So You Want To Start A Podcast

There are hundreds of articles about starting podcasting online, full of helpful and relevant advice. Is this one of them? Uh, maybe. Sort of. I guess. I mean, why not?

I have experience though! It’s coming up to Verity!‘s seventh birthday (how??!) (also, you can enter our seventh anniversary giveaway!), and Hammer House of Podcast‘s second, and I’m on this season of Total Party Kill for The Incomparable Network. (And this week alone, I’ve had double-recordings for both of Verity! and HHoP, recorded lines for Reality Bomb (where I, ah, play a recurring character in a skit, no mocking THANK YOU), and have an Incomparable episode still to do.)

So, yes, experience. Does that guarantee I’ve anything terrible useful to say? No. Does it mean I’m going to write some stuff about podcasting anyway? Yes, yes I am.

Don’t be afraid of your microphone

Don’t be afraid of microphones. CRUCIAL. You are going to need to use a microphone to podcast, and you will have to speak into it. If the prospect of speaking into a microphone causes you to freeze up in terror and be unable to speak, you are going to have to find some way to overcome that if you want to podcast.

Now, you might be thinking, what a silly thing to say, who does that? WELL. My very first podcast recording, this is exactly what happened. You wouldn’t notice if you heard it, as there were a number of people in the same interview, too many to be practical really, but I literally couldn’t speak. I was terrified. Why? Feck knows. No rational reason.

ANYWAY, when I started doing Verity!, this was a bit of an issue. I would basically be having anxiety issues before a recording, during a recording, and after a recording. At some point, I got used to it, and they stopped. Why did I stick with it? Not a clue. So, yes, try not to be afraid of your mic.

Keep a regular schedule

This is *the* piece of advice if you want to build an audience. There will be exceptions, of course, but generally speaking, tell your listeners when the podcast will be out (weekly, monthly…yearly) and stick to that schedule.

Gosh, that sounds a bit straighforward and serious. Um…it can be very stressful having a regular deadline like that. Possibly, and I think this is a very neat format, you might consider doing ‘seasons’, you’ve a set number of episodes and then you take a break. Really, and I have no actual evidence for this, if you just keep your listeners informed about what’s going on, they probably won’t forget you. Or maybe that’s just me. Or maybe you don’t mind all that much how many people listen. It’s probably good for the ego to have millions, but then there’re EXPECTATIONS. PRESSURE. And all that flargh stuff. Probably best to just put it up at random and mysterious times.

Podcast with a friend in another country

I mean, you don’t have to obviously. But if you DO have a friend that you don’t see much or they live very far away, podcasting is an EXCELLENT way to stay in regular contact. And you get to share and delight in something you have in common. *And* you maybe get to experience the joy of figuring out time-zones. For EXTRA FUN try it with people in the US/Canada, the UK, and Australia.

It can also be exceptionally cheering, and good for your mental health.

Talk about something you quite like

Don’t get bored. THEY KNOW YOUR LISTENERS KNOW. So make it about something you’re passionate about, something you want to share your passion for. But what about THE MARKET? What about if there are 500 other podcasts doing your thing? You have to be UNIQUE, don’t you? Well, you can spend a lot of time figuring out what doesn’t exist and making that and BEING SAD (unless you are super lucky and what doesn’t exist actually fits with what you love) OR you can just do the thing you actually want to do.

(Or, and this is what happened with Verity!, you can get pissed off enough about a lack of a certain type of voice within a podcast community and try and fill that gap yourself.)

Your opinions are WORTHY and INTERESTING

I am informed that, on occasion, people can find it difficult to express their views in a confident way. And, for women especially, it can be quite scary putting them out there for the world to hear. I’m most familiar with this in a Doctor Who fandom context where you can be attacked for things as innocous as which companion you like best (so very wish I was kidding).

Confidence is tough. There aren’t any magic words here, but here’s what I think: everyone in the world has something worthwhile to say. It’s not going to be something that everyone else is passionate about or appreciates, but there will be those who *are* interested. You have a voice that is uniquely yours; and no-one else will ever have one exactly like it. If you want to put it to mp3 (or your soundfile equivalent) that is a very worthwhile use of your time. It can also be a marvellously fun and rewarding and joyful hobby, and tends to come with a community of warm and welcoming and helpful people.

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And, hey, if you’ve any podcast related questions, I am happy to have a go at answering. I can’t promise to be terribly helpful, but I’ll give it a shot.

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