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Podcasting Experiments

Podcasting Experiments is all about experimenting with your podcast. We explore ways you can implement and test different ideas to improve your podcast by looking at different strategies and ideas from other podcasters.
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Now displaying: Page 1
Nov 13, 2019

Barrett Soop, together with his wife Leandra Soop, runs Be Seen Company which is a video and podcast production company. Hoping to improve his marketing skills, he ventured into podcasting. Now, Barrett is able to give people the opportunity to share their own stories through his podcast, Made In Monrovia. Aside from podcasting, Barrett also spends his time creating content for social media platforms and websites.

 

In this episode, Barrett shares great tips and insights for anyone who wants to start a local podcast. One of which is “In a local podcast, you need to have a view that really isn’t about you, it’s  about your community as a whole and bringing it together.” Tune in for more!

 

Episode Spotlights:

  • Branching Out: Barrett’s Journey to Podcasting
  • Business Evolution: From Using Simple Tech to Upgrading and Producing Podcasts
  • If You Could Go Back In Time, What Would You Do Differently?
  • Advice for Starting A Local Podcast
  • Equipment for Starters: Go Big or Start Small?
  • Biggest Struggle with Local Podcasting?
  • How to Grow A Local Podcast
  • Advertisements and Sponsorship on Local Podcasting
  • Raw Conversations vs. Using A Script

 

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

Oct 29, 2019

Mark Bologna is the host of Beyond Bourbon Street, a local podcast about New Orleans. He actually talks regularly with Chris Hollifield from the I Am Salt Lake podcast, and they help each other to continue to grow in their podcasts.

Today, we’ll hear:

  • The best advice for someone starting a local podcast.
  • The biggest struggle Mark has had on his podcasting journey.
  • How to go about getting ads and sponsors for the podcast.
  • And how you can grow a local podcast.

Mark starts by telling you how he first started with podcasting.

 

Key Milestones of the Episode:

  •  (01:20): Getting to know how our guest started his podcast
  •  (04:02): Vital equipment for starting a podcast
  •  (06:14): The best advice for someone starting a local podcast
  •  (10:07): The biggest podcasting challenges our guest has had
  •  (12:18): How can you grow a local podcast?
  •  (16:08): Getting ads and sponsorship for a podcast
  • (24:33): How do you know if you are ready to start a new podcast?

 

Key Quotes from the Episode:

  • “Good doesn’t necessarily mean expensive.”
  • “Any location in the country and the world is really interesting when you dig into it.”
  • “People tend to compare numbers in ways that aren’t helpful.”
  • “Don’t say my podcast is for everyone who wants to visit, say a city. That’s not a demographic.”
  • “No matter what you think, you will learn by doing, and the feedback you’ll get as you build up listeners will help influence you.”

 

Resources Mentioned:

Oct 15, 2019

Looking for local podcasting tips? Great! Sit back, relax and listen to this episode with Chris Hollifield.

Chris Holifield is the host and producer of the I am Salt Lake podcast. Self taught in the podcasting world, he believes everyone should have an opportunity to share their story. Even though he was born and raised in California, he will always call Utah home. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Krissie, and their daughter Lucy.

In this episode, Chris shares some great tips for people who want to start a local podcast and most importantly, how to grow it. One notable advice he gives is to spend money on hiring a coach. Why? Tune in to learn more!

 

Episode Spotlights:

  • Being Self Taught: Chris’s Journey to Podcasting (0:28)
  • If You Could Go Back In Time, What Would You Do Differently? (4:10)
  • Tips and Advice for Starting a Local Podcast (5:30)
  • Recommended Equipment for Local Podcasting (8:30)
  • Overcoming Obstacles (10:20)
  • How to Grow Your Audience? (14:30)
  • Advertisements on Local Podcasting (19:50)

 

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

Oct 1, 2019

If you are a podcaster, or a wannabe podcaster, this episode is definitely for you!

Jason Norris of PodcastLocal.com joins us to talk about podcasting – from the startup, recommended equipment, obstacles to building a successful podcast.  Jason is a podcast producer, editor, consultant, and advocate. He shows the people how to use the concept of on-the-go learning to teach, train, tell stories, and change lives.

Jason shares a lot of powerful and insightful messages. One of which is:

 “The number 1 most important thing about local podcast is the people. People make up the community.”

 Tune in for more!

 

Episode Spotlights:

  • Jason’s Journey to Podcasting (1:25)
  • If You Could Go Back In Time, What Would You Do Differently? (3:25)
  • Tips and Advices for Wannabe Podcasters (5:45)
  • Recommended Equipment for Local Podcasting (11:30)
  • Biggest Struggle Local Podcasting (17:05)
  • How to Grow Your Audience? (23:45)

AND MUCH MORE!

 

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

 ----- 

  • Do you want to take your podcast to the next level, but just don’t have the time to make it happen?
  • Is your time stretched to the max, struggling to get your podcast episode out?
  • Do you need help just getting started?

Podcast Guy Media can offer the solution to both recover your time and improve your podcast.

Aug 1, 2019

I'm preparing for Season 6 of Podcasting Experiments!

The topic I plan to cover is Geographic Podcasting. This would be like any local (city/county), state, region (i.e. Rocky Mountains), etc. that focuses on a particular geographic region.

I plan to bring people on that can share their experience of why and how they podcast locally. I'm going to compile the tips and advice to help you if you plan to start a local podcast of some sort.

If you have any feedback, questions, or suggestions, please email me at joshua@podcastguymedia.com 

Jul 16, 2019

If you need help with your podcast, check out Podcast Guy Media. I can help you launch your podcast or ongoing editing services (actually, I can help with just about anything with your podcast).

 

April Ockerman began podcasting about 9 months ago. She had spent about a year doing research into how to start her podcast.

While she worked through figuring out her budget for podcasting, deciding what pieces of podcasting equipment to get, which software to use for recording and editing, April also had to face her fears of getting started by realizing that she can really impact people through her podcast.

Some lessons she learned as she got started:

  • Do you research - find out what makes a good audience, what length your audience likes
  • Ask people to listen to the podcast
  • Be open to receive feedback
  • Set the time aside (it takes her about 3 hours to do two 15 minute episodes)
  • Just go for it!

How April has promoted her podcast:

  • Created a facebook group
  • Put the podcast on her website
  • Share it on social media
  • PodcastGuests.com
  • Article in the local newspaper

She recommends that everyone look into working with their local newspaper to get a story done on their podcast or podcast topic. 

Her biggest pain point is monetizing her podcast. One great resource that helped her was a couple episodes of the School of Podcasting with Glenn the Geek from the Horse Radio Network.

 

Resources and Links:

Jun 20, 2019

Have you struggled to find the niche for your podcast?

Today's guest is Brain Kane from the The Real Brian Show, former host of ProfitCast and ArrowSquad. When he started The Real Brian Show, he struggled with the whole "niche" issue and, as a result, struggled with how to define his podcast to others.

Listen to his podcasting journey:


[02:00] As a kid, Brian wanted to be a morning DJ, but when he began with radio, interest in radio was fading, and it didn't pay well. He tried figuring out podcasting in 2013, and discovered Cliff Ravenscraft's Podcasting A to Z which made it easy. Joshua first found Brian when Dave Jackson and Daniel J. Lewis separately mentioning ProfitCast. Joshua and Joshua connected regarding sponsorship possibilities.
[04:30] How (or why) did Brian start podcasting? His first show was "Backstage Pass" (interviewing hip-hop artists) and then "TV Talk" (hosting podcasts about TV shows paying $80-90/hour). Brian took another course in 2014, researching how to grow an audience. Everyone charged for "the secret" and Brian interviewed people who had succeeded monetizing their podcast.
[07:20] ProfitCast lasted 110 episodes and 2 years. None of Brian's peers were making the amount of money they wanted with their shows. Ironically, a published author and public speaker Brian listened to was not interesting. After 50 episodes, the guests were dispensing the same recycled advice. He was not seeing a massive impact and felt something was missing.
[11:20] The successful people Brian was interviewing were not sharing everything, either on purpose or didn't know -- they were lucky. Podcasting can be like network marketing: if you're good at it and get in at the right time, you can be successful. They're extroverted AND good at selling. They claim anyone can be successful at podcasting (or network marketing) -- which isn't entirely true. Some people will never be "that good" at podcasting.
[13:00] The people at the top have a very unique combination of skills: charisma, extroversion, entertainment, sales, and marketing. If you don't have that unique combination, you must get creative and succeed with your own skillset. However, don't try to emulate the greats like John Lee Dumas and Cliff Ravenscraft. Observed what worked for them and apply it within your own personality.
[14:50] By 2016, podcasting was noisy compared to 2008, and Brian felt there was nothing new to say on ProfitCast. Since then, he's learned a few new things he could share. He's currently learning about achieving celebrity status, which can succeed in acquiring loyal listeners. Once you create a course or run advertising, you'll get the money.
[16:30] Many podcasters feel they've said everything there is to say but feel the pressure to keep going. Brian announced the ending and explained the timeline of that final wrap-up. Some podcasters get frustrated/discouraged and either put out junk or they pod-fade.
[18:45] If Brian ever restarted ProfitCast, he wouldn't be as nice with guests. He'd push for the answer he was looking for. Also, Brian isn't a niche person. For some reason, podcasting has become about niches. In any other form of media (i.e. Shark Tank), they hate niches. Brian is a Type 7 (Enthusiast) enneagram with a multitude of interests/talents and gets bored doing the same thing for too long. He usually won't finish a book because it doesn't keep his attention.
[21:30] After ProfitCast, Brian decided he was done talking about podcasting. He also can't talk about one single TV show anymore. Variety in your life is okay.
Three years into the Real Brian Show, it's been very tied to him as a person. He began the show wanting to talk about more but overthought it every step of the way. Just starting the radio station at the high school, morale went up. He's made people smile and helped them have a better life. People told him it needed more, but that led to further complicatations.
[25:50] The Real Brian Show was created to talk about a variety of things, and help people have a happier day. The side aspect was "Unleashing the Superhero" to embrace who you really are and be continually better. They also embraced the idea of nerding out on your passions without apology.
His big mistake was listening to too much advice and adjusting based on what others thought he should do. Brian has been bringing things back to his basic core elements plus his beliefs for the show: have a better day, and smile.
[29:20] Adults get married, find a life of responsibilities, and they stop having fun. It's time to get balance in life. Also, follow your own journey. For example, Instagram may work well for others, but not you. Instagram may also work for you at a different point in time.
[31:10] Brian is intentionally trying to break the mold. He observes what others are doing, what's working, but is his own trailblazer. He's not a teacher and wants to create a show that is valuable.
[32:30] Podcasters are taught to "get the numbers up" into tens of thousands of listeners to get advertising. However, he has loyal listeners -- his friends he made because of the show. Just because people say you should niche (or teach) doesn't make that you should. Define what success looks like for you -- it's NOT always money or thousands of listeners. Are you influencing people and creating friendships? Do your words make an impact and change lives? You don't hear that message enough.


