As I have grown older, I have learned to love podcasts more and more. Whether working on emails at work or commuting around town, I love pulling up a new episode of a favourite playlist and listening to the commentary flowing through my speakers.
Many podcast fans aspire to have a podcast of their very own. Recently, my best friend (and typical partner-in-crime) Lee and I started our own podcast: HareBrained Candy. Over the past month, we have essentially launched into a crash course on podcasting, and luckily each new episode is receiving better and better responses from our audience!
I am sure that several of you reading this may also be interested in starting your own podcast. Below are some quick tips that will help you to get your podcast off the ground:
- Announce a posting schedule and stick to it! From the start, Lee and I announced that we will be recording episodes of HareBrained Candy on Monday evenings and posting them for public consumption on Tuesday evenings. This way, our listeners know when to expect a new episode and can prepare for it. When I wake up in the morning that one of my favourite podcasts gets released, I am legitimately giddy. If I open iTunes and a new episode isn’t there, I am legitimately disappointed. Make sure to communicate to your audience in your podcast episodes if you know in advance that you will not be recording on schedule for an upcoming episode. This way, your audience can anticipate this and not get their hopes up.
- Remember that your audience cannot see what you are doing. The hardest thing for Lee and I during our first few episodes was ensuring that our comedy was audible and not visual. As panelists and videographers, a lot of our humour is visual…in the forms of me bouncing around like a loon, Lee storming offset, and the two of us giving each other weird looks. These things work well in videos and during live paneling events, but they do not translate into an audio-only podcast. We have had to work to make sure to verbalize what we are thinking and feeling so that our audience does not feel gypped.
- Chemistry is key. Pick a co-host(s) that you vibe well with. If you always experience weird dead pauses and forced conversation with a person in real-life settings, then they should not be your co-host. If someone just gets under your skin and you don’t know why, but you constantly have to bite your tongue around them, then they should also not be your co-host. Pick someone who you can produce a genuine conversation with and get along well with. Listeners can tell when a conversation is real versus when there is an awkward elephant in the room. They can also tell when two people get along and would be fun to be around! Choose to be the latter pairing, not the former.
- Podcasting isn’t free. In order to get your podcast onto iTunes, it must first have an RSS feed attributed to it. How do you enable this? You must first upload your podcast onto another audio streaming service. Have you ever wondered why—if you Google the name of your favourite podcast—an alternate podcast feed other than iTunes also pops up? It’s because they have to have their RSS feed coming from somewhere. Lee and I use Libsyn for our podcast, and we currently pay $15/mo for it. If you are even the slightest bit serious about pushing your podcast out to a chosen audience, the $15/mo is worth it. Libsyn also does not have a contact, so you can cancel the payments at any time.
- Tease and advertise your podcast on social media. If no one knows that your podcast exists, how are they going to listen to it? You should have a Facebook Page and a Twitter Account dedicated to your podcast. Post updates and reminders pertaining to your podcast on these. You and your co-host(s) should also be posting updates and reminders on your own social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), as well as resharing/retweeting the posts from the podcast’s page onto your own to increase its exposure. Also, ask guests and sponsors to reshare/retweet your podcast links onto their own social media pages to increase your audience range!
- Have fun! At the end of the day, making a podcast should be fun. Creating the episodes should be fun. If you have no interest in anything that you are saying, your lack of interest will be audible in your voice. If you are a nervous wreck, it will also be audible in your voice. Take a deep breath, joke around with your co-host(s) for a minute, and then get started. Lee and I always cut 1-2 minutes from the start of our episodes because we spend some time after hitting record to just warm up our voices and get in the podcasting spirit. We also record for around a minute when a guest comes on set and joke around with them before asking them the real questions. Don’t start cold turkey. Get warmed up first!
Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @TheAngieChu if you have any questions about starting your first podcast! And, of course, be sure to subscribe to HareBrained Candy and enjoy new episodes each Tuesday at 8pm EST!