How to Approach Podcasting
Podcasting is a wildly popular content trend, especially among entrepreneurs, that hits somewhere on the spectrum of video, writing, and radio. It appeals to a sense of discovery and allows you to listen in doses, learn on the go, explore new topics in various depths, and generally connect with the human experience. But as with all things that rise in popularity, it’s often wise to take a step back and consider if you should actually hop on board, and if so, how.
I recently attended a session called Women in Podcasting at CoWomen in Berlin. CoWomen is a community club and co-working space for rising women that aims to explore working life for women, offering them support for their projects and giving them a stage for their views. The premise behind the event was to offer expertise in this field to those who seek it, especially since according to CoWomen, although 48% of podcast listeners are female, women make up only 22% of podcast creators.
On this evening’s stage, we heard from 4 panelists of seasoned podcasters, guided by a moderator from CoWomen, co-founder Kat Brendel, who herself has vast experience in podcasting. With the help of her thoughtful questions, each female panelist brought a unique perspective on why podcasting appeals to them, and tips for others who might be getting started.
I’ve gathered up insights to share in order to help other people who might be considering this form of media.
Some of the overarching themes and advice that stood out included an emphasis on storytelling, empowerment, and community. Here’s a synopsis with actionable tips.
1. Fill a niche and start small
Isabella Sonnenfeld from Role Models described an impressive career where she also noted a distinct lack of female role models. This frustration drove her to develop a solution where she could showcase more women’s stories. She connected with a colleague David, who was tasked with bringing inclusivity to Soundcloud. Together they started a small but dedicated effort to fill a niche, by hosting Saturday breakfasts at a kitchen table, which became an extension of life events. Maxi Häcke, voiceover talent and co-host of Feuer und Brot, says ask yourself: what are you missing? Whose voice do you wish to hear? Think of whom you could include.
2. Be bold and persistent
Isabella recommends being brave enough to send emails to others inviting them to participate in her podcasts, even if it takes a long time to obtain a response or if they are big names. She suggests being polite, clear, and patient with your desired guests, strategic and sensitive to their individual personalities.
3. No need to get fancy
It’s fine to work with constraints like background or ambient noise; sometimes those sounds lend a certain authenticity. It might be worthwhile to have a great, high-quality image and a branded look for covers for each season, but don’t get too caught up in things like perfecting intro jingles, says Bastienne Neumann of “Ernährungspsychologie leicht gemacht” (Nutritional psychology made easy). And she should know, her nutrition-centered podcasts skyrocketed from 27 downloads a day to 10K per day, after being featured on iTunes. After publishing three books, she’s just been offered the chance to write another and suggests, “Grow with the podcast.”
4. Stay true to your vision
Rhea Ramjohn of Tanti Table shared that her podcasts helped her feel connected to many communities and offer a real way to look at the world and our social fabric more critically, questioning who is or isn’t represented. Her podcasts involve the largest group of participants, up to 6 people, while the others tended to feature 2–3. Isabelle suggests returning to early podcast episodes and re-reading comments; this reminds you who is listening and helps get you re-inspired.
5. Appreciate your audience
Rhea suggests deeply appreciating your audience and staying true to who you are, and who your community is, no matter the size. Maxi says give plenty of likes and support to other creators and connect with them on Twitter, for example. (Though interesting to note that I found most of the panelists on Instagram.)
6. Take advantage of the medium
Maxi points out that while it’s easy to quickly critique a written article online, you can pre-defuse criticism to a podcast because it takes time to listen to. Often by the time someone has listened, it tends to soften the reaction.
Moderator Kat Brendel who runs her own podcast called Leading Rebels suggests don’t worry about ‘sounding nice’. Be confident in what you have to say. Deliver consistency and avoid “podfade,” where you stop publishing episodes.
7. Conquer basic tools
You’ll need a hosting service like Podigy, Lipson or Googleberry. From there, you have an RSS feed, or basically a URL, that you bring over to iTunes or Soundcloud and once you establish the ‘connection’, you can automatically feature the fresh episodes. You may want to invest in a podcast microphone of which there are various kinds, for example by Samsung or Zoom H6, or Blue Yeti. As for software editing, Audacity can be “painful” so think about if there is anything you can outsource if possible.
8. Manage your time
As with anything, you get faster with more practice. So while at first, you should devote a week to research, editorial prep, the technical part, interviewing, publishing, and promoting on channels, you can get speedier at this and potentially shorten that down to 2–3 days instead.