Dec. 7, 2021

Is Your Show Description a Disaster?


Does your podcast description need an update?

Podcast descriptions are your Times Square equivalent advertising opportunity to gain subscribers, as you hear in today's episode. The return on investment from the few extra 400 words can make a big difference. 

The elements for what makes a good description are simple, but as Mathew talks about in this episode, they are often missed, resulting in a disaster. 

Topics:

·     Podcast News: Apple Podcast App getting positive reviews by accident

·     Deep Dive: Podcast Description Audit

·     Q and A: Fixing static on your microphone

Thanks for Listening!

 Be sure to subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. And feel free to drop us a line at mathew@thepodcastconsultant.com.

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Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:02)
Hello and welcome podcast me anything and asking anything for all things podcasting. I'm your host, Ben Kley, and I'm joined here in the studio with Matthew passing the podcast control. Matthew and I wanted to move the conversations beyond the podcasting. One on one topic, move into the intermediate to advanced podcasting strategy to reach your goals to interact with the show, submit your questions to be answered live, book a podcast, Mathew, or find the notes from today's show head on over to podcastnathing. Com. Welcome to another episode podcast me anything.

Speaker 1 (00:34)
We are just getting started here, but today we've got some good topics to talk about, some easy ones to hit up and dive into some deeper conversations. We're going to hit it right out of the bat here with Matthew. We're going to talk about some recent news that this odd behavior of iphone users is that as people ask podcasters to leave reviews on their podcast, they're accidentally going to the podcast app and actually giving Apple more love than their podcasts deserve. So, Matthew, when you heard that news, you had to chuckle, laugh and just be like, really, is this an issue that we're dealing with in podcasting today?

Speaker 2 (01:04)
I would say it's an issue that we're dealing with podcasting today. I think it's funny that one the Apple podcasting app after the latest release was so poorly received that there were ratings and reviews for the app itself. Right. When you go to the iOS app store and go to download the podcasting app that it was a 1.8 out of five recently after the changes were made. But lately it's been up to a 4.7 and Pod move, which is the daily email newsletter and podcast movement via Pod News.

Speaker 2 (01:40)
We're the ones who I saw the story from was saying that it looks like a lot of the podcast audience are trying to rate and review their favorite shows, but they're so confused. They're just rating and reviewing the podcasting app, which to me, is hilarious because one the app is so bad that a few people making that mistake is giving it enough of a boost to help it out. But two more importantly, this has been a chronic problem for podcasters for a few years now, which is that so many people are begging their listeners to rate and review their show in Apple podcasts and so many users, they have no idea how to do it.

Speaker 2 (02:19)
In fact, I remember when the change happened. I literally could not figure out for the life of me how to do it either. And so I can imagine that someone who is not nearly as ingrained in consuming podcasts and reading and reviewing podcasts, they're going to struggle with it. And of course, all this is on the backdrop that we as podcasters. Yeah, ratings and reviews are useful. Right? We're more likely to choose a product that has a few hundred ratings and reviews versus two or three that are clearly coming from the host's mom or something like that.

Speaker 2 (02:54)
But of course, the big thing is that people have been convinced wrongly for the longest time that ratings and reviews impact your rankings in the podcasting algorithm for Apple, and they don't. So I just thought it was an amusing story that came out of Pod News and Pod Move this morning. And just the fact that we are still constantly having this battle over the importance and the impact of ratings and reviews just always makes me chuckle.

Speaker 1 (03:23)
I also think the irony here is it's not a natural moment to go think I need to go to the app store, look up the podcast app and leave the rating review there. That, to me, seems so out of wordly of like a normal thought that the average iphone user that isn't techy, that is just a person consuming things that is on their phone, that that would be their first natural thought versus like hanging around in the podcast app. But I think what also this really speaks to and this can happen in really any niche that you're in is you begin to see the world in such a particular way that you can no longer imagine what it's like from another view.

