Advice for New Podcasters

New podcasters like myself can learn a lot from the experience of seasoned podcasters so I wanted to ask the community:

What are 3 things you wish you knew when you first started podcasting that could have accelerated your learning or reach, increased podcast quality, or saved you time?

7 Likes
  1. It’s rabbit-holes everywhere — I need to always be thinking: “How deep is the hole?” before diving into a new hole. And, “what’s the simplest thing that could possibly work?” and be ready to use that good-enough bridge over the rabbit-hole.

  2. Fail faster — stop over-thinking it. I’m not making medical equipment. Try one thing, or change one thing, and pay attention (not the same as “get feedback”) to what happens.

  3. Forget publishing on a schedule — Maaaaaybe for the first 10 episodes, I needed to be on a “I’m publishing every Wednesday” schedule. But very soon, no one cares when I published episode 42 — the evergreen back-catalog is where I’m really creating the bulk of the change I want to see in the world.

:thinking: My #3 makes more sense if you know my mission is creating better conversations to spread understanding and compassion. If this is news to you, puh-lease glance at https://constantine.name/ :smiley:

11 Likes

@jensen - Matt, I concur with @craig on his points - no overthinking, fail faster, and don’t worry too much about the schedule.

Solid advice that can’t be improved upon (but can be added to :grinning:, which will be no surprise to Craig . . . me writing too much​:joy:), so here are a few other thoughts:

  1. Be super clear on who your intended audience is.
  2. Don’t worry about having enough content. If your format is host-on-mic, you will always be able to talk about the topic or issue at hand, and if your format is guest-based, there will never be a shortage of people who can join you on an episode.
  3. Be flexible. My episodes range from six minutes to sixty-seven, the format is not static — eighteen guests so far and about the same number of host-on-mic (and a few “shared” episodes — i. e., I was a guest on another podcast and used the audio for my podcast), and try out new ideas (“you can’t break it” . . . usually).
  4. Stick with it. Even if you have a longer than expected gap between episodes that doesn’t mean you have to stop.
  5. Repurpose your content. Lift key quotes and use them in social media, use them as blogpost starters, etc.
  6. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start, ship your work, reflect, adjust, repeat, add new elements and skills when ready to do so.
  7. Try to figure stuff out on your own and then “find the others” and ask for help.

I’m sure that’s plenty. Probably too much :grimacing:. (You did say three things, which I already exceeded.) I’ll go with 3, 5, and 7 if you force me to delete the “overflow.”

Best wishes in your podcast project endeavors!

8 Likes

Matt, here’s my crack at your great question:

  1. Over pre-prepare, especially in researching guests that you may not know well. Plan out thoughtful questions in advance, but the through pep will allow you to adapt quickly to the flow of the conversation. Listen and respond accordingly rather than being held captive to your question list.

  2. Sign up early for the Descript editing software. It’s a powerful tool that will save you valuable time. It’s well worth the modest price.

  3. Spend time listening to a variety of other interesting podcasts. Borrow traits, tricks and tips from other podcasters. But be yourself and have fun!

7 Likes

As I operate on the principle that you will do what works for you, I trust that you will take some of the great advice above. There is a lot of it!

My three things for you are:

  1. Simplify your initial process: How can you keep your first 10 episodes as lean as possible, because these create the foundation for your work flow?

  2. Simplify further: What parts of your production can you batch?

  3. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

There’s a theme in there somewhere, I simply can’t quite tease it out. :wink:

6 Likes
  • Give time to learning how to record well rather than editing and fixing in post ( you need to know that too but focus on recording well)
  • good now better later - shipping brings growth
  • start with clarity but know it becomes clearer over time.

:llama:

6 Likes

Hey, great question!

All of the above, for sure.

  1. Practice recording short topics in private or sharing with a small group. Record, listen, improve. This is particularly great if you plan on doing host on mic, but it’s great for everything. It helps you develop a voice and get used to speaking to a recording.

  2. Know your limitations. Be brutally honest with yourself and lovingly forgiving with yourself at the same time.

  3. Don’t give all your SEO away to your podcast server. All too often I will go and Google a podcaster and I find their podcast which is located on the podcast server, like Simplecast.

All that Google juice is going to the wrong place, because it should be going to your website or some digital domain that you have more control over. This is a bit harder to set up but it’s worth it. This is the main reason I use the wordpress based powerpress plug-in.

6 Likes

GREAT question, and amazing work creating a really valuable resource for podcasters new and old(er). Love so much that’s here already. Mine are really just my flavour of things that have already been said:

  1. Build a podcast that you’ll LOVE to keep making, as far as you can tell. Make it something you’re delighted to do, not a chore.
  2. Make the process as simple as possible, with as few ‘production’ things as possible, and those outsourced or done on easy software where possible. Descript is, I’ve heard, amazing.
  3. Make a commitment to make something and keep making it, even if it’s only 12 minutes a week or one episode a month. And stick to that. That way, in a year or two you’ll have created something magical just by being consistent and (if you managed 1 and 2) doing something you love that was quite simple to do the whole time.
5 Likes