Why has everyone suddenly gone podcast mad? Business leaders, thought leaders, radio presenters, tv stars are all getting on the audio train lately. Feeling like you might be too late to start yours? Don’t.
Here’s why you should consider it:
1. Podcasts are really easy (and cheap) to make
Not only is the equipment super cheap, it’s easier to edit out mistakes, and you don’t have to put your make up on or do your hair before you press record. Podcast wear = whatever your think is appropriate, and that may be your pyjamas.
And as a quick overview:
You need 3 pieces of equipment for podcasting: 1) a microphone 2) an audio recorder 3) an audio editor
If you work in radio or media production, you probably have access to these already, but all can be found for under £100 each. You can even record you speaking on applications like zoom.us (free) and edit on something like iMovie. Plus that phone in the palm of your hand has a load of audio recording/editing capacity.
Then you need a host to put the audio on to, check audioboom, libsyn, soundcloud, Acast
And then you need a platform to broadcast from: Apple Podcasts, Acast, podbean (see point 3)
2. You’ll Find Your Voice
When you are working on behalf of a company, you have to adhere to brand image, editorial policies and formats. This can get in the way of you finding your true voice and being able to express what you care about.
With a podcast you really get the opportunity to put your passions and interests first. Give people the chance to get to know you and your values. It feeds your other work as well by encouraging you to form stories and communicate succinctly. If you do a weekly podcast, it will improve your day to day communication.
3. Apple Have Upped Their Game
It’s been a long time coming but Apple are about to release analytics to podcasters. The newly titled “Apple Podcasts” is the main platform for podcast listening and up until now, they’ve kept the analytics hidden from podcast creators. If you’re a creator, you’re going to be able to see just how people listen to your audio, whether they listen to the end, skip bits or tune out.
This data means that we can only start to improve, and if you are starting now, it gives you an efficient feedback loopmaking it efficient for you to improve.
4. You’ll Reach Your Audience & Create A Meaningful Connection
It’s fine to treat your audience to your vlog, but if you want to get content right through into the hearts and minds of your audience, listening is where it’s at.
Well produced audio has a habit of seeping in to the brain in a way that visual can’t. Let’s face it, your listeners are busy people, they can’t stop to watch you all the time they have things to do. But they can listen to you while they have things to do.
I have been working in radio for the last 20 years and have helped people produce podcasts, consutled and done a lot of listening. It’s time for me to start too, watch this space.
When I hear people say they aren’t creative it makes me want to weep into my shoes.
Creativity = problem solving + authentic response + skills + confidence
It does not = genius + highly intelligent + artist + born with it
Everyone is creative. Every human has the desire to create something. It’s just that some people put it all in to practice more than others.
Problem: There is no painting on my wall
Solution: I’m going to paint one
Authentic Response: I love the colours pink blue and yellow together, and I love trees
Skills: Learn how – what you need, some idea of composition, tools and painting structure.
Confidence: Let go and take a risk and boom you have a painting.
No one is not creative… People who practice creativity are the ones that are best at it. And they have learned 4 things:
- No idea comes to you without your brain entering some sort of relaxed state – which is why you get your best ideas in the shower (look up “theta waves creativity“).
- Not every idea is great, but it doesn’t matter – the next one will be. Keep on keeping on.
- Make creativity a daily habit – write, draw, present… just create the thing you love.
- Some days nothing comes. Those are the days to do something else and come back to it tomorrow.
Now what you reading this for? Go create 🙂
“I’m not funny…” is the number one reason I hear for people trying to avoid standing in front of people and speaking. “I mean I can be funny when I’m with my friends, but I’m not funny on stage…”
There is no doubt about it, being funny is a great tool to connect with people and create a light uplifting enjoyable talk. But… the good news is you don’t have to “be funny”, to “be funny” for your audience.
You see, being funny is never where you start from. Being honest, telling your stories and creating a connection is where you start from. this is the key to engaging an audience. If it’s there, funny comes later.
