Podcast Coaching: Birth Education Center Audit

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Smarter Podcasting Ep 22 – Birth Education Center Audit

Niall Mackay: [00:00:00] Welcome to smarter podcasting with me, Niall Mackay, the podcast guy.

Niall Mackay: I’ve been podcasting since 2019. I created a Vietnam podcast, which is now in the top 10% of podcasts worldwide. I created Did That Really Happen, a comedy podcast, because I’m also a comedian, and I now work with podcasters across the world to help them build their audience and connect with their community. Now, I don’t promise. Anybody that I work with that I’m going to help them quit their day job or [00:01:00] make a million dollars or get a million listeners. But what I do promise is that I will help them with the audio quality of the podcast, because I think quality audio is more important than quality content. A listener will turn off immediately to poor quality audio. So I want to help podcasters create the best sounding podcast that they can with the budget that they have. So now I’ve started to do podcast. I will talk to another podcaster after listening to their episode tips and feedback to help them improve the quality of their podcast. So my guest today is an entrepreneur, childbirth educator, postpartum doula, and we’ll find out what a doula is shortly and a sex coach as well. She is the co host of the Birth Education Center podcast. And my guest today is Kea

Care Messer: [00:02:00] Oh, big question. Um, it’s about advocacy. It’s about standing up for yourself. Um, it’s about understanding what you want of your baby and since you’re paying the bill, asking for what you want and going with

Niall Mackay: So first of all, I have some questions

Care Messer: Uh, that’s something I did invest some money in. So my camera is a Mexico four K camera, which I don’t always record in four K, but I want the option as technology increases. My microphone is a Shure MV7 microphone, which I love. Um, it has a lot of dials on it and I can get really close to it and not have a lot of bounce back.

Care Messer: And I just have a regular stand for that. I don’t have room for a boom mic stand right now. I kept tripping away. And what else? My co-host has a Samsung or a [00:03:00] Samson Q2 or something like that, microphone. And they’re just U s b mics and headphones are just plain and simple. I ordered some new ones

Niall Mackay: Nice.

Niall Mackay: So you got some really good equipment then to start off with. So that that’s amazing. Do a dynamic

Care Messer: dynamics. They’re both dynamics, which I had to do a lot of research to understand what that was. I’ve researched a ton to understand It means that it’s catching me really close and room. Is

Niall Mackay: that is exactly right. Yeah. Yeah. And

Care Messer: It’s right here, so it’s about a foot away. When it’s too close to me, I feel claustrophobic. And so I’ve tested it [00:04:00] out with a couple of audio friends to where I can have it just outside of camera reach without me being right on top of it. Uh, I figure if I’m ever gonna do some sexy A Uh, DS script, which is why I called you because I love that program. Uh, sometimes for my little bits I’ll use cap cut. I’m really fast at cap cut. I started out with doing video, so I’m pretty confident with that for Instagram and TikTok. But as far as my big, long ones that I’m gonna start doing for YouTube, et cetera, and the podcast, I wanna be able to do that in

Niall Mackay: Yeah, I’m all about the script. It’s a, it’s incredible. I’ve been using it for a few years now and there’s always challenges with it, but it’s made podcasting so much easier. So much fun. That’s a great program. I know we talked a Um,

Care Messer: birth workers, so birth workers and parents, um, people that are thinking of getting [00:05:00] pregnant. So the fertility journey, um, because there’s a lot to understand before you even get pregnant and what, how to set your insurance up and all of that kind of stuff depending on what kind of birth you’re looking for.

Care Messer: And then birth workers, how to support families. With the information that we have as birth educators. Uh, so that’s kind of our niche, and since there’s a spiritual element to I’m gonna get a lot of, uh, spiritual that makes sense. Uh, because it’s, it’s a global theme with birth uh, Birth’s a very sacred event, and a lot of times it’s so commercial that we’re only thinking about what clothes we’re buying for our pregnant bellies and what we’re gonna look at on Instagram, but there’s way more to bringing a human into

Niall Mackay: Nice. And then what makes your podcast different podcasts published

Care Messer: thing. No. Um, . [00:06:00] I think it’s the spiritual element of birth. I think we talk a lot about the consciousness of what your baby is experiencing through the whole thing, because it’s a tiny human that’s growing inside you as well as coming into the world. So how they birth matters, and we really don’t care if it’s medicated, not medicated, if it’s Ren a natural birth.

Care Messer: It’s still the birth of your baby and it still sets their patterns. So I think that’s the difference. We’re not so hard on, it’s all a natural birth, and these are our only birth stories, or it’s all cesarean births. It’s birth, and we’re not tied to how you birth. We want you to have I think so people have education. They understand what they’re saying, yes to, what they’re saying no to, because in our system it’s, we just say yes and agree because we always have this kind of dead baby card hanging over our head. Like, well, if you do that, your baby could die. And we get [00:07:00] coerced into a lot of decisions that are pretty heavily swayed one way, which is how the provider feels the most safe instead of

Care Messer: What’s actually happening in our bodies and what might be the safest for us. So it’s a lot about consent, a lot about advocacy, and a lot about finding your voice, because in America it is very swayed to the medical profession, how they make money, and how your provider feels the safest and the least likely to get sued, which is welcome to America.

Care Messer: That is, I know that’s welcome to America. How do we sue? We sue obs more than anybody else in this state,

Niall Mackay: I feel like you may have answered my next question, but

Care Messer: I think it’s a different take on birth. It’s can be fun and lighthearted. We really want you to have a positive birth experience and that means getting educated because if you go in with no education, thinking someone [00:08:00] else is gonna make all your decisions. I. That’s exactly what you’re gonna get. And it might be a lot more birth trauma than you could have had if you’d actually found out what your fears are and solved those problems before you walked into this beautiful, magnificent experience that’s literally gonna change your life and the life of life of your baby.

