3 LESSONS PODCASTING HAS TAUGHT ME (PART ONE)
Updated: Jul 30
We're exactly half-a-year (26 episodes) into my podcast. Let's reflect. You know full-well I couldn't be arsed to release an episode some weeks. I told you every time I wasn't in the mood. But weirdly, whenever I wanted to skip a week, I beamed with pride each time I didn't. Why? Because there's never a bad time to develop discipline. Discipline is a muscle I'm keen to exercise. We've already discussed my discipline deficiency, and now, I'm embroiled in a personal challenge to release a brand new episode of my podcast every week for a year.
We're officially halfway - so, what learnings can I share with you? Are you considering launching a podcast? If so, here are my 3 biggest lessons so far:
1: SOME WEEKS, YOU CAN'T BE ARSED
Truth is, it's inevitable. You'll face some weeks when you can't be bothered to record an episode. Even worse, you'll find yourself amid a global pandemic, where literally nothing in your life has changed since last week! (introducing 17 of my first 26 episodes)
My solution? Well, whenever I have zero motivation, I take great comfort in reflecting on my favourite podcasts - 'Date Fails' by Kate Quigley & 'The Monday Morning Podcast' by Bill Burr. The episodes I love most are the unapologetically 'real' ones... the ones where Bill & Kate simply chat to their listeners without revealing anything of significance. They're both excellent at pulling this off, though I admit, they're professional comedians, so serving-up tantalising chit-chat about unspectacular minutia is kinda their superpower.
That said, I've noticed my listeners also respond beautifully to the episodes where I simply dish-up 45-minutes of unremarkable life musings. I remain shocked that my stories about the disgusting supermarket worker or the 3 times I've inadvertently found transgender women hot amused folk. I guess what I'm saying is: when you can't think of anything to talk about, never underestimate your listeners' interest in the beige underpinnings of your shit life.
2: QUIRKS WORK
I'm ashamed to say I didn't see this one coming. I mean, I'm a massive fan of psychology and human behaviour, yet still, it took me by complete surprise. Yeap, it turns out people often embrace the quirky shit you find odd about yourself. For example, my quirks include:
my obsessing over detail
Not to mention the fact I:
swear a lot
speak my mind
find tact dull, so will happily open an episode by calling a listener "scum"
But here's the thing... I don't do any of this stuff for effect. I do it because it's who I am. Showing-up every week and pretending to be someone I'm not would have bored the shit out of me by week 3. When I listen to Kate and Bill, for example, it's their traits, idiosyncrasies and weird habits that always raise the biggest smile. Why does Bill say "ladies!!" in that high-pitched squeal? Why does Kate always clap her hands when she's at the height of laughter? These are the cute oddities that keep me hooked, and guess what... chances are, whatever ingrained traits you bring to the table, your listeners will embrace them, too.
3 days ago, I received a message from a listener. She suggested I eat a different quiche every week and rate each one out of ten. Why? Because I recently revealed how very little in life merits my attention... except quiche.
3: IT'S NOT EVEN MY SHOW
As covered in point two, I overthink stuff. That could go horribly wrong if it means that every week I just spew endless witterings on the show. I don't. Instead, I spew endless witterings then ask listeners for their input. I'm forever keen to hear listener viewpoints. I'm fascinated by their perspectives.
On average, I ask the question "what about you?" seven times-an-episode. Maybe that's the documentary-maker in me forever probing for insight, I don't know. What I do know, based on reviews for my podcast, is that listeners appreciate being invited to contribute their two-cents. Yes, on paper, my podcast is just me talking to myself therapy-style, but I'm obsessive about sharing my therapy, because I guarantee... I am not sharing my quiche.
In PART 2 of this list, we'll discuss what I've learned about recording equipment, my approach to interviewing guests and how I respond when someone isn't into my podcast. Sign-up to my mailing list to get an alert when PART 2 is out.
Thank you for the last 26 weeks!