Quality of audio vs quality of content… which is most important?

It’s an age old question in podcasting.

What is more important – is it making your podcast sound super slick and smooth, or is it about the words that come out of your mouth?

It’s often not that easy to get clarity on this point, because, well, they’re both really important, to be honest.

Personally, it really bugs me if I find a show producing top notch content, but with a really low fi sound. That’s usually from poor editing, underpar equipment, or a really obvious bad internet connection on a remote recording.

Sound solutions

Maybe my main bone of contention stems from the fact that none of those are particularly difficult to get right. There is free software out there for editing, and it certainly doesn’t break the bank to outsource it (here’s the sales plug – that’s something we offer). Yes, it does take time to learn the art of editing, but what’s the point of producing quality content but not being prepared to but a bit of time and effort into getting the rest of it right?

Similarly, decent recording equipment is everywhere now. You can pick up decent USB mics at a good price, and some of the Zoom (hardware company, not the video calling software) gear for in person recording is both cost-effective and superb. I completely realise that there is almost TOO MUCH choice now, and working out the right equipment for you and your budget can be difficult. Tell you what, if you find yourself in that position, just book a free call into my calendar and I’ll help you figure out what you need.

Similarly, there are some excellent platforms for recording remote podcasts. I’ve said this loads but I really do love Zoom (less so Teams), but Squadcast* and Riverside* are examples of well-priced platforms which will give you a better sound quality.

Content IS king

So what about quality of content? This is a little more difficult. I can’t just point you in the direction of a shiny platform you can subscribe to which can instantly make your content better.

You need the right people, the right spark, the right subjects to talk about, the right questions to ask. Sometimes even with the right people. if the spark isn’t there, it doesn’t quite work.

And ultimately, this is why I’m not going to sit on the fence on this one any longer. Quality of content actually is more important.

If you get the wrong people and talk about the wrong stuff, no-one’s going to listen just because you sound crystal clear.

Not a single person has ever said “I find this podcast really boring but I listen because it’s really well edited.”

But I do think someone might persevere listening to a podcast with poor sound qualities if they find the content genuinely interesting, useful or entertaining.

It could be that there’s a limit to how long they will stick with you before they tire of bad production values. You don’t necessarily get a free pass forever, and to make that next step up, you will have to address your sound shortfalls. But as we’ve covered above, that’s probably nowhere near as daunting as it might see.

‘Content is king’ is something I never get bored of saying, and it never becomes any less true. If you’re looking at starting a podcast soon, spend time worrying about what you’re going to talk about. Invest time doing pilot episodes and dummy runs. Listen back to them, find the areas you can improve. Call on trusted family and friends to give you their input, and consider getting some professional second opinion too.

If you can crack the content, you can get the rest to fall into place.

* These are affiliate links – our recommendation of these platforms is entirely genuine, but if you sign up via these links, we get a little kickback which helps pay our whopping Yorkshire Tea bill