds and Jake Johnson, wearing sweaters and using vintage headphones, mics, and sound equipment.

Jake Johnson and Gareth Reynolds, a goofy actor/comedy duo with no real qualifications to guide you through life’s challenges, started a podcast called We’re Here to Help where they offer up “free advice that feels … free”. Funny concept, right?

Here’s why their cover art works so well:

Quick Tips:

Click-Worthy Charm

If a potential listener is scanning through an ocean of podcasts, your cover is the lighthouse guiding them home. An aesthetically pleasing and professionally crafted cover not only piques interest but also signals quality and trustworthiness. If a user is easily and quickly able to discern what your podcast is about simply based on your cover art, then you, my friend, are nailing it. 

Here’s a few examples of branded podcast covers that exemplify what we’re talking about.

Podcast cover with an illustration of a McDonald's red sauce container, with a yellow background. The font and color styles emulate McDonald's brand.
Podcast cover with artistic, illustrated images of food, eating utensils, and a shovel, intermixed with the text of the podcast title, "Why We Eat What We Eat."
Podcast cover with solid red background, the white Trader Joe's logo, and white text beneath it that reads "(inside)."

All three of these podcasts are owned by their respective brands, and each does a great job of putting recognizable iconography and additional branded elements front and center to inspire clicks and listens.

Quick Tips:

The fact of the matter is, there’s lots of directions to take your podcast design; sometimes it’s just the initial spark of an idea that can get the ball rolling. That being said, we’ll leave you with this helpful link of pinned podcast covers that will hopefully get your creative juices flowing!

Bonus Content! Random Podcast Recommendations

Did you think we were going to just leave you without a few podcast recommendations of our own? Check out what the Random team always has in their podcast queue:

Lauren Patterson, Co-Founder and CEO recommends The Economics of Everyday Things. “I love this podcast because it dives deep into the economics of a topic in a really interesting way. It's a great reminder that there are so many angles to tackle a problem or to tell a story with. The episodes are short and engaging, even if you weren't an econ major in college.”

John Patterson, Co-Founder/Chief Strategy Officer recommends No Such Thing As A Fish. “It feeds my curiosity and is unstructured enough that it still has some thrill of discovery. Even if you see the title of the episode, there’s still something surprising and useful to learn.”

Ryan Allen, Director of Marketing: “My favorite podcast is Kreative Kontrol, hosted by Canadian music journalist Vish Khanna. It's an interview-style podcast, with no real special hook or clever angle. Instead, the set up is an intimate conversation between an interviewer who is clearly a huge fan of his guest's work and independent musicians, authors, comedians, and other entertainment related folks looking to promote a new project. Vish's interview style is humorous, informal, and relaxed, but also very well-researched. 

Recent guests include Tommy Stinson from the Replacements, 90s rockers the Breeders, new twangy indie band Ratboys, and author Michael Azerrad — who wrote "Come As You Are", the definitive book on Nirvana. I'm a huge music nerd, so this is all like aural candy for me!”

Stefany Graves, Account Executive: “I have been an avid listener to most/all of the comedy podcasts out there. The ones that I keep in a constant rotation are Your Mom's House, Bad Friends, Whiskey Ginger, Good For You, Are You Garbage?, Hey Babe, Taste Buds, and sooooo many more. I just really love to escape into other people's lives and get a good laugh.”

Allison Andres, Senior Social Media Marketing Specialist:13 is the quintessential podcast for every Swiftie out there, with deep dives into everything Taylor Swift. I'm also a huge fan of Brittany Broski's podcast, The Brittany Broski Report. She really knows how to make you laugh and then have an existential crisis in the same episode.”

Shelby Cron Boyd, Social Media Marketing Specialist: “My podcast recommendation is two-fold. My first rec has to be This American Life, hosted by Ira Glass. It’s such a fascinating listen each week with folks from all walks of life, with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. Each week they choose a theme and then interview people with experiences related to that topic, producing riveting, relatable and sometimes wild stories that ‘unfold like little movies for radio’. 

My second recommendation would be Films To Be Buried With hosted by Brett Goldstein (Roy Kent from Ted Lasso). As a self-proclaimed cinephile and talented actor/director/producer, Brett creates a very welcoming atmosphere for each of his guests to talk about their life in the context of film."

Looking to create your own podcast, but you aren't sure where to start? Random can help you with everything from cover art design to production and distribution. Contact us below to get started!

