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Podcasting: Lessons Learned
This is the third piece in our special series on podcasting, which shares insights into the dynamics of this booming audio phenomenon. What are the differences between linear/FM stations and podcasters? What are the similarities?
Published over six bi-monthly print issues, we hear of the journeys of podcasters in places like Kenya, South Africa, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and from parts of Europe. They shed light on what brought them to this medium, the mistakes they’ve made and lessons learned, how they sustain themselves and the tips they have for new, budding podcasters, whether they’re individual content creators or station-backed productions. The series also looks at what it takes to get started, the investment required, how to scale the podcasts and monetize them effectively, and more.
This month, Jamie Wood of Brisbane, Australia explains how he got started and the preparation that goes into creating a quality podcast.
If you have any suggestions or questions regarding this series or others, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll publish your input along with a relevant response.
There are seemingly endless blogs, trade publications, articles, white papers, events and tertiary courses for people working in the advertising and marketing industry. Yet, there is almost nothing for the thousands of people working in the media sales profession.
The Media Sales Mastery podcast was my answer to a very real problem in the industry in which I’d spent over a decade. The idea was to provide information, content, interviews and advice to young media sales professionals looking to navigate a highly competitive and notoriously high-turnover profession.
My journey began by chance when a friend who owned a recording studio offered me some free recording time in exchange for playing bass on an album (I’d spent my early 20s playing music semi-professionally).
What I quickly learned was that turning the mics on and trying to “wing it” was not a workable approach. I needed to spend time on the front end trying to understand the audience I was serving and then create a strategy around how to best create and deliver the content they thirsted for.
I first sought to gain feedback from both media sales leaders and the target audience to understand the pitfalls, challenges and “off the record” questions they wanted to cover. I then set about designing a consistent format and conventions for the podcast to ensure a consistent and quality listening experience that could organically grow over time.
Recording: Zoom R8 portable multi-track digital recorder (or an iPad and Voice Memo for remote recording)
Mic: Shure Motiv MV5 digital condenser mic
Distribution: Whooshkaa hosts the podcast, which is syndicated anywhere you get your podcasts, including Apple, Spotify and iHeartRadio
My golden rules are as follows:
- Naming conventions drive listenership: Don’t get too clever — make the name of the podcast and each episode instantly descriptive. The podcast should do what it says on the box.
- Keep the format consistent: A duration of 25–35 minutes, the first five to cover the guest’s background, a Q&A style body of the episode and a listener submitted question forms the basis of every episode; and I don’t deviate from that.
- Don’t upload your podcast until you have a bank: An alarming number of podcasts have fewer than five episodes. If you want the listener to make a long-term investment in your podcast, then upload five to seven episodes when you launch.
- Get to the point: Too many podcasts I hear spend the first 15–20 minutes with incessant small talk and chatter. Respect the listener’s time and dive into the content they want to hear straight away.
- Maintain a regular upload schedule: I found that the first and third Sunday of every month was manageable and allowed me to build a consistent habit. I commit to that schedule and don’t deviate from it.
- Production value matters: I was fortunate to get a friend to do some voiceovers, imaging and music to give the podcast a higher production value. These things make a major difference in not only the listener experience, but the presentation and professionalism of your podcast and its brand.
- Sacrifice: I’ve had many high-profile people ask to come and talk on the podcast, people I’d love to speak with on topics I’d love to learn more about. But the podcast is not about them or me, it’s about the audience I’m serving. Good content strategy is having the confidence to say no to things that don’t serve the audience.
I’ve had the luxury of a professional studio and radio studios in the past to record, but during the COVID pandemic for remote recordings, a Shure digital microphone into an iPad in a soundproof room has sufficed. The postproduction and editing process can really lift production value. The podcast is hosted by Whooshkaa and syndicated anywhere you get your podcasts.
The author presents the Media Sales Mastery podcast from Brisbane, Australia.