If you found this podcast useful or interesting, please share it with a friend.

Links/Resources:
The Real Brian Show: RealBrianShow.com (The Voice of the Nerdy Eclectic)
Daniel J. Lewis, The Audacity to Podcast: https://theaudacitytopodcast.com/

May 14, 2019

In this episode, we speak with Eric Hunley, the host of the Unstructured Podcast. He starts out by discussing the inspiration behind his podcast and the reasoning for his unique podcasting approach. Eric explains why he often brings in other people to assist him with interviewing guests and how he does not realize he is learning during each show. Then, Eric explains why he hates show notes and how he does not have time for everything because of his full-time job.

Eric Hunley is forging his path in interview style podcasts as the host of the Unstructured Podcast. Not surprisingly, it is a formula that is now being followed by many other podcasters. Eric has created over 100 interview style podcasts in less than nine months, with a gambit of podcast guests sourced from all corners of the globe. New podcasters and seasoned professionals often seek out his knowledge and have begun following his unstructured direction.

 

Eric started out by being an expert listener. He listened to some expert podcasters like Joe Rogan and Adam Carolla but ended up getting bored. It took Eric over ten years to start a podcast by the time he decided he would begin one because he could not decide what topic would keep him interested. His idea was to create an idea pub; the requirement for guests were people who are really cool or who do something really cool. Eric goes against all the rules of podcasting and does not niche down.

Initially, when Eric started out the show, it was all about his guests. He came to learn over time that it is not all about the guests, it is all about the audience. Eric can better serve the audience by bringing in experts. For instance, he brought in a third level black belt and invited his friend who is also a UFC fan to help with the interview. Another guest Eric had on the show is a medical intuitive, someone who is told by a spirit how to heal a patient. Being a skeptic, Eric brought in someone who grew up with alternative medicine and another person who is a hypnotist. Between all of these people, the conversation was informative and open-minded.


In a recent interview, Eric talked with Super Joe Pardo, a well-known podcaster who charges his guests to be on the show. Also, he interviewed Christopher Lochhead, another podcaster who is against the idea of guests being charged. Eric facilitated a discussion about whether or not podcasters should be charging their guests or not.

Eric is always learning and is not very disciplined on the takeaways from his show. He has not taken an active role in studying the content from his show, but he does learn material from his guests. The best interviews are when you can connect with the other person and make it feel more like a conversation rather than a formal interview.

 

LINKS MENTIONED:

 

 

Feb 7, 2019

In this episode, Joshua talks with Natalee Allen Champlin, former host of the third episode of The Mentee Podcast. Natalee shares the unusual way she became the host of a podcast that she didn’t start herself and the lessons (both good and bad) from that experience.

What We Talked About

  • How Natalee transitioned from podcast listener to host
  • Why Geoff (the owner of The Mentee Podcast) chose an unusual method to keep his podcast alive
  • How to learn from every experience to become better…including failure
  • Lessons Natalee learned about growing as a podcaster
  • How to find your “sweet spot” as a podcaster in a world full of podcasts

Key Takeaways

  • Be open to new experiments. An experiment, like a change in podcast format or features, could open a new opportunity for you.
  • Don’t be afraid of healthy conflict. When working with others, don’t be afraid to stand by and defend your ideas on a project or idea.
  • Don’t hold on to failure. If something no longer serves you or your mission, don’t be afraid to let it go.
  • Learn from your failure. Every experience offers opportunities for learning.

 

About Your Guest

Natalee Chapman is an entrepreneur, Mom, “wannabe astronaut” fill-in marketing director, business coach, and former host of the third season of The Mentee Project who is building a leadership development company.

Links:  

Instagram

Twitter

My Best Self Podcast

My Best Self Facebook Community

 

Resources to Check Out

Final episode of The Mentee Podcast

Dec 4, 2018

Drew Ackerman joins us on the podcast today to talk about his podcast, Sleep with Me.

We explore several areas:

  • Diving into a niche that wasn't really being served
  • Creatively and purposely rambling
  • Facing imposter syndrome
  • And more...

Check out his podcast here:

https://www.sleepwithmepodcast.com/

Oct 22, 2018

Jonathan Messinger is the creator of the kids podcast Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian.  When his son became interested in audiobooks, he went looking for podcasts for kids. When he couldn’t find anything, he decided to create his own. He writes and performs all episodes of the podcast, with his 9year old son Griffin serving as editor.

 

  • How Jonathan got into podcasting (01:37)
  • Why Jonathan decided to make a podcast rather than a book (02:53)
  • How the sound design of the show has developed (05:19)
  • Jonathan’s process for creating the podcast (07:25)
  • The challenge of getting the word out about the show (08:48)
  • Why Jonathan started doing live shows and what his format is (09:54)
  • Jonathan’s involvement in the Gen-z Network (14:13)
  • Some of Jonathan’s podcasting failures (19:22)

 

The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian

http://www.finncaspian.com/

 

earth@finncaspian.com

 

Twitter: @finncaspian

https://twitter.com/finncaspian

 

Instagram: @finncaspian

https://www.instagram.com/finncaspian

 

Podcast Engineering School – Episode 33

https://podcastengineeringschool.com/jonathan-messinger-pes-033/

 

GEN-Z Media

http://www.gen-z.fm/

 

 

Best Robot Ever (All the GEN-Z podcasts)

http://www.bestrobotever.com/

 

The Unexplained Dissapearance of Mars Patel

http://www.marspatel.com/

 

PRX

https://www.prx.org/

Aug 15, 2018

This is a quick episode to give you an update on the podcast and what's been going on with me (i.e. why I haven't published recently).

This is also an experiment with me recording the podcast in a new way for me. This episode has not been edited like I normally do, so it's much more raw. I basically just did some de-noise for the background noise, adjusted the volume, and cut big gaps.

Check out the website for more great episodes and resources:

http://podcastingexperiments.com

Mar 6, 2018

Eric started podcasting in his senior year of college. Inspired by a conversation in a Facebook group, he researched the idea. Once he had figured out how to do it, he was persuaded to just do it. He was joined by Justin and although the audio was terrible, they got the first one out. Now 9 years later they have 6 podcasts and have branched into experimenting with narrative podcasts.

  • How Eric got into podcasting 9 years ago
  • How Justin's story intertwines
  • The moment they decided to take podcasting seriously and create the current iteration of Three Fifs Podcast
  • How they started Rolling 12s, a narrative podcast of a tabletop roleplay of Vampire the Requium and how it has evolved
  • The practicalities of recording the Rolling 12s podcast
  • Where they get their music from
  • Their experience of  creating a narrative from scratch
  • How having live players that can do anything, challenges telling the narrative

Their Podcasts:

Connect via Twitter:

Creative commons music - http://incompetech.com/

Creative commons sound effects - https://freesound.org/

Feb 14, 2018

From fan of podcasts to producer of podcasts. As an avid fan of podcasts, a little bit of research led Paul to realize podcasting is relatively cheap and easy to get into. He bought a Radio Shack mic and just started talking. He tried all sorts of different themes including socio-political issues and soccer before figuring out how to be authentic and entertaining. This led to his first fictional podcast. Now 6 years later he has 3 fiction podcasts, 2 more in the making and a podcast about writing.

 

  • How Paul got started in podcasting
  • The journey and failures that got him to the podcasts he has now
  • How Paul's podcast Diary of a Madman came about
  • Utilizing your downtime and finding a niche by experimenting
  • How Diary of a Madman has developed to include other writers for the next few seasons
  • Editing episode by episode versus editing the whole season
  • How to smartly invest your energy when trying to grow your audience
  • Why Paul created the Fate Crafters network
  • The advantages of belonging to a podcast network

 

 

Paul's Website:

http://www.paulsating.com/

 

Paul's Podcasts:

Subject: Found – http://www.paulsating.com/subject-found

Diary Of A Madman - http://www.paulsating.com/diary-of-a-madman

Athiest Apocolypse - http://www.paulsating.com/atheist-apocalypse

Who Killed Julie? - http://www.paulsating.com/who-killed-julie

Horrible Writing - http://www.paulsating.com/horrible-writing

 

 

Fate Crafters  Podcast Network

https://www.fatecrafters.com/

Jan 17, 2018

Amanda’s podcasting journey

 

Amanda has just reached her 2nd podcast anniversary for her current show, Great Beer Adventure. However, it was nearly 3 years ago that she started looking at podcasting. She was a teacher, feeling depressed with a very long commute. Her husband recommended listening to Serial, and then one day said to her, ‘You could do this. You could make a podcast.’ Amanda says she never does anything by half so she dived full on into the deep end.

 

She always teaches herself how to do things before showing others that she’s working on it, so Amanda actually had a starter podcast that she published called Dear Diary. It was her talking into a microphone, learning the process of editing and uploading, but she has long since deleted it. Somebody told her early on that ‘your first podcast will die’ so the purpose of that first podcast was really just to be a practice and to kill it off once she knew what she was doing.

 

Wanting to go after something she felt passionate about, once she was comfortable, Amanda started Great Beer Adventure in 2015. These days, she is no longer teaching and spends her days doing podcast- and beer-related things fulltime. The podcast itself isn’t a full-time job but Amanda also does social media for a malt company, is putting together an event for beer geeks, and is helping Jessica Kupfermann with a program. Without the podcast none of that would be possible and she’s glad she’s been able to make up her own job.

 

Podcasting in the wild

 

First and foremost, Amanda makes a point to go where her people are. She calls it ‘podcasting in the wild’. The show is about people’s stories and their passions around craft beer and she’s talked to everybody in the industry, from malstsers, hops farmers, brewers and the people that clean the tap lines. She wants them to feel the most comfortable so they’ll tell her their innermost fears and joys—if she can make somebody cry, she gets excited—so she has recorded in hops fields, warehouses, breweries, tap rooms and bars. The only thing that ever gets recorded not out in the wild is the intro and outros, and occasionally a special episode via Skype.

