Managing the creative process will vary from person to person. That’s because not everyone works the same way and they also get different results. Even if two persons do the same exact thing the results are not always the same.
One thing that becomes frustrating is replicating the results of a recent project. You may not remember the process of how you did it. But you only know the results you got. That’s why creating formulas and systems are important. Here are 3 reasons why creating systems can improve your productivity.
#1 Helps you remember how to do something
There’s a reason why all KFC outlets look the same way. Why their food most of the time tastes the same from outlet to outlet. That’s because of the system created by the owners.
Writing down the steps of how you work. This can help you and others replicate the results you got. It can be easy for them to get the same results. That way you don’t have to keep experimenting to get results just trust your process.
#2 It helps you learn how to do something
Finding a system that works is like training wheels. It guides you through the process of learning how to do something at the required standard. Help you get up to speed faster and gives you room to get creative and make the process your own.
Once you have the system down test it out to replicate the results. Document what you’ve learnt and improved the system. This will widen your understanding of the process.
#3 It helps you keep consistent
Maintaining the quality of your work is not easy without a system. Look at how movies are made. The main character has a problem, meets someone to help them, gets a plan then either succeeds or fails. For music its the same way, every song has an intro, a chorus, a verse and some have a bridge. It helps maintain the standard your clients expects from you.
You might be thinking doesn’t it limit your creativity or box you in? No, it helps you maintain the quality of your work. Gets you to the standard faster.
Overall systemizing your creative process can improve your results. Help you to be more creative and help you learn new things.
Michael Gerber says business people use systems to build billion-dollar corporations. US creatives can use it to keep consistent.
The book poke the box had a profound impact on my thinking. The act of changing your mindset from sitting around waiting for permission to taking initiative can change your life in a positive way. If you have an idea to solve a problem, start it, then ship it out to the world once it’s finished.
This brings me to the title. If you have difficulty finding ready solutions why not create your own. At first, it might look impossible but you can start researching for ways to do it.
Richard Branson in his book losing my virginity talked about how he keeps a notebook with ideas for new businesses. What he does, he writes down the people he needs to call, the list of ideas, companies he can set up and people who can make things happen.
This is interesting because when he started virgin airline, he spent a day with a former airline businessman to learn about the business. After that, he went headfirst into the venture.
The lead up to him starting was being stranded on an island with no way of getting home. He organised a charter flight to get him and other people off the island for a fee. All this with no money in his pocket.
The lesson is to find out what you need to get your project off the ground then do it. Finish it, release it and move on to the next one.
So if something is bugging you and you have an idea to solve it do it now. Create your own solution.
Going to events is a good way to generate content for your podcast and other marketing channels. But here’s the problem, after talking with a lot of persons, the audio either sounds too low or has lots of background noise. Worse you can’t hear the person and the audio is unusable.
This is frustrating because you were hoping to use the content on your show. Now, what do you do?
These types of frustrating situations happen time and time again. I can relate because it has happened to me before. To prevent it from happening again, here are a few things to keep in mind when recording audio at events.
#1 Use an external microphone to record interviews
When doing interviews recording using the internal mic is usually a bad idea. The reason being the microphone on most recorders are omnidirectional. This means, when you point the recorder in front of the person you’re talking to, everything else around you gets recorded. This is why you get a lot of background noise in your recording.
Using an external dynamic microphone like a Shure sm 58, is the best tool for the job. It will isolate the person you are talking to even when the background is noisy. This works wonders because it only records in the direction you point it.
#2 Find a quiet space to talk
If you don’t have an external microphone then finding a quiet space to do the interview can help. This will give you the ambience of the event but allow you to focus on getting a good interview for your show.
It will also remove distraction for you and the other person because you are removed from the activity.
#3 Check your levels before you record
Before you do any recording test your levels. This will ensure that your audio is not recorded too low or too loud. Most recorders have a record pause button, hit that or just hit the record button if you don’t have that feature. Do a microphone check, look at your levels and make adjustments.