Care Messer: So a lot to and I think that’s, I think we just need

Niall Mackay: And final question, before we get into the audit, what lessons of

Care Messer: Oh, that they can do it, like their body was set up to succeed, not to fail. And once they understand how the birth process works

Niall Mackay: Perfect. All right, so let’s get into your podcast. So you’re only five episodes in so far, but your YouTube channel has been about for I heard.

Care Messer: [00:09:00] Ugh, didn’t we all take a break for the pandemic? It, you know, being a single mom with a handicapped child and having no childcare, it was, that was a very tough year. And my business, you know, all my . Uh, partners were at home with their kids and it was pure chaos. So we were trying to teach online with kids in our backgrounds, and it was, wow, was it hard?

Care Messer: So, yeah, we took a break for, for that part, and we’d actually started a podcast in 2019. We, one mic one U s b, and it was, oh, the recordings were so bad. And as you know, in 2020 things kind of upleveled and I, they just were too unprofessional to put out. So I’m glad that we took a step back and, and started the creative process and I really delved back into the research and my goal yes, is to have video podcasts, but I wanna make sure I’ve got the audio down pat first, because If it sounds terrible, I won’t even listen to it. So I wanna make sure that I [00:10:00] know what I’m doing first before I move on with, you can always add more, but got. So I’m

Niall Mackay: Yeah.

Niall Mackay: no, that’s, uh, no, that’s amazing that you recognize that and that up leveling. And, and yeah, I think now that the thing with podcasting is there has always been quite a low barrier to entry for myself included. When I first started, you can just buy microphone.

Niall Mackay: Like you said, put it down in front of you. I know somebody who’s recorded, I think over three, 400 episodes just using his phone, the quality was awful. Um, like really, really bad. And I tried to help him improve it and he did a little bit, but, but that is how low the barrier to entry is with podcasting. You know, you can do Spotify for free. You can record and upload immediately. But I think we’re way, way past that now of like the kind of. That style of podcasting. Now people expect more. The podcast I listened to are so well produced by studios like Wondery and [00:11:00] NBC and you have investigative podcasts that take a year to make.

Niall Mackay: And so I think the listener expects a lot more, so it doesn’t mean that there’s not a place for indie podcasts and people like you and myself and other podcasters that don’t have massive budgets and there is still a low barrier to entry, but the. Cost of equipment has come down. You can get a decent microphone for as little as a hundred dollars.

Niall Mackay: You can still use Spotify for podcasters, but the fact that you’ve leveled up from that original podcast that you just said you did is, is already amazing. And so I have to say in five episodes in, I think your podcast is really great. Like I was really, really impressed. So well done on that. You

Niall Mackay: can tell you’ve done a lot of resets.

Niall Mackay: Like you, you just said you’d done some resets there. And, um, so first of all, I’ll just start with the music. Like I absolutely love the music. Uh, I think it’s absolutely great. Um, you get the music just for two seconds and then you start talking. So I think possibly the music could be slightly longer, anywhere from five to 10 seconds.

Niall Mackay: But it’s really a personal call. Two seconds can be enough if you just want to get into it. But I think you could [00:12:00] extend it just by those, even just three seconds, just to give people a chance to, cause the music to kind of listen to it. Um, would be good. But the biggest thing I noticed with the music. And you use the script, so I would turn the, make sure the volume goes down on the music once you start talking, because the music was a little bit over

Niall Mackay: empowering

Care Messer: I have before and I don’t know, ’cause my music actually had a professional mix it for me because I was afraid of doing what you just said. So isn’t that funny, . But yeah, so I have used it before and I will probably use it as I’m doing my own editing.

Niall Mackay: Just making sure you understood I said ducking.

Care Messer: yes. In my profession, there are words that match

Niall Mackay: so that intro you had to, I love that it’s like a boilerplate intro. And the outro as well. [00:13:00] So is that already pre made with the music and sorry, with the music and the audio together, you do, you don’t add that. You’ll say, so I would go back to your profile. It’s so funny because I don’t want to talk down or bad of people, but I would do work with some people that work with quote unquote professional people for video, or like I was working with a client recently and he’s like, I did this. Video with a professional videographer, but the sound is terrible. Can you help improve the sound? sometimes I think, because we think we’ve worked with somebody who’s professional, going to be great. And

Niall Mackay: I mean, I guess I am technically always or not always. So I would go back though, to that person and ask. To separate those two files, the audio, the speaking part and the music, and then you can create that boilerplate again in Descript. So you’re going through something called dynamics, which you’ve probably seen on the right hand side next to studio sound and you choose ducking. And [00:14:00] I used to put it at 25%. Which meant the, it kind of was a nice balance between the sound of the music and the volume of your voice. But you know, as Descript updates things all the time, they’ve updated it and the default is 10 percent and that now seems to be the right volume. So when you do do it, set it at 10 percent which then the music will go down so you can still hear it in the background. But it doesn’t overpower your voice and you ultimately want to hear what you’re saying. That was my biggest tip with the with the intro and then it was the same with the outro like the outro Started and the music was like really loud and it was kind of overpowered your voice and what you were saying And then on episode four, I noticed that there wasn’t really any gap at all between the end of the episode and the outro So the episode finished and then the outro started right away So I would just add a you know, like three to five second gap clip With that you have the start of the music and that might be actually now that you’ve told me that It’s uh, the music and uh, the voice are already put together if you have them separated [00:15:00] You can have the music Gently fade in for two or three seconds have a bit of spoken part

Care Messer: And I do have them separate. I have everything separate just in case. So I’ve got them melded and then I’ve also got separate. So, and I’ve thought about that too, like, I like when people, you know, it starts to blend in and stuff like that. And I, I know every episode is different, so I need

Niall Mackay: No problem. And then, and then for the intro itself, like what you say, I think it’s absolutely great. And when you said there at the beginning about how you’ve done a lot of research and you can really tell because it really follows what I would advise to people. You say what the podcast is, who you are, what value the listener will get from the show. And then the first line, once you finish that boilerplate intro and you start the episode. You immediately explain what the upcoming episode is about. great.

