Podcasting special part 2: some tips to help you start your own show

2

Yesterday we dipped into some of the impressive stats around podcasting, which have hopefully left you enthused about giving it a go yourself. However, that can be easier said than done. With that in mind, here’s a few tips on how to get podcasting.

I should confess at this point that I don’t claim to be anything like a podcasting expert – heck, I’ve only been doing it for a couple of months. That said, I still feel like I’ve learned enough to pass on something useful.

I’ve tried to split these tips into both strategic and practical stuff – I hope they help!

Strategic stuff

Don’t be afraid to go niche. In fact, you’ll probably do far better if you do go niche. Like with most forms of social media, it’s often better to have a smaller but engaged community of followers than just sheer numbers. It’s the same for podcasts; instead of striving for huge numbers, why not find a subject matter where you can stand out and really fill a gap and do something new. As Forbes’ Dorie Clark says, “think about trying to crush it in your niche”. 

If you’re going niche, you’re also likely to end up podcasting about what you know and what you love, which is absolutely the best way to go. Not only will this make for a better show, but you’ll find it far easier to stay motivated to keep casting. I knew early on that I wanted to start a podcast about music, having been inspired by the absolutely brilliant That’s Not Metal (more on them coming this week). However, I didn’t want to just copy what Hill and Beez are doing – aside from it being a pretty poor way of operating, my own version would simply have been nowhere near as good.

Instead, I decided to go niche and focus on the unsigned rock and metal scene in Birmingham, and put together Dave’s World – a show that gives those young bands a platform to have their music and voices heard. Being in an unsigned band myself, it’s a scene and subject I’m passionate about and hopefully that comes across in the show.

That last sentence reminds me of another tip wanted to include here – you need be real and have passion about your subject, so bear this in mind when you’re planning your own podcast.

I’ve also found it incredibly useful to put together a regular structure for your show. It makes planning, writing and recording it much easier, gives your listeners a bit of continuity and saves time each week which, when you’re putting together a show alongside a full time job and everything else life throws at you, is a massive boost.

The structure is, obviously, down to you; for Dave’s World my running order is always as follows:

  • Opening jingle into a quick introduction for the show and plug of the website, social media channels and request to subscribe in iTunes
  • A selection of news stories, first from national and global bands and then from Birmingham acts
  • A ‘song of the week’ from a local band
  • A selection of reviews of new albums and EPs, both from global and local bands
  • An interview with a Birmingham that is preceded and followed by some of their music
  • Pick out a selection of gigs coming up in Birmingham over the next week that are worth attending
  • Recap the headlines from the show in a ‘what have we learned?’ section
  • Say goodbye, closing jingle, done

You’ll see I’ve mentioned jingles in my structure and they are definitely something worth factoring in at your planning stage. I recorded my own theme tune and a couple of 5-second licks on guitar to break up sections of the show, but you could always source your own from somewhere like AudioJungle

One final tip for this strategic section – think about frequency. I publish weekly at the same time on the same day, as do all of the other podcasts I’ve subscribed to. Again, it helps massively with time management and makes promoting the show far easier too. Also, my audience knows when to expect new content and also knows how long they’ve got to listen before they fall behind.

Practical stuff

So, you’ve done some planning and have got an idea of what your show will look like, but how do you actually go about getting it online?

Well, one of the beautiful things about podcasting is that it’s really not difficult to do. With a computer, a microphone, some basic editing software and internet access you can be casting very quickly.

There’s a really great list put together by The Podcast Host that gives you a great overview – for Dave’s World, I record into an Olympus LS-100 handheld recorder (which makes getting out and about to meet and interview bands really easy), I piece the show together using Audacity and then upload it to and host it on my website that I built using Squarespace, which has a very handy hook-up to iTunes.

If you’re planning interviews but can’t always get to chat to your guests face-to-face then you should look into using Skype for those chats and capturing them – there’s plenty of options for recording Skype conversations, most of which are actually listed on Skype’s help pages

As I’ve mentioned, you need a website to host your podcast – building one is nowhere near as daunting as it sounds with platforms such as WordPress and Squarespace available and more ‘how-to’ guides online than you could ever need.

Of course, you probably also want to know how to get your podcast onto iTunes once you’re done. Again, there is loads of advice on doing this available online, including this comprehensive piece by Blubrry

That’s about it really, give it a go and let me know how you get on! And for all those already podcasting, what other tips would you add? Let me know below!

*Check out the rest of my series of posts about podcasting*

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