Speaker 1 (04:02)
In this case, what that view would be like for us to listen to podcasts and work with podcasts and leave podcast reviews all the time for friends, family, whoever. It's a natural part of our process, and for us to even think that someone could literally get so hung up on this process that they accidentally use the entire wrong procedure and go to the wrong place entirely to leave a review on something that doesn't deserve that review just kind of speaks to how we always need to pull back, almost even of how we see the world and how other people see it at the same time.

Speaker 2 (04:36)
I certainly agree that in doing this, I'm not looking to make fun of the people who are confused and are putting their ratings and reviews in the wrong place. The bigger concern here is that it should just be easier and more intuitive for someone listening to a podcast. If I am consuming a podcast on my iphone and all of a sudden the host says, Go, give us a rating and review. It should not be a question. There shouldn't even be the possibility of error for me to be able to do that.

Speaker 2 (05:10)
And so again, this isn't making fun of. But I think the fault here is that Apple for continuously obfuscating the steps that it takes to get to the ratings and reviews place within the app.

Speaker 1 (05:22)
And for one who's obsessed about UI experience, user customer experience, they're obsessed about making sure that it's simple, that it's clean and it's friendly, and then to drop the ball every single time they try picking it up. When it comes to this purple icon app that they have on their phones since the beginning. It just astonished me, like how dissected and different it is from their normal way of thinking and what you expect from a company that advertises are thinking differently.

Speaker 2 (05:48)
Yeah, I would agree with you there that the big piece of that is that the UI, the UX for the podcasting app on Apple ever since it became a standalone feature from itunes has just been, I don't want to say terrible. That's pretty mean, but it's just not up to par.

Speaker 1 (06:07)
It's never just worked like people expect iphones. I always advertise. The best reason to own a Mac or Apple is when you want a feature to work, it just works. It naturally does exactly what you want it to, and there's not a lot of a negative emotion. But then you go to this purple Icon app, and then that's often all you feel because it won't download your favorite podcast that you're subscribing to, and it's inconsistent when it does download, and you've got to wait 30 seconds before it even shows you the one that you want to listen to every morning like that's annoying.

Speaker 2 (06:35)
And it's funny because it feels like Apple has been the dominant name, the dominant leader in the podcast consumption space for so long. And yet both the experience for the user and even the experience for the producer when you are in Podcast Connect, which I'll admit has gotten better. But even that has always been not as smooth, not as easy, not as intuitive as it should be. Again, coming from a company who everything else they do, for the most part, is pretty seamless and pretty intuitive. And yeah, it just feels like again, even creating a new show in the Apple podcasting store generates a ton of questions in the Facebook groups, and lately it's been a lot smoother.

Speaker 2 (07:21)
But even I've had some random struggles with it, and I've had to kind of create some weird hacks to get shows to work. I like the fact that now you submit a show, and basically you kind of get like an instant approval. But it's still always so strange that this company that has always been told they're the leader in the podcasting has never kind of embraced that role and owned it and put enough focus on there to actually earn that moniker. It's probably why we talked about recently why Spotify is gaining so much ground, and others are finding innovative and interesting ways to break in and take over a share of the podcast listening experience.

Speaker 1 (08:05)
It is that interesting perspective there of the Apple being the namesake, but yet never really doing the work to actually earn it, and they're just kind of given it, but not actually following through it on it. Let's park here for a little bit, and I think an interesting way to think of reviews versus the algorithm where people often think about is social proof. As an entrepreneur is one of the best ways to validate that. What you're saying is good. And so itunes reviews are an easy place to catch that social proof and just use for your social media to create some really quick graphic on Canva that these are ways like what other people are saying, and it gives you a way to repurpose what that's saying and also just to know that someone's out there listening and to get feedback.

Speaker 1 (08:46)
I think another cool tool that isn't promoted enough, and I wish almost everybody would stop with the itunes reviews and switch to Pod Chaser that the review system on podcaster is ten times better. It's Android Agnostic. It doesn't matter what you're looking at, where you are. You can do it on your computer. It doesn't matter what kind of computer you have and you can reply to them. I can get a podcast review. I always get an email from it. I can jump on there and reply and say, hey, thanks for listening to the show.

Speaker 1 (09:13)
I love your conversations. Let me know if you have any questions. It's such a better experience than anywhere else on the internet for collecting reviews, but it doesn't get enough street tread too when it comes to reviews.

