This is the second installment of an ongoing collaborative blog series featuring podcasters and their insights. We’ve found that the more we can connect and share our knowledge about podcasting, the more the medium shines and the more we can catapult podcasting into the spotlight.
Our first post all about the hardest podcasting related thing to overcome in 2012 was a big hit. You should definitely check it out.
The voices shared are not only from seasoned podcasters but also from those that just stepped into the medium.
Adapt, learn, and be willing to embrace change, that seems to be the way that podcasters will continue to succeed and inspire in the world of podcasting.
If you think once you know how to podcast you won’t ever need to change the way that you do what you do then you’re in for a world of frustration, and perhaps defeat.
Another fantastic perception about these lessons is that there is no one way to podcast and there is no one workflow. The more podcasters produce and the more open they stay to new technologies the clearer and more individual their workflow becomes. That’s gold.
Ken Burgin from Profitable Hospitality
- Using a proper digital recorder essential to get high quality sound – computer and garageband are not sufficient.
- Worth doing a course to get guidance on technical details.
- Lots to learn from the numerous podcasts on podcasting (!)
- Outsourcing the final production of the podcast (combining files, setting volume level etc) is fast and very inexpensive with odesk.com and saves me learning one more bit of complex software (eg Audition)
Rob Walch from Today in iOS
- First lesson is promoting out to social media – specifically setting up a facebook fan page – is one of the biggest lessons learned. I kind of had my head in the sand when it comes to social media. I am still learning this lesson.
- Second lesson is better management of listener feedback – I think going with evernote for my show notes has made it easier for me to better organize where I place listener feedback into the show and more importantly reorganize where the feedback goes in the show so that it makes more sense.
- Third lesson – Has to do with “mailing it in” I finished one episode back in the spring where I felt at the end of the episode that it was just not a good episode and that I had not put my heart into – that I kind of just “mailed it in” well the episode was done so I just posted it anyway. And well the listeners let me know what I had felt – to the tune of a couple of dozen listeners emailing me asking what was up with that episode. So next time I feel that way – I am just going to delay the episode and start over.
- Fourth – With libsyn’s on-publish tools – there is no excuse for me not to get a better presence in Social media and at a min at least get word out to Facebook and Twitter as soon as a new episode goes out.
Nick Seuberling from Who-Dey Weekly
- One lesson I have learned over the past year is that video does NOT necessarily make your show better (its still the same content). However if you’re recording the video LIVE it allows you a chance to connect with your community more easily.
- It pays to listen. Listen to other podcasts in your field/niche. I used to get upset or angry when people would start “rival” shows, but in reality I think its great to hear other peoples perspectives. You can become a better podcaster just by listening.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Don’t try to be Johnny Radio Voice. People will see through this. Be genuine and you’ll find your community will grow.
Danny Pena from Gamertag Radio
- Always try your best to engage your audience. It’s important to make them feel that they’re part of your journey.
- Take the time to learn about the latest technology that will help your podcast. I feel it’s important to stay up to date and not get left behind. For example, Smartphones weren’t big when I started podcasting. Now almost everyone has one and can download a show from anywhere. This has helped increase our downloads.
- Think outside of the box. To get your name out there always start from your local area. Then think about promoting worldwide.
- Think about longevity, instead of short term. New listeners will search for your old content via Google and other search engines. Always try your best to keep the content fresh and entertaining. One episode can make it or break it for you. Imagine people listening to your podcast 5-10 years from now.
- Take your time editing. No one likes listening to episodes that sounds bad.
Spider Mann from Overheard Podcast
- Audio quality counts. We went through three to four mic setups before we landed on Blue Yetis.
- Cool people help. Sometimes you want to pod and not do any work; having cool guests you can pull in to heft the load makes great episodes.
- Never be afraid to ask famous or semi-famous people on Twitter to guest. You’d be surprised who you can get.
John Harrer from DUH Podcast About Horses and Horsemanship
- Audiences don’t necessarily come flocking to our podcast. 5 billion people on the planet, 4.6 million people in the United States alone involved in the horse industry. Is it too much to ask that 1,000 of them download my podcast each week?
