The Podcast Life Chose Me...
Former PGR Office intern Cia Jackson gives her four top tips for starting and running a podcast.
Millions of people around the globe listen to podcasts every week, and with new podcasts regularly appearing on just about any subject imaginable, there’s plenty out there to enjoy. As someone who podcasts in her spare time, I’m here to share what it’s like on the other side of the microphone.
When my pal Pip and I set up the Tipsy Knits podcast, our goal was simple. We wanted to find a way of connecting with the knitting community beyond our circle of friends, and we decided that creating “our own knit night down the pub” in podcast form was the best way of doing so; we’d bring a monthly knit night to knitters who might not necessarily have access to one. Whilst we opted to podcast about our main mode of self-care, there’s so much potential for recording a podcast based around your research. Like a blog, a podcast can allow you to share your passion for your subject, plus there’s also the chance to establish yourself within your field as well as engage with others beyond it. Pip and I regularly connect with listeners from the other side of the world who tell us our podcast makes a difference for them. Just think the effect recording could have for you if you’re part-time or a distance PGR? Or for an audience of PGRs who perhaps feel isolated or unable to connect to your field?
There are other personal benefits to consider too. Regularly listening to yourself speak as you edit your episodes can impact on your presentation skills. I’m now more aware of how I sound, the words I overuse- and I can adjust accordingly. Conferences don’t seem that intimidating now. That’s not to mention other skills such as editing, writing show notes, and promotion…
There’s also the potential to generate opportunities. I’ve had so many fantastic adventures come my way thanks to podcasting. I’ve attended festivals as an official podcaster, collaborated with yarn producers and designers, and been able to spend time getting to know my audience and other podcasters I admire. Ultimately though, our listeners allow us into a small section of their lives, and that’s also a great privilege.
Want to get started?
Top 4 Tips for Podcasting Beginners
1. Listen to podcasts
A bit of an obvious one, but listening to different podcasts can help you find your inspiration and work out where and how your podcast can fit. What’s already out there? What do you like/dislike about different episode structures or content? Is there someone you admire you could approach for tips? Is anyone hosting a training or networking event you can attend?
2. Save your money
Tipsy Knits started life using free software, a blog and a battered laptop. Although Pip and I later invested in a microphone and a better SoundCloud subscription, it’s not all about spending £££. There’s nothing to stop you using a Smartphone and apps such as PodBean, or later uploading your audio file to YouTube as plenty of podcasters I know do now. Alternatively, you could even join the ranks of vlogging podcasters.
Whatever you do, give it a few episodes before you decide to invest in new equipment, or decide that the podcasting life isn’t for you. It can take a while to find your voice, build an audience and assess the situation.
3. Involve your friends and family
Having a support network in any walk of life is invaluable. Whether you pull someone in as your co-host or simply ask your flatmates to listen to a section you’re not sure about, I really rate friends and family as podcasting assets. They might not quite get what you’re doing or why, they’ll still listen to every episode, provide honest feedback and make for a loyal audience.
4. Ignore the negative voices
The only obstacle that Pip and I faced when we first recorded Tipsy Knits was imposter syndrome. View the tiny doubtful voices as a sign you’re challenging yourself, and just hit record!
Need some inspiration to help you get started? UofG is home to some brilliant podcasts well worth a listen, and stay tuned for a post dedicated to some of our favourite podcasts. Whether you’re just starting out, a podcast veteran, or an avid listener, don’t forget- we always want to hear from you.