Welcome back to our Sounder Coaching Series, where we invite experts from around the podcasting industry to help you podcast smarter! Today, Andrew Santiago and Marvin Perdomo, co-founders of Bravery Studios, are here to explain to growing podcasters when it’s time to invest in their show. From sound engineering, to branding, to consulting, this duo has helped countless podcasters level up to their full potential.
You’re probably producing a podcast by yourself — planning episodes, booking guests, recording, editing, making graphics, running your social media, engaging with fans, tracking promotion opportunities, and everything else that comes along with scaling a successful podcast.
If not, you’re working with a freelancer here and there to help alleviate the workload but managing that sometimes feels like another task added to your plate. What’s the solution? You may ask yourself.
We started Bravery Studios four years ago for this reason: to help growing podcasters take their recording, editing, and show to the next level. It’s a similar goal for podcast recording studios everywhere. Because we know there’s a point in a podcaster’s career where momentum picks up, and quality becomes essential to growth.
But it’s not always so apparent to podcasters when to start investing in themselves, so we put together a list of 7 ways to tell when it’s time to pack up your closet recording studio and invest in a professional recording studio and team.
1. When you get higher profile guests
You’re not interviewing your friends from college anymore! When your audience and brand grow to the point of attracting high-profile guests and influencers, it’s time to invest in professional studio time.
Environment plays an important role when recording and working with guests. You want to give your guests the impression that you take their time seriously. If a guest has to walk over wires or watch you run back and forth from set up to recording, it can take away from the conversation. Bringing clients into a professional recording studio also shows them that you take your podcast and career seriously.
Prominent guests mean big audiences, so audio quality is critical. If you can hear cars in the background or people shouting, it may turn off your audience no matter how big-name the guest. Quality audio will also continue to attract your dream guests.
Transitioning your podcast from a basement set-up to a professional studio shows that you believe in your content, message, brand, and growth. It often separates the hobbyist from the professionals.
2. When your following is growing
If your audience and social media fans are asking for more, give them more. At a podcast recording studio, you have the opportunity to record live segments, video, and audio, so you can deliver new and exciting content in a variety of formats.
Here at Bravery Studios, most of our podcasters record their episodes with the cameras rolling. It allows their podcast to be different and engaging by capturing expressions and behind-the-scenes moments audio alone doesn’t. Your audience is your audience because they can relate to you. The more you, the better!
If your following is growing and engaged, it also means there’s an opportunity to monetize via a membership service, like Patreon or Glow.fm. Whatever you put behind a paywall needs to be high quality to keep paying members happy and growing.
3. When you want to level up your audio experience
Bare-bones editing was great when it was just your mom and friends listening, but now you have thousands of downloads per month, and it’s time to enhance your show.
We believe in the old saying: be careful of becoming a jack of all trades and master of none. Editing takes time and is vital when it comes to creation. But if your sound levels are off, you can lose a listener before you even start talking.
There’s no need to learn new editing skills or add on another few hours of editing. Working with a professional podcast studio allows you to collaborate with editing pros to add special effects to make your audio more immersive.
After editing thousands of podcasts, studio editors know simple tricks like adding a delay for a part of your show can make a topic sound larger than life or set a tone. They also handle uploading and managing vis hosting platforms like Sounder and pushing new episodes to listener platforms. Fictional podcasts, for example, tell stories that rely on feeding the audience’s imagination to be successful.
4. When you start to feel overwhelmed
We see so many podcasters start their show as a side hustle or hobby and get overwhelmed when it starts to grow. Producing the episode, editing both audio and photos, uploading, ideating new topics and themes — it’s a lot of work. Doing it all can become exhausting and take away the fun of creating content.
For a mid-size podcaster, streamlining your time is essential. Our podcasters record with us because it allows them to focus on content creation and outsource the technical stuff. We edit, upload, make social media clips, and help with improvements along the way.
If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, ask for help from audio professionals. Having a team by your side will help to improve your brand and quality of life.
5. When you start generating revenue
As a new sound engineer, I was once told, once you get paid, you’re a professional. Think about it. If someone sponsors you, it’s because they believe in what you’re doing. Don’t take that lightly; take it as a confirmation.
When you start making money from sponsorships, ads, or memberships, it’s time to consider investing it back into your podcast. Some people go for higher quality tech or new cover art. Both are good ideas! But if you’re looking to run your podcast business more efficiently, you’d do well to outsource the things that take the longest.
After all, most podcasters get into the game to be creative, talk to interesting people, and create something beautiful. So use that fan money to keep doing what YOU really want to do (i.e., creating bomb content), and leave the boring stuff up to professionals who will make your life easier.
I often ask people, “How much does your dream cost? $50? $1000? Are you willing to invest?” If podcasting is just a hobby, that’s ok, but if it’s something you want to take seriously, then you should be investing in yourself.
6. When you want to build a team
We get it: Podcasting can be a lonely pursuit. While the online community is brimming with conversations and help, the act of sitting behind a mic and recording, editing, and promoting is a solo job.
Working alongside professionals allows you to ask questions in real-time. When working with a podcast studio, like Bravery Studios, you’re not only purchasing recording time, you’re purchasing consulting time and a built-in team who wants the best for you and your podcast.
Typically after each episode, our podcasters ask, “So what did you think?” and we are honest. We’re not just hitting record and saying good luck. There’s a reason you came down and wanted to record today, a purpose, and I’m pretty sure it’s not to be humored.
Consultation helps set a direction, get ideas out, review analytics, and point you toward a goal. Sometimes you may have a topic, but you’re not sure the right way to word it. Having a team with you helps strategize. It keeps you motivated each week to remain focused and consistent.
7. When you want to become part of a community
Podcast studios work with lots of different podcasters and audio creators. We’ve always enjoyed working with creative people. Being part of a community means something. You’re not alone. You’re with people who care about what they’re doing and what you’re doing.
Another benefit of working in a studio is cross-promotion. Crossover episodes are epic. It benefits both podcasters because it cross-pollinates listeners. We love introducing like-minded podcasters to each other.
As we begin to open back up, we look forward to hosting networking events, Q&A’s, or even gaming events. It’s not just business with us at Bravery Studios. It’s about growing the family!