Podcasting Lessons Learned

This will be my final blog post for my content creation project and I thought it would be a good place to document the lessons that I have learned throughout the process of creating a new podcast. Before we dive in, you can learn more in-depth about the process of creating episode one of Convergence & Consequence on the content creation project page.

Also, you can listen to it right here! Or by looking for it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

On Research

I don’t need to get too deep into this because most of my posts in the last seven weeks have touched on how difficult this research process has been for me. What I will say is that now that it is behind me, I am SO THANKFUL to have undertaken this challenge and I’m looking forward to continuing on this journey.

The conversations that I have had about the Lost Generation authors, World War I, the First Red Scare, and Paris in the 1920s over the last few weeks have been really amazing. I am better for the hours of reading and viewing that I have done and I look forward to branching out and learning about more topics.

One thing that will be difficult for me moving forward is keeping up the pace of researching when I don’t have production journals to submit each week. Creating a reasonable podcasting schedule should help keep me on track – I won’t be submitting for grades, but I’ll need to get the research done if I’m going to publish my next episode on time!

On Podcast Length

Last week I wrote about how disappointed I was that my podcast was only clocking in around fifteen minutes long. Most of the podcasts that I listen to average between 30 minutes to an hour, and even then I sometimes feel like I can’t get enough. That is GOOD podcasting, and I can only hope that someday I’ll be at that level. But, I have realized that since the idea of my podcast is to learn about something vastly different each time, shorter 15 – 20-minute episodes might be more easily digested for an audience who may not know about or be particularly interested in the topic.

On Cohosts

Adding a cohost to my podcast would bring some positive and some possibly negative aspects. On the plus side, a host with whom I have good chemistry could add a bit of interest and would certainly add to the length of each episode since there would be at least some discussion on the topic rather than just straight script performance. A cohost could also help share the burden of the work – adding to the research, writing, social media presence, etc. The chemistry of the hosts can make even a topic that you’re not interested in worth listening to. On the negative end, it can always be difficult to work with another person. What if they don’t like the topic of an episode or even the theme of the show? Or perhaps they are unable to be as devoted to content creation at times in their life, or perhaps I’m not able to be and they find that annoying. Any time you work with another person, you need to be able to have an open, trusting partnership.

One way I have thought of mitigating the negatives while taking advantage of the positives of having a cohost is by inviting several guest hosts to help with the show. Having worked in theatre and education my entire career, I know a lot of smart and talented people who understand research, performance, and storytelling. By asking a cohost to take the driver’s seat on an episode, and being able to be more like a narrator – helping to keep the episode on theme and on track – I would be able to diversify the types of stories we tell, the voices of the storyteller, and share some of the work of research and writing on a topic.

On Hardware

A few weeks ago I wrote about how pleased I was with my new mic stand. And yes – it certainly helped while recording the body of the episode. But, I had to spend a lot of time editing the audio to remove some crackling which I believe is created by a poor connection from mic to computer and to remove other unwanted sounds like hard S’s, Pops, and Plosives.

If I am going to continue with self-recording, I think I will need to upgrade my mic and add an additional windscreen. As it turns out, the years of elocution training that I received in live theatre have created some hard sounds when it comes to recording audio.

On Software

This is too many tracks for Audactiy…

When trying to decide whether to use Audacity or Adobe Audition to edit my podcast, I found a blog post that suggested that I should choose one and really learn it instead of bouncing back and forth between programs. Since I had some familiarity with Audacity already, I decided to take that advice and stick with it.

Unfortunately, after trying to edit about 12 tracks into one cohesive podcast, I realized that Audacity is probably better at more basic audio editing when you’re working with only one or maybe two tracks.

I didn’t want to try to learn Audition while I was bogged down with the rest of the project, but I think that I will begin the process of training myself on that more advanced program for next time. Since I have become fairly proficient with Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, and After Effects, I’m hoping that Audition will feel at least a bit intuitive.

On Promotion

One thing I have always struggled with is how to promote myself as an artist or creator. I worked in theatre administration for many years but there was a fairly toxic suggestion that only the artists were artists, and that the administration could not also be artists. After years of that, I have a really hard time seeing myself as a creator, and an even harder time promoting myself as one.

I am proud of the work I have done on this project, and I’m excited for what is to come. I have already jumped so many hurdles of self-doubt, negativity, and perfectionism. I want to bring this project to the next level, but that will put me so far out of my comfort zone. The idea of asking people to like or follow something I do makes me want to hide under a rock and never even LISTEN to another podcast. But, change is uncomfortable and if I want to be successful, I need to stop thinking that what I create isn’t good enough for people to enjoy.

So… go out there and find Convergence & Consequence on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Listen to what I have to say, because I worked my buns off learning about it, and then like and follow so that you can find out when episode two is ready!

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