5 Unconventional Ways to Promote Your Podcast

It's no secret that the popularity of podcasts has risen in recent years, with millions of people tuning in to their favorites daily. But with so many podcasts available, it can be difficult to distinguish between the competition and entice new listeners. Despite their effectiveness, traditional marketing strategies like email blasts and social media promotion can occasionally fall short. So if you are stuck on how to make your podcast go viral, here are five unconventional strategies for podcast promotion that you might not have considered before.

Collaborate with other podcasters

  1. A great method to cross-promote your show is to collaborate with other podcasters in your niche. Connect with them and propose a joint episode or a guest appearance. You'll get access to a new group of listeners who may not have been familiar with your podcast otherwise.

Host a live event

  1. An excellent way to engage with your listeners and foster a sense of community around your podcast is to host live events. Try holding a meet-and-greet with your followers, a Q&A session with listeners, or a live recording of your show. Whether in-person or virtual, this could be a fantastic chance to interact more personally with your audience and even receive valuable feedback from them. 

Create a YouTube channel

  1. Since YouTube is a video-only platform, unlike podcasting, it can help you expand your audience. Experiment with creating brief video snippets of your podcast episodes, producing behind-the-scenes material, or recording guest interviews. This can be an effective method to advertise your show, helping you draw in listeners who spend more time on YouTube.

Leverage influencer marketing

  1. Influencer marketing has grown to be a popular strategy used by brands to reach new consumers. Finding influential people in your niche who have a sizable following can help you reach out to potential listeners. Start by contacting these individuals and asking them to promote your podcast to their audience. Offer them incentives and rewards like a commission or a guest appearance on your show. By collaborating with influential figures in your field, you can leverage their credibility and audience to increase traffic to your podcast.

Create a podcast trailer

  1. Crafting a podcast trailer is a terrific approach to getting the attention of potential listeners. A trailer is a brief introduction to your show that focuses on its distinguishing qualities and advantages. Think about producing an eye-and-ear-catching trailer that highlights your personality and the subjects you address. To draw in more listeners, you can share this on social media, your website, and other platforms.

Whether you try all or some of these ideas, promoting your podcast requires a little imagination and originality. You may expand your audience and draw in new listeners by utilizing collaborations, live events, YouTube channels, influencer marketing, and podcast trailers.  Keep in mind that marketing your podcast is a continuous process, so try out different approaches to see what works best for you.

We've got years of experience creating and promoting podcasts at Random, so let us help you! Send us a message below to learn how we can work together to boost your podcast. 

The Best Podcasting Microphones for Every Budget

Casey Wright

January 2023

If you're a podcaster, streamer, gamer, or content creator of any kind, picking the right microphone is very important. With the recent rise of individuals podcasting and live streaming, more and more people are looking to begin their own production with little to no knowledge about what they need to thrive. 

Here are the top 5 microphones to get you started:

Blue Yeti 

Price: $99.00 (avg.)

blue yeti podcasting microphone

🔌 Connection: USB

🎤 Type: Condenser

👍 Pros: 

👎 Cons: 

A Blue Yeti is a USB-powered microphone that comes with 4 different pattern settings and a desk stand. This budget mic was built for podcasting and is a popular choice in the podcasting, gaming, and streaming communities. From the look, to the USB Connectivity, all the way down to the internal hardware, this microphone makes for a great desktop audio device with a wide range of uses.

Blue has a reputation for developing high-quality microphones for podcasting, videos, and even music. They're affordable, use quality parts, and for the most part are pretty simple to use.

At the end of the day, it's important to remember that as a USB microphone, the Blue Yeti will have some limitations. However, even the base version is packed with features that produce decent sound quality, which is hard to complain about with the price tag.

Buy it here.

HyperX QuadCast S

Price: $159.00

HyperX QuadCast S microphone

🔌 Connection: USB

🎤 Type: Condenser

👍 Pros: 

👎 Cons: 

The HyperX Quadcast S is an ultra-credible USB mic that is comparable to other microphones around the $200 price range. The microphone records 48kHz/16-bit audio and has three 14mm condensers, which provides enough data for post-production if you want to go that route. Despite its technical limitations, it can effectively record a podcast, live-stream, or other musical needs just short of a professional recording. The HyperX QuadCast is very easy to set up yet a little difficult to get the audio exactly right.