Care Messer: Lots of research. . I’ve listened to so many people’s [00:16:00] podcasts and watched so many tutorials and yeah, ’cause I .

Care Messer: know, everybody else knows best. They’ve already done it, so why would I reinvent the wheel and say, I’m gonna totally make this perfect. I’m like, I, it’s

Care Messer: gonna be a work in progress I know that

Niall Mackay: mm The two main ones that I follow, uh, is Grow The Show Podcast with Kevin Schmidlin. Have you heard

Niall Mackay: that one? I get a lot of my tips from there. He’s, he’s a bit of an expert as well, but again, he is just, he’s just learned by doing like everyone else. And then the other one is podcasting business school, which, but that’s more about how to. Make money from your podcast, whereas grow the show is about how to grow your podcast. And then there’s a million other podcasts out there. And then with my podcast, I’m trying to help with the quality of the podcast to make sure, because the number one thing is having a good quality podcast to me.

Niall Mackay: Anyway. Um, but yeah, the intro is great. The music fades, the music does fade out nicely, actually, when the episode starts. So once the, the, the kind of initial intro finishes, even though the music is quite loud, it does fade out when the episode starts, which is nice. Um, [00:17:00] Skipping right to the end to your outro.

Niall Mackay: So I would advise having one clear call to action per episode you want people to do. What action do you want people to take? So from what I could hear, you had three, which isn’t terrible, but there’s just, you know, my advice. So the first one you had was followers on YouTube. So I have a big question about, about this.

Care Messer: you know, a lot of people have found UT or YouTube has been a big place for discovery for podcasts. So as I researched and talked to people in my industry, you know, where are you finding podcasts? They’re like, oh, I see a YouTube short, and I go immediately over there and follow it. And I’m like, I always listen to everything on Spotify, but they’re finding it on YouTube, and they’re either following it so they know it because they always have, they’re already getting subscription.

Care Messer: You know, tings every time something else comes out on video, so they’re even listening to it while they’re getting ready in the morning, which I still go to Spotify, but so [00:18:00] many of the people in my industry are watching as they’re getting ready. So, would still watch on Spotify, but, um, yeah, and that I was gonna ask you that too, because know people have clear calls to action and for me personally, if I like that person, I immediately go follow and I feel like

Care Messer: Everyone says you have to like tell people exactly what you want to do. And I’m like, aren’t they adults? Won’t they do it? And everyone’s like, no, they won’t. And I am, I do. So I’m, I’m wondering, yeah, how do I, what do I want them to do? I want them to subscribe. Do I want them to contact me? Do I want them to share it

Niall Mackay: We’re going back to the YouTube part. So you’re saying about how people discover on YouTube and then find your podcast, but what you’re asking them to do is then go back to YouTube, which is a completely different platform. And you’re almost sending listeners from your podcast away. So my advice. I just have a, I have a very strong opinion on keeping [00:19:00] podcasts and YouTube separate, and them to YouTube and it’s the same content on YouTube, then like, why are you sending them to YouTube?

Niall Mackay: Unless there’s different content on there. But when I looked on your YouTube, it’s

Niall Mackay: the same content, right? So unless. You want to lose listeners and send them to and increase your YouTube. But I think, I don’t think that’s how YouTube will work from SEO. It’s how Google ties in. Like people are going to find it because it comes up like suggested next video or their algorithm is going to push it. I don’t think you need to send listeners away. So if you want to build your listeners, don’t

Niall Mackay: send them up to Youtube basically

Care Messer: So, would you suggest go to Spotify or go to Apple Podcasts or like a specific one? Or just generic,

Niall Mackay: that’s what I was going to say. The the next call to action you have is follow us on all the places. What are the places was my next question. So where do you want people to follow you? also 100 percent on with you on this [00:20:00] one. And I’ve done a bit of research on this. I don’t know if we do need to say, Hey, follow and subscribe, turn on notifications because people are adults and. I personally have never followed or subscribed because somebody says that. I know it’s, I do it on my podcast, but I actually say like, Hey, it’s a massive cliche, but turn on your notifications. I’m only doing this because everyone else What I’ve read and what I agree with is. It’s all about producing great value, quality content. And if people like subscribe, turn on the notifications anyway, so I don’t think we need to do it. And I do do it, but I do kind of do it in a jokey manner because I’m still on the fence, but I do. Think we don’t need to do it because people, it’s all about creating great content. So if you want people to follow you on all the places, where do you want them to follow you? And again, it’s always about choosing one thing. Where’s your biggest following? Is it Facebook? Do you have a Facebook group? Do you have an Instagram [00:21:00] page? Is it LinkedIn? Is it TikTok? Where do you want people to follow you?