Speaker 2 (09:25)
I do think Pod Chaser is a fantastic product. I have been active on it since they first launched. I've spoken to the founder a couple of times this show and previous shows that I've done for the podcasting space. There are some really great tools for the content creator, for the producer, and even now there's more enterprise level tools that I think people should be looking at in terms of understanding the entire space, the audience, things like that, but at the same time, the same way IMDb doesn't necessarily replace watching stuff on Netflix.

Speaker 2 (10:00)
I just don't think Pot Chase is ever going to replace consuming content on Apple Spotify Google. That's not a knock on them in any way, shape or form. Again. I love the company. I believe in what they're doing, but it's just not the same as being an intuitive consumption platform, the way Apple used to be and should and could be.

Speaker 1 (10:24)
There's another kind of thread that we could illuminate here that isn't covered enough in the one on one podcasting stuff. And that's how even on Apple podcast reviews, it's done by country. And so like if you are in the United States listening to this podcast and you go to your podcast on Apple and look at it. It's only showing you the reviews from your itunes store region and that every country in the world has its own itunes store region, and being able to look at those is next to impossible from the Apple world.

Speaker 1 (10:53)
And this is also where companies like Charitable that suck in essentially your global podcast reviews can really give you viewership and connection to things that may be happening. And someone's left a review in Australia and wondering why hasn't this guy read my review on the podcast. It's because it's in a different store, and you just might not be able to see it. So I often love charitable, and there's a couple of other ones. Pod page has the ability to suck these in directly through Apple, and then you can highlight them right on your web page.

Speaker 1 (11:18)
That just knowing that there's these firewalls that itunes puts in that most people I would say a good 98% if not higher. Don't even understand how itunes segmented by country and that certain things aren't available outside that.

Speaker 2 (11:31)
Yeah. And there's a few others for consuming your reviews like that. Our friend Daniel J. Lewis has one out there, too, that he's probably the first that I know of, who offered that service of grabbing your reviews and making it easy for you to see and consume from all the different geographic stores. But also he's pulling reviews, I think, from a couple of different podcast platforms as well. But yeah, it is weird and frustrating that Apple experience when again, a company that is known for doing things so smoothly and beautifully just can't seem to get out of their own way here.

Speaker 1 (12:05)
And maybe I could make the argument for language. But if it's like Australia and the United States, those reviews should be showing in the same thing, because then you're doing the people in Australia discredit, because maybe this podcast is awesome. In the United States, it's review heavy of like, how great this content is someone sees in Australia, and like, doesn't check it out because there's not enough reviews. And it just again bottlenecks this brand authority that can come from having reviews on your podcast and itunes, which is really the real value that when someone's looking at it quickly and like, what are the people saying about it?

Speaker 1 (12:35)
That's my first ten second opinion. Even before I listen to an episode, if they're not there, I usually just keep going. Yeah.

(12:41)
Agreed.

Speaker 1 (12:42)
So let's move into our deep dive question today, which is a completely different topic, but one that's way overlooked. And I can often say is a hard one for even me. When I look at my own podcast in writing, and that is podcast show descriptions, there is a fine line between making something too wordy, a fine line between losing the content of what you're trying to do, but then also really delivering clarity, which is the number one thing I would say applying to every podcast description to clearly articulate the value, what someone gets and how you're doing that and how often you're doing it.

Speaker 1 (13:15)
But at the same time, it's hard to judge. Is this a good podcast description? So, Matthew, when you look at these, how do you frame your mind to evaluate them?

Speaker 2 (13:24)
Well, the thing about the description that is so frustrating is it is such an important piece of the puzzle when I'm working with clients. When we start talking about the description usually that description stems from a lot of the preshow work that we're putting into it, right? Why are we doing this? What is this about? Who is your target audience? Who the hell are you? What makes you qualified to be the spotcaster? What is it you want people to do upon consuming this content? So one, like the description is kind of a culmination of all the work that you should be doing before you even launch the show.