As great as this microphone is, the QuadCast S has one glaring issue that might be a dealbreaker. HyperX's software to control the microphone called Ngenuity is not available on Mac devices. This means you can't customize the RGB lighting when using the QuadCast S with your Mac, so you're stuck with the rotating rainbow pattern. 

While it isn't the cheapest or most expensive microphone out there with most of the same features, the QuadCast S is a solid choice for anyone looking for a multi-purpose USB microphone.

Buy it here.

Shure MV7 

Price: $224.00

Shure MV7 microphone

🔌 Connection: USB or XLR

🎤 Type: Dynamic

👍 Pros: 

👎 Cons: 

The Shure MV7 is a great dynamic microphone for those looking to podcast and stream. Its hybrid USB and XLR connectivity allows users to keep it simple or utilize more advanced options. The "natural" tone doesn't add any sort of boost, leaving your audio in a raw state that's better suited for conversations or anyone who prefers to clean up audio in post-production processes. 

The MV7 can act as its own interface when connected directly to a computer or iOS device. This interface is impressive when it comes to modern features that are controllable both on the mic and with the ShurePlus Motiv desk-top app. There is also an auto-leveling mode which allows the microphone to mix your level in real-time. Preferences like near or far mode allow you to adapt the mic to suit your recording style, with saveable presets, so you can be comfortable and know this is working to record you accurately. It is not the cheapest microphone on the market, but the quality and features definitely live up to what you pay for.

Buy it here.

Shure SM7B

Price: $359.00

Shure SM7B microphone

🔌 Connection: XLR

🎤 Type: Dynamic

👍 Pros: 

👎 Cons: 

The SM7B is a testament to Shure's attention to detail, high and long-lasting quality, and top-notch construction. The mic is XLR with a detachable close-talk windscreen, internal shock mount, and toggle switches on the back panel with a graphic display of the setting. Many professional hosts and podcasters such as Alex Cooper from the Call Me Daddy podcast and Hasan Abi from his daily political live-streams on Twitch utilize this top-of-the-market microphone. 

The large diaphragm and housing are designed for an extended low-end and wide frequency response as well as loud bursts of sound. The heart-shaped cardioid polar pattern is impervious to background noise and is forgiving when it comes to precise mic placement. If the Shure SM7B is in your budget, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Buy it here.

Electro-Voice RE20

Price: $449.00

Electro-Voice RE20 microphone

🔌 Connection: XLR

🎤 Type: Dynamic

👍 Pros: 

👎 Cons: 

The Electro-Voice RE20 is an industry standard dynamic broadcast microphone that offers maximum background rejection without sacrificing the quality and tone of the voice. It was originally developed to compete with the rising number of condensers being found within every recording studio, and the level of performance is outstanding. 

The RE20 is considered the industry standard for audio equipment and surpasses many other broadcast mics when it comes to signal quality. The downside is the mic is more expensive than any others on this list and may require other pieces of equipment, such as preamp to be on par to get the best of it. Whether you are in the world of podcasting, streaming or the music industry, look no further than the RE20 because this mic is truly one of the best out there.

Buy it here.

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Looking to level-up your podcast? Connect with us by sending a message below! 

Random Podcasts You Just Might Like

Where do you even start when finding a new podcast to get into? We did the heavy lifting so you don't have to.

We asked Random People to name their favorite podcasts and this is what we got.


The Results:

Freakonomics

Most Recent Episode: Freakonomics

Stephen J. Dubner (co-author of the Freakonomics books) explores the hidden side of everything. From things you always thought you knew (but didn't) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) - from the economics of sleep to how to become great at just about anything. This one's for the curious and exploratory minds.


Quick Stats:

Rating: Clean

Category: Documentary

Apple Podcast Rating: 4.5/5


The Official Podcast

Most Recent Episode: The Official Podcast

Four friends, endless topics. From dumb questions, YouTube celebrities, childish giggling, burger puns, and more this show has a little something for everyone. Take a listen to this podcast when you need a little light-hearted humor with a mix of current events, you won't be disappointed.


Quick Stats:

Rating: Explicit

Category: Comedy

Apple Podcast Rating: 4.9/5


Two Hot Takes

Most Recent Episode: Two Hot Takes

If you're a fan of Reddit, jaw-dropping stories, and an honest opinion this one's for you. Host, Morgan Absher, and her slew of co-hosts, take on some interesting stories to say the least. From life, dating, relationships, AITA stories and more, Two Hot Takes is a great listen for your long drives or hot girl walks.