 

Amanda has two set ups of equipment for this type of podcasting. If she’s recording an interview, she’ll set up her ZoomH6 with either ATR2100 or ATR2005 microphones on barrels or tabletops. Alternatively, at events, she uses a leather harness with a mic and Zoom H2N so she can do vox pop (she said popvoxing…but I think it’s supposed to be voxpop?) clips with various people at the event. The feedback from listeners is that they like this because the mics pic up both the voices and the ambiance sounds. Listeners feel like they’re at the event. Plus, in recording on location, the guests feel more comfortable so Amanda finds she is able to get past the PR jargot pretty quickly. It’s been a wonderful way to get to know people.

 

Despite the name of the show, the guests don’t necessarily talk about the beer that much. Amanda is also clear that the show isn’t about reviewing the beer or talking about the flavors. It’s about the stories behind the beer and the passion people bring to this industry. She’s working on having some different segments and including different voices, including working with correspondents to bring in breweries from all around the world.

 

The evolution of the show notes

 

Amanda has done a bunch of different things with the show notes. She says she has done what you’re supposed to do, what she wanted to do and then threw all of that into the fan and let I come out the otherside. Now she gives the raw audio to her editor and instead of just recapping the show, he makes the show notes into more of a story. The blog post that accompanies each episode includes his reaction to the episode. It’s a little deeper than the traditional bullet points or paragraphs people are used to.

 

Amanda’s goals for the show

 

Amanda has two main goals for the show. Firstly, she has an insatiable curiosity and wants to know how everything works, so she’s loved being able to do that. Secondly, her goal is to help people learn all that goes into their craft beer, and help new people find and learn to love craft beer. If you like coffee or wine or spirits, there are different beers out there for you.

 

To do all the recording on location, there is obviously a lot of travel involved. Amanda’s first step was to ‘take Maine by storm’ and at this point she feels she has done that. There are over 90 breweries in the state and although she hasn’t featured all of them, she’s covered a lot.

 

Engage with your audience where they are

 

The next step is to take on the world, which means more travel outside of Maine. Whenever she goes to events she will visit breweries and bring her microphone. Recently Amanda went to MAPCON (Mid Atlantic Podcast Conference) in Philly and on the way she visited breweries in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Similarly, she’s done some day trips to New Hampshire and also recorded in Orlando on a trip to PodFest.

 

Amanda also utilizes correspondents from around the world so that she can share the stories of craft beer from places she can’t travel herself. She encourages people to talk to their local brewers and the people in the tap rooms, to get to know them and submit a 7 – 10 minute piece of audio. 

 

That’s also her advice to other podcasters: find ways to engage with your audience where they are physically located. Think about how you can actually get out there and get out of your own comfort zone!

 

Find out more from Amanda:

 

You can follow Amanda on Instagram @greatbeeradventure or find out more on the website, www.GreatBeerAdventure.com

 

Nov 9, 2017

I’m doing some rebranding with this podcast. I’m changing the name from Creative Studio: podcasting experiments to Podcasting Experiments from the Creative Studio. Right now, I’m just announcing it here in the audio, but in the next episode or two, you’ll see some changes in the visual branding.

We will be talking with Glenn Hebert, also known as Glenn the Geek and America’s Horse Husband. He began the Horse Radio Network in 2006 and has grown it into a successful business. We’ll talk about treating your podcast as a business, the advantage of a strong niche, and the power of involving listeners.

MetaMoment:

Now, before we jump into the interview for today, let’s pause for a MetaMoment. This is where we review one or two podcasts about podcasting on this podcast about podcasting.

Today’s MetaMoment is...Podcasters’ Roundtable. It is hosted by Ray Ortega and regular co-hosts Daniel J. Lewis and Dave Jackson. They bring on different podcasters to have roundtable discussions about different aspects of podcasting. It is very interesting because you get to hear different sides of the many issues in the podcasting industry. You can find out more by going to PodcastersRoundtable.com.

How Glenn got into podcasting

Glenn was working for a horse retail company back in 2006, and after listening to Leo Laporte’s podcast Earth to Twit, he decided to start one of his own. Back in those days, it wasn’t easy, but he figured out all the tech and began the Talking Equine show for the retailer he worked for. The retailer eventually sold the company so the podcast stopped, and Glenn went into consulting, but in the meantime decided to do more podcasting because it was fun.

It was getting a little bit easier to listen because iTunes had come out, so he started the Horse Radio Network. They started with 1 show—The Stable Scoop Show—but had the network from the very first episode. Glenn always new he wanted a network and knew he had to start somewhere, so one show was the beginning. That show is still going after 9 years, and his first co-host only just left after 460+ episodes. She got a really good job and wouldn’t have time, so now they’re rebranding that show but it has been a sad change. It was hard for the audience too because she’s been there every week for 9 years so the audience was invested in her too.

Treating your podcast like a business

Glenn started out treating podcasting like a business because he always wanted it to be a business. He admires the podcasters who are just doing it for fun, but his intention was always for it to eventually be his livelihood and allow his wife to leave her job (which she has now done) to work in the business too. Everything they do is calculated as ‘how can we make income off of that’ but that doesn’t mean the listeners’ experience isn’t a part of the goal too. Making the listeners happy makes them want to buy the product advertised, which makes the sponsors happy, which allows the business to make money and continue producing content. It’s a circle and Glenn looks at how to keep everybody in the circle happy, including his and his wife having fun, and not trading their values for the business.

Their mission statement is ‘uniting the horse world one show at a time’ and they’ve managed to achieve that. They have over 70 media partners, magazines, blogs, websites and things, so those media partners are all contributing and now some of those are working with each other. It’s been a conduit for a lot of people to gather, and it’s the building of relationships that has caused the Horse Radio Network to grow to the point where they are now. Relationship building and looking at it as a business from day 1 was always the plan for Glenn because those relationships are what make a business. It’s a lot of work, and they work more now than they did in their jobs and are making less money, but Glenn says they are having fun.

The advantage of a strong niche

Horse people are not just passionate about their hobby, they are addicted: they spend all their time and all their money on horses and all their free time talking to other people about horses. That’s the advantage Horse Radio Network has because they have walked into an addicted group. It’s a perfect audience because they truly are invested 100 hours a week in their hobby. They’re working for their hobby, so it has been easy to get them involved. Glenn is always thinking about how to get everybody involved—listener, sponsor, host—in the circle.

The power of involving listeners as much as possible

Glenn has a myriad of ways the network involves listeners. Firstly, the 250 Patreon donators—who are called Auditors—have become a focus group. They get their own private Facebook group, which is extremely active, and they’ve become like a big family. The auditor group is involved in almost every decision the network makes, from picking the music for The Stable Scoop show rebrand to doing product reviews for their sponsors in exchange for free products. This has led to an increase in regular Patreon donators, which is great for the business so it has been a valuable way to keep everybody in the circle happy. Other ways the network gets audience involved is through regular segments, like submitting content for the very popular Really Bad Ads segment on Fridays to go into the draw for a monthly prize. Other successful listener involvements strategies are game shows like trivia, listener round tables, movie reviews, live reports from events like horse shows and Q & A sessions with professional riders.

The Cyber Monday Radio-Thon and continual innovation

Every year on Cyber Monday the Horse Radio Network does a 12-hour holiday radio-thon, including 32 hosts, 100s of phone calls, big name guests and many listener submissions of voicemails, songs, poetry etc. Last year, as well as giving away $5000 worth of prizes, there were 20 advertisers involved and it was a huge money maker for the network. Sponsors always want to get involved because being Cyber Monday, there is a direct response: they advertise their products and then right away the listeners go and buy it for Christmas.

Although they started the radio-thon to raise money, Glenn says they also needed to stay ahead of the crowd. There is finally some competition in the horse podcasting world but he knows they have to keep innovating to stay first. His advice to other podcasters is to think outside the box and keep involving the listeners. Some niches are broader, which can be tougher to deal with, but every niche can make something work that involves the listeners. They want to be involved. When you’re experimenting with new segments or new ideas, put them at the end of the regular show, after the music. Call it a bonus and see what response you get! Keeping in regular touch with your regular devoted listeners is so important: sometimes it’s the simplest stuff that means the most to them, like a simple birthday shout out on air.

You can find more about Glenn’s work and the Horse Radio Network at www.horseradionetwork.com

Oct 10, 2017

Welcome to the Creative Studio, the podcast where we conduct experiments in podcasting. Most podcasters stick with the “normal” podcasting practices, but you - you’re different. You like to try different things.

 

“You do it like this, and then you break the mold.”

 

This fifth season of the Creative Studio is a production of Podcast Guy Media, LLC. We will be talking with people that are doing something unique with their podcast. Maybe it’s their format, their philosophy, their niche. Whatever it is, we’ll find out what makes it tick. We’ll see what works...and what doesn’t. We’ll see what we can learn and apply to our own podcasts.

 

Visit our website at PodcastingExperiments.com.

 

Today we will be talking with Johny Florida, host of the Wrestling’s National Committee podcast. Johnny will talk about the power and pitfalls of relationships with other podcasts in your niche, WNC’s podcasting set up, and how to use strategic partnerships to build your credibility.

 

MetaMoment:

 

Now, before we jump into the interview for today, let’s pause for a MetaMoment. This is where we review one or two podcasts about podcasting on this podcast about podcasting.

 

Today’s podcast MetaMoment is…The School of Podcasting. I know, we just mentioned this podcast a couple episodes ago, but I wanted to give Dave Jackson an extra shout out for winning the podcast award in the technology category. Dave has been podcasting since 2005. Not only is he a podcast coach, he is also an employee at Libsyn - just another way for him to contribute more to the podcasting industry. You can check out his podcast at SchoolofPodcasting.com.



This MetaMoment has been brought to your by Libsyn. They are the media host I use and the number 1 place I recommend as I work with new podcasters. I’ve been recommending them for several years now. They are not a sponsor, but I have recently become an affiliate for them, so if you sign up with Libsyn and use the coupon code ‘JOSH’ you can receive a free month of hosting. In fact it’s more than a month because you’ll get the rest of this month and next month free - just make sure you don’t change your hosting level before the free month ends. Again, go to Libsyn.com and sign up using the code ‘JOSH.’

 

How Johny got started with podcasting

Johny knew about radio and even internet radio, but he’d never heard of podcasts until he began listening to them on YouTube about 4 years ago. Being a huge wrestling fan, he found the Don Tony Kevin Castles show and Solomonster, and that began his interest in podcasts. Eventually he decided to do a wrestling podcast himself, and eventually settled on the name Wrestling’s National Committee as a nod to political organization names, because the show treats wrestling like politics. Johny says there is politics in everything, even sports.

