The Path to Freedom, More Creativity, and … Really Good Audio Quality

We kicked off the holiday week on Monday with your July creativity and productivity prompts.
Each month this year, we’re suggesting practical ideas to improve your content and help you get more done. In July, we’re challenging you to select two content types that are new to you and schedule an extra hour each day to work on something meaningful.
(If one of your new content types is audio, be sure to check out Wednesday’s post this week as well.)
Tuesday was U.S. Independence Day, and I shared my latest thoughts on three steps toward greater economic and time independence: growing your audience, creating a revenue stream, and committing to growth and learning.
Each of those three is a big topic, which is why it’s our privilege to help you with them throughout the year.
On Wednesday, Toby Lyles, who was instrumental to the development of our Rainmaker FM podcast network, gave some of his best tips on how to get that smooth pro sound from your audio — without killing your budget.
Toby has given me some fantastic tips for improving my own recordings over the years, and I’m so glad we convinced him to write a post for us!
That’s it for this week — have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday.
— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital

Catch up on this week’s content

2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The July Prompts
by Sonia Simone

How to Carve Out Your Own Slice of Independence
by Sonia Simone

10 Easy Tips

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10 Easy Tips for Professional Audio Quality

I started working with podcasts because I was an avid podcast listener.
I would be listening to a conversation, hanging on every word, and then it would happen: the guest would bump his mic at the exact moment when he said the one thing I wanted to hear, and I’d miss out.
Our content should connect and engage, not frustrate and push away.
Since I run a podcast production company, I’ve learned that most people think any sound problem can be repaired with the simple twist of a knob. If only that were so.
Do you know how to avoid the most common podcast production pitfalls that distract your listeners?
Read on to discover how your podcast can stand out from the majority of the audio content available on the web.
Quality audio defined
Audio quality can be as subjective as Picasso’s art in a museum. One person says it’s brilliant … the next walks away scratching their head.
Let’s start with what quality audio is not.
You can tell audio needs to be improved when you hear:

Hum
Buzz
Hiss
Room reflections (echoes from the recording room)
Microphone handling, bumping sounds
Other foreign sounds: animals, lawnmowers, keyboard clicks, etc.
“Plosives” (the explosive sound consonants make when spoken into a microphone)
Extreme audio processing (audio effects that create an unnatural sound)

On the other hand, quality audio can be defined in one word: natural.
Quality audio sounds as if you’re talking around a kitchen table or with a client in your office. Your sound should be a

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How to Carve Out Your Own Slice of Independence

Today is Independence Day in the U.S. I’ve written before about the theme of independence and how it plays out in our lives today.
Independence is more important to Americans than ever. Thirty-five percent of the U.S. workforce are now working as freelancers. And while the current uncertainty around our health insurance system might make it seem “safer” to take a more traditional job, rapid economic change also creates a lot of turbulence in traditional employment.
Running a “side hustle” — a micro business with controlled costs and limited risks — offers amazing benefits for your peace of mind, your financial health, and your creative soul.
In other words, it can help make you healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Abruptly quitting your job so you can jump into running a business, on the other hand, is often a short road to health-killing stress, money crunches, and panicked decisions.
So — if you have the luxury of spending some of your time, in Jeff Goins’s phrase, “building a bridge in the direction of your dream,” this is an awesome time to do that.
I wrote my first Independence Day post for Copyblogger in 2009 around three critical steps to take toward independence. Those same three steps are just as relevant today. Here’s how I’m thinking about them in 2017.
1. Expand your audience
I strongly believe that for any business owner, the audience is the source of all the good things.

Revenue
Product ideas
Reputation
Creative energy
Meaningful work

It starts with a solid understanding of your

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2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The July Prompts

Happy July! Here are the Copyblogger Content Excellence prompts for this month.
For those of you who haven’t joined us yet, each month in 2017 we’re providing a pair of prompts: one to make you more productive and one to improve your creativity or writing skill.
Feel free to try one prompt or both. You can join the fun anytime you like. And let us know about your experiences in the comments!
The July Creativity Prompt
Create two new types of content
Producing content, like any creative work, has its own set of rhythms.
At first, you have to work really hard to make anything you’re proud of.
As you continue to put in the hours, stretch your creative boundaries, and focus on deliberate practice, you start to get pretty good. Maybe even very good.
Then … maybe you get a tiny bit bored. You quit putting so much time in, and the cycle starts to move in the other direction.
The way to keep improving lies in changing things up. Keep changing the game for yourself. Not because you’re chasing some illusory time when you’ll be “good enough,” but because it’s fun to keep pushing toward the next level.
To that end, this month, I suggest you try two content types that are new to you.
You can vary the medium (text, infographic, audio, video) or you can vary the structure (storytelling, teaching, analogy, review).
If you’re stuck for ideas, Stefanie put a post together about 16 different approaches for

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