Speaker 2 (14:02)
And then two, it is other than really dynamic artwork, which even then, I still don't think a lot of people kind of window shop the podcast store, right? I think people search for a topic they're looking for or search for a specific show they're looking for is some research from NPR Medicine. Research suggests people are getting suggestions from friends and family or looking stuff up on the Internet in general. But the point is, when people do arrive at your podcast, the description is one of the few things that we, as the consumer, have to make a decision about whether we are going to click, play, click subscribe.

Speaker 2 (14:45)
Check it out, dive further. And yet that description isn't even part of the searchable universe when you were looking at stuff within the itunes store. So a lot of different things that are going on here, but basically all to say that your description can be, well, it really is an integral part of what is going to make a lot of folks decide to check out your show for me. When I'm working with clients, I am looking for four very specific questions to be answered in your podcast description.

Speaker 2 (15:17)
The first one, of course, is what is this show about? What are you going to be talking about? What are the topics? What are the subject matters? What is the tone? What is the style? What is the feel? Basically, when someone clicks play, what are they going to be hearing? That's important? Tell us what we're getting. You don't have to lie. If you lie, you're going to lose people. And truthfully, you don't want to attract the wrong audience anyway. So be clear. This is what the show is about.

Speaker 2 (15:41)
This show is about a deep dive into podcasting. Boom, simple, easy. The second thing is, what value am I going to get from the show or set another way? Why should I listen? And a lot of people are hearing this and probably thinking, Matthew, that's the same thing, but they're not right. This show, what is the show about is a deep dive into the world of podcasting. Why you should listen to the value is to help you create a better podcast, right? That is an action that is a result that is something that you as the consumer will take with you and use and get value from.

Speaker 2 (16:24)
Right now. Ben and I are doing the show. We're giving it away for free. But we are asking you as the listener to invest your time to listen to us. So what are you going to get in return for those 20, 30, 60 minutes of time? We have to give you value. And value doesn't always have to be from a business perspective. It's knowledge. It's discovery. It's something interesting. Value can be simply, we're going to entertain. We're going to make you laugh. We're going to give you hope.

Speaker 2 (16:51)
We're going to be comforting. Value doesn't always have to be a very it doesn't have to always have a monetary value tied to it. But again, you're asking the audience for their time, give them something in return. Tell them why they should invest time with you. The third thing I always ask people to look for is again, who the hell are you? And what makes you qualified to do this right for Ben and I, I'm a podcast consultant. Ben is a podcaster podcast producer, podcast consultant.

Speaker 2 (17:22)
We've been doing this for a while. This is what makes us qualified. I wouldn't do a show about cryptocurrency because I don't know anything about cryptocurrency. Or if I'm going to do a show about cryptocurrency and I don't know enough about it. My who am I would be? I am trying to learn more about cryptocurrency, which okay, that doesn't make you an expert, Matthew. That's fine. I'm not claiming to be an expert. What I'm claiming is that I'm going on a journey of discovery. And in doing that journey of discovery, you get to come along with me.

Speaker 2 (17:52)
You get to learn with me, you get to discover with me. So your why doesn't always have to be. I'm the smartest person in the room. It just has to make sense for why you're hosting this type of content, right? If I'm doing a podcast about chess, I'm not going to say, hey, I'm Matthew Passy, and I teach competitive swimming, but I feel like doing a chess podcast. Why am I going to listen to you? It's okay that I competitively swim. I don't, but it's okay if I do.

Speaker 2 (18:16)
But that's not a reason for me to be doing a chess podcast. So your who are you has to make sense for the reason that people are listening. And the last thing is, what do you want me to do next? You are doing all this work. You're creating a podcast. You are growing an audience. You're getting people to listen, getting people to subscribe, maybe leaving a rating review. You don't trip over podcasts, right? Nobody accidentally was like, oh, I was walking down the street, and all of a sudden I started listening to the podcast.

Speaker 2 (18:48)
Me, anything doesn't happen. You have to take very purposeful steps to get here. And with Apple, I guess you have to take even more and they're not very easy. Take it.

(18:58)
Apple. Sorry.