One example of the way they combine politics and sports is the Sunday breaking news show. They cover news in the wrestling world, but in particular they look behind the scenes of those news stories to find out the psychology of the who, the what, and the why. Politics is nothing more than psychology in a physical sense—it’s about the why something is being done—so there’s politics in terms of the issues in wrestling and the psychology in terms of why those are occurring. That’s why the show covers the politics of wrestling, to investigate the why of every move the wrestlers and corporations make. Johny has always loved figuring out all the pieces of puzzles, so this fits well. He regularly gets feedback from listeners on social media saying that they love the deep analysis even if they don’t agree with the opinions.

The power and pitfalls of relationships with other podcasts in your niche

The WNC does 3 shows per week, and Thursday’s show follows Wrestling Soup, another podcast that they look to as the indirect father of the show. Called Souper Party, they talk about wrestling and some news, but not politics itself in that show. Being that the show follows directly after and is inspired by Wrestling Soup, Johny and his team have developed a relationship with them and positive relationships like that have been very important in helping boost WNC.

However, although Johny loves working with other groups, not all relationships like that have gone well and he also suggests caution when working with other podcasters. For a while they had a joint show with another podcast, but it turned sour when one member of the other 4-man team became a problem. After that group imploded, Johnny ended up hiring two of those guys for WNC. The disgruntled team member then started throwing legalese around regarding copyright of the logo, and filed a complaint with MixCloud who pulled all the episodes down. Johny says they all learned a valuable lesson about being more careful creating partnerships, even between friends, because things can get nasty when they start to break up. He recommends doing more research up front, and simply being careful about who you work with.

WNC’s podcasting set up

For the normal WNC show, they broadcast live for 2 – 3 hours each day. Often it’s 2 hours of the live main show, and then they’ll do an After Party bonus show only for the people who donate on Patreon. In order to do the live show, Johny has three systems running at once: the Mixlr system, Skype and Audacity. He’s also got several laptops going at once and uses the Turtle Beach headset. In terms of cost, the Mixlr system ranges in cost from the free version to $100-$300 per year. This is the main way WNC goes live so it’s an important part of their set up. Meanwhile, Audacity is totally free so Johny also recommends that because there are so many different features and editing options included in it. It took a few days to get all the tech set up, but he learned how to do each podcasting process from the beginning. One thing in particular he advises is to always compress the audio files and export as MP3s because the size really matters. Most podcast hosts only have limited storage, even when you pay for the upgrades, and if you’re uploading several shows a week it can really fill up the storage space quickly. So compressing the audio files is crucial.

Use strategic partnerships to build your credibility

A major strategy for the WNC in building their show and credibility in the niche has been the Thursday show that piggy backs onto Wrestling Soup. Johny says you shouldn’t be afraid to follow up another podcast if you’ve got the blessing from them, and it’s a strategy brand new TV shows use all the time. It helps with your content, gives you somebody to vouch for you for your credibility and can provide support for both shows.

Strategic partnerships can also boost credibility. Johny has done this in a big way with their sponsor, the combat sports app FiteTV. The app is free and most o the content is free except the pay-per-view fights. They have an affiliate program, which Johny signed up for so that when he promotes them they become the sponsor of the show. Although it does also bring in some revenue, getting a sponsorship was more about adding to the credibility of the show as it’s still young, having only been out less than a year.

Because of building that relationship with FiteTV, Johnny is now a media agent for them. He’s also built relationships with Indie Wrestling across the map; he has relationships with 18 Federations in 14 States and also in England. He has then helped some of those get on FiteTV, so it’s been a great network to build. As FiteTV grows, WNC grows and vice versa. Affiliate programs can be simple and the benefits go both ways. It’s not just about revenue, it’s about credibility and relationships.

The best way to find Johny and WNC:

The best place to check them out is social media. Look up Wrestling’s National Committee on Facebook @wncshow Twitter @WNC4Lyfe or Instagram @WNCshow

Or you can find their shows on Mixcloud.com/WNC and donate at Patreon.com/WNC

 

Thanks for taking the time to listen to this week’s episode of the Creative Studio. If you found this podcast helpful or interesting, please share it with a friend. Detailed shownotes can be found on the website at PodcastingExperiments.com. You can also reach me by calling (405) 771-0567.

 

The Creative Studio is a production of Podcast Guy Media, LLC, at PodcastGuyMedia.com.

Sep 29, 2017

We will be talking with Eric Trules and his podcast is e-Travels with E. Trules, and it’s unique in that it combines travelogue storytelling with an aurally immersive experience of sound, effects and music that take you right to the destination. We’ll talk about his podcasting journey, his publishing schedule with alternating formats, and the beauty of travel.

 

MetaMoment:

Now, before we jump into the interview for today, let’s pause for a MetaMoment. This is where we review one or two podcasts about podcasting on this podcast about podcasting.

Today’s podcast MetaMoment is…Podcast Talent Coach with Erik K. Johnson. His podcast focuses primarily on the content of your podcast and how to improve it. In episode 175 of Podcast Talent Coach, Erik shares his journey as a hockey coach and how it relates to determining the “why” behind your podcast. The concept of knowing and following your “why” is not new, but Erik’s story and explanation do a great job at exploring the topic. Check it out at PodcastTalentCoach.com.

This MetaMoment has been brought to your by Libsyn. They are the media host I use and the number 1 place I recommend as I work with new podcasters. I’ve been recommending them for several years now. They are not a sponsor, but I have recently become an affiliate for them, so if you sign up with Libsyn and use the coupon code ‘JOSH’ you can receive a free month of hosting. In fact it’s more than a month because you’ll get the rest of this month and next month free - just make sure you don’t change your hosting level before the free month ends. Again, go to Libsyn.com and sign up using the code ‘JOSH.’

Eric’s podcasting journey

Eric has been podcasting for a relatively short time. He releases a show every other week and there are 17 episodes now. It’s taken effort, work and collaboration because podcasting is all new to him. However, he has been an artist, storyteller and performer for almost 50 years. He started as a modern dancer and also spent many years as a professional clown. He’s just retired from his 31 years as a Theatre Professor at the University of Southern California. It was actually a student who suggested that he start a podcast, after hearing him speak. He was fairly confident with the storytelling side of things, however it was a steep and fast learning curve for the tech.

Eric initially got a grant from USC, and found both his sound engineer, Alysha Bermudez, and music composer, Amanda Yamate, through the University. He found his producer, Harry Duran from Podcast Junkies, at the Los Angeles Podcast Festival. Harry taught Eric everything he needed, and with the help also of Amanda and Alysha, he has been insulated and prevented from making a lot of mistakes early in his podcasting journey.

About Eric’s unique travelogue podcast

E-travels with E.Trules is available on iTunes and Stitcher and is unique in that it combines travelogue storytelling with an aurally immersive experience of sound, effects and music that take you right to the destination. The episodes are stories of off-the-beaten-track, once-in-a-lifetime type trips, told with insights, humor, perspective and an artistic point of view.

The listener of the story gets the treat of both the story and being taken there aurally because Eric chose not to go with royalty-free music but instead have a composer recreate sounds that are very site-specific and original. For example, for a story about Bali, the composer Amanda recreated Balinese gamelan music. However, because of the style of the podcast, the episodes are time consuming to make, so Eric planned to only release one episode per month.

Extending the podcast without creating twice as many travel episodes

Harry convinced Eric to release more regularly than the once-per-month schedule originally intended, and the idea of a behind-the-scenes episode was born. These are interview-style episodes that supplement the travelogue episodes. So every other week, the even-numbered episodes, there is a behind the scenes episode which alternates with the sound-immersive travelogue episodes which are the odd numbered episodes. Episode 0 is the welcome episode, which is the best one to start if you’re new because there are excerpts, examples of different places around the world and a nice introduction.

Harry Duran, Amanda Yamante and Alysha Bermudez have all been interviewed as behind-the-scenes episodes of the podcast. But Eric also likes to feature people who are kindred, artistic spirits, either foreign born or who have traveled a lot. On occasion he has been solicited to be on the podcast by someone he doesn’t know, but he finds those conversations a little anti-septic. He prefers the episodes where the guest is someone he knows, because the medium of podcasting can capture the energy and chemistry of the relationship.

Some examples of people Eric has interviewed are Liz Femi, a solo performer born in Nigeria, Debra Ehrhardt, a solo performer and storyteller from Jamaica, and Morlan Higgins, an actor and musician who is a fellow traveller on the path of life. His episode was also special because it is punctuated with Morlan’s own mandolin music.

Storytelling that makes foreign people and cultures human

Eric likes asking people he knows well about the complications in their countries. What’s interesting to him in human natures and in cultures is not what’s great about them, but the vulnerabilities or flaws that may be present under the skin. He likes to show the stories that are not things going perfectly well, a la Facebook profile. That’s what makes people and cultures human and relatable.

Storytelling is all about vulnerability in a narrative sense: rooting for the underdog, or the main character that you care about. Audiences usually care about the character who is vulnerable because they can identify with them. Eric likes to share insights into experiences that listeners can relate to, as opposed to just a colorful travel story.

The beauty of travel and life

Eric is shocked and amazed and disheartened at how many people think it’s cool not to travel. While he does agree that there is plenty to see in the USA, many people use excuses that other types of travel is too expensive, scary, uncomfortable and that there is terrorism in the world. These things are all true, but the perspective you can gain from leaving your own four walls and country is astoundingly worth it for Eric.

He wants people to realize that America is not the center of the world, that most people in other countries on the planet have lots in common with us. Travelling allows you to see how much they care about family and children and education and putting food on the table too. For Eric, we’re all connected by our humanity and it’s fascinating to see the differences, not in the human spirit but in cultural things: dancing, food, worship and the ways people move through life.

It’s a shame that people think it’s ok not to travel, because if you can push yourself out of your comfort zone and let go of the unknown, that is the beauty of travel and of life!

You can find Eric and the podcast at http://erictrules.com/podcast/

Outro:

Thanks for taking the time to listen to this week’s episode of the Creative Studio. If you found this podcast helpful or interesting, please share it with a friend. You can also reach me by calling (405) 771-0567.

Sep 18, 2017

 

We will be talking with Meghan Enriquez today from True Conversations. We’re going to hear how she started a podcast to grow her movement, how she grew the podcast into a network, and how she fosters engagement with her target audience. She also is hosting an event at the end of September 2017, so listen for that later.