Niall Mackay: And then give that as a specific call to action, like follow us here. And then your third call to action is go to our website. And again, it needs a bit more, like, why, why go to your website? What is it in relation to that web in that episode? So that’s why I’d have a more specific call to action. If your episode is about, I don’t want to say, cause I can’t think exactly what your episodes are all about. Induction was the one I just listened to. If your episode is about inducing. Which is, interesting because my sister just had a baby and she was induced. Um, send them to a webpage about induction. Tell them specifically where to go. Um, and then, that’s what I also noticed in the show notes as well.

Niall Mackay: Your show notes are great, like they really describe the episode. But they have so many call to actions. Like if I just look right here, you go Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn. So that’s five. Then for your online course, six induction, one to one, seven mental health, eight [00:22:00] newborn podcast procedures, nine, 10, 11, 12 links

Care Messer: Once again, more research like six or seven places. Said, have your, you know, everything that they can find so they can quickly scan and go right to it to make it easy for them. Like

Niall Mackay: Paul I mean, again, and.

Niall Mackay: i’m not i’m just one other opinion So if that’s what the research says I would mostly have that one call to action that link at the top anyway at the very least and then you can also have Embedded links or like hyperlinks yours are Like the text then a big long link so you can hyperlink it so it’s not so messy and it’s a bit clearer and you can kind of tidy it up so you still have many links but it’s just a tidier the rest is just my opinion on that um so go all we’re going all the way back so that’s just the the branding oh yeah and then i absolutely love the branding i love the colors and the font but i have a [00:23:00] question do you think that you need the text on the podcast episode artwork because you have no text at all Episode 003, for example, then you have your logo in the top left and then not very big font writing, not very, very big font.

Niall Mackay: It would say like Matt and Janet’s

Care Messer: And I was gonna ask

Care Messer: you that. I was gonna ask you that because once again, they want your branding on, and then three words, big text, and I was like, but my logo, like to me it’s like, I’ll just put the Lotus episode four and then three words in the picture because I, I was kind of thinking the same thing, like you can’t see it.

Care Messer: Like when I’m looking at Spotify, I can’t see birth education center on there. How do I separate it? They’ve already actual podcast. Do I need to put the logo

Niall Mackay: Yeah. Yeah, so

Niall Mackay: I went and

Niall Mackay: looked on my phone just like you said, but on Apple Podcast and Spotify, and so about 80.

Niall Mackay: percent of podcast listeners use a mobile phone to listen. [00:24:00] I checked one of my podcasts, my main one, it’s 84%. So The advice that I follow now is I just have the picture, so I would consider just removing all text and just have the image fill the whole square, because you can already see the episode title, obviously, when you look on your phone, um, and in the top of the show notes, so you can see what the episode is about. And then obviously people like people so when they see the full image of the person, well, that’s the episode title. It’s about this and that’s the people that it’s about. So I want to look at that. So that would be, um, just again, it’s splitting hairs. And I like to think of things as like marginal gained.

Niall Mackay: It’s again, I’m not here to downloads because you’ve changed the

Niall Mackay: font, but Yeah, you never know exactly. So my advice would be remove all text, remove your logo, remove all, all text basically, and just have the picture because people can see all that other information you have anyway. [00:25:00] And yeah, on your phone, it’s so small. Now my next question is, um, what research have you done

Care Messer: Well, I don’t on Apple because I know Apple doesn’t like it. And a lot of times from what I’ve researched, ’cause everyone has different opinions about it, but most often they said, put the title number because you’re gonna say in episode five if you’re sending somebody back. So say I’m on episode 20 and I say in episode four, and then they could quickly see it in the title.

Care Messer: um, without just, ’cause if they’re scrolling through, right, they’re looking for a picture or they’re looking for a number. So that’s why I put 0, 0 4 or whatever in the title, in case I reference back, Hey, we’ve already had this person on, go back to podcast two, you know, and to hear that full episode.

Care Messer: So

Niall Mackay: And that,

Niall Mackay: well, that I’ve read that advice as well. And so [00:26:00] the main thing on that is, you’re doing a future episode, are you gonna remember the episode that you’re referencing was episode two? And you might be up to episode 150 by this point. ’cause that’s what we really want to aim for, is you’re gonna be doing over a hundred episodes, over 200, 304 like you wanna be. Aiming like long, long, long, long term. So when you get to episode 322, are 56 and check this out.

Care Messer: I am kind of detail oriented, so I bet you I could do it , at

Care Messer: least. At least with

Niall Mackay: Well, this is, I did talk, I did talk to somebody else about this and they were like, yeah, I mean, so it’s more research. So you have to know what you’re going to talk about in that episode and then go and research what episode was referenced. So for me, I like to do everything as light as possible.

Niall Mackay: So I probably wouldn’t do that, but my main opinion on that is that the only reason that you need numbers, if you’re doing like a serial podcast, like a, like a fictional podcast that listeners need to know. One, two, three, four, [00:27:00] five, six. So they know that they need to listen in order because, you know, obviously on Spotify and Apple podcasts, you can change the order on the day it was published.

Niall Mackay: I think maybe alphabetical, I’m not a hundred percent sure. I know you can change it based on date of publication. And sometimes when I listen to story podcasts, which I love, you’re like, Oh, wait, which, what episode I’ve gotten confused before. Cause I’m like, I don’t know which episode comes next. So I think that’s the only time you really need. Episode numbers. The reason as well as, as you know, you really only have a small amount of real estate for your title and you really need to grab people’s attention. They’re scrolling down and they need to know what’s happening. So to me, it’s, and also on Apple podcast, they, they say they show the numbers, but I had a look at it and see the numbers, but unless it’s sequential, people need to see, want to see the title more than the number.