Quick Stats:

Rating: Explicit

Category: Comedy

Apple Podcast Rating: 4.7/5


13: A Taylor Swift Fan Podcast

Most Recent Episode: 13: A Taylor Swift Fan Podcast

This is the 1 for all the Swifties out there. You belong with this podcast if Taylor Swift easter eggs, cryptic clues, and deciphering the meaning of her songs is your jam. So baby just say yes and follow along to four fellow Swifties as they break down every Taylor song ever written and bring the fun along the way.


Quick Stats:

Rating: Explicit

Category: Music

Apple Podcast Rating: 4.8/5


Bandsplain

Most Recent Episode: Bandsplain

All lovers of all things music, you need this podcast in your life! Host Yasi Salek invites music experts to explain cult bands and iconic artists and why people love them all while incorporating their songs. This show brings music and talk together in the best way, so don't wait any longer and go check it out!


Quick Stats:

Rating: Explicit

Category: Music


Avatar: Braving the Elements

Most Recent Episode: Avatar: Braving the Elements

There's knowing about the show, liking the show, being a fan, and then this. If you're interested in all things Avatar, check this one out. Join hosts Janet Varney (voice of Korra) and Dante Basco (voice of Prince Zuko) on the official companion podcast as they re-watch every episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender. This is a great one for those who would love a breakdown of key themes and those who just might be interested in a special behind-the-scenes trivia.


Quick Stats:

Rating: Clean

Category: TV & Film

Apple Podcast Rating: 4.9/5


Giggly Squad

Most Recent Episode: Giggly Squad

You're about to join the Giggly Squad. Hosts Hannah Berner and Paige DeSorbo discuss all things pop culture, fashion trends, television, horoscopes, mental health, and more. If you're one to keep up on all the current trends, or alternatively, find yourself falling behind on the latest news, this is a good one to try.


Quick Stats:

Rating: Explicit

Category: TV & Film

Apple Podcast Rating: 4.6/5


We Might Be Drunk

Most Recent Episode: We Might Be Drunk

NYC comedians, Mark Normand and Sam Morril Might Be Drunk. Listen into this podcast to hear them share insights into the comedy world, recommendations, peeves, and a drink (or three).


Quick Stats:

Rating: Explicit

Category: Comedy

Apple Podcast Rating: 4.9/5


Sports + Life + Balance

Most Recent Episode: Sports + Life + Balance

Calling all Olympic Sports fans, this one's for you! Hosted by 2-time US Olpympian and Emmy winning producer, John Moffet, this podcast goes behind-the-scenes with your favorite athletes to hear the untold stories of their careers. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you might learn a thing or two.


Quick Stats:

Rating: Clean

Category: Sports

Apple Podcast Rating: 5/5


When one of these strikes gold as your new favorite podcast, thank us later (or thank us now by hitting the like button).

How to Choose a Podcast Topic

There are currently over 2 million active podcasts in the world, according to Podcast Insights. With so many podcasts in circulation, choosing a unique topic for your own podcast is crucial. People want something new and something that has never been done before. Choosing a topic, then, is much harder than it sounds. We have tips on how to choose the right topic for your podcast.

1. Start with your passions.

Our first tip is to brainstorm a list of topics you already discuss or work with every single day. Write down things you could talk about tirelessly. Maybe you're passionate about gardening or oil painting or crafting. Think about your hobbies, interests, and what you enjoy doing, either at work or in your free time.

At the end of the day, your podcast topic doesn't necessarily need to cover the most popular or trendy material. It needs to be something you are passionate about. If you're bored with what you're talking about, the audience will undoubtedly be bored, too.

2. Narrow it down.

Before going any further, decide what broad genre your podcast will fall under: Comedy? News? Education? Narrative fiction? This will help you determine what general direction and tone the podcast will take before you decide on your specific topic. Browse the categories of podcasts in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or another podcast listening app to spark some ideas.

Next, think about what overall niche your podcast will live in. Do you want your show to cover marketing? Sports? Technology? Narrow your topic down a bit to fit in a general category.

