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Better ranking in the iTunes charts: The audio quality of your show

Wow, what was going on in my mailbox after the last article was a blast.

It was all about the right keywords in iTunes - podcast SEO, so to speak. 😉

I mainly found two types of posts in the inbox of my inbox:

  1. Some have only now dealt with the right keywords and search engine optimization and have optimized their business model a little more. Of course, I'm happy that I was able to make the difference in these cases and leave my mark. 😉
  2. Others proudly reported to me that they can finally be found in iTunes under the relevant terms. Of course, I can't predict what that will do with the ranking in the long run, but being found is part of the growth.

However, there was no kind of feedback and that surprised me a little.

Nobody asked how long it would take for the podcast to be “at the top”.

I think that's because I'm not part of the “your podcast to top the charts in a few weeks” faction. I guess I'm just too conservative, but I think inbound marketing is a marathon.

If you want quick results and sales, you should look for other ways.

In order to be successful in iTunes in the long term, in addition to all the striking things, you need one thing above all: Good quality!

The two ingredients for quality: content and sound

Roughly, I differentiate in quality on the one hand between the pure content, which has to meet certain criteria, and on the other hand the sound of the recording

From my point of view, both things are elementary in order to be successful in the long term.

My colleague Christian Gursky once did a survey of his listeners at Unternehmer.FM about what makes a good podcast for them. Above all, the podcaster's competence and the sound of the recording stood out as features.

And that coincides with the experiences I've had as a podcast consumer and consultant.

How does this help me to rise in the ranking?

The longer a listener stays with the bar, the more downloads iTunes can measure and the more successful the show appears.

Together with the new subscribers through better findability (see podcast SEO) and other measures that you will get to know in this series, this is crucial for long-term success.

Remember: marathon, not sprint.

There are a few ways to push things, but first of all the basis has to be right.

We start with what is a little easier to achieve: the sound.

The first impression counts: the right microphone for your podcast

When you take your first steps with podcasting, the microphone on your smartphone is enough to get used to your voice and to make the first test recordings.

But if you have made the decision to open a marketing channel for your company with podcasting, you should take care of a smart microphone.

I would like to recommend a few microphones that I have tested myself or seen in use with clients.

  • Samson Meteor: If you look around the net, you can't get past this microphone. It feels like it is on every second desk. This is not without reason either - it has a good price-performance ratio and is very compact. The catch: The microphone takes up a lot of space and so the falling bowl ends up in the recording earlier than with other microphones. But that is negligible. You can listen to the qualification of the Meteor at Marit, among others.
  • Blue Yeti: The Blue Yeti, which I haven't used myself, goes a bit more towards the directional microphone. The quality is okay and you can listen to it at Frank Katzer.
  • Auna MIC900B: The bestseller on Amazon because of its price-performance ratio. A so-called spider is already integrated there, which is supposed to absorb the impact sound. You may hit the desk with your arm while recording. Nothing can be heard, but the vibrations reach the microphone and end up as background noise in the recording. This will not happen to you with a spider, because it cushions these vibrations so that they do not get into the receptacle. You can listen to the sound at Marcus Meurer.
  • Rode Podcaster: The microphone of my choice and an absolute recommendation for those who want a very high quality microphone with which they can achieve outstanding quality for the next few years. It's not cheap - no question about it. But if you want to keep recording podcasts in the future and invest in good sound, this is a good choice. You can hear the quality in my shows, e.g. at Solopreneur’s mosh pit or podcast heroes ON AIR
  • Rode Smartlav (clip-on micro): If you want mobile recording, then I recommend the Smartlav +, which I have already tested and discussed here. For the small price you get really good quality. You can listen to the sound at Janina Breitling's. However, she wears a peaked cap when recording, which improves the sound a bit by reducing the reverb.

This makes the sound even better

Sometimes there is still a bit of noise or a bit of reverb in your recordings. You should try to reduce that for a really good quality.

It is a bit more problematic with reverb because it is difficult to regulate in post-production, but it is relatively easy with a slight noise in the recording.

Some microphones tend to have a very slight background noise (Samston Meteor, Auna MIC900B), but it is very easy to remove.

You can use Auphonic's web-based service for this. I think there are 2 hours of audio material to edit a month for free and everything that goes beyond that costs money. But that is comparatively little.

Auphonic is pretty self-explanatory and actually you can just leave the default settings as they are. You just add your audio file and the software will reduce the noise, equalize the volume, etc.

At the end you get a new MP3, which usually sounds better than the raw recording.

Correctly record interviews for your podcast with Skype

Adjusting the volume is especially important if you have conducted interviews and now want to turn them into episodes.

Usually interviews are done with Skype. “Usually” I wrote deliberately, because I have the impression that the quality has decreased a little lately.

I'm experimenting with other tools to entertain myself and to record the whole thing.

But the same rules apply here as with interviews via Skype: It is essential that you use recording software that gives you two tracks at the end.

Yours and that of the guest.

"Why is that so important?"are you wondering?

It may well be that the volume is not the same in the end and one of you is significantly quieter than the other. So that you can then make the respective track louder, you need the two separate tracks.

I was a guest myself in an interview in which I was MUCH louder than my counterpart. This is not so pleasant for the listener.

There are tons of free tools out there that record Skype, but you usually end up with a lead.

Here you will find recommended tools and a lot more recommendations on the subject of "Recording and conducting interviews with Skype".

What should you cut out and what should you not?

I'm a big fan of raw and authentic recordings. All of this in “perfect imperfection”.

Still, there are a few things that I would definitely cut out if they happened.

  1. A chain of filler words: If you get stuck and have to look for the right words, it can happen that you produce a lot of "Ums". If that happens in one place, I would definitely cut it out. But not if they happen occasionally. A few filler words or noises make the text more authentic.
  2. Pause for thought: Are you looking for the common thread? Great, let's go. If you have found him, feel free to remove this pause. Unfortunately, I keep hearing that podcasters don't make that much effort.

Side tip: Pay attention to the pauses for thought for the listener

When post-processing and when cutting away pauses, filler words or other forgetting of podcasters, there is often one important thing: the listener.

There are service providers who do the post-processing for you. Some of them are so unscrupulous about breaks that listening is no longer fun.


Because “necessary breaks” often fall victim to the scissors. But the listener needs short pauses between sentences, especially after important key statements.

The result is then a staccato of strung together sentences and the listener can no longer process.


Therefore: Pay attention to the important break. You know what you said because you thought about it. At best, the listener does not know this yet. So give him a breather from time to time to process.

Conclusion - What can you take with you?

Not as relevant for the actual ranking in iTunes as podcast SEO from last week. But since podcasting is a marathon, you should pay attention to the quality.

It starts with a suitable microphone and then continues with the content of your episodes.

That will also be the topic of the next week. There I'll show you how to do the structure right, how to be innovative and what you have to do to become a good storyteller.

Purely for the sake of interest: Tell me in the comments which equipment you use and why. I am always looking for new inspiration and tips.

So just hit the buttons. 😉