Interestingly when I coached four of the presenters for the Next Radio Conference in September, only ONE of them stood out as being naturally funny, but ALL FOUR presentations had people laughing.
By using me as a coach for their talks, my clients are able to find the funny lines if they exist. More often than not the jokes appear like bubbles rising to the top once the speech is discussed, designed, written and rehearsed. I’m gonna stick my neck out and say: 90% of making someone laugh is in the delivery of a line. And the reaction of laughter, doesn’t come because you told a joke, it’s a reaction of surprise and familiarity in a story you told.
So rest assured, the pressure of being funny is felt by everyone, being funny isn’t the key to creating an engaging talk, and you will only know if there is funny in your talk once you’ve written it. Use a trusted friend, associate or coach to help you hear what it is you are trying to say, and if the funny stands out they’ll be able to find it for you.
I’ve been saying “Show Don’t Tell” in a lot of my sessions recently. It’s one of the fundamentals in “performing” your content and drawing in your listener.
The ideology I use is taught in novel writing. The lesson is that you give the reader the opportunity to add their imagination to the story. Instead of the author writing “She laughed nervously” – which tells the reader exactly what is going on, the ‘Show Don’t Tell’ version is “Her cheeks flushed as she laughed”.
A good author then allows you, as the reader, the space to put your thoughts and pictures into the book, to read betwen the lines, meaning you’re able to engage with the content at a personal level.
How then does this translate to presenting?
Often it’s how you go about explaining your content.
Imagine you are using an audio clip from an interview. You set it up by giving it context…
“Tom Odell was in yesterday and we asked him what he thought of the Euros…. Here’s what he said” <Play Clip>
At a basic level, you don’t need the “here’s what he said”. It is fine to say:
“Tom Odell was in yesterday and we asked him what he thought of the Euros…<play clip>”
One step further might get you to a more interesting place
“Up next is the new song from Tom Odell – He’s a big football fan, how’s he feeling about the Euros? <PAUSE FOR A BEAT> <Play clip>”
In an “On Stage” context you can also think about how you are using your slides to show what you are talking about rather than telling your audience what you are saying. You and I both know we shouldn’t write up bullet points on the powerpoint word for word, but when we get to it it’s difficult to find images. We’ve all done it: the bullet points find their way back in. Unfortunately it is a sure fire way to get your audience to glaze over.
Of all examples of the “Show Don’t Tell” technique in presenting content, my favourite has to be the first 60 seconds of this.
I’m working with the BBC Academy on personality driven content. It’s really interesting to hear the challenges they face in terms of engagement, and how it really relates to the challenges often felt within Commercial Radio.
The main thing that stands out is how you get personality into format. For commercial radio its the short links and commercial reads, and for BBC Local Radio, its breaking from the format of news reporting and adding personality.
If you watched the talk I did at Next Radio, you’ll know of the “Ten Things” exercise I do. This is where I ask the presenter to list 10 things they know to be true about themselves. I ask for passions, wants, needs, fears, worries….anything.
It never fails to help me as a producer or coach, to get under the surface of what makes presenters tick. Similarly it can help you to get to know your own passions, build story arcs, attach yourself to content or music you are playing out. Knowing these things means you can begin to work at getting personality into the format you are working with.
In addition you can do this about your audience: Ten Things You Know To Be True About The Audience”. The idea being that you should be able to find intersections between your wants, needs and fears, with your listener.
Sarah Kay is the inventor of this exercise. A poet who works with teenagers to enable them to express themselves through poetry. This is the exercise she does with a group, and when they start to share she finds that there are intersections between the people in the room. For example “I hate having to tidy my room” could be on more than one person’s list, and *boom* you have an intersection – a place where you connect.
Doing a list of what you know to be true about the audience, could create a similar experience between the presenter/content maker, and the audience. No doubt your own wants, needs, fears, loves and annoyances, will correlate somewhere with your audience’s, and enable you to make engaging personality driven content.
Here is Sarah Kay’s beautiful talk, including an amazing poem at the start….