Check out this list of podcast topic ideas: https://www.buzzsprout.com/blog/untapped-podcasting-ideas

3. Relate it to your industry.

If you're creating a podcast for your business, you can relate your topic to your industry. You could choose a topic that is at least somewhat related to the industry in which your business exists. For example, if your company is in the food or food service industries, your show could explore international cuisine or the history of your favorite dishes.

Of course, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. You can always build a podcast around a niche that is totally unrelated to your industry, but if you're stumped on ideas, it could be a good starting point to think about topics related to your business.

Looking for a podcast about building podcasts? Check out Podcraft: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/podcraft-how-to-podcast-craft-a-fantastic-show/id821720737

4. Narrow it down again.

Now that you've narrowed down your idea once to a broad category, it's time to narrow it down even more. This is where you want your topic to get really unique and specific. Instead of creating just another marketing podcast, you could create a podcast centered on marketing for moms who own small businesses or social media for businesses in the healthcare industry.

Your topic should be as special as you want your listeners to be. People want to learn new things specific to their lifestyles and identities, and they are searching for solutions to their unique problems. Your show should be the one that makes them think, This podcast was made just for me!

Making your topic more specific will narrow down your potential audience, but it will make the listeners you do attract more invested in and loyal to your podcast.

5. Choose your episode topics.

Once you have your specific podcast topic, brainstorm a list of ultra-specific subjects you could cover in your episodes. Think about your potential listeners and what their interests, curiosities, and problems might be, and address those in your episode topics.

This is the step where you make sure that your podcast's topic is unique enough to stand out to the audience but not so specialized that there isn't enough to talk about for multiple episodes and even seasons on end. If you find yourself struggling to find topics under your subject matter to discuss in episodes, you may have to return to step 4.

If you're ready to start building a podcast for your business, contact us today to see how our team can help you create the best podcast for expanding your brand.

Read more posts about podcasts below.

5 Best Websites for Free Podcast Music

5 Things Every Podcast Needs

Need help launching and promoting your podcast? Shoot us a message!

5 LGBTQ Podcasts You Need in Your Life

Happy Pride Month! These 30 days are about honoring the past and current contributions LGBTQ people have made to our world. Visibility is crucial for both finding community and celebrating individuality. Queer people being able to share their stories is one of the most powerful forms of visibility, and podcasts are one of the most powerful platforms for storytelling we have today. 

Whether you're a history nerd or obsessed with pop culture, here are 5 of the best LGBTQ podcasts you need in your life this Pride Month (and year-round, really).

1. QUEERY with Cameron Esposito

For the classic podcast lover.

This show is full of humorous, yet intimate, hour-long conversations between stand-up comic Cameron Esposito and LGBTQ artists, musicians, authors, actors, and more. Some notable guests include Brandi Carlile, Nyle DiMarco, and Hayley Kiyoko. Together, the interviewer and interviewee cover what it means to be queer in creative industries and in the modern world as a whole. 

Check out this episode:

2. Making Gay History

For the history buff.

This podcast is a series of portraits of LGBTQ trailblazers told through the host's recorded archives. Many of the episodes highlight the long-forgotten heroes and witnesses of the AIDS crisis and gay rights movement, including Randy Boyd, Jill Johnston, and Meg Christian. Their website even includes more background information and archival photos for each episode. Making Gay History is an incredibly necessary and enlightening project for both LGBTQ+ people and allies looking for a better glimpse into the history of the queer community.

Check out this episode:

3. Keep It

For the pop culture lover.

This show features fun banter about everything from the newest blockbuster movies to the best destinations to travel to as a gay person. Even with high-profile special guests like Gabrielle Union and Kristen Chenoweth, listening to the episodes feels like you just happen to be dropping in on a casual conversation between friends. If you're looking for a podcast that explores music, movies, and pop culture moments through a queer lens, this show is perfect for you!

Check out this episode:

4. Teenager Therapy

For a coming-of-age audience.

This relatable, heartfelt show is made by and for teens and young adults. In their own words, the hosts are five stressed and sleep-deprived teens, covering a wide variety of mental health topics. Their episodes span from dealing with confrontation to understanding your gender identity and sexuality. The short episodes are a must-listen for high school and college students who want to know they are not alone in the struggles they are facing.

Check out this episode:

5. One From the Vaults

For the history buff, again.