Speaker 2 (18:59)
Point is, people have to do work to get here. So you are convincing us to do all this work. You are training us to do all this work. Now that you've got us, what do you want, right? You've just consumed 30 minutes of Ben and I chatting. What should you do next? And listen for a lot of people that's sign up for my email list, get into my sales funnel, buy my book, buy my coaching, join our membership portal, buy whatever or for a lot of folks, it's just subscribe and learn more or share it with a friend.

Speaker 2 (19:32)
Your call to action isn't the same as mine and everybody else is. A lot of them are going to overlap. The point is you're here. People are listening. Tell them what you want them to do. And by the way, assume the audience usually with clients. I always say assume the audience is stupid. But since I'm talking to the audience, that's probably not the nicest thing to say. But yeah, you kind of have to assume the audience doesn't know what you want isn't going to do it unless you roll out the red carpet, hold their hand and make them do it and make it easy for them to do it.

Speaker 2 (20:02)
So if you're creating a podcast because you just want to make people laugh and grow and sell advertising, great. Tell people to subscribe and get their friends to subscribe. If you want people to listen to your podcast so that you can offer accounting services. Hey, check out my website and sign up for a free accounting call with me. Something like that. But you've got us here. So make sure you have a reason for us to be here and for something for us to do after the fact.

Speaker 2 (20:33)
So again, the four pieces, what does the show about? What value am I going to get? Why should I listen? Who the hell are you and what credibility do you have to be doing this? And what is your call to action? That to me is what makes a great show description. Oh, and by the way, a lot of those components, you're probably going to hear them again in the show intro or in the trailer because they're the same thing. Welcome podcast. Me. Anything. The show about helping you better your podcasting experience by looking at the stories, the news and the events of the podcasting world hosted by two podcast consultants.

Speaker 2 (21:07)
Learn Podcast Me anything. Com Boom done. Easy. Right.

Speaker 1 (21:12)
We have done now. This is our fourth deep dive. I think that is the most passion and energy and just like excitement you have brought to a topic of I think you're really passionate about making sure people's podcast descriptions are tuned in correctly is what I'm picking up.

Speaker 2 (21:28)
It's one of the things I guess it's just one of those things that I do on almost every client. Call, every audit, every set up, every launch, every. Hey, we want you to take over your production. Cool. By the way, what is your show about? It's just something that comes up with everybody. Everybody has to have a purpose and a reason for why they're doing this. That description is the best way for you to message that out to the audience before they hit play. And it's part of the same message that they're going to hear when they hit play.

Speaker 2 (22:00)
So, yeah, it's a super important piece of what you're doing.

Speaker 1 (22:03)
Something that hit me as you were describing. It comes from Steven Covey's advice of Seven Effective Habits of Highly Effective People. I murdered that title. But Steven Covey always says, start with the end in mind, and that's really what you're really talking about is where will someone end committing their life, committing their time to listen to this podcast and go on this whatever journey? Where will they end up and making sure that you start from there and kind of work your way back to who you are today before you even started listening.

Speaker 1 (22:33)
But then really articulating that process of here's who I am to actually guide you. If you think of, like, the story arc and what people talk about telling a proper story, there's always a guide that I'm your guide to your story to help you get to this place that you've always wanted to go but didn't have the right resources. That was really something that I picked up during your description, and also that I just learned two days ago that I don't even fully apply this yet is you can also do URLs in your show description that get detected.

Speaker 1 (22:59)
You can click. And the website stuff on Apple podcast has changed, and it's not as easy as it is to get to direct to a podcast website as it used to be. Another hack against Apple here that putting it in your show description could be a good way to put the Breadcrumb and have it be everywhere. That different podcasts show up in the different players.

Speaker 2 (23:19)
It's interesting that you say that because the last I had checked and it's been a while. I don't consume podcasts on Apple directly. I'm more of an overcast person, but my experience has always been that the description for the show. The links don't work within Apple. Maybe they do on the mobile device. Like I said, I don't really check there very often. And right to your point.

Speaker 1 (23:46)
I tested that on Apple, the Mac app on my computer. So that was actually on Apple podcast. When I was looking at it, I actually pulled up here right here. Just double checking to make sure that I'm not crazy as well.

