I was relatively late to embrace podcasts. I didn’t really get into the medium until listening to Serial back in 2014, but since then I’ve fallen pretty in love with the form. From other true crime podcasts (Criminal; Sword and Scales) to historical (You Must Remember This; What You Missed in History Class) to the fantastic (Lore; Welcome to Nightvale) to fun, pop culture ones (Nerdist; How Did This Get Made), I fell so hard I ended up creating my own with Aimee Lindorff, Lady Parts, about women in front of and behind the camera in sci fi and fantasy film.
It’s been a terrific process and a lot of fun to work with, but I can’t help but wish I’d been a bit better prepared when I’d started out. After all, it can be a pretty difficult process to navigate. Now that I’m pretty familiar with the process of it, I thought I’d compile a few of the things that I’d learned, and the things I wish I’d known back when I started.
Know your genre.
I’m generally of the opinion that you shouldn’t be starting to tell a story in any medium or genre you’re not familiar with. Research, and active participation in a form, is the best education you can get, and also really helps in terms of understanding what you want your podcast to look like, from format to length to regularity. Training a critical ear to podcasts is going to be what helps you make your own the best.
Plan, plan and plan again.
And sure, planning helps too. When Aimee and I first started, our plan was relatively loose, which was great for starting out! But not great for maintenance, longevity or audience building. With Season 2, we set up a strict episode schedule with a strong scheduling gant so that we knew what we were talking about and how we were talking about it well in advance. It means that recording sessions are efficient and that we’re able to maintain the plan that we set out to make which has been essential in building both our profile and audience.
Invest in good tech.
When Aimee and I first started Lady Parts, we were borrowing a microphone which, look. Wasn’t great. Before we began Season 2, I did a ton of research into mics and ended up getting a Blue Yeti USB Microphone, which I’ve been really, really happy with. It’s really good quality and records dual audio well and easily. Of course, the Blue Yeti might not be the best for you. My point is that you need to have a look and work out which equipment is going to suit your purposes and make your recording processes effective, simple and convenient.
Research hosting servers.
It’ll surprise no one that iTunes is the most popular channel for podcasts, but, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t host anything. You’ll need to upload your podcast to an individual hosting server and then set up an RSS feed which channels your podcast through to iTunes, Pocketcast and other podcast listening apps. For LadyParts, we use Soundcloud, but there are a lot of other options out there which are worth investigating. Again, check stuff out, and work out what’s best for you.
Sure, it’s cliche as hell, but you can’t podcast just because you think it’s something on-trend. You’ve got to enjoy doing it, otherwise your audience will hear it, you’re never going to maintain it and, ultimately, you’ll waste your time. It might just mean that the subject isn’t right or maybe podcasting, simply, isn’t for you. So enjoy it!