Do I Need Video on When I Podcast?

Until recently, I’ve been a staunch defender of “video on” when you’re doing a podcast interview, for reasons I’ll get to in a second. In fact, I haven’t heard a really good argument for not having it on…until recently. So in this post, we’ll weigh the pros and cons and determine if you should have video on when recording a podcast.

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Why Gear Matters Least When You’re Starting a Podcast

I’ll just get this out of the way now: I love me some gear. I’m an early adopter when it comes to tech, I like trying out new stuff, and A/V gear has become a bit of a hobby for me. However, when I first started my podcast, I was less concerned with the perfect mic, and more interested in a decent mic.

If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, but you’re worried you don’t sound perfect, STOP. Gear should be the least of your worries when you’re starting a podcast. Here’s why.

It’s Easier to Talk About Gear Than Almost Anything Else

You might think as you look at podcast resources, videos, and advice columns, that the pursuit for the perfect mic is tantamount to the success of your podcast. That’s because it’s easy for a lot of people to talk about gear. It’s a concrete concept – perhaps the most concrete concept when it comes to starting your show.

That content isn’t necessarily just for beginners either. I upgraded my mic 3 or 4 times1 before settling on what will be my “very long time” mic, the Shure SM7b.

Constantly recommending gear also allows content creators to make money off of affiliate links. Take it from me: I made $3,000 from Amazon affiliate links alone last year, after they reduced commission percentages. Most of that came from people buying gear I recommended. There are even affiliate links in this post.

Talking About Gear Isn’t Bad

I’ll just say right here that talking about gear isn’t bad. I do it and plan to continue doing it for some of the reasons above. It makes money, it’s fun to talk about, and honestly, it’s content that does well. People are curious to get a peek on the other side of the camera or mic.

They like to see how things are done, and I’m very willing to share. That sharing helps them get ideas, and it helps me improve. Thanks to some YouTube comments, I was able to improve my mic technique and fix a slight frame rate issue that offset the audio from the video ever-so-slightly.

BUT there’s too much of an emphasis on that for beginner podcasters.

“You Have to Sound Perfect” is Terrible Advice

Recently I was having a conversation with someone that got the impression from professional podcasters that even starting out, you need to sound perfect.

This is terrible advice.

First of all, most of us are never going to sound “perfect.” We aren’t in a sound booth, with a producer, and a team of audio engineers. But I know that’s not what people mean when they say that.

They mean you need to spend a lot of money on a mic, interface, and good recording software. You don’t. If you feel this way, you’ll never launch your podcast.

Start off Simple

Here’s what you should know about gear and sound:

  1. Don’t sound like you’re recording in a bathroom stall.
  2. Try to reduce echo and don’t use the built-in mic.
  3. Use headphones when you record so the sound from your speakers doesn’t go back into your mic.

If you absolutely need a mic recommendation, I have 2 depending on budget:

  1. The ATR-2100x if you can spend around $100
  2. The Shure SM47-LC if you’re looking for sub-$50.

These are both USB mics, so they’re the only gear you’ll need assuming you already have a pair of headphones. They are also both dynamic mics, making them more forgiving of your recording environment.

What Should You Focus On?

So if gear matters least, what matters most? Content. The perfect mic can’t make you podcast consistently just like the perfect task manager won’t make you more productive. They help you do. They don’t do.

When you’re starting a podcast, your main focus should be content. Come up with 20-30 episode ideas. Record a couple of demos. Figure out a schedule that works for you.

Fight Podfade2 by getting ahead of your schedule and having a bunch of episodes ready to go before you launch. Then batch your content so you’re not constantly struggling to keep up.

Buy a basic dynamic mic, then record your content. I mean, how upset would you be if you spent $1,000 on audio gear just to use it a few times and then give up?

Improve as You Go Along

One of the problems with “sounding perfect” right off the bat is you don’t know what perfect is for you. Sure, you know what professional podcasters sound like. But they aren’t you.

