How do you word in a polite, non-offensive way to a client that they need to invest in audio quality if they want to grow their podcast?I'm finding it hard to address this issue once again either via email or a meeting because I feel I've said everything they need to implement on to achieve better recordings.This client, despite my recommendations for improving their sound, they keep recording bad audio due to changing recording environments, wrong mic placement, room echo. They don't care about the audio and keep asking how do we grow our show, get more downloads, and what advice do you have for moving forward?
I see this come up in other groups as well, so you are not alone. I try to weed out these types of clients during the discovery phase. It's easier when they already have a show, so I can listen to samples and ask them if they are interested in improving their audio. But that doesn't help if you're already working with them.
In your situation, you have communicated to them ways you can help them improve their quality, and they haven't taken any of the steps you've suggested. Here's an example email I might send:
Hi [Client Name],
Thanks for reaching out and your desire to grow your show.
One key aspect that could significantly enhance your podcast's growth and listenership is investing in better audio quality. High-quality audio enhances the listening experience, and it is a factor that many successful podcasts prioritize. In fact, many listeners may turn away from a podcast if the audio quality is poor, regardless of the content's quality.
I know that I've mentioned this in the past, and I hope you understand that my intention is solely to help improve your podcast's overall quality and reach. Poor audio quality due to changing recording environments, improper mic placement, and room echo can make it difficult for listeners to engage with your content fully. It's not about having the most expensive equipment; it's about using the right tools correctly to create the best sound.
While focusing on the content of your podcast is essential, the technical aspects should not be overlooked, as they can influence the listener's overall experience. Investing in your audio quality can make your podcast more professional and enjoyable to listen to, which in turn can attract more listeners and downloads.
I believe that if we can address this issue, your podcast can reach its full potential, and I'm more than happy to guide you on how to improve your recording conditions. Let's discuss practical, cost-effective ways we can enhance your audio quality, and I believe you'll start seeing the growth you desire.
[Closing of choice],
If that doesn't work, the next step is to have a different type of conversation with the client about the quality of the recordings. This one would be from the perspective of a rate increase if they continue to provide poor quality recordings. The increase is because of the extra work required to clean up their tracks. If they want to keep their current price, they can get better microphones (you can provide them a list), and you can spend an hour with them to teach them mic technique and how to produce better recordings.
The client needs to be presented with options and consequences of not changing how they are doing things. Now they have to choose one or the other and consider the consequences. They can pay more to put out bad audio or they can buy better mics and learn how to use them to create better audio and not pay more for editing.
Another thing, and this is why I talk about it so often, is if the client doesn't care about the quality, why should we? Are you putting in extra work trying to make bad recordings sound less bad? If you are, you should be charging more.
Too many people have watched tv shows and movies where the forensic tech can clean up a noisy recording of someone talking 100 feet away while a train passes by in the middle of a thunderstorm and the dialog is crystal clear afterward. They think we push a couple buttons and it sounds perfect. We enable them to keep handing us bad recordings because we care more than they do. We will do everything in our power to make it sound as good as possible, but it just sounds less bad. We need to stop enabling this. And it starts by charging more when we have to put in extra effort when they don't care.
Another thing to consider is that some people can't really hear or appreciate the difference. Maybe they have a hearing disability. Or maybe it's due to their listening environment and playback device. There are things I can hear clear as day with headphones that disappear when listening on other speakers or in noisier spaces.
Ultimately, only the client can decide what they want to do. If the quality of the audio, and the added work, is causing frustration, we must ask ourselves if it is worth it to continue working with this client. Do they represent our ideal client? If the answer is no, it is time to let them go and look for a better client that wants to succeed.
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