Technical Expertise

How To Create A Great Podcast Listener Experience

Last updated on: 
July 25, 2023

When a podcast listener presses play on your series, you want to give them the best audio experience possible on and off the listening platform.

There are a lot of podcasts that exist -- over 5 million with 70 million episodes between them. This means that there is a large variety of options for listeners when it comes to choosing a series. We want to help you make your series the go-to. 

This comes down to creating a great listener experience for your podcast audience. But what does that mean? 

There’s a lot of buzz about creating an amazing user experience when it comes to websites. For podcasts, it’s pretty much the same thing but for listeners. When a listener presses play on your series, you want to be able to give them the best audio experience possible on and off the listening platform. 

We’ve identified three key areas that you can focus on: 

  1. Audio Quality
  2. Content Quality 
  3. Podcast Marketing 

Audio Quality

Having top-notch audio quality is going to help you stand out from the crowd and give your listeners a better experience. Ensure that you sound clear, crisp, and professional (even if the actual content of your podcast isn’t professional).

Producing high-quality audio starts with your setup. A few things you should consider: 

Recording in a Soundproof Room

If you’re in a studio, this will all be taken care of for you, but if you’re recording remotely things might look a little different. To get the best sound quality in your home, find a smaller room that has little echo (you can also put a blanket over yourself to close in the audio! It may look weird, but it works). 

Make sure to turn off any air conditioning, close your windows, and ask anyone else in your home to be quieter during your recording times. 

Microphone

Having a good microphone is important for obvious reasons. The better the mic, the better the sound. 

But microphones can get pretty expensive. Discover Pods made a list of 30 different podcast mics of all budgets so you can at least have something better than the microphone attached to your headphones. 

We recommend getting a USB microphone so that you can plug it into your computer and easily start recording. If you want to get a little fancier, a dynamic microphone like the Shure SM7B is also a popular option.

Recording Software

That brings us to the discussion about how you should record. The recording software you choose will largely depend on your needs. We suggest asking yourself the following questions:

  • Will you record solo or with guests?
  • Do you need remote recording capabilities for remote guests?
  • Will you require advanced editing features, or will simple recording suffice?
  • What is your budget?

If you’re just recording on your own with no guests or other hosts, you can record directly on your computer using software like Adobe Audition (which you can also use for editing). 

But if you’re recording remotely and either have another host that you record with or you’re interviewing guests, you’ll need to find a remote recording software that works for you. Check out our list of six remote recording softwares broken down by capabilities and price. 

Some popular recording softwares include:

  • Audacity (Free, open-source, and cross-platform)
  • Adobe Audition (Paid, robust editing features)
  • GarageBand (Free for macOS users)
  • Zencastr (Web-based, focused on remote recordings)

Editing 

And finally, editing. This is where you can give your audio those final touches to make it sound the best that it can be. 

When deciding on editing software, here are some things to consider:

  • Determine your requirements: Consider what features are essential for your podcast editing. Do you need basic editing capabilities or more advanced features like multitrack editing, noise reduction, or special effects? Understanding your requirements will narrow down your choices.
  • Operating system compatibility: Ensure that the software you choose is compatible with your computer's operating system (e.g., Windows, macOS, or Linux).
  • User-friendly interface: Look for software with an intuitive and user-friendly interface. Podcast editing can be complex, so having software with a simple learning curve will make the process smoother.
  • Audio quality and effects: Check if the software supports high-quality audio formats and offers essential effects like EQ (equalization), compression, noise reduction, and volume normalization.
  • Multitrack editing: If you plan on having multiple audio tracks (e.g., host and guest recordings, intro/outro music), choose a software that supports multitrack editing. This feature allows you to work with each track individually, giving you more control over the final product.
  • File export options: Ensure that the software can export your edited podcast in the format you need, such as MP3 or WAV.
  • Cost: Consider your budget. Here are some free audio editing tools, but remember, free options do tend to limit your capabilities and quality. 
  • Trial versions or demos: Many editing software options offer trial versions or demos. Take advantage of these to test the software's features and see if it fits your workflow before making a final decision.

At Quill, we usually stick to Adobe Audition when it comes to editing. We love the effects that we can apply to the tracks and the overall interface of the platform. Here are some popular alternatives:

  • Audacity: Free and open-source software with basic editing features.
  • Hindenburg Journalist: Designed specifically for podcasters with an intuitive interface.
  • GarageBand (macOS): Free for macOS users, suitable for beginners and basic editing needs.
  • Reaper: A powerful digital audio workstation (DAW) with a flexible pricing model.
  • Logic Pro X (macOS): A full-fledged DAW with advanced capabilities for macOS users.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to worry about editing and are interested in having someone take it off of your plate, you can chat with our team

Content Quality

Now we’re going to get into content quality. Having a podcast isn’t as easy as just pressing record and then talking for an hour about anything and everything. That would provide a pretty poor listener experience. 

Podcast Structure 

A podcast structure is basically the format of your show. Maybe it’s an interview style, a docu-series, or a multi-story series. Whatever it may be, if you define it at the beginning, it really helps to shape your content and editing moving forward.

This doesn’t mean that once you’ve picked a structure you have to stay with it! You can definitely change things up and even see what your listeners grab onto most. But still, defining the structure early on helps to organize and format your series in a way that makes it easier for listeners to follow along with what’s happening in every episode. 