Niall Mackay: I think that’s just more important, more important. Um, And then, yeah. And like you said, with Apple podcasts, you said that you took the numbers away on Apple podcasts. How did I, I had a look on Apple [00:28:00] podcast in your episode four, still had zero zero four, but nothing else did. But how

Care Messer: So in Lisbon is my distributor, and Lisbon has you put your title in and then there’s a separate one for Apple. And so . And four I I, now that I think about it, I didn’t double check that when I was doing it ’cause I just barely did it. So, um, ’cause it was late getting up to getting onto Apple. So yeah, it will automatically load it into Apple and then they say, make sure you go in and take those numbers out.

Care Messer: ’cause Apple doesn’t like it. So that’s

Niall Mackay: I have never used Lisbon. I’ve used Buzzsprout and a bunch of other ones, but so again, completely personal preference. I would take away the numbers. I think it’s takes away too much of the real estate. I don’t think there’s much value in it. And if you do want to reference an episode, you could always just reference the title and the date.

Niall Mackay: Like if you’re going to go ahead and do the research to find out which episode you’re going to refer to, go back to [00:29:00] September 12th and the episodes called this. And, but again, it’s completely up to you. I know many podcasters do do it. Like Joe, not Joe Rogan. I know Pat Flynn does it, but he has a his team.

Niall Mackay: He’ll be like, you know, go back to episode 257.

Care Messer: I don’t know. I’m gonna, I’m gonna look at that ’cause I, you know, it might save a step in a brain power . So I’ll talk to my co-host and see why we would want to or not want to. Most of the birth podcasts that we’ve researched are all numbered,

Niall Mackay: Hmm. Yeah, I mean again, there’s no real wrong or right answer, but my feeling is. Don’t have the podcast, don’t have the episode numbers in it because it just takes up vital real estate in your title that doesn’t add that much value. But again, personal preference. So now going back to the podcast, so you have your intro. Um, which I think is great, bring the music down. But what was really noticeable [00:30:00] was the quality of the audio dropped from your boilerplate intro, which was really recorded professionally and you can hear it. And then as soon as the episode starts, it becomes quite echoey and hear the room. But now from what you’ve told me in the beginning, uh, I think I know the reason, but first of all,

Care Messer: For most of them, yes. Some of them, when I first got started, I had professionals do it because my goal was to have at least 20 done before I started wouldn’t give up. So I had the first seven or eight done by professionals so that I, that was done and I could be working on the next ones because I knew I’d be auditing or editing those myself.

Care Messer: So yes, we’ve been trying to figure out why the echo has been happening and we’ve been researching and practicing and trying different things because there are some that are exactly that, and it’s like, ah, how do we change that? Because [00:31:00] I, I recorded it on the same microphone in the same room.

Niall Mackay: you can see my microphone. You should be a fist away from your mouth is just too, so even though it’s changed right

Niall Mackay: now, it’s way more echoey. Are you able to do that just now? Can we

Care Messer: I,

Care Messer: I know. I know.

Niall Mackay: Yeah. So bring it, try and get it. So it’s facing like upwards, like mine. Right. So can you put it in front of you?

Care Messer: Yeah, so I’m gonna have to either get a lower thing so that it can come upwards because my desk is too high. So, but

Niall Mackay: Well, either way, [00:32:00] you, like right here.

Care Messer: like right there.

Care Messer: Oh, Yeah.

Care Messer: That does sound better. , that’s the, see that’s my As S M R voice right there. That’s my recording meditation voice.

Niall Mackay: Yeah, I was doing a coaching call the other just last week and like, words dropping out when we’re recording? studio sound and it will do it. They sent me a picture and the microphone was like here, I’ve done it with another why is your microphone like over here?

Niall Mackay: And they’re like, Oh, I like it there and I’m like, your sound is terrible. So that would be my biggest tip. That’s all you need to do. As simple as that. Just have your microphone about a fist away. You got a

Care Messer: It’s just gonna pick me up instead of the world. Yeah. My dog’s barking. My kid’s screaming. Yeah. I even, I can hear it better in my, my, my headphones you’re right. A hundred percent . [00:33:00]

Niall Mackay: so funny.

Niall Mackay: that, that me, I, I know what I’m talking about. Phew. When you mentioned that in the beginning, I was like, well, how’s your microphone? So I was like, that’s why I asked you, where is your microphone? It’s, it couldn’t even see it. And it looks great. You got such a good microphone. So even for the video, it’s not covering your face. So it looks good as well. And then so just to kind of wrap up as well A couple of things that were great was um, I noticed that you and your co hosts don’t talk over each other, which is absolutely great you when you and I don’t know if that’s from editing because I know that can be fixed in editing, but When one person started there, when one person stopped, the other person started, which crosstalk for me is a big no, no.

Niall Mackay: The other thing I was really impressed with, and this is something I do, but I, uh, and a lot of guests do, and I advise them against was when one person was talking, you or the other is Ashley, right? The other co host went in the background going, uh, mm, mm. Yeah. Uh huh. Mm. Uh, mm, There’s nothing more frustrating when a guest or a host. Is the one making those agreeable noises in the background. And they, again, they can be cut out if you do multitrack editing, but it’s more work. [00:34:00] And so it just sounds terrible for the listener to hear that second person in the room, but you don’t do that. So that, that was great. And then, you know, obviously didn’t listen to every single minute of every episode, but going through it, I didn’t really hear too many filler words like the um, and you know, and like, and so

Care Messer: It’s, well, I’ve, I’ve done so much video that I’ve really worked hard on saying what I need to say, so I don’t take a lot of them out. I, I usually when there’s a birth story, you know, the parents are, um, uh, like, uh, and so a lot of times that gets shortened. Uh, but Ashley and I are professional teachers, so we’re pretty good at, we clear our throats more than anything because we both have allergies.

