Five things I've learned about podcasting

I've been making this podcast for a couple of months and since the medium is the new hotness, I thought I'd share a couple of things I've found interesting.

1. Getting an audience was actually relatively easy.

This is a personal project, so I'm more than happy to be open about numbers. I have about 400 subscribers. If you're one of them, you are officially one of my favourite people in the world.

400 is nothing compared to Serial or Planet Money but when I launched I decided I'd be happy if just 10 people thought my work was worth downloading.

I haven't spent any money on promotion. I've basically done this every week...

I have about 1500 followers (*cough* follow me *cough*). If you work at a big organisation with a few big social accounts and you're thinking of getting into podcasts, you shouldn't have problems picking up a few thousand listeners (as long as your idea is good).

2. Sound quality seems to be really important to people.

I listen to podcasts as I walk to work, using standard iPhone headphones. So I knew that whatever I released had to sound good enough to battle the noise of the outside world.

But 'the sound quality is great' is basically the only feedback I've received from you wonderful people. Maybe that's because there are a lot of poorly recorded podcasts out there, maybe it's because we're all a bunch of audio geeks, who knows ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Want to know my secret? Call recorder for Skype, keeping my housemates off the internet while I'm interviewing, and these little beauties for my voiceover and interviews IRL...

You'll also be surprised what can be covered up with a bit of music, which is why...

3. Good music is worth paying for.

There's plenty of 'royalty free' music on the internet, but a lot of it is terrible. I came across Podington Bear when I heard his music referenced on another podcast. His Sound of Picture library is huge and very cheap (just $10 for five tracks in a single podcast episode).

Searching for music on a single website while I'm editing has dramatically sped up the process of putting an episode together and the way he lets you download ENTIRE TRACKS before paying is exactly the way the web should work. On trust.

4. I release episodes irregularly -  this is a problem.

To paraphrase the Goldblum...

...to get in the way of producing a podcast.

I'm a one-man operation and editing takes a while. I tend to average about a minute of audio for every half-an-hour of editing. Scripting, recording voiceover, realising you haven't got inflections quite right, or your room echoes too much etc etc all add to that time.

I'm aiming for an episode every other Tuesday and when I missed that target this week I felt insanely guilty. Episode four is now almost finished but there's a reason I'm going to wait until next Tuesday to release it...

This American Life releases on a Monday.

99% Invisible releases on a Wednesday.

and the Gimlet podcasts tend to release towards the end of the week.

I saw a gap in the days I listen to 'journalistic' podcasts and decided to fill it with my own work.

Routine is an important part of how we all listen to podcasts and I know three weeks between episodes is too long to gain real traction. Sorry all.

5. Some people on the internet are actually wonderful.

I've had nothing but positive feedback (so far). Awesome random people have sent me messages on Facebook, included me in their TinyLetters and told their friends about this little podcast.

I'm a white male and I know that gets me an easy ride online. But I've been genuinely surprised by how nice people have been. Thank you!


Next week's episode is all about the woman behind those automated voices in shops ('cashier number four please'). If you'd like to subscribe you'll find the links below...