How Meghan got into podcasting

Meghan was not looking to become a podcasters. She started her company, True Conversations, back in January 2016 after shifting career goals and being home with 2 young children. She felt there was a need to change the culture in how we communicate and lead. True Conversations started out being events and training, but one day at a lunch, the broadcaster for the Baltimore minor league team suggested podcasting as a useful platform for her to explore. Although Meghan at the time didn’t know what a podcast was, she soon saw the value of it as a medium for spreading the mission of True Conversations—to promote understanding around stigmatized issues—into the world. Although she didn’t know how to do it, she knew she could learn, and so that’s what she did. It has been the biggest blessing and best decision she made around True Conversations.

From one podcast to a whole network

In order to cover the breadth of issues and all the life and human experiences that deserve to be talked about, Meghan realized she’d need to open up the podcast network. That way, a variety of people can have it as a platform and a safe space to respectfully bring to the table stories, networks and topics that Meghan personally didn’t have experience with. People were invited to have their own show as long as they were willing to maintain the same sort of vibe of having true conversations that are real, transparent, uplifting and empowering, being respectful of all sides of an issue and promoting the culture of spreading understanding.

So much of what overwhelms our social media dialogue right now is arguing, pettiness and taking sides, and that’s part of the reason all the shows on the network are on the same podcasting channel: it means listeners bump into and naturally come across topics, conversations and perspectives that they might have otherwise have avoided due to the personalization in how news is consumed these days. The diversity aspect is really important and what pushed Meghan to create the network.

Before the podcast, there were live events

True Conversations began by hosting small coffee shop events with a  panel of people from as many sides of an issue as possible and having a true conversation around it.  The first event was about redefining the health journey and featured four people living a health journey and going about it very differently, with different beliefs. The goal was to normalize that whatever you choose is good for you. Other topics have included world peace, faith and body image. True Conversations also has a contributor-fed blog, which was a way to allow people from different walks of life to have their space on the platform before the podcast came about.

This year, the vision is for the events to culminate into an annual larger event on a central topic, which will happen with the first annual True Conversations Live Event on September 30th in Baltimore. The topic this year is entrepreneurship, and the event will feature a screening of the She Started It documentary as well as the true conversations panel discussion with local female entrepreneurs. Being that September 30th is International Podcast day, Meghan is inviting local podcasters to come to the event for free, interview people and cover the event.

Live interactions and conversations online

A few months ago Meghan began to do weekly Facebook lives every Thursday at 7pm Eastern as another way to connect with the community, get to know each other and give them space to share their feelings about some of the current issues that affect our lives privately and professionally. Meghan finds there’s a different exchange that can happen when it is live instead of just having it in comments where the tone of voice can be misconstrued or intentions misunderstood. It’s a meeting point for people of different ethnicities, socio-economic status and career paths asking each other questions, while Meghan just facilitates.

For now, it’s on Facebook Live. Meghan said when she first started doing Facebook lives she made all the mistakes, but the lesson for her is that when faced with something new and uncomfortable, see yourself as a student and just do it. One mistake she did make is to randomly just pop on, instead of letting people know ahead of time when she’d be live. That’s why they set up the consistent expectation of the regular Thursday 7 o’clock schedule. She says that picking a consistent schedule is not only healthy for you as a person with a busy life, but it’s more helpful for your audience so they can plug in much more frequently.

The Power of the Podcast

Meghan’s hope and why she chose podcasting as one of their platforms is because it’s a wonderfully powerful tool to have and promote social change. If you’re in this space, just like with any other media, you can use it for entertainment, and people do need places to escape and zone out for a little while. But Meghan’s advice is to be conscious of how you’re influencing and perpetuating social norms and culture, and use that power responsibly. Even if you’re not talking about deep, heavy topics but are more in the education or entertainment space, use the power for good so that you are spreading a happier, healthier message. If people are listening, you have the opportunity to influence them in a good way.

Find more from Meghan:

The best place to find more information or reach out to Meghan is www.true-conversations.com and social media links are on the bottom of that website too.

 

MetaMoment:

Today’s podcast MetaMoment is…The School of Podcasting with Dave Jackson. This is always one of my top podcasts to listen to every week. I started listening in late 2012 and haven’t missed an episode since. In episode 582, Dave opens it up to his listeners as they share some “Um, Yeah, No” moments. This is when someone reaches out to you as a podcaster, pitching themselves - but it is clearly not a good fit. In fact, some of them are hilariously off target. You definitely want to check this episode out, and subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes either.

This MetaMoment has been brought to your by Libsyn. They are the media host I use and the number 1 place I recommend as I work with new podcasters. I’ve been recommending them for several years now. They are not a sponsor, but I have recently become an affiliate for them, so if you sign up with Libsyn and use the coupon code ‘JOSH’ you can receive a free month of hosting. In fact it’s more than a month because you’ll get the rest of this month and next month free - just make sure you don’t change your hosting level before the free month ends. Again, go to Libsyn.com and sign up using the code ‘JOSH.’

 


Thanks for taking the time for listening to this week’s episode of the Creative Studio. If you found this podcast helpful or interesting, please share it with a friend. Detailed shownotes can be found on the website at PodcastingExperiments.com. I would love to hear from you. You can reach me either through the website or by calling (405) 771-0567.

 

The Creative Studio is a production of Podcast Guy Media, LLC, at PodcastGuyMedia.com.

Aug 23, 2017

Welcome to the Creative Studio, the podcast where we conduct experiments in podcasting. Most podcasters stick with the “normal” podcasting practices, but you - you’re different. You like to try different things.

 

“You do it like this, and then you break the mold.”

 

This fifth season of the Creative Studio is a production of Podcast Guy Media, LLC. We will be talking with people that are doing something unique with their podcast. Maybe it’s their format, their philosophy, their niche. Whatever it is, we’ll find out what makes it tick. We’ll see what works...and what doesn’t. We’ll see what we can learn and apply to our own podcasts.

 

Visit our website at PodcastingExperiments.com.

 

We will be talking with Matt Medeiros today from the Matt Report Podcast. We’re going to hear about the way he experimented with publishing Netflix style, the power of video, and his approach to sponsorship.

 

Matt’s podcasting journey

 

Matt first began podcasting about 4 or 5 years ago. It began a few years before that, when he’d first started running his WordPress agency and went to an event and saw the potential for people to be talking with each other in the WordPress space. He was starting his agency and had other colleagues doing the same, growing fast and putting a lot of stock into their relationships in the space. At the time there were maybe 2 other WordPress podcasts, whereas now there are at least 15. It all started with the idea of getting connected in the community and growing his business, which for Matt, it has.

 

Matt’s podcast is the Matt Report. It’s an interview podcast that is basically a breakdown of what’s happening in the WordPress space. The interviews are with people in the space—developers and agency owners, as well as general tech and business owners—to help his audience learn from a variety of differnet perspectives. His audience ranges from people running small software startups doing anywhere from a few hundred dollars per month to $5000-$50,000 per month in sales of digital products.

 

The changing way Matt has published the last season

 

Like everybody else, Matt started doing his show every week. He did that for nearly 100 episodes, but without a hard schedule or plan on how he approached it. After a while that becomes a lot of work, and becomes a little stale, for the host but possibly even for the listeners. So Matt decided to change things up a little bit. He decided to release a whole season onto the website and Soundcloud ‘Netflix style’. However, they’re still released through iTunes once per week. That way, superfans can listen to them all at once on the side, but the normal cadence still happens every week.

 

This has been a benefit for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it allowed Matt to really focus and spend a month or so preparing the season. It also allowed him to dedicate an entire landing page to his season’s sponsors. It’s great for Matt because it’s easier to pitch sponsors that way, it’s great for the sponsors because they have more focused attention for a whole season and it’s great for listeners who aren’t getting hit with new sponsors every week.

 

More podcasting experiments

 

In Season 5, Matt also introduced 2 new co-hosts of the show, so he only hosted half the season. The other half was co-hosted by 2 other gentlemen who took the lead talking about software as a service. That was an experiment to get some new voices and a new perspective.

 

In Season 6, which is due in August, the podcast will go audio and video and feature an educational component. Everybody who was on the show was interviewed for 15 minutes and then presented some form of topic for 15 minutes. There will also be slides people can download so it will be a more value-based season for the audience.

 

The power of video

 

When Matt first started the show, 4-5 years ago, he did it on YouTube as well as audio. However, it was a lot more work back then. Now, the software is getting better, live streaming is more accessible and editing software is much more powerful so it’s easier to produce video and audio on the post-production side.

 

Matt has three YouTube channels and he knows there’s a huge connection for audiences with video. It’s the personal effect and that’s what makes some people tune in. There’s a stronger audience on the audio side because it’s so much more portable than video. However, video is very powerful for growing audience retention so he recommends it.

 

How Matt is approaching sponsorship

 

WordPress is an interesting space because although there are a lot of products and services, the everyday consumer doesn’t know about them and isn’t going to sign up. It has a lot to do with trust and referrals. Those pockets of companies that have something to sell—products, themes, hosting—do recognize authority in the space is valuable, so Matt is able to position his show quite well, even with numbers of listeners that are nowhere near like a mainstream podcast, or a tech podcasts and YouTube channels. For those mainstream channels, it’s a big ocean to swim in so they have to get big numbers to make it work. WordPress isn’t a big ocean but you can get big numbers when you have the trust and authority both of companies willing to sponsor you and of your listenership.

 

Matt is a trusted voice in the community, which means he can command a little bit more in sponsorship dollars. He has one of the most popular and certainly the highest rated WordPress podcast, so he is that authority. There’s no magic to his strategy: he simply goes to popular companies that he knows have advertising money to spend and pitches them to sponsor the show. He also limits the sponsorships to two per season so they don’t get drowned out, and that also makes it more attractive to sponsors.

 

The next steps for Matt and his advice to other podcasters

 

Season 6 is going to be a continuation of the experiment theme in terms of structure. Matt is also considering going outside the WordPress pocket, and expanding the show topic a little. He also plans to be more consistent with live shows. His advice to people questioning whether or not to start a podcast is to just start, but don’t worry about going the full monty right away. You can just dip your toe in the water with some consistent kind of audio or video content. It could be on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or even Twitter. Find the platform you are most comfortable with right now and just start with getting your message out. Don’t worry about subscribers or microphones going into Skype going into a recorder. Just dip your toe in the water and start.

