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After a few attempts by me — the novice — at introducing to those interested how to start a podcast, it’s time to speak with an expert.
It’s time to talk with Flyn Tracy from ADR (Aus Design Radio). For those who haven’t listened to ADR, Flyn and his podcasting partner Matt Leach started ADR in 2016 and the show has just hit 108 episodes. The latest episode is with Ben Johnston and Alex Naghavi of Joseph Mark. *claps* Go listen now!
This article will look at the technical side of podcasting, reasons for starting a podcast, return on investment, and some tips to make your podcast a better product.
Next month, we’ll go deeper into the history of ADR. But for now, it’s time to think about why you might create a podcast. Time vs investment vs energy. Is this something you could do to tap into your audience, or create an audience, or communicate with your fans?
“We didn’t start it out in that way,” begins Flyn. “So, it’s hard for me to talk about that necessarily, because I think it’s like social media, where, if you spent all your time doing all the things you’re supposed to do on social media, you wouldn’t have time to run a business or be a freelancer.”
“You don’t want to invest too heavily and then realise the show is taking up way too much time. So, finding a good strategy of how many of these are we going to do before we decide if this is something we want to continue to do.”
So, is it worth it? This is an interesting question as it will depend on everyone’s individual situation and goals. First, though, let’s talk equipment.
“We use a Zoom H6 recorder, which is amazing, says Flyn. “It has four XLR/TRS inputs so you can have four mics running at once. You can have an external mic input to capture crowds, which is a really good backup if you’re doing live events — you can get that sort of ambience as well.
Between them, Flyn and Matt have a variety of mics, from lightweight Shure SM58s [a staple for bands across the world for the past 20 years] for when they have to be on the move, and the heavier but higher quality RØDE Podcasters, which require more equipment to keep them steady.
“We’re looking for a third kit, some sort of in-between, but every couple of months there seems to be something new, so we’re just keeping an eye on it at the moment for when we buy another kit,” says Flyn.
Podcasting is a little like public speaking, and public speaking is easy, right? *coughs*
You might get nervous before you speak, but that’s a good thing. Stay with me… Don’t feel bad about getting nervous, it happens to literally The Best Of Us — it was widely reported that Prince (THE Prince; The Purple One) used to get physically ill before every gig he did. If it’s OK for one of the greatest musicians and performers to ever grace this Earth, then it’s OK for us.
“I’ve never done anything public speaking-wise where I haven’t been nervous,” admits Flyn. “I think that’s just a natural response. A very experienced speaker once told me once that everyone gets nervous, and if you don’t get nervous then you don’t care.”
“I always think about that and I always tell other people that. Even on the podcast, you’d be surprised at how many people do get nervous about it.”
You’ll also need to uncover where to find your podcast’s target audience. Who are you producing the Podcast for? Remember your design teachers when they told you that if you try to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one. This is one of those situations.
“I think it’s a really important thing to be aware of,” says Flyn. “What is the purpose of this [podcast]? What problem are you trying to solve? And who’s it for? You can figure that out and tweak that as you go, but it is important to have some rules at the beginning — or at least some goals that you can change.”
“How long should your content be? How frequent should it be? Is this something where you can pre-record 10 episodes in a week and publish them once a month, or is it something you always want to do live? It’s important that you listen to podcasts and find out what you like. Matt and I debated, and still debate quite a lot, about the structure and the content of how we should do things.”
“We get the people into the studio, live. Most podcasts are via Skype, which ends up more like an interview than a conversation. The live thing is unique, and we find a lot of benefit in it. We’ve sat down and had a lot of emotional conversations with people — people who we knew, friends of friends, and also people we don’t know who have really opened up, and I just don’t think we could have got there by over-preparing and not sharing the same space.”
Finally, you need to have a launch plan. If you’re going to have guests on the show, think about who those people will be. “I’d think about creating a list of 30 people and aiming for 10,” suggests Flyn.
So, there you have it — some hints from an expert. This is just the beginning, though. Next time, we’ll be looking at podcasting from the viewpoint of the guest, so you can understand what they’re feeling and thinking.
This will work on your empathy muscles, which are super-important when trying to make people feel comfortable telling you their secrets.
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