What goes into getting a job as a podcast producer? Being a podcast producer can be a very rewarding and creatively challenging role. Before you start applying to a bunch of producer jobs though, you first need to understand what it is they actually do. The role of a podcast producer is multifaceted and can vary depending on the person’s experience and the type of podcast their managing. To explain what we mean, we've outlined some of the responsibilities a podcast producer typically needs to take on for their job:
- Production Management: Imagine everything that goes into making a podcast. Coming up with ideas, managing the production schedule, and strategizing how to promote the show can all fall under the podcast producer’s scope of work. The podcast producer is the person who oversees the process of developing the podcast and makes sure things are running smoothly.
- Guest Research and Scheduling: Alongside managing the show, podcast producers are also responsible for finding guests to join the podcast. This includes administrative work like calling, emailing, and scheduling the guest, but it’s not limited to these tasks. The podcast producer wants to ensure the guest fits with the overall style of the podcast and so they will do their best to prep the host and guest before the show. They’ll pre-write interview questions and guide the guest on specific talking points.
- Audio Management and Editing - Managing the podcast’s audio is probably one of the most important parts of a podcast producer’s role. They oversee recording, editing, and distributing of each episode.
- Analytics Tracking and Reporting - The producer can monitor podcast metrics, like the number of downloads, listener demographics, and listening times, to make improvements to how the podcast is structured and produced. These analytics may need to be shared with other team members or sponsors and the producer is responsible for providing these reports.
- Leadership - Lastly, they’re responsible for interacting with a lot of different people on the team and ensuring that everyone’s work aligns. This requires a podcast producer to be able to take on a leadership role to support the podcast’s host and team.
If you want to become a podcast producer and don’t have any experience in the areas we listed above, that’s okay. You’ll need to develop these skills with time and we’ve got some resources to get you started.
How to Develop Your Skills as a Podcast Producer
Start learning about the podcasting world
If you don’t have any experience with podcasting, it’s time to brush up on your knowledge. You can begin by learning from some fellow podcast producers. For example, The Podcast Dude is a professional podcast producer who has a podcast that helps people understand the ins-and-outs of becoming a podcast producer (aka Aaron Dowd, who you've probably seen around the Simplecast site!). Pat Flynn, another podcaster, has a YouTube series where he walks people through the process of setting up a podcast. These videos are a great resource for understanding the technical sides of podcast production and can quickly get you setup with recording. Once you learn more about podcasting, we recommend you start your own! This is the quickest way to gain hands-on experience and get a better understanding of the different aspects of podcasting. Plus, if you enjoy the process of making your own show, you know this is something you’d enjoy doing professionally.
Spend time recording, editing, and working with audio
A podcast is nothing without its content, and to make great content podcast producers need to know how to record, edit, and manage audio. Are you familiar with how to use microphones, audio interfaces, and soundboards? If not, study some of the tools that are available to you for capturing audio. Do you know how to record great audio in both studio and live environments? Read a bit about different recording environments and the equipment you’ll need for both. If you’re looking for online resources, NPR has some great training guides for audio producers, including a guide on identifying bad audio and another on training your ears to identify audio problems in recording and editing.
Get comfortable learning audio editing software
As a podcast producer, you’re going to spend a lot of time working with audio editing software like Adobe Audition, ProTools, or Logic Pro X. These tools are known as Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) and they are professional grade audio editing software that podcast producers use to mix, arrange, and edit audio. You’ll have to pay for most of these tools, but using a paid DAW is worth it in the long run. Also, if you’re not sure which one to start with you can always try free versions to get a feel for how each platform works. Next, start playing around with whichever DAW you end up with and get comfortable editing audio by watching some YouTube tutorials on how to make your audio sound better.
Learn how to develop great podcast content
Have you ever noticed that some of your favorite podcasts seem to follow a flow or storyline? This is intentional, of course! People love stories and incorporating stories into audio is a great way to engage with an audience. If you’ve never written a story before, try brushing up on your skills by coming up with a few podcast episode ideas and writing out the scripts. This will be useful in the long run when you need to craft episodes or brainstorm ideas for a podcast.
Get involved in podcasting groups
If you’re new to the podcasting world, the quickest way to get involved and learn is to meet people who are already in the industry. You can easily join podcasting groups online at Facebook (New Podcast Creators, She Podcasts, Podcast Movement, Podcasters Support Group, Simplecast Members Forum), LinkedIn (Podcasting Enthusiasts), or Reddit (r/podcasts). If you live near a bigger city, you may find some podcasting events on Eventbrite or Facebook Events as well.
Build your role
Today may be the first day you start learning the skills to be a podcast producer, but becoming good at anything is a process. As you develop your skills as a podcast producer, you’ll gain knowledge, confidence, and the ability to make an awesome show. With this in mind, don’t wait around for a podcast producing job to magically appear. Instead, start making podcasts on your own and use what you make to build a strong portfolio. Stick with it, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a professional podcast producer.