 

Where to find more from Matt

 

Check out the podcast at https://mattreport.com/

 

Matt’s fulltime job is representing Pagely at https://pagely.com/ which is Enterprise WordPress hosting. The agency he cofounded helps a lot of higer end and larger implementation of WordPress for startups that are using it in different ways, not just as a website.

 

He also has a YouTube channel that covers tutorials for WordPress: www.YouTube.com/plugintut

 

Or to have Matt review your website at a very affordable price, go to www.UserFeedbackVideos.com

 

Jun 26, 2017

Today’s guest is Daniel Lewis.

The story is more important than the format

As a consumer the format of the narrative podcast is not immediately interesting to Daniel. It’s the story that has to catch him, and whether he can connect with the topic itself.

For people considering doing narrative podcasts, it’s really a decision about whether that is the best way to tell the story that you want to tell and if you are willing to do the extra work that goes along with the format. It can come out really neat if you do it well but it is a lot of work. First, consider is a narrative/storytelling format the thing that communicates your message the best? Second, are you willing to do the hard work it takes to get something like that done?

Planning and preparation is key

If you have an idea that you feel could be fun for a narrative podcast story, Daniel says you need to plan and be prepared. If there is something coming up that would be great to record, make sure you have a recorder with you throughout the process. It could be as simple as your iOs or android device, but make sure you have that recorder with you at all times because conversations could come up at any time that are relevant to the story you’re telling.

Another reason to be prepared with a recorded always is to be able to speak your mind about something when it comes to mind. One practice you have to get into is verbalizing as much as possible, especially in those moments where you step away from the action and start talking to the camera or microphone. As you start producing this, you’ll find you will be recording a lot of random stuff. Daniel advises not being afraid to cut stuff out. It may be funny conversation but is it relevant? Does it add to the story? It’s ok to toss good stuff out if it doesn’t fit with the story that you’re doing.

Making a narrative podcast might help your marriage!

As a side note, Daniel suggests that maybe learning to make a narrative podcast could help in marriage communication as well. It’s stereotypical but a common complaint from wives is that their husbands don’t say what’s on their mind. This practice of verbalizing for the podcast could help here. When you get in that practice of communicating what’s on your mind and describing things, you’ll end up with much better material to use for recording.

Choosing guests

When he listens to podcasts like Serial or Start Up, Daniel wonders about things like whether all the many random voices gave their permission to be used in the podcast. That is something you have to be concerned with today, especially if you’re going to monetize the narrative podcasts that you’re making. You need to talk to a lawyer but it might be enough to get the guest’s recorded agreement to basic terms and that they know they are being recorded and it will be used for telling a story.

The next step is finding people who would have some kind of feedback, having a conversation with them and recording it. It could be as simple as someone being a sounding board and you asking them to hear you explain the idea and then question and challenge you on it. Not only does it mean it’s another voice, it’s also a different perspective that could potentially bring something to the conversation that you would have never thought of.

Varying the audio recording methods

In an audio drama it is very important people can hear the spoken work very clearly. In a narrative, interspersed with clips of actual things you recorded, the audio doesn’t have to be studio quality but it does need to be listenable. Daniel believes the biggest sin that can be made with this kind of recording is not getting the volume levels right. The narrative section might be at a certain volume that is a different volume to a sound clip. Pay attention to this when you are recording but also in the editing. A good way to get better audio quality is simply to get closer to the microphone.

If you get some echo, some reverb, or background noise, it isn’t that much of a problem and can even enhance it because it helps make that section different from the clean, present studio voice. On the other hand, a soft room sound doesn’t quite work because it sounds like it’s trying to be studio quality but didn’t quite get there. Because it doesn’t contrast very much, it can create some conflict. If you want to create audio quality, try to make that contrast bigger so that people know just by the tone, the quality and the sound of the audio that it’s changed from studio narrative to recorded live in person. People can more easily follow that and you don’t need any transition because the style of the sound is making that transition for you.

Using music in transitions

Daniel suggests that you have certain music saved for certain things. All Things Considered by Gimlet, and NPR do this. They have sponsor music that loops in the background while they’re talking about their sponsors, and other tracks too like the opening music or the wrap up music. You can have your own sound track for the show, but make sure you get the license for the music.

Verbally transitions are sometimes needed. However, don’t say “we’ll be right back after a word from our sponsor.” The music can be what sets the tone but you still need to clarify some changes with your spoken word. You need to say things like ‘this podcast is brought to you by…such and such’ so there’s still some kind of verbal transition, however the background music does some of the work for you. People can then start to associate certain background music with certain parts of the show.  Music can also set the tone and emotion of the moment just like a film soundtrack.

Additional transition tips

Another way to transition is to have a portion of the clip playing in the background so the audience knows you’re about to go to a clip or just coming off a clip. Play a portion of the clip and have the narrator come in and say “that’s so and so, talking about such and such”, or start the clip by saying “on such and such day, I was talking to so and so”.

As well as reducing the volume, a cool little trick you can also do, especially when there’s spoken word in the background and spoken word (your voice) in the foreground, is to play with the frequencies a little bit. Reduce the frequencies in the vocal range, so that way you don’t have multiple pieces of audio conflicting for the same audio frequency range. You reduce it a little bit in the background but then raise it back up when you bring that background clip back into the foreground.

Enticing the listener

Daniel emphasizes that to entice the listener you have to have a compelling story to begin with and compelling details along the way. It’s ok to sometimes along the way dig deeper into something less compelling, books and movies all have their low points where the audience is waiting to get back into the action. Your podcast story might have those moments too. It’s not always cliffhanger after cliffhanger—that can get boring as well. Look at the overall story you’re telling within an individual episode, and look at the peaks and valleys within the story.

Start with a peak so that when the audience starts listening they think, “that’s interesting, what is the story behind that?” and they want to learn more. You need something that hooks them in the beginning, and carry that through a little bit. Then it’s ok to go down into a valley as you go into more depth. Then go back up into a climax, and perhaps back into another valley.

Make sure you end on a climax too. The most important parts of presentations, books, and stories are the beginning and the end. Make sure that your beginning and end are great material. Especially with that end point, you want to hook them so that they’ll come back for the next episode. It could be a cliffhanger, but there are also ways to end without cliffhangers, such as by letting the audience know what’s coming in the next episode, because that can hook them in as well.

Keep learning across genres

Daniel’s advice is to keep learning how to tell a good story and not just in the medium of a podcast. The principles apply whether it’s learning about giving a good presentation through something like Toastmasters, or whether it’s a book about storytelling. The medium itself doesn’t matter, the skill behind the medium matters. Learn the principles and looks at narrative lessons you can learn to know how to craft things together.

Study the podcasts out there that do it well. There are plenty of journalistic narrative podcasts out there aside from Serial. Some suggestions are Start Up, Reply All and most everything from Gimlet Media or This American Life or NPR spin offs.

Listen to them and break it down. Try and evaluate what they are doing in each part, what they are using the make their transitions, how they are coming up with hooks, what the flow is that they’re following. Don’t try to imitate them; it can be difficult but also usually ends badly. Look for what you can learn that you can put your own style on.

Learn from other great artists. Be inspired by others. Almost no great artist is inherently good without being inspired and challenged by other things, so listen to other stuff and don’t be only entertained by it. Go back through, deconstruct it and experiment with it on your own.

Jun 19, 2017

Today’s guest is Jessica Abel, author of the book Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio and the Out on the Wire Podcast.

Reasons to do a narrative style podcast

Jessica suggests doing a narrative podcast because narrative journalism is an extremely powerful way to convey ideas. You can pack so much into so little time and with so many layers of meaning by carefully editing, layering in sound and thinking really carefully about your scripting and narration. Although you could listen to five episodes of a good interview podcast and get little nuggets of gold here and there, there’s often fluff that goes on in between those nuggets. It’s possible to put all of those nuggets into a half hour narrative podcast and really not miss anything.

Even interview podcasts themselves can be done much more tightly, much more efficiently and much more interestingly. For example, Fresh Air episodes are heavily edited. They’re not narrative, they’re interview based. But they’re still done in a style that the listener is kept in mind and the story that they want to tell, the information that they want to convey is carefully composed. Jessica believes that even people who are doing a more interview-oriented format could benefit from thinking like a maker of narrative.

When researching her book, Jessica spoke with Dylan Keith, the head of production at Radio Lab who also used to work at On The Media. People used to ask him what he did for a living and he would say “I take a 45 minute interview and make it a 6 minute interview.” It would be a super punchy, awesome 6 minutes and the listener can get everything they need out of it.

Jessica’s advice is to approach an interview in that way, as material, and to think about what is it that you want to tell with this interview. Even if you’re not constructing something that’s character based you can still think of these kinds of tools and apply them to interviews.

Constructing a story from a narrative idea

In order to take your initial idea and make it into a story with a strong narrative, there are a lot of steps, which is why Jessica did an entire podcast series and wrote a book on it!

First, come up with an idea for a story, ideally one based around a character that goes through changes, although you can certainly work the style with idea-based stories as well. Then you need to vet that idea in various ways, test it with different kinds of tools. One such tool is the ‘X-Y story formula’, which comes from Alex Bloomburg. So you may be doing a story about X, but what’s interesting about it is Y. It’s important to figure out what’s really interesting about it and not just what you’re going to find interesting about it, but what the listeners are going to find interesting about it.

There’s also the focus sentence approach, which is sort of like a mini narrative arc. Jessica says that if you can work out the focus sentence on your idea, you often are well on your way in terms of thinking about the outline of your story. The sentence is usually some form of this: “Someone does something because [blank] but [blank].” A character is in motion, living some kind of life and has a sense of mission, something they want, but there’s something that stands in their way. From there you have to do a bunch of further outlining.

Jessica also invented a new tool called the Story Mad Lib, which she talks about in more detail in Episode 4 of Out on the Wire Podcast. The Story Mad Lib is a way of building out the entire arc of the story in a paragraph to guide you where you’re going to go, and help you figure out and plan your interviews carefully ahead of time. If you do an interview that takes an hour or two hours, you will have tons of stuff in there that you could use for 8 or 10 different stories, and you get to decide which one is the story you want to tell. So that kind of selection and decision-making is a huge part of making a narrative.

Selecting interview subjects and preparing for interviews

It depends on what the interview is for but if the interview is for a story that is character-based, then Jessica recommends thinking about what the turning points in the narrative are. If you have a character-based story, you have a character who is going to be the center of the story, you want to think about what the stages that they went through in the change that you want to depict in your narrative. Think about when they went from one place to another place, what and where their dilemmas were, where were their decision points. During the interview, ask them all kinds of questions about those decisions that they had to make, and about those moments of change, how was it before, how was it after etc. The preparation is often figuring out the bare outline of what the person’s story is and then deciding where you want to delve in further. Jessica goes into more detail on this in episode 6 of her podcast.