Doing these 3 things will make a big difference to the audio you record at major events. it will give you usable audio for your show.
One of the worse things that can happen is for your podcast recording to sound like a hot mess. Imagine after you’ve recorded your interview, saved it, only for the audio to sound way too loud. Even when you turn it down it doesn’t fix the problem.
What can you do at that point? Not much. That’s because if the audio is recorded too loud and distorted its impossible to fix. All you can do is record it over.
Not to worry though as there is a way to fix the problem from the beginning. How you do this? Turn the volume down when recording. Here are some tips you can apply today to improve your podcast recordings.
Before you start to record do a test
Don’t make the mistake of jumping in before doing a test. Working in media has taught me this valuable lesson. Imagine talking to a guest, after the fact you realise you weren’t recording. It has happened to me a few times and doing a quick check can save you headaches later.
If you’re recording on your computer check your levels. Check the level of your microphone and that of your guest. Make sure it is moderate in case you or your guest gets excited. This is the best way to prevent distortion.
Another test you can do is to adjust the levels after you start recording. To do that have your guest say something and adjust your levels before you actually start. You can always delete that part later.
Listen to the recording through headphones
While doing the interview check in your headphones how you sound. It is a good practice to catch problems early so you can make adjustments. How you do this is easy, slip on the headphones and take a quick glance at the levels in your software. If there is an unusual spike turn the levels down.
What you’re trying to avoid is being caught up in the interview and forgetting to check what’s happening. You might be enjoying the conversation and your audio starts to distort or sounds funny. But you found out after you have finished.
Set moderate levels.
The last thing is to ensure you set your recording levels at about halfway on your audio interface. You might be tempted to turn the volume to the max don’t do that.
You want your levels halfway because it gives you room to get excited. You don’t want to worry about distortion. And it’s a good practice to record at a moderate level.
How the story ends for you is that you test everything before you record. Watch the recording in your headphones and set your levels. This gives you a quality recording to edit.
Having too much to choose from can be crippling. It becomes worse when you’re trying to find the best out of the lot. This could be ideas, products, services, things to buy, places you want to visit, it’s limitless. One thing we do is filter everything, trying to pick the best. Doing this often delays making decisions and for good reason.
Not rushing the decision helps you to compare and take a deeper look to see if you’re getting value for money. It could be investing your time to exploring an idea further considering the return on your time. Checking to see if a particular product meets the criteria you’re looking for.
This process helps you cut the not so good from the best. Once you’re comfortable that’s the point you commit.
In some cases that process can save you lots of money. Help you dodge a shady contractor. And give you peace of mind with the results you want. It will be worth when things go well.
When it goes wrong and it usually does at times, it brings regret, guilt and shame because of the choice. That’s ok because we can learn from these choices. You might lose money, time and progress, but how would you know if it was a bad choice?
You wouldn’t know it was a bad choice unless you made the decision to try it. Or somebody else did it and told you about it.
The whole point is for some ideas you’ll need to do research. For others, acting on the idea is the best research. Besides, the results will be unknown unless you take action on the idea.
Don’t censor your ideas, do the research and try them all.
One of the hardest decisions to make is deciding what to talk about on your podcast. With lots of ideas floating around its difficult to choose one or a few. Lots of questions floating in your head like will it help me build an audience? Will people like it? Am I good enough? All these and more are running wild in your mind.
But if you take a step back and look at the situation the real issue is not about your ideas. The real issue is insecurity. You are not sure if podcasting or social media can help you to tell your story.
The fear of not knowing the end result is crippling. Criticism is something that can make you hide. But hiding and running away won’t make you find the answers to your questions. Being curious will.
In Seth Godin’s book poke the box he says the greatest skill a person can have is initiative. Taking the initiative to ship what you’re working on. Poking the box and try to figure out how it works. The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll be with the idea. The better you’ll get at doing.
Austin Kleon calls it being an amateur in his book share your work. Always have an open mind to learning new things. And then trying them in public to learn what works for you.