Speaker 2 (23:57)
All right, I'm going to do the same. So I have a show up on my computer here. I pulled it up. So I've got the web page, the Web landing page. If you Google show, you click the Apple link, it opens up your Chrome browser, brings you to what looks like the Apple Store, but a podcast listing page. And when I do that, the URL, which is written out, not hyperlink, just a written out URL. It doesn't do anything when I then click listen on Apple Podcast, which opens up the podcasting app on my desktop Apple device.

Speaker 2 (24:31)
Same thing the URL is written out, but it doesn't link, but yes, to your point, I opened up the same show here on my mobile phone. Get the big banner. Then I see the description. I hit more, opens up another page and the URL written out. Clickable linkable. Good to go. So that is going to be a further endorsement of that philosophy that people really should be putting in a website link or URL within their show descriptions, but also for a while there the show website button was gone from the Apple experience, at least on the desktop and the mobile device.

Speaker 2 (25:14)
If you click with an episode links, you can get an episode links, but it looks like they have brought back a way to get to the show website here in the Apple Podcasting app. It's a little bit buried. You have to go all the way to the bottom past the episodes and the reviews and all this other stuff, but it's good that it's there. But that being said, you really should be focusing on making sure you have a show website in your RSS feed because one good to connect people to your brand, your product, other things that you're selling right, like your relationship to your users through just subscribing and talking to them is not as strong as it would be if they sign up for your email list or subscribe to your website social all those different things, but also like Google.

Speaker 2 (26:03)
For example, if you don't have a URL in your RSS feed for your show, they won't even validate your feed. So get a URL even if it's just pointing to the free generator website that your hosting company creates, or get a pod page or get a Wix or something, having a URL in your description or having some sort of URL to whatever product is important to you in your description. Turns out is even more important than I had thought at the beginning of this chat today.

Speaker 1 (26:33)
And you're also talking about like it pops up on different podcast aggregators as well, where they read your RSS feed to make sure that it's all connected. Like podcast. Index. Org is a great place to figure out. Listennotes. Com these places that just scan the Internet for RSS feeds and then perpetually build it into a database that's searchable those types of little mini breadcrumbs can be the world of difference because you never really know where someone is going to discover your podcast and maximizing the RSS feed and not doing it correctly.

Speaker 1 (27:02)
And this is something we're talking about. Just maximizing this big box of data that comes through every time someone reads your RSS feed, no matter what they're using it for to give some identity beyond your logo of what the hell you're doing that podcast.

Speaker 2 (27:15)
And I will say even Google, for example, has a visit website button when you look at your show. So if what you want people to do is go to your website, then they're making it super easy for you. And by the way, all this should be in your episode descriptions. The other thing that I preach with all my clients is what I call an episode signature. Kind of like your mail signature, right? Like sign best Mathew. And below it when you sign off on your email, right?

Speaker 2 (27:42)
It's got to follow me on social link to my podcast. All those different things. Your episode description should have a similar signature feature, because ideally people are going to subscribe to your show, consume it on a podcasting app. Maybe they're not going to your website all that often or they don't have to go to your website to consume your content. So what if you're giving away an ebook? What if you have a link to an event? What if you are giving away free consulting or selling T shirts or want to connect your Advertiser?

Speaker 2 (28:10)
The only place that you're going to be able to give people that information is in your episode description. Oh, and by the way, because we consume episodes on our mobile phones, mostly some of those descriptions can be super helpful. Right? If you write out an email address on mobile, if you click on it, boom opens up an email. Hey, Ben, great show. Thanks for including us. Or if you write out ten numbers, it's a phone number. Click call. So don't just blow by your episode descriptions and just throw in a quick one sentence.

Speaker 2 (28:41)
Thinking this show is about episode descriptions. You are missing a massive opportunity to attract more real clicks and traffic and conversions than just by throwing in a couple of words of text to fill up the form we need to move on to the last portion of our app.