- To do it right, this shit costs money! I initially thought it would be a fun way to connect with people about horses and horsemanship. Because it was a hobby, I wanted to do it on the cheap. Now, I am looking at totally revamping our podcast, getting an official website, and even changing the name of the podcast, all because I did not take a realistic, careful view, of where I wanted to go. Now, I want to earn a little cash to buy more and better equipment and I am going to have to find ways to get my “hobby” to fund itself.
- Producing is hard work. The longer the podcast the longer it takes to produce. We are not good enough to just “roll tape” and send it out there. Each podcast needs to be edited, then have some production elements added, and be preped for distribution. That takes the most precious commodity – time.
Scott Fremont from The Delicate Sauce Podcast
I learned to never doubt yourself. You can never predict what your audience will latch on to and what they won’t so it’s best to never pander or do what you think someone wants to hear. As a podcaster it’s your duty to be honest. The thing people love (and I love) about the podcast medium is there isn’t the normal bullsh*t associated with terrestrial radio. The host doesn’t have a program director to think about or what this sponsor or that sponsor thinks about what they’re saying. It’s pure, unfiltered honesty and it’s becoming a rare thing to find in our culture but it’s the best thing about podcasts.
David Jackson from The School of Podcasting Morning Announcements
- As fun as podcasting is, there are only 24 hours in a day. With this in mind, its probably best to stick with one podcast and fill it with great content instead of doing three podcasts that are mediocre.
- As much as we all want a flame thrower that we can switch on and increase our downloads by 100%, in the end building your audience is done one person at a time. It takes time, but every person is a seed that can grow and then tell others about your podcast.
- Quit obsessing over your audio quality. While bad quality is a sin, if you’ve spent at least $50 on a microphone you are probably in the “listenable” category. Complaining about your sound is not good content for the audience.
Ashley Milne-Tyte from The Broad Experience
- It’s not as hard as I thought it would be to produce a show.
- Keep them short (my original idea was a 20 to 30 minute show, but listeners really seem to like a shorter length, around 12 minutes).
- Building an audience for the podcast is tough. It’s happening very slowly, and I’m impatient.
- It’s incredibly rewarding when you get positive feedback from listeners. It makes all the (free) hard work seem worthwhile.
Kate Macdonald from Why I Really Like This Book
- Prepare the script, and be comfortable with what you’re going to say.
- Eat before recording; tummy rumbles are LOUD.
- Write up the podcast and post it immediately after editing, because your enthusiasm for what you’ve just created produces a great write-up.
- Podcasts should be digestible, snappy, and have a tangible takeaway.
- When you have a cold or a sore throat but have no other time to record, your voice might sound rough to you, but digitised, and on a mic, it sounds pretty good.
Johnny Dertien from iBoardcast Video Podcast
- Smart TV users are the new podcast users.
- People watch the latest video on mobile devices and don’t use podcast clients to download a series of video’s anymore.
- Podcasting isn’t production, shooting video, editing, publishing, updating website and promoting. You also have to take care of all the social media and make sure you label your YouTube video’s right. Podcasting is way more time consuming now.
- Step back and think “Why did I start podcasting?” Than take a look at your shows and you will see that you have to go back to the roots.
Matthew Cutler-Welsh from If Only They’d Told Me
- Back up. If you copy and paste a track from Garage Band, then delete the original, the copy also disappears. I stayed up a whole night trying to recover a day’s recording early on in my editing. Now I make multiple copies of a recording before starting editing.
- Tweet and retweet. We do a weekly show. I find it’s not enough to just promote the show at the beginning of the week. Re-tweeting the same message during the week helps.
- Lots of people still don’t know about podcasts. Here in New Zealand, many our podcast ‘If Only They’d Told Me’, is often a Mum’s very first podcast.
Steve Michael from Mancave Movie Review
- Consistency in getting shows uploaded on a regular basis. We do a weekly podcast and have been online since last February and have only missed two shows due to scheduling conflicts.