So you see deciding what to talk about is not the issue. Because your aim is always to share a story that solves a problem for your customers. Or in other cases talk about what you’re interested in. Once you do that and analyzing the reaction to your work is a better approach.
How do you choose the best ideas?
It all starts with who will enjoy the idea and who you think your ideal listener is. What I mean by that is choose the ideas that help you show customers how you can help them. How your product/service helps them. If you’re not selling anything choose ideas that interest them.
Start with those ideas first. Because you will get to the heart of the matter. You will gain trust over time. It also helps if you are passionate about those ideas as well.
So what do you do with the other ideas?
Group them. That is it. If they have a similar theme group them for use later. It can be a series of episodes. It can be a talking point on your podcast. Even the ideas you’re going to start with group them. Then turn them into podcast episodes. So spend some time to group the ideas and plan out your shows.
But don’t forget the most important thing, record it, and publish it.
You’ve got the intro and outro recorded. You have edited down your interview. Now it’s time to put everything together into a podcast episode for distribution.
If your editing software has a multitrack section then you’re good to go. This is where you will do all the work to make your show interesting.
Step 1 Add music beds under different sections
Music makes a difference for a podcast. From the introduction, breaks between sections and at the end. It sets the mode for what is about to come.
What you do is play a couple of seconds of the instrumental then fade it under the voice over. You can fade it out after a while or up when you’re finished with that section.
NPR’s How I built this podcast uses this production element to great effect. To add drama to the stories being shared, they use various sounds and instrumentals while the story is being shared. It makes the podcast interesting and fun to listen to and move the episode along quite nicely.
If you want to add drama to your podcast episodes, then use music and sound effects throughout your show.
Step 2 insert sponsored messages
The next part of the production process is adding sponsored messages. These are 30 – 45 seconds ads from a business who sponsor your show. When packaging the show, you can insert these messages if you have recorded them from before. This will save time as you can add them in later.
Step 3 Keep final levels consistent
It is also important to keep your levels consistent. Meaning that the sponsored messages, the interviews and the music is on the same level. This helps the listening experience.
Check the volume on each channel to manage your levels. You can use a compressor / a limiter on the master channel to keep things consistent when you’re ready to export the final episode.
The last thing to do is export your show for distribution. If your editing software allows you to insert the episode title and other information, do so during that time. This will ensure when the episode is being played people see what they are listening to, and what the show is all about.
After you’ve recorded your episode chances are you didn’t get it perfect. No worries because the show I pre-recorded and you’ll be able to tweak it before sending out. That’s where editing comes into play. This process is not hard but takes some time to complete. Here’s a four-step process you can use today to edit your podcast.
Step 1: Cut what you don’t want
The main part of editing is cutting what you don’t want. This includes taking out double-takes, umms and extra space in the interview. Take the time to go through your episode and take out what you don’t want to keep.
you can do this is by highlighting the sections of the audio you don’t want, and delete it. The aim is to ensure your conversation runs smooth and natural.
After you make your cuts you can insert a couple of seconds of space for your music bed, and sponsored messages. This is the final part of this process.
Step 2: Level the volume of the interview
Getting the conversation on one consistent level is the next part of the process. You can achieve this using a compressor or limiter. Open the compressor in your editing programme, Set the attack to 0 and the release to about 100. Set the ratio at 10:1. After that set the threshold to the average level of your interview. What you’ve just done is to use the compressor to make your interview consistent.
Step 3: remove noise if it’s there
Noise reduction is the last part of the process. This is pretty simple. Select a portion of the noise you want to remove. Open the noise reduction plugin in your editing software and select capture noise profile. Then deselect the audio and reopen the noise reduction plugin. Make adjustments to remove the noise to taste. Your aim is not to remove everything but to turn it down to a level where it is not noticeable.
Step 4: Save and export you show
Once you are finished editing save your edit. You don’t want to lose all that work you just did. Also, this is a good time to add your intro and outro music for your podcast. Once you’re done, export your final episode. Label your file properly and you’re done.
Pat yourself on the back you’ve just edited your podcast episode.