Speaker 1 (28:59)
And it comes to a question that was asked me. And so I wonder everybody gets hung up on is figuring out the right podcast, Mike. But what wouldn't happen when that podcast Mike doesn't work the way you want it. So we're both using podcasts that have XLR connections. I'm using USB you use XLR. Xlr is the standard microphone connection that has usually the amplifying to it. And a lot of people usually go to the extent they should be doing professionally. You're going to get the XLR connection, get the nice mic.

Speaker 1 (29:24)
You're going to get those boxes. But then things like having Echo come up or static come up during a recording. You really don't know how to troubleshoot, and it almost creates this like, I don't know how to troubleshoot it. So when people have just, like, basic audio issues, when they have a professional setup, what are some of the common questions? And what are the things they need to double check on their setups to look it for.

Speaker 2 (29:46)
So a few things if you're taking good care of your equipment, meaning it's plugged in, it's not getting batted around a lot. The cats not scratching it. It's not very dusty or getting water. Things like that. These microphones should last a pretty long time without a ton of maintenance. The microphone I'm currently using, it's an Re 20. I'm pretty sure it has been in use for 20 years, not by me, but this microphone has been plugged in and being used for a long time, and it still sounds great.

Speaker 2 (30:20)
There's not a ton of moving parts in this microphone, so there isn't a lot of things that should break down with it. So the microphone is most likely not the source. However, the connections are usually where you have the biggest problems. And I know you're talking about XLR, but I just want to because it's a little bit more common for folks who have a USB microphone, say an ATR 2100 or a Samsung Q two U or something like that. Those microphones, the ATR 2100, you can run it over with a car, and it'll probably be okay.

Speaker 2 (30:54)
But when you're done with your microphone, if you don't unplug the USB or the headphones and you just decide to tightly wrap your cables around your microphone without unplugging it, that pulling of the cable to the Port, that Port can easily break, easily, get loose. And that's easily going to be the source of a lot of people's extra noise, frustration, breakage things like that.

Speaker 1 (31:19)
I actually lost the cable for that exact reason. The microphone survived. But the cable, definitely the Port in the back was like, yeah, it got bent. It was gone for that exact tightening.

Speaker 2 (31:29)
Yes, you've got to disconnect before you start doing crazy things like that. But going back to your initial question. So this happened with one of my clients. He was having issues with static. He was picking up a lot of static, a lot of weird noise. He was using a Zoom H six. This is a four input digital recorder. Great product from Zoom, by the way. And he was using Shore SM 58 microphones. And what he was finding was one track was constantly picking up this erroneous signal.

Speaker 2 (32:03)
So what we had to do was a little bit annoying. But what he would do is he tested all of his microphones, so he would go input one cable, one Mike, one, input one cable, one Mike, two input one cable, one mic, three. So what he would do is he would basically test every combination of the equipment that he has so that we can narrow down what is the problematic piece in the chain. So if we tested all four mics in input one and all four cables and input one, and it only happened in this one configuration, well, then we knew it was this cable that was causing a problem.

Speaker 2 (32:43)
So we would switch and we would use that cable in a different input to make sure it was just the cable, not the input or just the mic or whatever. So one thing you could do is you can change out all of your equipment, change out what inputs you are using on your device, your cables, and things like that, and figure out what is the combination that creates the problem. I would say for most users, if it's not a bad Port because you're not putting away your equipment correctly or you're wrapping your cables too tight or something like that, I would say nine times out of ten.

Speaker 2 (33:14)
The problem is the cable. When people put away cables, their iphone Chargers or an extension cord, they have this habit of taking it and wrapping it hard around their elbow or their hand and creating a really tight circle and then wrapping it up and putting that away because it makes a lot of sense and it's clean, it's needed it goes away. But these XLR cables specifically can be a little sensitive. And what happens is if you get even the slightest tear, I'm talking the slightest little tear in the sheathing on this XLR cable.

Speaker 2 (33:52)
You could basically turn this XLR cable into an FM antenna or an Am antenna, I should say, and you will actually start to pick up different signals into your mic cable without realizing it. Or again, the XLR connection could just break. And if it breaks, you're going to pick up a lot of static. Or another thing that happens is people don't realize that all of their cables are creating energy fields, every piece of cable that you're using, your plugs, your Chargers, your XLR cables. They're all sending basically.

