Five common podcasting myths and why they shouldn’t be holding you back

Starting a podcast can be a daunting task, particularly if you associate microphones with drunken uncles making a tit of themselves at a family wedding.

If you don’t have any editing experience and the only thing you’ve pressed record on is the VCR it’s easy to assume podcasting is reserved for people more up to speed than you. But if you have content you truly believe will help, serve or entertain people and you’ve got the passion to deliver it, then everything else can be learned.

So if you’ve been thinking about podcasting but have talked yourself out of it because of any of the following myths, allow me to put your mind at ease…

I can’t start a podcast because…

Myth 1: …I’m really bad with technology

Despite being surrounded by high tech radio equipment for most of my career, I really only just got a handle on sending email. To be fair I am the daughter of a man who once asked “could you bring the Facebook over so I can have a look at it?” So clearly I’m not sporting the most tech savvy genes.

But these days editing and recording are second nature to me because all it takes to get a handle on this stuff, is practice. Thanks to the popularity of podcasting and everyone’s penchant for DIY, there are countless YouTube tutorials and training programs that mean you can get up to speed wth audio editing software even if you’ve never touched it before. It’s also priced really affordably (or for free) and is available on monthly plans, so you can try it and if it’s not for you, try something else.

Really the biggest hurdle to get over with technology, is fear. If you’ve never used it before, of course it’s going to look daunting but trust me, if Little Miss “can you bring the Facebook over” genes can get a handle on it, you’ll be fine.

Myth 2: …I can’t afford a home studio

If you want to be one of those types who walks onto the tennis court for their first lesson looking like they’ve just stepped off the court at Wimbledon, that’s fine. But when you’re starting out it’s important to remember you don’t need to buy the best of everything.

If you wanted to get rocking and rolling asap, you could set up a home studio that would do the job for under $200 (provided you already had a computer). All you really need is a microphone, headphones and audio editing software and when you’re starting out your ordinary headphones will do. You can download Audacity for free as audio editing software, or get a monthly subscription to Adobe Audition for US$22. All you need after that is a microphone, which you could definitely pick up for the difference and still have change to spare. So while there’s never an excuse for bad audio the difference between bad and good isn’t donating a kidney.

If you want to know more about the different tech options, check out my podcasting guide.

Myth 3: …I don’t have time

Let’s be brutally honest here — we all have time for the things we want to make time for, no matter how busy we are. You can truly believe there isn’t a spare minute left in your day for anything and if someone you’ve got the hots for asks you out you’ll magic up 3 hours of uninterrupted alone time, quick smart.

Finding the time to do a podcast requires some good time management skills but you also need to be brutally honest with yourself about why you want to do it. If the reason isn’t strong enough to get you to seriously commit to the treadmill of rolling out weekly episodes, you’ll never find the time. So rather than beat yourself up about it every week its probably best to wait until you do have time to focus on it.

When you do, here are some things that will help you get a handle on the workload…

  • Get ahead of yourself — don’t get in the habit of recording episodes week to week or you’ll be hating life really quickly. Believe me, those seven days come around FAST!
  • Set yourself realistic goals — if you want to do a podcast but you’re absolutely swamped with life and work, you don’t have to start now. Set yourself a realistic goal, even if it’s a year away, and use the time in between to get your head into ideas mode so when you come to plan your first episode you’ve got a notepad full of stuff to draw on.
  • Pick a show structure that decreases your editing time — maybe you have lofty dreams of a show with segments and snazzy audio elements but maybe that will have to wait until it’s got an audience that can justify the time it takes to add the bells and whistles.
  • Batch record — pick a time to record and try and knock over as many episodes as possible. If you could record three 30 minute episodes in a couple of hours that immediately puts you three weeks ahead of yourself in less time than it takes to watch a movie.

Myth 4: …I don’t have a radio voice

Show me someone who loves the sound of their own voice and I’ll show you a Kardashian. It’s completely natural to dislike the way your voice sounds when you hear it recorded because it’s different to the way we hear our voices every day. Chances are you’re just being paranoid but if you do have a very unique voice you shouldn’t be ashamed of it because it can actually be a real advantage.

Think about This American Life host, Ira Glass. He doesn’t have the typical radio voice but people LOVE him. Why? Because he’s a brilliant storyteller who comes across as authentic, genuine and interested.

If you’re passionate about your content and you can connect with your listeners, a unique voice will be a good thing because it will make your show sound 100% you.

Myth 5: I don’t have any radio or presenting experience

While it’s important to know how to use your voice, if you have a genuine passion for your content and want to share it with your listeners, the rest can be taught. Passion, expertise, knowledge and a genuine willingness to connect are things you’ve either got or you don’t but good presentation is something you’ll get better at the more time you spend behind a microphone.

So go forth, future podcasters, and remember that practice makes perfect!

Read more articles like this at Rachel’s blog or check out her online podcasting course, Podschool.

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