Hey everyone! Initially, my plan for this post was a lot smaller—after posting my first podcast, I was going to write about handling the stage fright that comes with putting your voice out there for anyone to hear. But as it turns out, there’s a lot more to putting up your first podcast than just stage fright. Furthermore, since this is the stage in my project where I need to add YouTube video into the mix, I figured why not do the same thing amazing resources like The Audacity to Podcast (2016) do, and attach my written stuff onto my audio (and in my cause, visual, as they do on Social Media Examiner (2016)) stuff? So, let’s turn to the old reliable list format to break it all down…
1). You realize that you have too many ideas.
My initial plan, before I realized how little I actually knew about podcasting (ha!) was to do a music podcast. The problem was, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to showcase opera or heavy metal…really! People are multi-dimensional, so if you’re thinking about doing a podcast and you’re reading this, I’m positive there’s more than one thing you’d be interested in talking about as well. Ultimately, the idea that you should go with is the idea that works best with the time, experience, and resources that you have. With no feasible way to get licensing to play music on my show, I decided to pull away from the music idea and turn my inexperience with podcasting into my hook by doing a show where I interviewed other podcasters. If I can do it, anyone can find a podcast idea that works for them.
2). You realize that some of your ideas won’t work.
While I was still in the brainstorming stage, with the idea of wanting to do something about music still pretty set in my mind, I looked at the Creative Commons Wiki resources about using licensed music on a podcast and Fair Use, as well as some other sources on the topic around the Internet. I’ll link the pages at the end of this post, because I think they’re essential reading for anyone who wants to get started on a podcast. The upshot of it is that if I was going to play any licensed music on my podcast, I was going to need to get permission, and that would have taken money and time I didn’t have. That kind of disappointment is just a normal part of doing anything creative. I think it’s important to know when to say “this isn’t going to work”. It should just be followed up with “I’ll try to make this next idea work instead”.
3). You come up with new ideas you may not have even thought of before.
For a while, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to podcast about if the music thing was off the table. Yet that period didn’t last nearly as long as it could have. I kind of turned my own feeling of having no idea where to go into an idea of its own—if I didn’t know enough about podcasting, why not make a podcast interviewing people who do? In a way, the setback I had really was a blending. Because of it, I ended up with a podcast that “fit” for me.
4). You realize that people have already done your ideas.
Of course there are other podcasts about podcasts! I actually got a lot of advice for my own podcast from the blog associated with The Audacity to Podcast (if you’re an aspiring podcaster, you should definitely check them out!). However, I’ve made it a point not to listen to any of these, since I want to make sure I’m keeping my work my own. I find that it helps to look at podcast topics like film genres. Of course there’s more than one romantic comedy in the world! But writers, directors and actors can bring something to make their romantic comedy original (if only that happened more often!) and so can podcasters (who I find have a much better track record with originality than Hollywood does!)
5). You start to compare.
It’s inevitable. If you’re frosting a cake, you’re going to think about the cakes you’ve seen in bakeries, and if you’re making a podcast, you’re going to start comparing what you’re doing to some of the most popular, most produced podcasts out there. However, one of my biggest takeaways from the only published, ink and paper book I read in preparation for this podcast, Kirk McElhearn, Richard Giles and Jack Herrington’s Podcasting Pocket Guide (2006) was that podcasting is an important, exciting medium specifically because it’s something that anyone can do. The knowledge that the very fact that an amateur like me could start a podcast at all is part of what makes the medium great in the first place turned out to be enough to help me cut through my stage fright.
6). You struggle with the tech.
This is probably the only really practical piece of advice I can give about podcasting at this point, but if you’re new, give yourself lots and lots of time to complete your first episode. Editing can be a long slog, creating your own cover art without using any copyrighted material can be daunting, and it can be confusing figuring out how to get your podcast hosted. If you’re working under any kind of deadline, this is a lot of pressure! But the same principle applies here as it did in the brainstorming stage—just don’t give up.
Also, about the cover art thing? Daniel J. Lewis over on The Audacity To Podcast has a great article about it, and he provides a download link to a list of great resources. Check out the link at the end of this article!
7). You realize that yes, people are listening.
After I posted the first episode of Behind the Podcast to this blog, I got one new follower, and one like on the post (hi guys!). For me, that was enough. There’s something amazing about the knowledge that yes, someone, somewhere, is interested in what you have to say. Maybe next time, I’ll get two more followers…
8). You get ready to go through it all again…knowing that you’re going to do better this time.
Is preparing to do my next episode daunting? Of course! It’d be ridiculous to claim that it only takes one episode to get podcasting down to an art. Going through the editing phase again is definitely not something I’m looking forward to! But if I can be permitted to make predictions, I think I can say that the editing might go just a little bit faster this time, now that I’ve done it once. And with cover-making and hosting out of the way, that almost guarantees things are going to be smoother from here.
So, what do you learn when you create Episode One of a brand new podcast, and then post it?
“Don’t give up.”
RESOURCES FOR THIS POST
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