Speaker 2 (34:30)
And this is very elementary. And I'm sure somebody with an advanced degree in electrical engineering is going to be like, that's not exactly right. I'm going to be like you're right. It's not. I'm not trying to be exactly right. I'm just trying to give a very basic example, but all of these different cables are creating essentially electric fields around them. And so when power cables cross audio cables, they also can create electronic interference. So one thing I would do is try and lay your cables out in such a way that they're not overlapping with each other, not overlapping with power cables or overlapping with other cables that are unrelated to what you're trying to do.

Speaker 2 (35:09)
Number two, I would check and make sure that all your cables are in good condition. This is why you don't buy super cheap cables. You don't have to buy Gold Mathew Platinum cables with the right. Your XLR cable should not be triple digits. I'm not saying that either. But also don't go to, like the don't go to a bargain bin or the yesterday bin and grab somebody's secondhand cables because they were probably thrown out for a good reason. Medium quality cables do the trick, but check your cables, check your ports, check that your cables are laid out correctly over each other.

Speaker 2 (35:46)
And then you can probably check your equipment or whether it be the recorder, the interface, whatever or the microphone itself. That's kind of the order in which I would work my way through to figure out what's going on and listen. The digital interfaces, the recorders, the broadcasters, the zooms, the Preston is right. They've got a lot of moving parts, and they collect a lot of dust a lot of times when things are starting to go awry, it could be there just because they have a tendency for things to go wrong.

Speaker 2 (36:22)
If you're buying a very expensive piece of equipment, get yourself a good warranty or get yourself good coverage or protection for that, or just do your best to take care of it. Clean up the dust from time to time, turn it off from time to time. Make sure you're not getting too many power surges or anything like that. Those are the things that I would think about.

Speaker 1 (36:40)
What about when it comes to grounding? Because I remember an issue with my very first Samsung Sq two that I was using a USB. I was on my laptop and it wasn't plugged into a grounded power supply, and it would kind of create, like, a static noise. Have you ever ran into something like that, or was that kind of an anomaly that I just had a bad day?

Speaker 2 (37:02)
No, that's not uncommon. Again, I don't have a degree in electrical engineering, so I can't really quite explain it. But what you are experiencing is common happens to a lot of people. So, yeah, I found some clients. They would just unplug their laptop if they were using it that way, and that would avoid the problem. Or they would have to switch out and get a different surge protector or extension to plug their computer in. Oh, by the way, cell phones, smartphones keep those as far away from all of your cables as possible.

Speaker 2 (37:38)
That used to be a huge issue where I guess it's a little bit different now with the smartphones than it used to be with the real cell phones. But if your smartphone is close to a wire and you get a text message or a call, you might start to hear some weird noises, like clicking noises, fuzzy noises on your audio. That's interference in the cell phone signal typically. So if your equipment is on your right hand side, keep your smartphone or cell phone on your left hand side.

Speaker 2 (38:07)
Just give some breathing room between your equipment and your smartphone.

Speaker 1 (38:11)
Well, I'm definitely glad that this question was one that I picked. And if you are out there listening and you have a question that you want to bring head over to podcasteathing. Com. There is a microphone on the side of the web page. You can click. You can even record your message, and we can even play that question live on the podcast. So head over to podcastmainthing. Com to submit your question that we will present here to Mathew to get your answers. And again, this isn't for podcast basic stuff.

Speaker 1 (38:36)
We are trying to answer the big questions and podcasting that maybe been out there for, like, a year, a year, two years. And you're just like, I'm just missing something and I need to understand what's next. Or you got a question about where to go. Drop that over at podcastmed. Com. Matthew that's all the time we have for the day. I absolutely love recording these episodes. It's good to talk about podcasting, and I love the freestyle of the conversation we go because this is valuable, and I know that this would have changed everything for me when I first started getting podcasting.

Speaker 1 (39:04)
So hopefully everyone is hitting the Mark out there for people are looking for. But again, if you want us to talk about something, make sure you submit it.