Care Messer: So that, to me is the most obnoxious part because you can’t,

Niall Mackay: Well, you can if you do it separately. If you, if you just make sure you take a pause, cough and then restart, you can edit it out, but no, I was impressed with that. Yeah. I didn’t, there was a couple of times I could notice there was a [00:35:00] cut, you know, cause sometimes you notice it chops too close together, things like that. But other than that, like, yeah, the, the overall, the content was great. Just needed to

Care Messer: See You

Care Messer: You didn’t know you needed to learn so much about vaginas. Look at that.

Niall Mackay: maybe I won’t. No, I’m kidding. So I think going back to our original questions I asked you in the beginning, what are you recording with? You’re using great equipment. So there’s no updates or recommendations needed on that. You got the Shure, you got a 4k camera, you’re using Descript, which is my recommendation.

Niall Mackay: Anyone who listens knows I’m an affiliate, so go to the show notes, click my link. If you don’t use Descript, then you’ll be able to use Descript. I get a small commission, which is a win win. Um, for your podcast niche, the only thing I thought when you were answering that question is then you mentioned about spirituality, which I didn’t.

Niall Mackay: See that when I was looking through your show notes and when I was looking through your [00:36:00] description, and I don’t know if maybe that’s something you want to lean into more to separate yourself,

Care Messer: And. I think when you listen, because we have so many recorded ahead of time, so see, my brain is already on what we’ve already recorded and who we’ve had on, so . It is different in that when people listen, they’re gonna notice it’s different. So compared to regular, you know, cut and dried, here’s the physiology of birth, um, which can be very black and white.

Care Messer: And ours is very nuanced. So episodes coming up, I think they’re gonna hear that a little differently, but it’s also our story. We come from different perspective of how we birthed our babies and what we’ve learned from that. So, . . Yeah, I don’t, I don’t know if that niche will show a different way. I think there’s a little bit of woo here, and if you’re not into Woo, you’re

Niall Mackay: [00:37:00] and so that might be then something that just maybe needs to be more upfront and clearer so that you’re upbeat. So you are getting that niche. I love how you described that, but so you are getting those woo people instead of getting people. The aren’t woo, because then you might find your numbers fluctuate.

Niall Mackay: Like if you want to get strong, loyal listeners, super fans, be like, this is what it is, this is what you’re getting. And then those people will come. And, uh, I think the worst advice you can give to somebody. And I’ve had it before is about the title of the podcast because we’re all so wedded to the title of our podcast.

Niall Mackay: And my original podcast was called 7 million bikes colon a Saigon podcast, which went across against everything. And it was because I, you know, just starting. 7 million bikes came because I just read an article about Saigon that there was over 7 million motorbikes for a city of only 9 or 10 million. So I thought it was quite quirky play on words that and then a Saigon podcast because it was about Saigon.

Niall Mackay: But over time that developed and I changed it back to just three [00:38:00] words, became a Vietnam podcast because it became about Vietnam. And I dropped the 7 million bikes and then I met with the business coach and they were like, wait what does 7 million bikes mean? Like we don’t know. And I was like, oh, but it’s quirky and it’s funny.

Niall Mackay: So, but then that evolved to be 7 million bikes podcast. So even though 7 million bikes might mean nothing to most people, that podcast means people know what it’s So going back to yours, birth education center podcast. Doesn’t really tell me what it’s about. I mean, it’s about both education, but it could be more Again, just trying to make it more niche.

Niall Mackay: It could be more specific And again, i’m taking advice from the greats like so podcasting business school You might not need to change the podcast name or the artwork what he advises I do adam shibley and I follow a lot of what he does is just maybe adding on Um, a few words on your title on Spotify on, um, your directory.

Niall Mackay: So on Libsyn, so that it appears on Apple podcasts and Spotify. [00:39:00] So it’s not changing your brand. It’s not changing your title. So for example, mine, I changed podcasting colon

Care Messer: So

Care Messer: something like.

Care Messer: birth postpartum and

Niall Mackay: that’s exactly it. That’s what he calls a tagline at the end. Just so it’s not changing your artwork, not changing your title. Essentially. It’s just so people can read it when they’re scanning on Spotify, scanning on Apple podcasts, they see the birth education center. But that could probably encompass so many things, right?

Niall Mackay: Like how to find the nearest one near you, but that’s not what you’re doing. You’re

Niall Mackay: not teaching people how to find the nearest one. So just that tagline that just says exactly what the podcast does in just two or three words, so people scanning it can find it. And then Now you’ll start to notice how many other podcasts do it.

Niall Mackay: Once I started doing it and I looked at other podcasts, I was like,

Care Messer: [00:40:00] and that was one of the things I was like, I was, I actually had two taglines, different taglines that were short and sweet, and then everybody was like, simplify, simplify, simplify. You don’t, you know, don’t even put podcasts in your name because it’s birth education center. That’s what they’re gonna be looking up is birth anyway, so yeah, it’s hit or miss.

Care Messer: Right. So I’ll try the tagline. I like the

Niall Mackay: And that is another tip to take away the word podcast, which you could, once you add the tagline, you could take away the word podcast because, so I know mine goes against that because it’s called a Vietnam podcast. So that’s one of my many podcasts, but because it is, again, you’ve got such short real estate. Most people advise two to three worlds for kind of gets cut off when you’re scanning on podcasts. And the big thing is. People are already looking for podcasts, they’re already in the podcast tab on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. So you’re telling people something that they already know, like, yeah, I know it’s the Birth Education Center podcast, because I’m looking in the podcast tabs, so you [00:41:00] could change it.

