Podcasting is more than the microphone

There’s been a lot of talk over the last few days about podcasting and podcasting equipment.

Production and gear costs are — to a degree — a chicken-and-egg problem in podcasting. Blogging has a very low barrier to entry; podcasting’s is higher.

However, if you want to be taken seriously, it does matter — to a degree — how you sound. I don’t think Casey’s argument of “Use whatever you can, even your earbuds, if you have to. The point is what you’re saying, not how it sounds” is a good one.

But I’m not saying that to have a successful podcast (or network) you have to go out and drop serious money on serious equipment. I think Jason’s recommendation of the Blue Yeti is fine, if you have a quiet enough room. I like and use the Rode Podcaster, but it’s not at all required kit.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that your success is tied to what equipment to use or how to edit your show, but I do want to echo what Marco said in his post:

And if you put in the effort, your audience will reward you for it. Podcast audiences aren’t usually the biggest, but they’re by far the best. You won’t find more engaged, loyal, devoted fans than podcast listeners. Podcasters know it, advertisers know it, and listeners know it.

All the arguing about what equipment is best, if taking donations alongside advertising is shady and if networks are dead or not is just noise in the face of this truth: podcasting is special, but it’s hard.

A million factors go into making a show successful. Audio quality takes the front seat because it’s perhaps the easiest to throw money at, but your content, show notes, release consistency, co-host chemistry, branding, website, social presence, iTunes ratings and cultivating relationships with fans all play an important role.

The common thread? Working hard, often without direct reward.

Relay FM is what it is because Myke and I sweat every detail. The entire stack — the shows, notes, content and website — have all been carefully considered. Our mics are part of that stack, but just one element of it.