If you’re unsure of which structure you want to use, check out our breakdown of 8 of the most popular podcast formats and the most popular podcast formats in 2022:

Episode Plans 

After you’ve decided on the structure, you can start to lay out your episode plans. These are your roadmaps for each episode. If it’s an interview, it can list the questions that you want to ask. If it’s a multi-story, it can break down when you transition to different guests. 

It’s sort of like the skeleton of your podcast episode and helps to keep you on track (since it’s very easy to go on tangents, get side-tracked, or just ramble on for way too long while recording a podcast).

Podcast Marketing 

After a listener has finished an episode… Now what? As your episode is wrapping up it’s a perfect time to add a CTA around what they should do next or where they should go. 

Podcast marketing can take many different forms. Here are a few tried and true channels:

Social media: 

Many podcasts will direct listeners to their social media channels where they market the podcast and have also formed a community around their show. This is a great audience growth tactic since you’re directing all of your listeners to one place to interact and engage with you and vice versa. 

Remember to look into your audience analytics and demographics to find out more about your listeners. Information like age, gender, interests, lifestyle, and social media habits can give you key insights into where your listeners live online. 

Newsletters

Newsletters offer a direct and personal way to communicate with your subscribers, and when used strategically, they can significantly boost the visibility and success of your podcast. 

Some valuable newsletter content includes:

  • Behind-the-scenes information
  • Early releases
  • Episode highlights
  • Guest interviews
  • Exclusive segments 
  • Episode summaries

Podcast website

A dedicated podcast page on your website serves as a central hub for your show, providing a platform to showcase your content, engage with your audience, and attract new listeners.

Consider closing off your episode with a CTA to visit your website where listeners can explore each episode with detailed show notes, guest information, and any relevant links. You can also include newsletter subscription prompts, reviews and ratings, and even a forum where listeners can leave comments and have discussions.

We also recommend leveraging tracking links to attribute download sources – so you know which channels are driving the most traffic to your podcast. For instance, CoHost tracking links show you what sources your podcast downloads are coming from so you can easily optimize marketing campaigns. This way, you know which efforts to nurture and which you can leave on the back burner. 

Whatever it may be, don’t just let your listeners’ experience with you end when your episode ends. Allow it to continue on. That’s how you create a great listener experience as well as a dedicated audience. 

Now you’re ready to launch a podcast that audiences want to listen to

There are our trusted tips and strategies to create a great podcast listener experience. 

Crafting a remarkable listening experience involves a delicate balance of creativity and authenticity (and of course good editing and producing). 

Remember to embrace feedback and continually refine your approach, keeping in mind that a great podcast experience is an evolving journey. 

If you’re looking for more guidance, chat with our team!

Alison Osborne

Director of Growth Marketing

A passionate storyteller, Ali is Quill’s Director of Growth Marketing, previously the co-founder and CMO of the branded podcast agency, Origins Media Haus (acquired by Quill). She excels in merging creativity with data in order to successfully build and grow a brand.

Platform
Price
Pro’s
Con's
Anchor

Free

  • Easy to use
  • Automatically distributes your podcast to major platforms.
  • Embed media player.
  • Great if podcasting is a
    side hobby
  • Very basic editing
  • Since it’s a free tool, you don’t have full control over the monetization of your podcast.
  • Not the right platform for people taking podcasting seriously
Buzzsprout

Free for 2 hours of content per month

$12 for 3 hours per month

$18+ for 6 hours and up

  • Very user-friendly
  • Caters to both long term and beginner podcasters
  • Advanced analytics
  • Easy distribution of your episodes
  • They measure their size requirements to hours not megabytes
  • Bonus: get a free $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up for any paid hosting plan!
  • Advanced features like dynamic ad insertion need some work
Libsyn

$5/month for Monthly Storage 50mb

  • Oldest podcast hosting site.
  • Easy distribution to major platforms and great for scaling once your podcast gets bigger.
  • Hosted over 35,000 podcasts.
  • An iTunes Podcast partner.
  • Allows you to publish your podcast to specific directories.
  • Embed media player.
  • Price is based on storage
  • 50mb storage for $5 won’t be enough if you are publishing weekly so you’ll end up with a higher price point
Podbean

Unlimited audio package: $9/month

Storage space:

Unlimited

  • Great support & customer service features
  • Unlimited audio.
  • Pages are easy to customize
  • Can schedule podcast release dates.
  • Easy to use.
  • Uploads and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions are automatic to Spotify.
  • Embed media player.
  • Simple Analytics
  • Analytics aren’t as advanced as other platforms
  • Upload and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions take a day to change on iTunes.
  • Not an iTunes podcast partner.
  • The process to send a podcast to iTunes is more tedious. But, you will still be able to get on the platform.
Blubrry

Classic

$5/month

Monthly Storage

50mb

  • Podcast Wordpress plugin and management.
  • If you want to record a new introduction or conclusion, add in a sponsored ad or upload a new version of a podcast, it doesn't count towards your storage usage per month.
  • Blubrry allows a 25% storage overage each month
  • Prices are based on storage.
  • Usability is okay.
SimpleCast

Starting: $15/month

Recommendation: $35/month

Monthly Storage: Unlimited

  • Hosts your audio files no matter what the size!
  • Dynamic insertion for podcast ads or edits.
  • Incredibly detailed analytics including number of episodes completed and listener location tracking.
  • Embed media player.
  • Easy to use.
  • Great distribution! Easy access to all major podcast platforms.
  • Customizable podcast
    website.
  • Prices are slightly higher than other platforms, but well worth it especially if you have a branded company podcast!

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