Niall Mackay: Education Center, Education Center, what you, described So overall, I think it’s great. I mean, it’s, you can tell you’ve done your research obviously from talking to you, but just from listening to it as well, I think there’s just a couple of small

Care Messer: Yeah, like the microphone, like the most important thing. could be improved. You’re right. A hundred percent. I’m gonna be buying a new desk

Niall Mackay: funny. We all. Well, I fits perfectly what you’ve got it

Niall Mackay: right

Care Messer: Well, yeah, it’s sitting

Niall Mackay: it on the desk right now Oh, it’s on your lap. It’s on your lap. Yeah, so I use a boom arm so you can get up for ten dollars I looked on amazon and it if it fits on your desk. Those are boom arms are pretty good. They take up so little space Um, but yeah, I mean don’t feel the microphone things as I said, so many different people do the same things I’ve seen the microphone in so many different Places.

Niall Mackay: but especially now because you have headphones on is great. So I didn’t used to wear headphones. Other people don’t wear headphones, [00:42:00] but you have them on and you, as soon as you change the mic, you’re like, Oh yeah, this is totally different.

Care Messer: definitely. Yeah. I appreciate the, yeah, you just, we, you don’t know what

Niall Mackay: Well.

Niall Mackay: thank you very much for being on only the second ever podcast audit. We also, we did a coaching call last week as well, which should be up on YouTube. And I tell people don’t go to YouTube, but this is a div, this won’t be on an audio podcast because I shared my screen with you a lot. And, uh, so it Yeah, but

Care Messer: that. But that coaching call was amazing and I’m gonna actually be calling you again ’cause I have more in more questions for you. But I really needed that and you explained things wonderfully and it made sense to me. And that’s, there were just pieces missing with this script that I couldn’t figure out after watching every single episode that they had on 1 0 1, et cetera.

Care Messer: And I’m like, but I have questions still. So, [00:43:00] yeah, I really appreciate it. It was affordable. It was well worth my time.

Niall Mackay: Uh, thank you. Yes. If you do want to book a coaching call, they are 40 an hour. And it’s funny because so I, I use this script. All day every day and I didn’t realize how much I know how many little nuances how many little buttons and i’ve been doing a Lot of these coaching calls now and it’s been the same every time what you just said I’ve watched seven hours of tutorials and what you told me in an hour is like it was More than seven hours of watching YouTube tutorials.

Niall Mackay: So it will save you time and time is money. So if you do want to book a coaching call, get in touch. Or if you want to do a podcast audit as well, send me your podcast, get in touch and I will have a listen, take some notes, and then we’ll record an episode. So care. Thank you very much. If you are having a baby or thinking of having a baby in the U. S. because it’s very specific to the U. S., go and check out Birth Education Center Podcast, but that name may be changing soon, but look up [00:44:00] Birth Education Center Podcast, turn on the notifications, follow it, I’ll tell you to do it so joining me today.

In this Podcast Coaching, I had the pleasure of auditing the Birth Education Center podcast with Care, an entrepreneur, childbirth educator, postpartum doula, and sex coach. The Birth Education Center podcast aims to provide education and support for birth workers and parents.

During the audit, we discussed various aspects of the podcast, including equipment, branding, content, and calls to action. Care shared valuable insights into her podcasting journey and the goals she has for the show. 

If you want to have a FREE podcast audit, Email me (niall@sevenmillionbikes.com) or contact me on Seven Million Bikes Podcasts Facebook or Instagram to book your free Podcast Audit!

Let’s see what we discussed in this episode!

Equipment and Audio Quality

Care has invested in high-quality equipment for her podcast, including a 4K camera and a Shure MV7 microphone. She uses a dynamic microphone, which allows for clear and focused audio capture. However, we noticed that the audio quality dropped after the intro, becoming echoey and less professional. Upon further discussion, we discovered that the microphone placement was the issue. I advised Care to position the microphone about a fist away from her mouth to improve the sound quality and reduce echo.

Mic Placement Technique

Microphone placement is one of the most important aspects of recording, whether you’re recording a podcast, music, or video. The wrong placement can make your recording sound muddy, harsh, or even inaudible.

Here are some of the things that can happen if you place your microphone wrong:

  • Proximity effect

The proximity effect is a boost in low frequencies that occurs when a microphone is placed close to a sound source. This can make your recording sound muddy or boomy.

  • Off-axis response

The off-axis response of a microphone is its response to sounds that are not coming directly from the front of the microphone. If you place your microphone off-axis, you may get a weaker signal or a distorted sound.

  • Room reflections

Room reflections are sounds that bounce off the walls and other surfaces in the room. If you place your microphone too close to a reflecting surface, you may get a recording that is too reverberant or echoey.

Here is how I recommend placing the microphone:

  • Dynamic Microphone

Place the microphone 2-3 inches away from your mouth. This will capture a clear, crisp sound without too much room noise. 

  • Condenser Microphone

Condenser microphones are more sensitive, so you can place them further away from your mouth, typically 4-6 inches. Experiment to find the sweet spot for your voice. 

Moreover, if you have a podcast interview, remember to record it in multiple tracks. Forgetting to do so is one of the worst podcast mistakes I’ve ever made. 

By capturing each instrument, voice, or sound source onto its own separate track, you gain the flexibility to adjust levels, apply effects, and make edits without affecting the other tracks in your recording. It will enhance your overall audio quality when you can remove other sounds while one speaker is speaking.