One From the Vaults is a powerful look into a topic that is still in the process of being uncovered and relayed: trans history across the Americas and Europe from the last 150 years. Host Morgan M. Page brings you all the dirt, gossip, and glamor from trans history. These stories remind us that being trans is an identity that has existed since the beginning of time. And until history books start including the stories of trans and gender nonconforming people throughout history, this show stands in as a great teacher.

Check out this episode:

What LGBTQ podcasts have you been loving lately? Give us some recommendations in the comments!

5 Things To Do When Editing A Podcast

The world of podcasting has expanded beyond belief, becoming a diverse and dynamic method through which people can share new stories with the world. Podcasting is relatively accessible, with basic equipment, editing programs, and hosting software being a small but worthy investment. For those who are interested in starting a podcast or are already in the midst of things, here are five general things to do and keep in mind while editing. 

1. Outline

Before you edit”or even record an episode”you should have a good understanding of how you want the episode to sound and some basic topics you'd like to cover. The specificity of this outline depends on the structure of your podcast. Even if your format is a free-wheeling discussion, it's important to nail down a basic narrative arc to keep in mind when recording and editing. How will the episode begin? What are the transitions from topic to topic? What's the episode's climax? Where are the ad breaks, if applicable? What's the episode's resolution? Keep track of this outline when you edit, making sure your edits help further your proposed narrative arc.

2. Listen

Whether you sat in on recording or you're listening to the raw audio afterward, you should always take notes of specific phrases, words, or times that need the most attention in post-processing. Listen for unrelated tangents that don't contribute to the conversation or for short excerpts that can be distributed on social media. 

3. Clean

Depending on the sound your show is going for, you may decide to heavily edit the audio or take a more hands-off approach. Um's, coughing, and heavy breathing are not listeners' favorite noises and might warrant a select-and-silence. We're all guilty of starting sentences we don't finish. Obviously, everything is context-dependent, but more often than not, these half-baked phrases should be removed to tighten up the discussion and keep things flowing. Did your guest say something that shouldn't be aired? Something that's factually incorrect? Depending on your podcast's guidelines you can either cut these sections, record an insert during post, or update your show notes with disclaimers or corrections. 

4. EQ 

Besides cleaning up the spoken word, it's worth taking a few extra steps to improve the quality of your audio as much as possible. Equalization, or EQ, is the process of modifying specific frequencies. There are many different aspects to EQ editing. One thing you can do is use a high pass filter to remove low-frequency noises, like the AC running, fans, or other room/white noise. 

5. Listen

Take a break. Return to the podcast with fresh ears. Now, listen as an audience member. Are there any missed coughs, bumps, or half-finished cuts? Can you follow along with the conversation? Are there any sections that feel too long? Did the podcast episode meet or exceed your initial expectations?

These five basic steps and concepts are important for ensuring that your podcast sounds as good as possible. Of course, it's always nice to have upgraded audio and recording equipment, but there are many pre-and post-processing tips and tricks you can use to optimize whatever you may have.

If you're ready to level up your podcast, reach out to us hello@thatrandomagency.com

5 Best Websites for Free Podcast Music

With the meteoric rise in podcast popularity, integrating music into your episodes is more important than ever. From Beethovan to Billie Elish, music is a transcendental method of communication. We hum the opening to Beethovan's 5th Symphony, radio jingles, and our favorite pop refrains. Check out these free music sites and give your podcast the recognizable theme song it deserves today. 

Pixabay

Pixabay is a well-known site for free and royalty-free images, videos, and music. They have a variety of search parameters to help narrow your search, including duration, mood, speed, and theme. You can search for songs labeled Intro / Outro, which gives you a smaller selection of songs specifically edited to be 0.5-1.25 minutes long. Their database contains a wide variety of songs, all licensed through Pixabay and free for modified commercial and non-commercial use. Artist attribution is appreciated, but not required. One feature that stands out is the option to donate directly to the artists. 

Incompetech

Incompetech offers free royalty-free songs for commercial use, attribution required. The free plan only allows you to download files as mp3's, which should be sufficient for most editors. Their site is visually simplistic, with the options to search by keyword, feels, tempo, genre, and duration. They provide the required attribution information, which you can copy and paste into your credit section and/or verbally announce. Incompetech offers extended licenses, which give you access to premium songs, a PDF license, and different file formats. 

