Four tips for starting a podcast

What we’ve learned so far making the Etch Podcast

Amy Grinstead joins me on the first episode

TL:DR: We just launched the audio experience from user experience design consultancy Etch. In each episode, we’ll talk about what’s happening in design, digital production and marketing with our own special Etch way.

If you’re considering getting on the audio bandwagon (like we are!), here’s some tips from what I’ve learnt so far:

1. Just start and learn

This isn’t the first podcast I’ve created. I like having “running before walking” and by making a few episodes by myself just to understand the medium before committing to it properly enables me to make decisions.

Even if it ends in failure, I’ve learnt something and that’s the valuable part right there.

2. Ask yourself “would I listen to this myself?”

One question I had as I went through those initial sole recordings was “would I listen to this myself?”

I think Anders Justesen Jensen puts it best, when talking about Rapha, the cycling brand:

Quality must be evident in every consumer touch point where Rapha is the sender. In order to translate this into an operational guide Rapha has a clear rule of thumb: everything they produce should be admired by professional peers.
This means that their imagery should be respected by photographers, their videos should be admired by filmmakers and their clothing design should be approved by designers and athletes.

I try to aim for this in every piece of content we produce. Photos that photographers can appreciate. Email newsletters that share tips on a regular basis. Creating an audio experience that audio professionals could approve — that’s the next goal.

Another thing I’m aware of is taste and value. What can we add to the conversation without adding to the noise and do it in a way that only we know how?

3. Podcasts almost always sound better with more than one person

This is the fundamental thing I learnt when creating those first few recordings. If you’re an entrepreneur or a famous personality, sure you can lead with yourself, but it’s going to be very one-sided. Gary Vaynerchuck I am not!

Understanding what I did like listening to as well as seeing what podcasts were doing well, they were largely made up of two or three people. It adds variety and ends up being more fun!

4. Have structure to fall back on, but lead with conversation

We start with a few bullet points to give structure, but try not to be lead to firmly by them. For our episode on Content Design, they were:

  • Introduction
  • What is content design?
  • How does content-first actually work?
  • How can content design work with digital product design?
  • Words or jargon we hate

Allow yourself to go off on tangents — it’s natural language after-all! This will come with further episodes and to be honest, with it just being an audio experience, it does help in reducing the pressure of being put on the spot.

So there you have it. We’ll learn and share more as we go, but hopeful these four tips will help you when starting your own podcast.

I’m Ross Chapman, a product designer at Etch where I run Etch Sprints.

For upcoming audio episodes, you had better go here: iTunes or Spotify.