Seven things I learned about podcasting, from our first ten podcasts
Earlier this year my best friend Lynsay and I sat down to try something new.
We’re both well versed in online content (it’s my day job, and she has a successful blog), but were hankering for a new project. Plus, we wanted to do something together.
Enter the Those Gals podcast.
One of our favourite things is to sit and gab — it would effectively just be that, recorded — right? Well, kinda. We’ve just hit our tenth episode, which seems a good marker to look back at some things I’ve learned so far.
Why share it here? First, it’s an excuse to finally write something on Medium. Second, it took us a little while after having this idea to take the plunge and hit record. So if it’s something you’re considering, I hope this makes it less scary.
1. It’s easy to sound ok, even if you’re recording in your spare room
Need somewhere convenient, and don’t have the £££ for a studio? Not a big deal, we discovered. We’ve taken to recording under a blanket in Lynsay’s back room. It’s nice and quiet, and the blanket fort absorbs echo fairly successfully.
Can’t take too much credit as the fabulous Pop Fashion podcast gave us the idea to try a fort in the first place.
One of the comments we’ve frequently gotten (and feel free to disagree) is that the recording sounds decent. I’m not saying it’s as good as a studio, but it does us fine. In fact, it’s a bonus to be in a space where we’re both very comfortable (aside from occasional bouts of pins and needles).
2. We talk quietly (but we laugh REAL LOUD)
Part of making it sound half-decent, of course, is editing. I don’t cut a whole lot out, unless we get way off track or waffle. My main task is adjusting the volume, and trying to even it out. If you look at our unedited recording, you can spot the laughs a mile off. The rest of the chat is softly spoken.
In short, the amplify tool is my friend, as long as I remember to even out the laughter again.
3. Our accents aren’t as much of an issue as I’d thought
One concern I had before we first posted was that we both have Glasgow/West of Scotland accents. People from Glasgow talkveryfastlikeandwesaylikealotlikealot.
From our stats, this doesn’t seem to have put people off which I love. I can see that we have repeat listeners in Japan, Kenya, the US, New Zealand, Chile, the Czech Republic, Australia, the Phillipines and more — how awesome is that?
4. Overused phrases start to really stick out
When you spend hours listening to yourself, you start to pick up way more on these. I use the word ‘amazing’ way, WAY too much. At least four or five times an episode. It’s started to grate on me when I’m listening back to edit. Not everything can be amazing!
I also overuse the phrase ‘it’s one of the best songs ever’. Again, not every song can be this! (though I fully stand by it for Rebel Rebel by David Bowie).
As a writer, you spot things like this very quickly and have the power to edit them out easily. When you are recording, it’s a little more difficult. I’ve started trying to think of other ways to say stuff — I guess it’s just a practise thing.
5. Always record a back up
Technology is a bitch. If you use a set-up like ours and record onto a laptop or whatever, set yourself up a second device.
A couple of times, Audition has freaked out on me (maybe we need to record on something else and import? Suggestions welcome!) and I’ve had to rely on the backup I record on my phone. This has saved a bunch of time and heartache.
Similarly, once you’ve finished, save a copy of the audio. Just in case.
6. You’ll know when it’s not going right
As I said, we laugh a lot. We are very comfortable in each other’s company and pretty good at playing off each other. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have off days.
At least once, we’ve chosen to rerecord an episode, rather than put it out, because it just didn’t feel as good when we were recording. If we’re not enjoying it, why would you?
7. Just do the podcast
This last point is actually nicked from another favourite of mine, The Weekly Planet podcast. Whenever they’re asked about what to do about starting a podcast, this is their advice.
The act of hitting record sets you going. Then it’s only one more step to upload it somewhere. And it’s just one more to submit that to iTunes. It’s so easy to do. So, just do the podcast. And keep doing it.