So you can’t wait to produce/host/co-host your first podcast: Your enthusiasm’s bubbling over, you’ve told everyone who’s willing to listen about the concept, you’ve got some fantastic potential interviewees lined up and a co-host or producer ready to make you sound great. Terrific – you gotta love the enthusiasm!
But as some podcast producer somewhere has certainly said, enthusiasm and ideas aren’t everything, and a modicum of aforethought can improve your podcast before it’s even begun. Read on for a few tips the novice podcasters must do before their debut show.
Have some supporting infrastructure in place. Chances are that your podcast is an extension of an independent extant brand (as in interview-centric and storytelling podcasts) or is centered on an extant brand (as in fan podcasts and pop culture commentary/discussion). In either case, branding is crucial to distinguish any podcast from amidst the nearly 1 million already out there. If you haven’t already, set up some combination of low-rent website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.; in these virtual places, you can at least inform of the podcasts being released.
Prepare for the podcast. Podcasting is to radio what reality tv is to television: In a podcast, yes, the show host(s) and guests are real people (not actors!), and they’re not getting paid like A-list celebrities. Though often presented in the form of a conversation, the podcast is hardly a spontaneous event.
The level of preparation your podcast requires is totally up to you, but heed this imploration: Do not go into any podcast – especially episode 1 – cold; along the same lines, you won’t want to simply read a script, either, but some aforethought must be done. In a topical interest or news show, you’ll want a list of potential subjects to cover. For interviews, a list of possible questions is a necessity, and many interviewees will ask for a list of questions regardless.
Finally, if you’re co-hosting, go over the notes with your partner to be sure you hit the topics of conversation you want.
Do a pilot episode. If you’re co-hosting, you’ll definitely want to take the time to do a podcast before your bona fide first official podcast is released. Note that the purpose of a pilot episode for a podcast is not to test your show’s marketability but rather to test issues to timing and chemistry. Additionally,
producing an episode with no fear of public release can cut down on any anxiety you might otherwise have.
And hey, if your warmup just happens to be what you wanted to hear, great! You now have a bonus episode that you hadn’t planned for.