Podcasting has become popular in recent years. According to a 2016 comScore/Wondery study, over 20% of Americans listen to at least one podcast a month, up from 9% in 2008. So, naturally, lawyers have begun to take notice and wonder if podcasting might be an effective way to get clients.
Like all things, it can. But probably not. But if you have a clear strategy and you can create a podcast that attracts potential clients and referral sources, then maybe it could be worth including a podcast in your marketing plan.
Podcasting Best Practices
Audio quality is key. Most people listen to podcasts through headphones or in the car, which means bad audio quality stands out. Get some decent hardware and software and learn to use it, or hire someone to produce your podcast for you. If you are going to be interviewing people over the phone, you should spend a little time helping them improve the sound on their end, too.
Roadmap your podcasts. You will find your own style, but before you press record, take at least a few minutes to outline your show. Rambling, directionless podcasts don’t generally make for good listening. At the same time, don’t be too rigid. If your topics or questions are all scripted and you rarely go off script, your podcast will make for dry and boring listening.
Have a schedule and stick to it. Publish new shows weekly or monthly. It’s fine if you need to take breaks once in a while.
Above all, make sure you would want to listen to your podcast. If you wouldn’t, why would anyone else?
Basic Podcasting Equipment
Here is what we used to record The Lawyerist Podcast for the first year-ish.
- Blue Snowball. You can get better USB microphones (like the Blue Yeti, for example), but the Snowball delivers good sound at a good price.1
- Mic boom. Your mic should be 6–12″ from your mouth, and the tiny stand that comes with the Snowball just isn’t big enough. This boom lets you keep your mic at the ready, and you can swing it out of the way when you aren’t using it.2
- Pop filter. If you are close to your mic like you are supposed to be, your Ps and Bs will create unpleasant pops on the recording. To eliminate them, get a pop filter. This one is cheap and gets the job done.
- Headphones. The sound from your speakers can feed back into your mic, so wear headphones. It doesn’t really matter what kind, but these are nice.
- Audio switch and patch cable. This makes it easy to switch between your speakers and your headphones. Just plug your computer’s audio out into the back, your speakers into one side, and your headphones into the other.
- Skype. In order to call phones (land lines work best unless the other person also has a good-quality mic and a fast Internet connection), you will need to buy Skype credit or just subscribe to one of the calling plans, which start at $2.99/month for the US and Canada.
- Pamela (Windows) or Call Recorder (Mac). These apps work with Skype to make it easy to record calls. Make sure you set the audio quality to uncompressed.
- Audacity. There are plenty of other sound recorders and editors out there, but Audacity is free, has lots of features, and gets the job done. Plus, it’s very widely used, which means there are plenty of tutorials out there for you to learn from. If you aren’t going to record calls and just need to record your own voice, you can do it using Audacity.
- Libsyn. You need a podcast host to store your audio files and serve up the RSS feed to iTunes, Google Play, and wherever else you want to publish them. There are other podcast hosting platforms out there, but Libsyn is cheap, it has been around forever, and it is used by many of our favorite podcasters.
USB mics are easy to get started with because they just plug straight into your computer. They won’t get you the best sound, though, and you may not want to be tied to your computer for recording.
If you want better sound, you’ll need to get a better, non-USB microphone. That means you will need an XLR microphone cable to plug the microphone into either a USB audio interface or a standalone audio recorder.
- Shure SM-58. This workhorse mic produces reliably good audio.
- Heil PR-40. This is a top-of-the-line studio mic for those willing to pay for great audio quality.
- An XLR microphone cable like this one.
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface. If you do want to use your computer to record, get this USB audio interface, which lets you use up to four microphones and headphone monitors.
- Zoom H4n audio recorder and a 32 GB SD card. If you want a mobile solution, use this audio recorder, which doesn’t need to be plugged into a computer while you record.