My peoples! Luvvie Ajayi here - welcome to episode two of Podcasting 101, from Google Podcasts and PRX!
In this episode, we’re gonna get into the early things you should consider when starting a podcast. You know I love giving advice, so settle in.
So you’ve done your focus statement, the next logical step is to get a sense of what else is out there - there are millions of podcasts…. how will yours stand out?
How can you do something no one else is? So search shows like the one you want to make, and see what they have in common, and - most importantly - what’s missing. That may be your way in.
As you ponder your unique take - let’s focus on three other key early decisions - format, length and frequency.
Format is the type of show you’re gonna do. Not what it’s about, but how you will tell those stories. Some typical formats are:
just one person talking into a mic
a “chat-cast” where friends hash it all out
an interview show with guests
a sound-rich reported documentary
Or a gripping audio fiction.
It may be obvious but some formats take more work to produce than others - a chat cast is likely gonna take less time than a deep-dive documentary.
Funnily enough, structure is something that can give you more flexibility here. If your show is different every time, you’re starting over every time.
For example, my podcast Rants & Randomness, I have four regular segments - the Feel Good, the Rant, the Spotlight, and the interview.
I even have a structure for my interviews - my first question is always, “What did you want to be when you were growing up?” and my last question is always, “How do you take care of yourself?”
Having these actually helps define the tone of the show, and it defines the interview as specifically mine. It helps me feel confident coming into the interview because I always know where I’m starting and where I’m ending - and my listeners love it. They love the consistency - and it means they know where the show is coming from.
Find your own framework, things that reflect your personality and the show you want to make.
Another thing to consider is length - there’s a lot of advice out there about how long your podcast should be. I’m just gonna say it: shorter is almost always better. Just know that making something shorter often takes more time as it involves more planning and editing, so it’s another key early decision to make.
Another hot debate is frequency - how often should your podcast come out? However often you decide to release your podcast - stick to it! Being consistent is the most important thing. So my show drops every other Tuesday. Having a schedule lets people know when to look forward to the next episode.
And one more thing - kinda obvious but your show needs a name - something distinctive, memorable, and - in the age of smart speakers - easy to say and spell. I’m a fan of alliteration. Rants & Randomness. Jesus & Jollof. Catchy!
So, get this work done first - and you’ll be grateful to yourself down the line.
Alright - It’s time to get to work:
Make a pilot!
It doesn’t have to be perfect - enough to get feedback and find out what works and what doesn’t. This is key.
If you’re ready, the next episode is where you gotta go. Sean is gonna tell you all about how to record audio and all the technical stuff to make your show sound great, which is another way to stand out.
Are you talking to me?
It’s good stuff. He’s a great teacher. So good luck, and I’ll see ya’ll on my next episode!