Free Music Archive

Free Music Archive (FMA) is a collection of open licensed, free music. Their search parameters allow you to search by artist, duration, genre, type of license, or trending tracks. The trending tracks feature is a fun addition. Even if you don't use one of the trending songs, it's a great way to stay up-to-date with popular audio trends. Since songs are licensed through the artists and not the database as a whole, make sure you double-check the specifics for each song. Many require artist attribution and are free for commercial use with modification. A good choice for podcasting! Additionally, FMA partners with a Tribe of Noise PRO, which offers guaranteed royalty-free music for a per-song, tiered licensing fee. 

ccMixter

Similar to FMA, ccMixter is a collection of remixes and samples individually licensed under the Creative Commons license. The license and usage varies by song, so double check to make sure you pick one cleared for commercial use. Since many of the songs are remixes, many of the songs have very unique sounds. While ccMixter lacks the smooth search and sort functionality, taking the time to sort through their library is sure to uncover some hidden gems. 

Purple Planet

Last but not least is Purple Planet. Besides arguably having the coolest looking website among these top pics, the England-based team hosts a moderate collection of self-composed music. You can search by keyword and mood, or explore trending tracks. Their free tier gives you access to a 92kpbs MP3 download for limited use, including podcasts. As long as you credit them, all is cool. Purple Planet's Standard and Broadcast Licenses grant you access to more use flexibility and do not require attribution. They have a simple FAQ section and licensing chart to answer any further questions you may have. 

Remember, before you add random songs into your podcast, make sure you read up on the licensing specifics of the artist or database. Just because you can download a song doesn't mean you can use it commercially in a podcast. When in doubt, ask permission, or go custom-made. Ultimately, if you have room in your budget, the best option is hiring a quality sound designer to compose custom music for your podcast. 

Whether you go free or paid, securing theme music is another step towards sounding like a professional podcast. 

Are you ready to take your podcast to the next level? Reach out to us hello@thatrandomagency.com

5 Things Every Podcast Needs

In 2021, there are now 80 million Americans listening to podcasts weekly. There has never been a more optimal time to launch or revamp a podcast than right now, and it has never been easier to do so. Whether you're launching or revamping, there are five things every podcast needs. Of course, there are the essentials: high-quality equipment, energetic hosts, and something (interesting) to talk about, but aside from those elements, here are five more podcast basics. 

1. A niche

So you have a topic to base a podcast on, but do you have a unique one? If you want to talk about financial advice, awesome! But there are hundreds of other podcasts out there with that same topic and some that already have large followings. A podcast needs a niche, then”not something so specific that it'll alienate the listeners, but specialized enough to bring in an audience that will come back for every new episode. Brands and businesses have unique selling propositions that make them stand out from the competition. A podcast's niche should be like that: an original idea or concept that sets it apart from other podcasts with similar big picture topics. It's crucial to find that perfect niche.

2. A consistent schedule

Once the niche audience has been discovered, the podcast needs to run on a regular schedule. If you release episodes twice a week sometimes and once every three months other times, there isn't consistent content that the listeners can count on. You have to focus on building up the audience and then retaining that audience. This is not to say all podcasts need to have daily or weekly episodes, but there should be a dependable schedule. People will fit listening to their favorite podcasts into their schedule, so the creators have to ensure there is a steady stream of content available for the listeners. 

3. Storytelling

While audio on its own definitely has limitations in its narrative abilities compared to visual and audio content combined, podcasts present a great opportunity to get creative. Whatever industry or topic you're discussing, there has to be an element of storytelling. Podcasts are meant to be entertaining, after all. Storytelling doesn't necessarily mean crafting a work of fiction for the listeners. It is as simple as the word suggests: telling a story. Telling stories that relate to the topic of the podcast is essential to engaging the audience and making them feel like they are part of the experience, like they're just having a conversation with a friend. Storytelling also means having a logical structure to the podcast. Listeners need to be able to follow along and understand where the episode is going. 

Read more about incorporating storytelling in your podcast: https://www.podcast.co/create/podcast-storytelling-101#scroll.

4. Great guests

You can have the most entertaining host in the world, but a podcast needs occasional guests. And not just any random guests, but ones that are experts on your topic and have something meaningful to contribute to the conversation. You shouldn't completely rely on high-profile, well-known guests to keep the podcast afloat in regards to numbers of listeners or viewers”they should be additions to episodes in ways that make sense. Welcoming guests to the podcast is necessary for a change of pace for the audience. It's important for the listeners to hear from someone other than the host in order to get different perspectives on topics and also to just hear a new voice. 