Podcast coaching

Intro and Outro – The Volumn and Background Music

Intro music serves as a crucial element, much like a brand’s logo or jingle. It’s the sonic signature that identifies your show, sets the tone for the listening experience, and establishes a sense of familiarity among your audience. Therefore, the duration of your intro music plays a significant role in its effectiveness. 


While two seconds might seem sufficient for some, I advocate for a slightly longer intro, extending to around 5-7 seconds.

  • Firstly, a longer intro allows for a more gradual transition from the outside world to the podcast’s sonic environment.
  • Secondly, a longer intro provides ample time for the intro music to establish itself as a recognizable brand identifier.
  • Thirdly, a longer intro allows for a more impactful transition into the main content.

For the podcast outro, I think there’s a need for a short pause between the end of the episode and the outro. Adding a gap between the end of the episode and the outro is a great way to create a more polished and professional-sounding podcast. It gives the listener a moment to pause and reflect on the episode before the outro begins, and it also helps to avoid any abrupt transitions between the two.


I noticed that when Care started speaking, the music was still loud and it shouldn’t be. Ensure the background music fades down when you start talking so that your voice is clearly audible. This technique is known as “ducking” and it’s a common practice in audio production to create a more balanced and listenable mix. 

Reducing the volume of the music when the voice is present can prevent the music from overpowering the spoken word and allow the listener to focus on the content of the podcast.

First, separate the background music and the voice tracks into distinct audio files. This will allow you to control the volume of each element independently.

Second, apply ducking:

Descript, a powerful podcast editing platform, incorporates a user-friendly ducking feature that makes it easy to achieve this effect. 

  • Prepare Your Audio Tracks: Ensure that your podcast audio has been separated into distinct tracks, with the background music and voice tracks on separate layers. This allows for precise control over each audio element.
  • Access the Properties Panel: Open the Properties Panel for the audio track containing the background music. This panel provides various editing controls, including the option to apply ducking.
  • Enable Ducking: Locate the “Effects” section within the Properties Panel and click on “Add Effect.” Select “Ducking” from the list of available effects.

Podcast Branding and Artwork

The Birth Education Center podcast has a visually appealing logo and color scheme. However, we discussed the use of text on the podcast episode artwork. While the current design includes text, it may not be necessary as most listeners access podcasts on mobile devices, where the text is difficult to read. 

Do you know that more than 80% of podcast listeners find and listen to podcasts on their phones? Therefore, crafting podcast artwork specifically for mobile devices is crucial. Most smartphones have different aspect ratios, so ensure your artwork can adapt to these variations. Test the artwork on various devices to ensure it doesn’t appear stretched or distorted.

I suggested removing the text and allowing the image to fill the entire square, as the episode title and description are already visible to listeners. This would create a cleaner and more visually appealing artwork.

Additionally, I will tell you some tips for eye-catching podcast logos:

  • Utilize High-Contrast Colors: Employ contrasting colors to create visual interest and make your logo stand out. Use a limited color palette to maintain a cohesive and professional look.
  • Incorporate Relevant Imagery: Use visual elements that represent the essence of your podcast. If your podcast focuses on a specific topic, consider incorporating symbols or icons related to that theme.
  • Choose a Readable Font: Select a font that is easy to read, both at full size and when scaled down for smaller screens. Avoid overly stylized or decorative fonts that might hinder readability.


I suggested Care to add a tagline to the name “Birth Education Centre”. This name is not specific enough for listeners to understand what she’s doing.

  • Helps potential listeners understand what your podcast is about: 

A tagline is a quick and easy way to communicate the essence of your podcast to potential listeners. 

  • Can help you attract new listeners: 

If you have a great tagline, it can help you attract new listeners who are searching for podcasts on topics that are relevant to your show.

  • Can help you build a brand: 

A tagline can help you create a strong brand for your podcast. It can be used in your marketing materials, on your social media profiles, and on your website.

Podcast Show Notes and Call To Action (CTA)

During the audit, we reviewed the podcast’s calls to action. Care had multiple calls to action, including following the podcast on various platforms and visiting the website. 

Target CTA

Instead of cluttering your show notes with a barrage of CTAs, aim for a more concise and focused approach. Limiting your CTAs to two or three specific links will ensure that listeners can easily identify and navigate to the most relevant content. 

This targeted approach will not only enhance the user experience but also increase the likelihood of listeners engaging with your CTAs.

I don’t think you should send your listener to Youtube:

  • Distraction Factor

Sending listeners to YouTube can distract them from the primary goal of listening to your podcast. They may get sidetracked by other videos or lose interest in your content altogether.

  • Platform Preference

Many listeners prefer to consume podcasts on their preferred podcast apps, such as Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Directing them to YouTube may force them to switch platforms, which can be inconvenient and deter them from continuing to engage with your podcast.


Hyperlinking CTAs (calls to action) can significantly enhance the visual appeal and user experience of your podcast show notes. By transforming text-based CTAs into clickable links, you can create a more streamlined and aesthetically pleasing presentation.

Podcast Audit for “Birth Education Center” – Summary

Seven Million Bikes Podcasts has helped another podcast to elevate its quality. Creating a high-quality, engaging listening experience is crucial for attracting and retaining listeners. Beyond the content itself, several technical and branding elements contribute to a professional-sounding podcast, including mic placement, intros and outros, and consistent branding. 

Do you want to know which aspect your podcast needs to improve? My FREE podcast audit provides a comprehensive evaluation of your podcast’s technical quality, and podcast content and offers valuable insights and recommendations for improvement. 

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