Hooking the audience’s attention at the start

There are a lot of ways to approach this and one way Jessica suggests is to think about your best piece of tape, and put that at the beginning of the episode. Ask yourself which piece of tape is the one that’s going to raise a question and get people curious, get them wondering what’s going to happen next. Put that at the top. Basically, you need to put a question to the audience so that they can’t turn off, they need to keep listening to find out what’s going to happen next.

Techniques to transition smoothly

Jessica doesn’t have a list of transition techniques, but rather each time she needs to go from one part to another, she thinks about how she wants to connect the things that happened and raise a new question. At the end of one section you want to raise a new question that you’re going to answer in the next section. If you’re using music, that’s a good way to bridge parts like that.

Jessica suggests thinking about what cycles are in your story. She recommends Ira Glass’s 45 second rule: every 45 second you need to have a new little mini arc happening in the story. It can really be anywhere between 45 seconds to 2 minutes of time in your story but each time you need to be raising a question, answering a question. It could be narration, a quote, some music, but it’s important to think about it in little arcs.

Suggested resources

Of course, Jessica recommends her own book and podcast, because she created them for people who are wanting to make narratives.

Other than that, she recommends transim.org as it’s a wealth of information on both the technical, strategic and all other aspects of narrative audio making.

Practice your craft

Ultimately, Jessica’s advice is to just start making it. She says, “Start making audio, just go!” It’s about practice and doing it over and over again. Ira Glass talks about the gap between our taste and what we’re capable of when we start. We can see what’s great but we can’t make what’s great and that can be really hard and really depressing to know how far we are from where we want to be. But the only way to the other side of that gap is to do it over and over again.

That’s exactly why Jessica made her book and podcast and working group: so people can have a place where they can work with other people to make audio and other narratives too.

Whether you’re a writer or a cartoonist, you have to practice your craft.

Jun 12, 2017

Today’s guest is Doc Kennedy from the Filmaker’s Focus podcast. He is one of the guests who contributed to the Season 4 series on Narrative Podcasting, and he’s on the show today to share some updated information. Along with being a podcaster, Doc is also a film maker, and working towards being an actor and a stand-up comedian. Being a film maker, he brought a different perspective on narrative podcasting than many of the other guests, and was able to bring in a lot of parallels from video and acting. Today, we will revisit this.

In the time since Doc was last on the podcast, there have been ever-increasing changes and improvements to technology. For example, cell phone cameras have gone from little grainy pictures to 4K. It’s insane how much things have changed even just in the last couple of years. Because of this, Doc’s perspective has changed somewhat too, and he feels some of the advice he gave last time is now outdated.  

Getting started

Doc’s advice is to start with the basics. Some people are producing videos online that look good but sound terrible. If you can’t get the video to at least match the audio, he says don’t make it. Sound and lighting is the thing that separates you from or makes you an amateur. If you have to choose from the two, take the sound, because you can look at a picture and think ‘it’s ok’ but if the sound is bad it’s unlistenable. The majority of things today will have half-decent video because most cameras these days are so good that you can work around shoddy lighting. If you’re going to hire out for anything, hire an audio guy. That’s how important it is. If you see a video that looks good but sounds horrible, you will turn it off. It’s that simple. Make sure you’re getting quality audio and do what you can for solid lighting.

Doc says if you can afford it, hire somebody that has the proper gear and knows what they’re doing. It’s one thing to have a mic but it’s another thing to know how to record. There’s a huge difference between recording audio for a film versus recording a podcast episode. In the podcast, usually you’re in a contained environment. In a narrative setting, the elements might be a little out there so you need to be aware of the little sounds that you’re hearing the background. At least reach out to someone in your area who has the gear and let them guide you on what to get and what’s available in your area.

Doc hesitates to list specific brands of quality gear because things are changing so quickly. However, he suggests looking at getting a basic shot-gun mic, and doing your research.  There are some amazing tutorial videos on YouTube that provide great videos of comparisons between two microphones, which can be really helpful. You want the professional level, but make sure you do your homework.

The importance of pre-production

Doc is really big on pre-production. He says podcasts are often rushed but in film making they don’t do rushed projects, everything is planned out. He likes having a solid game plan in place, making sure everyone has the right gear and there are the right people to operate that gear, and that the production is as great sounding as it looks.

The more planning you do up front the easier it is on the back end. In Doc’s freelance work, planning also helps when managing the client. If you do the preproduction there is a blueprint set up of what the client can expect so if they come back and say they aren’t happy or it isn’t what they expected, you can refer back to the pre-production blueprint. A lot of times people don’t understand what it takes to make a video or what that video may look like in the end. In that kind of client situation, ask if they’ve seen a video or movie that they want their video to look like. That makes it comfortable for client and creator and gives time to clarify whether the creator can actually create what the client is asking for or whether they need to refer on. Doc says pre-production meetings can drag out though, so he recommends doing pre-production for your meeting on pre-production!

Applying the screen-writing approach to podcast planning

Doc suggests writing out the podcast planning as a screenplay because having the blueprint is really vital. His opinion is that if we don’t know where we’re going, we’re going to get there and where we end up isn’t going to be good. If you aren’t good at writing and don’t feel comfortable about it, find someone who is. Make sure that you get something written out so everyone on your team knows where you’re going, even if the team is just you.

If you’re doing something with multiple characters, you can start visualizing what that character should be. Pre-production isn’t the most fun part, and for Doc he doesn’t enjoy the post-work editing either. He finds the best part is actually filming the piece. However, it’s important to appreciate the pre-production process because it makes everything else seamless.

Do the best with the equipment you have

Doc advises not to get too caught up in the newest, upgraded technology. In terms of cameras, 4K is really popular right now and it’s growing. If you have a DSLR, don’t be ashamed that it isn’t 4K. Use it. There’s a feature film on Netflix right now that was shot entirely with an iPhone! But this iPhone film had solid audio. If you’re doing things correctly and you’re giving a picture that’s worthy of the audio, you’re fine. Don’t worry about what the newest, greatest thing is, don’t be in a rush to upgrade it, just do the best with what you’ve got.

Contact Doc

Doc is keen to answer questions from listeners. He didn’t go to school for video production, he learned it all from mentors. The mentors meant a lot to him so the least he can do is help others in the same way, which is why he does his podcast.

Find Doc at filmakersfocus.com or follow him @filmakersfocus on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And if you’d like to, you can follow Doc’s comedy @dockcomedy on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Jun 6, 2017

The guest today is Corey Coates from The Podcast Producers.

Choosing the right medium for your content

Corey’s experience has shown him that you have to make a decision as to who is going to be the one actually telling the story before you decide whether or not to do a narrative style. When doing narrative podcasting, people usually imagine as the narrator that they are “telling” the story, but the reality is a really good narrative podcast is one where the story is being told by the participants and almost unfolds on its own. There’s clearly a choice to guide the story in a certain direction, to edit in a certain way and to present the story that you might want to tell but before you even think about why you want to do it, ask “who is going to be responsible for telling the story?”

A lot of people are interested in the method of doing it this way largely because of the popularity of some narrative podcasts. When you listen to RadioLab or Serial, they sound beautiful and they’re fun to listen to. Corey knows how attractive that idea can be, but doing it just because a lot of the most popular shows or the ones you enjoy are in that fashion doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you should do. Choosing the right medium for your content is critical.

If you’re trying to bring pure information from individuals to individuals, maybe the interview format is the way to go. If you are trying to demonstrate, as Corey and Jessica did in The Podcast Producers, that there’s a lot of experts, information and ways to look at the exact same thing, then maybe the narrative way of going is better for you. Ultimately it comes down to deciding ‘who is telling the story and what is the story being told?’ and then choosing the format that goes around that.

Start with the story arc

It always starts with the story arc. From beginning to end, what is the story you want to tell? Decide how you will subdivide that into chapters, which can become the episodes. For The Podcast Producers, Corey and Jessica knew they wanted to do 10 episodes, because it was a time constraint and prevented the project expanding for the rest of the year. From beginning to end they brainstormed a ton of questions or topics, what would be a logical order to arrange topics, and who might they be able to talk to on some of those subjects. It was about the questions Corey, Jessica and their community had, who are some of the people that might be able to provide the answers, and then how can you link one answer to the next, or one question to the next answer that takes someone through the journey but most importantly leaves them where we want them to be, which is wanting more. When you get to the end of it, there’s conclusions and ideas but nothing is really conclusive.

Choosing interview subjects

Corey and Jessica specifically targeted certain individuals for their knowledge base and their experience in the industry. It’s tough because in a lot of cases you have folks that are the most vocal and prominent, that may not necessarily be the ones with the best information, they’re just the loudest so they tend to get the most attention. Having been in the industry for 10 years and 3 years respectively, Corey and Jessica were able to tell whether folks were really legit, they know their stuff, and they’re really making a contribution, or if they were jokers and they’re coming in marketing themselves but not really having the skills needed. So they laser pointed their pitches and ended up getting 95% of the people they wanted. The 5% that didn’t were often the ‘shot in the dark’ people, and usually the reason was that their schedules wouldn’t allow it or it wasn’t going to fit Corey’s production schedule.

Corey’s advice is that the more specific you go towards somebody as a guest, having knowledge of who they are and their background, the more likely they are to agree because they know that you’re not just coming at you with a form letter that you send to everyone but that it’s a personalized request. If you blast to everyone in an industry, that shows people that you don’t care who they are, you are just taking who you can get. Corey strongly advises against that.

Word of mouth types of referrals can also be great, even if then you are cold calling those folks, because you can tell them who recommended them to you. For season 2 of The Podcast Producers, they already have a great list of guests, most of whom have come through referrals this way, but that has happened over time as they built their reputation in the industry.

Tips for interviewing and sticking to the story arc

Ultimately when interviewing, Corey is always looking for sound-bites. He wants the two or three good phrases out of the guest in a 20-30 minute conversation that are going to be usable. Sometimes there are surprise elements in the interviews. There were times when Corey planned to interview a guest on a topic, but ended up going off track and talking about other aspects of podcasting and those sections became the gold that often fit into other topics.

His advice is to play a little bit fast and loose. In interviews for a narrative podcast you can get away with it because it’s not a show where the person you are interviewing is the sole guest for the one episode. As an interviewer, you don’t have to be ‘on’. You don’t have to ask the immaculate questions, perfectly phrased, and the guests don’t have to give you that perfectly phrased answer that leads from beginning to end of the show like you would in an interview format.