- We keep the show moving by creating an agenda and sticking with it and keep getting sidetracked at a minimum.
- Setting up each episode several weeks in advance and also recording a ‘backup’ show in the event we are unable to record a show.
Matthew Kane from Intrepid Audio Productions – IAP Podcast
What lessons have I learned?
- Use social media.
- There will be road bumps – co-hosts / friends come and go, technical problems can ruin a recording session, life happens, you name it, it can and will happen.
- Take chances. Expand your horizons and listen to shows that wouldn’t normally be on your radar.
David Leedy from Notes in 9
- The first is to just relax and be yourself. You want to have good production values but you want to stay approachable. Don’t be afraid to say something unexpected or “less then polished” if that’s who you are. Don’t let your show become so clean it’s sterile.
- Another lesson I learned is to engage your audience and even your peers. Bring unexpected people on the show. Go outside your community and try and pull others into it. For example, I ran a 90 day “event” on my show called “DriveTo99”. It was a big push to go from 72 episodes to 99 in 90 days. I invited contributors to come on and share content. It was a huge success. I met my goal and got a lot of content and new contributors that I would not have if I didn’t create the event. It was a win/win/win. I got more shows. The contributors got exposure and the community got much more content.
- 3rd lesson is always check your sound ahead of time. On My Mac the audio input levels seems to randomly change when I first plug in my microphone. Make a little checklist of the settings you like to have and verify it before you start recording.
Robert Bailie from Surrounded in Pittsburgh Steel City Resistance and Pittsburgh Radio: Burghseyeview
- Our listeners/viewers wait for us to publish material and when we get held up for whatever reason they get pissed, and that is very humbling. This causes us to put in the extra time needed to produce a decent product.
- Pre checking your equipment is imperative, especially if you produce a show while imbibing (Burghseyeview). It’s a bear trying to troubleshoot electronics after a few meisters.
- Audio quality or the lack thereof will drive people from your audience. Nobody wants crackling choppy, overdriven audio in their earbuds.
William J. Meyer from Fire on the Mound
- The biggest podcasting lesson that I learned would be that promoting and finding an audience for FIRE ON THE MOUND is more work than producing the podcast itself. As a serial narrative, our show is heavy on post-production, so I don’t have as much time as I would like to spread the word. But, once the series is complete, I’ll spend my weekly allotted time for editing on reaching out to an audience.
- Another lesson I learned is that the social media worlds do not necessarily cohabitate. Our followers on Twitter generally do not engage us on Facebook, and likewise those that have liked our Facebook page tend not to tweet about us. That was an eye-opener; engaging each of these audiences on their own terms is essential.
- And a third lesson learned is that our audience has wildly different preferences for episode length. Some think the weekly half-hour episodes are just right in duration, either for a commute in the morning, or a walk during their lunch hour. But we also receive a number of requests to compile several hours of the story into a single audio file, which we might do once the series is complete.
Elsie Escobar from Elsie’s Yoga Class
- Plan ahead. My production this year was in no way close to what my intentions of production were. I know in hindsght, if I would have crafted a production calendar and even batch produced episodes, I would have done much better.
- Let go of expectations. When I began podcasting I had a very open schedule and a lot of time to produce. I enjoyed improvising when I recorded and wanted to do it only when I was inspired. My life is completely different than it was 6 years ago. I don’t have that kind of time nor the luxury to record when I’m inspired to do so. I had to let go of expectations of the right time and just do it! Seems simple to do, but not very easy. I’m still fightng this mindset.
- Podcast listeners are loyal. Since I have been incredibly inconsistent in producing I thought that I lost a lot of my subscribers. Lo and behold, every time I finally posted an episode, they were right there with me. I’m in awe and very humbled by it. Now if I could get myself together and publish a little more consistently, that would be a great thank you to them.
What do you guys think?
Good stuff no?
We are really loving this amazing collaborative mind think.
How about you? What were some lessons you learned this year as a podcaster?