I’m no Paul O’Neill

My favorite baseball player growing up was Paul O’Neill. He was on my favorite team (The Yankees), we both played Right Field, and we both played the drums. I loved his swing. In my efforts to become a great baseball player, I wanted to perfect my home run swing. But I couldn’t just emulate his.

For one, he’s a lefty and I’m a righty. He’s tall and skinny. I’m short and portly. My perfect swing is different from his. My perfect pitch to hit is different from his.

Similarly, sounding “perfect” is something you’ll need to work at over time. Your voice is different from other voices. Your environment is different. Your content, confidence, and cadence are different.

You won’t know what to work on unless you start doing.

Done is Better Than Perfect

If you wait until your podcast is 100% perfect, you’ll never launch. So instead, launch, and then work on getting better. Focus on creating good content, have a bunch of episodes recorded in advanced.

Worry about your gear once you have a good process for being consistent under your belt.


  1. Samson, Blue Yeti, Rode Procaster, Shure SM7B ?
  2. According to AmplifiMedia, 75% of podcasts become inactive. Most don’t make it past 7 episodes. ?


No, Netflix’s New Audio-Only Mode Doesn’t Threaten Podcasting

Over on Podnews today they have a section about how Netflix is rolling out an audio-only mode on Android. They believe it could threaten podcasting because Netflix hopes you’ll stay in that app instead of listening to a podcast. I’m here to tell you this won’t even remotely threaten podcasting. Here’s why.

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4 Ways to Make Podcasting Easier Through Automation

Podcasting is a time consuming effort, which is why many podcasts fall victim to the dreaded podfade1. It can sometimes feel like you need a herculean effort to get it all done. Come up with topics, find and book guests, coordinate schedules, do the tech checks, record, post production, then publishing and promoting. That’s why putting a process in place and moving things off of your plate is a must. Here are 4 tasks you can take off your plate thanks to automation.

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Why You Should Podcast to Promote Your Book

Writing a book is hard work – you need to do research, outline, map out everything, then write, edit, write more, and have it reviewed. That doesn’t even include graphics, auxiliary content, or promoting the book. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you’re so burnt out by the end of the process that promoting is the last thing on your mind. But it must be done, and podcasting is a great way to do it. Here’s why.

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2020 Gift Guides

It has become a bit of a time-honored tradition for me to do gift guides around the holidays. I often get asked for recommendations on office, podcast, and pen gear. I write the gift guides up on my personal site, but this episode goes into a bit more depth for people who work from home, podcast, and more!


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I Broke My Podcast Sponsorship Rule and There Were Consequences

I have a confession: over the summer, I panicked a little bit. I wasn’t sure I was going to hit my podcast sponsorship goal for the year. I was short on sales, slacking a little, and you know…the whole pandemic thing. So I panicked. I reached out to a bunch of sponsors, made a couple of deals that were more beneficial to the sponsor than to me, and ended up breaking one of my biggest rules for the show. It didn’t go over well.

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The Past and Future of Podcasting with Lisa Laporte

Lisa Laporte is the CEO of and after a few weeks of talking about how to podcast and what it can do for your content, I thought she’d be the perfect person, to come on and talk about starting a network, as well as where podcasting is going. We talk about a lot of stuff – where podcasting was and the future, but we also have a great chat about tech and more. Lots of great advice here, so sit back and enjoy!

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4 Ways to Make Money Podcasting

So far I’ve told you how a podcast can build trust, help you learn, and expand your network. But there is seemingly something obvious missing, right? What about the people who make money from podcasting? That is indeed another reason to podcast, but I will caution you: podcasting isn’t a cash cow, and it may not seem like you’re making any money for a long time. Still, there’s are a few ways to make money podcasting. Let’s take a look!

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Hosting a Daily Podcast with Harry Morton

One of the hardest things to do is put out daily content…and on top of that, making it helpful, timely, and in podcast form! This sounds like a ton of work, but Harry Morton of Lower Street does just that. In this episode, we’ll explore how Harry can consistently put out a daily podcast about working from home – from planning to publishing.

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