5. Fun segments

Many podcasts already incorporate fun segments into each episode, but it's something every podcast needs. Whether it's a five-minute Q&A session where questions from the listeners are answered or a spotlight piece where a certain relevant individual or topical news story is highlighted, you should include at least one segment that elevates your podcast. And it shouldn't just be a time-filler. Having listeners send in questions, suggest episode ideas or ask for advice with a unique hashtag, for example, drives audience engagement. The segment should have a purpose, even if it's just to entertain. At the end of the day, podcasts need to give people a way to feel like active participants in the conversation.

What Facebook's New Audio Features Mean for Podcasters

via Facebook

While intimate entertainment experiences in their own right, podcasts inherently lack a level of audience interactivity and social connectivity. Facebook's Live Audio Rooms and podcast integrations offer a way to change that. 

Designed as a Clubhouse competitor, Facebook's new Audio Rooms feature circular profile pictures, active speaker highlights, reactions, and a virtual front row reserved for paying audience members. Hosts have the ability to pre-select fellow speakers or bring members of the audience up to the panel. Audio Rooms incorporate live captions, as well as a hand-raise function. Users can join active Audio Rooms or set reminders for scheduled events, similar to the pre-established webinar format. Capitalizing on the new wave of social media activism, Live Audio Room organizers have the ability to feature a specific donation cause and display a progress bar throughout the event.

Unlike Clubhouse, whose brand centers around exclusivity and access codes, Facebook Live Audio Rooms will soon be available to all Facebook users - 2.85 billion active monthly users at the time of publishing. That's a big pool of potential audience members.

Traditional podcasts are planned, recorded, and edited in advance. Live audio events take away that buffer”which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective”and open up space for a potentially more authentic experience for your audience. Live audio events enable speakers to engage an audience, without the extra pressure of being on camera. We're on Zoom long enough, there is no need to film ourselves more. 

Podcasters can take advantage of Live Audio Rooms to strike up a conversation with their guests and audience about a recent episode, topics that didn't make the final cut, current events, or even use the function as a live podcast recording. 

However, if you prefer to stick with pre-recorded audio content, Facebook offers Soundbites and a new podcast integration. Soundbites are marketed as short-form, creative audio clips for capturing anecdotes, jokes, moments of inspiration, poems, and many other things we haven't yet imagined. Users will be able to record, edit, and publish short audio clips, all in-app. Soundbites is currently under development and will be released later this year. 

Facebook's podcast integration is potentially the most relevant update for current podcasters. Podcasts will be streamed through Facebook via RSS feed, allowing users to discover, interact with, and listen to podcasts and creators, all without leaving the Facebook app. This streaming method enables podcasters to continue individually tracking listening metrics. According to Facebook's Podcast Terms of Service, by using Facebook's podcast service, creators agree to the caching and production of derivative works. One can assume this refers to Facebook-generated promotional content and Soundbites, however this is left unclear. 

So what does this mean for podcasters? All these new services and features offer a more direct way for audio to become a social experience. As Audio Rooms, Soundbites, and podcasts will be curated and highlighted in users' existing feeds, it will be easier than ever for Facebook users to discover and interact with new audio content. 

The live aspect of audio rooms means speakers will receive immediate feedback on their content. This can be used as an experimental and/or rehearsal space. Podcasters can test out new formats, topics, and guests, all from the comfort of the Facebook app. Audio Rooms can also be a way of sharing current, well-performing content in new, accessible ways. 

Clubhouse and other podcast apps are sometimes overwhelming for users, who exit before finding the right audio experience for them. Podcasters can harness the power of Facebook's algorithm first-hand to reach audiences on one of the largest social networks in the world. Marketing and outreach will still be important, but it can be done in-app, rather than through extraneous third-party methods. 

Not all podcast listeners use Facebook and not all Facebook users listen to podcasts. Maximize your reach by interacting and creating for both spaces. Facebook's new audio features and functions will be rolled out to established creators and groups, with their general user base coming soon. 

Here at Random, we push our creative and comfort zones to create the best content we can. And so can you. Try out Facebook's new audio features for your podcast to tap into new levels of social and community interaction. 

But don't do it all alone. Are you ready for some podcast support? Reach us at hello@thatrandomagency.com