14 Jun What I’ve learned from making 25 podcast episodes
This week has been really podcast heavy… We spoke at an event about how to start your own podcast, we were interviewed by another podcast, talking about the best ways to interview people and our DM’s have been busy with some pod related questions. I won’t be talking about the tech and the gear; that’s Adam’s department and really you can just google and youtube it – that’s what we did. I’m going to focus on what we’ve learnt so far. Today marks our 25th episode, and while this is a relatively short run, we’ve learnt so much…
The Best Podcasts start with ‘Why’
Read Simon Sinek’s book and you’ll probably start with why in every future project you take on. We decided that our ‘why’ was to help creatives – because when we started our first business there really wasn’t anything around that could help us. We saw a blank space in the UK market for creative business advice, as there a few loud American’s doing it but hardly anyone over here.
You Must Decide What Your Show ‘Looks’ Like
So we knew we wanted to help people. We knew we had a lot of advice to share but we decided that because we learn from so many different sources it would benefit our audience more if we were interviewing guests.
We decided that in order to help as many people as possible it was important to make an impact right off the bat, the best way we saw to do this was launch at number one on the iTunes business chart and hit New and Noteworthy. A number one podcast looks a certain way, it has a logo, a good cover photo and it has good guests. By deciding we were going to launch at number 1 we could clearly picture how the show should look. We then designed it from there.
This is the most important lesson we’ve learnt. We started off with zero listeners, no audience; the same place that most people start. We then had to convince big-name guests to come on a show that didn’t exist yet. We wanted big names for their expertise but also to leverage their loyal fanbases to send our show up the charts, allowing us to impact as many people as possible. So how did we get them? We asked. We sent genuine (short) emails that explained the show’s goal and why we thought they would be a great guest (research them!). When you know your ‘why’, and can clearly articulate it, you’ll notice that people will say yes if they can, even if you have no audience. Some of them will say no, and that’s okay. People are busy. But, don’t ask, don’t get….
Interviewing is hard
I guess on some level going in, I knew this already. When the red light popped on and I was sat in front of our first guest, shit got real. I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE I was screaming in my head, but I kept calm on the outside (so as not to rattle lovely Alexandra Dudley) and started asking away. I didn’t write down questions for the first 19 episodes. I was actually proud of that, I research the guests pretty hardcore so I know I can take the conversation a bunch of different ways. When we took the show to New York we were doing three shows in a day sometimes and I had to start writing questions down because I was getting confused. It helped so much that I’ve carried this on and always have questions to fall back on now. I’m perfectly happy to abandon them if we start going down an interesting road, but I like having them there.
As with anything, I think you get better with practice. I think our episodes now are pretty good and we’ve had great feedback. I’m so excited for what they’ll be like after 300 episodes because we are growing all the time. Interviewing is probably the hardest part of the podcast because you have to pick up on cues that your guest gives you. They might say something interesting, so you hold a question in your head but then they may talk for a while and the moment will be gone, you have to abandon that question and find another one. It’s like chess, and while you *are* just having a conversation there’s more pressure. In the pub you can trail off and not say anything for a while or bring up a topic like Brexit or Game of Thrones and that doesn’t really work for our podcast!
It’s the best thing I’ve done in years and I’m so glad I plucked up the courage to do so. I was scared no one would listen but we got to #1. I was scared that my voice sounded shit but we’ve had reviews saying we have ‘soothing’ voices, haha! It’s been an incredible ride and we’ve only been going for six months. We made the show to help others but it’s also opened so many doors for us and our businesses, which has been a brilliant, happy side-effect. The DMs we have got from people, saying that our show has inspired them have been incredible and on top of all that we’ve been able to sit down with 25 incredible humans, ask them anything we want and we’ve learnt so much from them.