Podcasting Tips From PodCamp Toronto 2016

Ryerson University | Photography by Gurpreet Mann

So what is PodCamp?

“A PodCamp is a usually free BarCamp-style community UnConference for new media enthusiasts and professionals including bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, social networkers, and anyone curious about new media.”

I attended PodCamp Toronto 2016 at Ryerson University this past weekend and oh boy, I was not disappointed! I went to 3 podcasting sessions on Saturday.

The Business of Podcasting — Donna Papacosta

This was my first session.

She’s been a regular at PodCamp, and has been coming to PodCamp for over a decade. She recently published a book called The Business of Podcasting.

Papacosta’s session was all about turning your passion into a product and professional podcasting. She talked about event podcasting, how to negotiate with clients and basic content marketing for podcasters.

Here what I learned in her session:

  • When offering services as a podcaster, make sure you have a podcast for potential clients to listen to (like how a writer has a portfolio of articles).
  • Always case the joint before an interview. Mostly to see how the room is for recording (horrible echo, construction noises from across the street, etc).
  • Make the interviewer more comfortable when recording. She suggested letting the interview know more about the process (it’s okay to make mistakes because they can be edited out).
  • Some of the apps she discussed using (and a popular at PodCamp) was Zencastr. Another was Rev for her transcriptions.
  • Profit can come in the form of sponsors, ads or producing for others. If producing for others, let your clients know you have a start-up fee and additional fees per episode (saves you from getting ripped off by clients who no longer want a podcast).
  • You need at least 10,000 listeners (or more) depending on the advertiser. However, you can still get a sponsor if you have dedicated, specific audience they’d be interested in.
  • As for the length of your podcast, Papacosta says it should be as long as it needs to be. However if each episode is around the same time, the listener has some expectations for the next episode (and let them know if you plan to make it longer the next time).
  • Don’t apologize: Sorry for sounding sick, sorry for not publishing last week, etc.
Bob Goyetche & Anthony Marco at PodCamp Toronto 2016 | Photography by Gurpreet Mann

The Session at PodCamp That’s About Podcasting (2016 Edition) — Anthony Marco & Bob Goyetche

First off, these guys are hilarious!

They made it clear their session was not about how to make money with podcasts or marketing your podcasts — it was about the love of podcasting for podcasters.

Fun fact, turns out Goyetche was the third person in Canada to have a podcast (circa 2004).

Their session was unique, they opted for giving tips from A-Z (audio, bit-rate, content, you get the picture).

Here‘s what I learned:

  • The most engaging part of your podcast is you. Not the audio, not the cool effects, but YOU.
  • Don’t distract your audience with stereo, stick to mono. Even 32kg/mono can sound good. After all, most people are listening to you from non-professional headphones.
  • Your content is YOU. People can go online for information, but it’s how you present it that makes them want to come back and listen. Think about your favourite DJ on the radio. Sometimes you go back for him or her, not for the music.
  • Share/spread/support the love. Talk about other podcasters you like in your podcast. Sub-referencing is not the end of the world, like inside baseball, people will get over it.
  • Be genuine. Be you. “Uhms” and “ahhs” are part of your everyday conversation.
  • Conversational sounds better.
“The verbal viruses you have are part of the conversation.” — Anthony Marco.
  • Just get over it and record. Keep talking. (Like getting over writer’s block? Keep writing).

Marco mentioned something really interesting. He talked about podcasting as a hobby; the act of creation, the act of conversation is what it’s all about — the listeners are just a bonus.

Whereas Goyetche had a different stance, “you need [listeners] but it shouldn’t be the reason you’re [podcasting]”.

“The best recorder is the one you have with you.” — Anothony Marco
Lindsay Michael and Kate Evans at PodCamp Toronto 2016 | Photography by Gurpreet Mann

How We Decide What Podcasts to Play on CBC Radio — Lindsay Michael and Kate Evans

What an intelligent duo!

This was probably the most crowded session. The duo views their role as a connector, to connect audiences with podcasts.

Michael and Evans are from @CBC ‘s @PodcastPlaylist. They feature Canadian and international podcasts. They chose a theme and then find podcasts that are related to that theme. They also interview podcasters and no topic is off limits!

They do pay podcasters a standard rate (was not disclosed).

They resort to Googling, following podcasters on Twitter and looking at reviews from The Timbre to find new podcasts.

Here’s what they look for in a podcast:

  • They’re interested if it sounds like a lot of care goes into the sound/editing. A polished voice is what people are used to on the radio, however, Michael and Evans will mix it up by also including podcasts that are not “radio-professional”.
  • Smart and interesting conversation.
  • The ease at which they can find and listen to your podcast.
  • Your podcast doesn’t have to be the highest quality on the best website. Content means more.
  • They do have to follow certain CRTC rules so they do have to edit out curse words (since it is on the radio).
  • Short can be good. Podcasts can be five minutes in length as long as the content is interesting!

Here’s what they don’t look for:

  • Podcasts with bad sound quality, hissing or static.
  • Lack of editing, (ie. too much rambling). Although “rambling podcasts” aren’t suitable for their work, it is a perfectly acceptable form of podcasting that some enjoy.
  • Exciting concept with no follow-through.
  • People imitating other podcasters.
“You will not be a better Ira Glass than Ira Glass, but you will be a better you.” — Lindsay Michael.
  • No story arc or shape to the interview.
  • Poor use of music (too much).
  • Bad jokes (subjective).

They also had some tips on how to improve the quality of your podcast. My favourite tip was from Michael:

“For good sound quality, record in a closet, the clothes absorb the sound.” — Lindsay Michael.

Other podcasters recommended recording in a car or even under your comforter.

Interested? Here’s how to pitch to CBC Radio with your own podcast.

All in all, I’d say PodCamp was a huge success. Make sure you don’t miss the next time PodCamp is in town!

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