Having audio interviews on your website is a great way to add variety of content to your blog or website, as well as an opportunity to have new voices and perspectives presented.
Audio in particular is great as your audience has some flexibility when listening – audio interviews and podcasts can be consumed when cooking a meal, on the drive to work or while running in the park.
There is no right amount of time for an audio interview, you can have an interview that is 5 minutes long or a podcast that is 1.5 hours long. People will listen or not depending on their interest levels with the subject and the presenter or interviewee.
What should I record an interview with?
For recording interviews you can use a variety of sound devices – each with their own pros and cons.
There are lots of tools and boxes and gadgets for recording sound, the first thing to consider is if you will be able to bring your laptop with you or not? If so, you can purchase software, a mic and headphones to manage your interviews.
For in person interviews you could also use a Digital Voice Recorder – we use a Sony recorder. Another good option (that we will eventually buy) is Tascam who have a range of pretty good sound recorders. Your iPhone also has a pretty good record functionality, as I sure do many Android phones.
If you record directly to your computer you can use some great programs that will help you manage levels, as it is easy for you to listen through your headphones at the same time. Some programs include: Audacity which is a free open source tool you can use for recording and editing sound and Audition and Soundbooth are both Adobe tools with good options.
If you are interviewing your subject remotely via voice services like Skype, Google Hangout or Webinar facilities there will be ways to record. You may need apps (i.e. for recording on Skype) so do some research.
Tip: Get a good quality microphone, if you are unsure test your mic vs the inbuilt mic of your recording device, occasionally the inbuilt player sounds better!
What mics to use?
Blue has a number of great USB microphones including the Snowflake which is a great low price option if you are recording straight to your computer. I made a pop filter to remove the plosives in my sound recordings.
We are big fans of Rode Mics and they have a huge variety for every need. We use the Rode VideoMic Pro with a dead cat for our camera work and it doubles as the mic we use for podcasts and other recordings with a mini tripod. If you just need one for interviews they have some other smaller (and cheaper) options too. I just saw their latest offering the Rode iXY which plugs straight into an iPad or iPhone – I haven’t used it but it looks cool!
Other options include lapel mics, handheld mics or if you are interviewing someone remotely, a good quality headset.
Choose a good location
Just as in recording video, you need a great location for recording sound. If you can test the place you will be recording prior to the interview this can save you some pain later.
Listen for ambient noise like dogs barking, distant construction, kids playing and anything else that could distract of annoy your listeners or reduce the quality of recording.
4 tips for good audio
1. Test test test! Make sure you test a decent amount of audio and then play it back before you start the main recording. Don’t get caught short with a lack of testing.
2. Set up your recording devices so that you can use headphones during the recording. This way you can hear if it is peaking (or the mic isn’t working!), this will help you recognise any problems that come up during the interview.
3. If you will be in a small room or recording near a wall, this may affect the acoustics as sound may “bounce” off the walls. To deal with this you can potentially drape a sheet or curtain over the offending wall which will help absorb the sound and improve the quality of the recording.
4. Check your levels! If your mic has the wrong settings your subject’s voice could “peak” during the recording process and distort the recording. Once you have a recording it is possible to raise the levels and increase the volume on a voice. But you can never fix the “peaking” distortion if you have the levels too high.
How do I upload the audio to my website or blog?
For video there is YouTube, but what is there for audio?
When uploading audio to your website or blog there are lots of options for free and paid audio hosting. Similar to YouTube for video – these audio hosting websites will allow you to upload your audio file for permanent hosting.
Once your audio is uploaded the audio hosting app will give you an embed code that you can use on your website. With some websites you can customise the look and feel of the player, some players have a lot of features, or moving graphical displays, others may simply give you a triangular play/pause button.
Audio hosting websites
There are lots of websites that similar to YouTube for video will let you upload and host audio files. Some of them are genuinely free whereas others will give you a certain amount of storage (like 2 hours) and then charge you for more than that.
SoundCloud will give you 2 hours of uploads and then they look for payment after that – they have nice embedded players for your websites. If you only upload the odd interview then paying a monthly fee may bite! But if you have something new each week this may be an option worth exploring.
The other tool I use is MixCloud which is free for unlimited uploads. It is aimed at radio presenters, podcasters and DJ mixes and like SoundCloud has an active community of presenters, DJ’s and listeners.
There appear to be hundreds of other options for Audio Hosting and Podcast Hosting and it is worth shopping around for a website that suits your needs.
Now you know how to produce a great audio, the question is – who will you interview!