Corey does suggest that as the interviewer, you have to speak less. Ask a question, then allow the guest to speak. After they finish the answer, just pause for 2 seconds, and you’ll see almost every time that the guest will elaborate. And the second thing they say is almost always more profound than the original answer that you got.

Finding the gold in the editing process

Corey believes the hardest thing to do for any editor is to edit, especially when it’s their own show. As podcasters, we are the control room, the editor, the producer, the distributor, the marketing personality, all at the same time. It makes it difficult to be objective when making some of these choices. It’s important to find a way to put things in perspective to who that audience is going to be. Start editing and cutting, not from your own perspective and the things that you like, but the things that are going to be the most valuable to that listener. Of course you, the podcaster, will understand the topics but if your guest is using a lot of industry jargon or buzzwords, it’s important to think about whether the listener will understand. If the answer is that most people wouldn’t understand what that is, Corey says, “cut it, you don’t need it!”

On the cutting room floor

When interviewing, Corey suggests you try to save yourself time down the road. When you get an ‘aha’ moment during the interview, time-stamp it. It was an emotional moment for you and that could then translate well to be an emotional moment for the listener. What you’re able to then is take some of those emotional markers and start putting them into bins and experiement with arranging them around. As you’re doing that, you only have to go and look for the little 5-10% pieces of audio that represent linking the pieces together. That is really the trick: creating the entire story to the best of your ability based on only components provided by your guests. Everything in between that can’t be linked and doesn’t make sense is where the narrator jumps in to get people from point A to point B to point C.

Corey feels that repurposing audio is a great way to go, and with The Podcast Producers, they intentionally did 20-30 minute interviews with podcasters for this purpose. Partly it was because they didn’t want to take up more than 30 minutes of anyone’s time, but it was also because at the end of it they got a weekly 30-minute long form podcast with somebody within the industry. Having finished producing the entire 10 part series and doing all the marketing necessary to get it out there, he can then start pulling these to release as episodes, raw and uncut. It keeps subscribers happy because they’re now getting weekly content, fans of the series are happy because they love the ‘behind-the-scenes’ stuff, and the editors are enjoying it because it’s a chance to see it in the raw perspective before it ends up in the polished product.

Tracking and transition techniques

Everyone has their own approach and every producer has their own flair. For Corey, it’s very simple: he’s always looking for wording to match. When something that one person says can naturally lead to something that someone else said, and those two things can be put together that is a win in narrative audio. Then you don’t need music, transitions, narration or anything fancy. It’s just letting the spoken word tell the story.

In many cases it doesn’t always fall that way because it is largely unscripted material so we have to find a way to bridge from one to the other, which is a good opportunity for a narrator to jump in, usually with a little bit of bed music under it. The music helps the listener to float in and out of the show when the narrator interrupts, but sometimes it’s also used in order to give the listener an appropriate amount of time to think about what was just said. If you can get two pieces of audio to stitch together naturally without having to do anything else to it, do that first. And if you have to get some narration in there, leave a little space, put a little music, give the narration and then go back into the content.

Avoid Analysis Paralysis

By his own admission, Corey is a proponent of the art of non-doing. He warns against getting overwhelmed by the amount of information that’s out there and getting locked into the research phase. He says just let the interviews flow, start getting the content in. In the meantime, start the hunt for your music. He suggests finding an individual composer so you have something that’s thematic that will work for the entire series. Then, see what happens!

May 29, 2017

Today’s guest is Jessica Rhodes from The Podcast Producers.

Reasons to do narrative style

  • Jessica explains that putting on a narrative podcast is going to make you a thought leader in that industry. It brings you a lot of credibility because of the amount of work that goes into it, the production and high quality of the style of podcasts. It makes you come across as a lot more serious about what you’re doing. Interview style podcasts are great but when you put out a narrative show, you are putting out a quality of show that is so much higher than the majority of shows out there so it really does set you apart from the crowd.
  • There is a lot of work both in preparation and post production. There are so many podcasts now. People want to podcast because they want to make money and be famous and they want the easiest way to do it. Well, the reality is if you want to be super famous or successful or make a lot of money, you have to put in the hard work. There is no fast path to a lot of success. A narrative style podcast is a lot of work but you will get a lot of recognition and exposure with a really quality show.

Planning and Preparation for a Series

  • You need to know and have a good understanding of who your audience and target listener is. You also need to know what the story arc is. The difference between a narrative and another type of podcast show is that there’s a story arc; there’s a beginning, a middle and an end.
  • When preparing for their show, Jessica and Corey were thinking about the fact that they were talking to podcasters. What are the questions that podcasters have? What do podcasters think and talk a lot about? They brain dumped all the different topics that came to mind and then on a Google spreadsheet moved them around in a different order and thought strategically about what the right order would be and how that story would be told.
  • Jessica’s advice is to think about who your target listener is and what the goal of the show is. What is the story that you’re trying to tell?

The interviews

  • When you’re thinking about what types of interviews to have on, remember that your guests ARE the show. When you have a narrative based podcast featuring a lot of different guests, you need to be ok with not being the front and center spotlight. The creators are the puppeteers, asking the right questions to allow the guests to tell the story. Jessica was strategic about having guests on from a variety of different categories of podcast, different experience levels, some well known and some not super successful.
  • A good podcast in Jessica’s opinion is not one with just a big name, but one with good content, good production quality, good sound quality and a host who really, really digs their show. She would advise against hosting a narrative show and only trying to get the big names. A narrative show is beautiful because it’s bringing voices to so many different people that you don’t hear on every other podcast.

Tips for having a good interview

  • The difference in doing a narrative style podcast is that the interviews are not meant to be heard just raw and uncut, so it’s not just this flowing conversation. It feels a little choppy because it will get cut and pasted into different episodes.
  • The best tip Jessica ever heard and the best advice that she can give is actually a tip from Mark Maron at Podcast Movement: listen. When you’re interviewing, really listen and let your guest do as much of the talking as possible, especially in a narrative based podcast.
  • Corey also taught her this: the best part of the interview, the best stuff, is going to come after at least 15 minutes. So if you can, have your interviews go for a minimum of 30 minutes. Sometimes you can only get guests for 30 minutes but if you can have someone on with you for an hour, the stuff that comes after that 15-20 minute mark is going to be the best. You’re just breaking the ice after those first few minutes.

The editing process

  • It’s important to have a team. Doing a narrative-based podcast by yourself is going to be a really big challenge. It’s not impossible but Corey and Jessica each brought very different skill-sets to the table, which allowed them to have a really good show. She highly recommends that if you want to do a narrative-based podcast to really make sure you have the right partners to help you do it really well. Jessica has a nice voice on the microphone, can interview well and knows how to get guests. So she was the main booker for the show and obviously contributed along with Corey to the ideas. She thinks more like a marketer and an entrepreneur than Corey does. He is the artist, he is the editor, he is the producer and the one that listens to all the interviews and takes the pieces and puts them together.
  • Having a partner and knowing what your skillsets are helps, but also get as much content as you can. They brainstormed what the story would be but what they realised is they ended up talking to the guests about a lot more than what they booked them to talk about. So they ended up being able to use their interviews in a lot more of the episodes than first thought. You don’t want to pre-edit, you want to just talk to the guests and try to get as much great information. A lot will get left on the cutting room floor, but you want to get as much great audio as possible so you have plenty to work with.

Strategic Elements of the Stories and Transitions

  • In the narrative-based podcast, you want to have a variety of feels to the show. For Podcast Producers they had three different kinds of audio: interviews, solo segments and conversations between Cory and Jessica. And there was also music. A person’s voice when they do a solo show is different to when they interview, and again to when they have a conversation. It sounds so different. In a narrative based-podcast, one of the things you can do to hook listeners, is to have those different kinds of vocals.
  • The music is HUGE as well. They actually contracted a musician to write the music for the show. The high quality of the music is a big part of creating the high quality show. You can find musicians to compose a song for you. The production quality and the sound, high quality music, will really set you apart.

Sponsorship

  • Getting sponsorship comes back to that high quality content and production, and the launch. They didn’t do that much around marketing but Jessica thinks because all of their energy was into the production of the show, it marketed itself. She thinks the mistake a lot of podcasters make is they go into podcasting thinking about sponsors and have dollar signs in their eyes. But if you think about the story and the listeners, and focus on the quality of the show, then you can definitely attract sponsors.
  • In the iTunes show there is a part about podcasting and it has other shows in there like Podcast Answerman. She emailed iTunes and said that they should feature her show in that category. It took a couple of months but now their podcast is listed in the ‘How to Podcast’ section of iTunes because they had a very clear target market, a highly produced show and they went for it, they made it happen.

Repurposing the interview content that didn’t make it

  • Podcast Producers is a show for podcasters, so the audience will respect and value that unedited aspect. Also showing the unedited interviews is a lesson in and of itself. Also Jessica and Corey wanted a way to create buzz. She was pregnant and he is very busy, so they knew they weren’t going to be able to come back and produce another season for a while, and it was a way to fill that space.
  • They chose to not build an email list together. So on the PodcastProducers.com you can find Jessica’s bio and a link to her website, and a link to Corey’s bio and his website. They wanted a way to keep people engaged in between seasons so they wanted to keep having episodes come out so people stayed in touch.
  • This was about getting content out, it isn’t a list builder, it isn’t a way to make money, it was about making Jessica and Corey authority figures. They were both behind the scenes people in podcasting, working really hard in their businesses but not internet celebrities. They wanted to show that they knew a lot about podcasting. Jessica did not want this to be a business podcast where it just sounds like everyone’s pitching what they do. She says maybe if they had talked more about their businesses they would have seen more people visit their websites. But the original goal was to produce a high quality show and create amazing value for podcasters. When you do that, you will attract people. Quality leads will seek you out.

Resources

  • Jessica recommends people use Podfly Productions, Interview Connections or Josh Rivers’ services.
  • She also highly recommends honing your communication skills on the mic. You just have to do a lot of podcasting and do a lot of interviews and listen to yourself after the fact to hear how you sound and to improve.
  • Listen to people like Terry Gross from Fresh Air and Mark Maron host of WTF, or other high quality podcasts. Listen to them as a way to learn how to be a better host and a better interviewer.
  • Also check out Jessica’s WebTV show Interview Connections.TV which is a weekly show with tips for podcasters because that will be helpful too.
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