10 things I’m learning from podcasting

Hey, peeps! Hope everybody is having a fab time!

As some of you know, I’ve been crazy busy over at Women and Words and other projects and with the Lesbian Talk Show podcasts over at Podbean. I co-host two. One, with my colleague at Women and Words Jove Belle, is a round-up of things going on at the WaW blog as well as whatever else we tie to that to chat about, and we often throw in news from the lesfic/LGBT+ publishing world about events, calls for submissions, and things like that.

The other (we just launched it!) is Lez Geek Out! which I co-host with fellow spec fic writer Lise MacTague (who I call L-Mac). That one’s Lise and I fangirling about TV shows, movies, comics, and whatever else we can find to fangirl about.

I’m relatively new to this whole podcasting thing, but hey, you won’t learn if you don’t try, right? I’m lucky in some ways, maybe, because I have a background as a radio DJ and I’ve done a lot of public speaking (I still do a lot of that), so I’m comfortable talking on a broadcast and in front of a live audience.

But there’s always something to learn, and here are some of the things that I’ve learned as I’ve ventured into this whole podcast thing. And if you’re a podcaster, please do share your tips below in the comments. If you’re a listener, what works for you and what doesn’t? Let me know! You can also join the Lesbian Talk Show chat group on Facebook, which has all the hosts from the podcasts at the Lesbian Talk Show on it, and we can be pretty irreverent, but we’d love to hear your thoughts, so please do join the group and join in.

1. Better time management. LOL In most cases. Lise and I are pretty good about keeping the Lez Geek Out! podcasts to around 20 minutes. Jove and I can get a little off-track, so we go anywhere from 30-45 minutes, though we’re trying not to. So I clearly have more to learn about time management. But we do end up staying on topic, so there’s that.

I also learned this from being a radio DJ, because when you’re broadcasting, you have a certain amount of time to talk if you’re doing certain things, so I got pretty good about getting to the point quickly and disseminating info in 30-second or 2-minute blocks. Podcasting may not have the immediacy of a live broadcast, but when you prepare for one, you get a sense of how long you have, and what to say and what not to say in order to keep the show moving and to hit that sweet spot time-wise. I’d argue that 30 minutes is probably ideal, but an hour isn’t bad if you and your co-host(s) have a good rapport.

2. Better organization. Again, this is kind of an LOL because sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way, but I tend to prepare materials prior to recording and I and my co-hosts will chat beforehand to determine where we want to go and how we want to address things. I realized that I needed to do this to make sure we stayed on track, and it’s a habit I actually picked up as a radio DJ, though podcasting works a little differently.

If you want to start your own podcast, it’s well worth your while to map out an outline ahead of time so you can stick to your topics and fit it into your time block. After a while, when you get more comfie with the environment, it’ll take you less time to prepare and you’ll have developed a rapport with your co-host. Or at least a stronger rapport, if you already worked in some capacity with that person.

3. How to herd cats. Mostly. I work with two very different co-hosts in the podcasts I do. One is someone I’ve known for a decade and we’ve started and maintained different projects together over the years. We know each other pretty well in some respects, and we know our strengths and weaknesses. She lets me be the bad cop in terms of reining her in to keep us on track, and I’ve learned how to apply that to myself, too, though sometimes we both slip. Heh.

The other person I work with is someone I haven’t known very long at all, but we chatted before deciding to do this podcast and decided that it would work. She’s pretty organized, and we talk about what we’re going to do and what our approach is going to be before each show, and we’re good at staying on topic and within our time frame. It’s a more organized approach than my other podcast, but that’s okay because it’s two different people, and I’m thus…

4. Learning to work better in this environment with others. I like that I do one podcast with someone I’ve been friends and colleagues with for a while and that the other is with someone I just recently met. It forces me to really think about my approaches and how to make adjustments to the approaches of the other person, and that’s a useful skill for any collaborative endeavor. Podcasting with a co-host is, after all, a team sport.

5. Expressing thoughts more clearly. Okay, it’s an ideal, people. 😀 But like my radio days, podcasting requires that you have a plan and that you figure out how to execute that plan within a time limit and how to stay mostly on topic. Some segues can be fun, and you’ll get a sense for figuring out when that’s happening and when you’re flying off the rails. Which is not to suggest I haven’t flown off the rails with my co-hosts, but I think I’ve gotten better about grabbing on as we’re flinging off and helping bring us back on track.

I’ve listened to podcasts that went on for an hour or more and the hosts started with a good topic but then didn’t execute and ended up rambling and not wrapping it up in a neat package. So I try to approach each podcast with this in mind, and I try to make clear statements about the direction and topics. Which hearkens back to organization and sometimes I don’t execute as cleanly as I’d like, but the more I do this, I hope the better I get.

6. Learning how to use new software and hardware platforms. This is a work in progress, friends. There’s lots of different software out there to do podcasting. So far, I’m trying to deal with Audacity, which is a free multi-track audio editing and recording program. Back in my radio days, I worked with a similar program and a bit with ProTools, which is a program for hardcore music production. As a radio DJ, I often recorded ad spots for airing, and I really didn’t need ProTools for that, but at the time, other programs weren’t as readily available.

I’m really appreciative, actually, when I learn cool new things like this, even though it can be really super frustrating at first. I’m fortunate at the moment right now because one of my colleagues uses Open Broadcaster software (opensource) and she gets everything done on her end when I Skype in for the recording and ships it off to the coordinator and founder at the Lesbian Talk Show. In the other case, my co-host and I use Audacity and the coordinator/founder edits them together. So I’m trying to learn more so that I can help out in the editing realm.

7. Building an audience. Developing a podcast audience is much different than developing one as a writer. Different products, after all. So I’m learning to think outside the usual boxes, and Sheena, the coordinator/founder over at the Lesbian Review Talk Show (who also podcasts) has been SO helpful in this regard, in terms of tracking numbers and helping us figure out what works and what doesn’t. She’s also constantly thinking about how to market and where, and constantly tweaking approaches.

8. Developing a thick skin. Granted, I’m a writer, so I’ve had to develop one of those anyway. But podcasting is a different medium, so I’m taking cues from listeners and Sheena about what’s working and what’s not and making adjustments. There will always be people who think I suck, and that I sound terrible and who might even hate-listen to me. I can’t do much about that, but if they have legit critiques about how to make myself sound better or articulate better, hey, I’m all ears! I want to get better at this, so any help you have, thanks!

9. Podcasting legalese. I’ve just begun scratching this surface, and it’s important that podcasters figure this stuff out, especially if you’re going to be bringing guests on (celebrity or otherwise). This means you need to think about publicity rights in terms of you and your guests, and commercial use (if applicable). But, knowledge like this is good to have anyway, especially if you’re a writer, because it gets you thinking about trademark and copyright and the like and encourages you to become more savvy about your contracts. 🙂 If you’re not a writer, it’s just good to be informed about how this stuff works if you’re podcasting.

Handy guide to podcasting legalese.

10. A whole new bucket of fun and community engagement! Podcasting has opened new avenues of creativity for me, and new ways of exploring both writing and fangirling (two passions of mine), and working with people in new ways. So though it is work, and I’m not getting paid for any of it, I love it, and it’s another way I can engage with community and with colleagues. And I am all about that.

So there you go. Stop by the Lesbian Talk Show over on Podbean to see what’s going on. There are a variety of podcasts available there, and one or more will probably strike your fancy. Also check out the LTS chat group Facebook page and come on and jump into the fray.

Get the app for at the App Store or Google Play.

Some podcasts that I listen to:

Spirits — boozy, biweekly podcast about myth, legends, and folklore. The hosts, Amanda and Julia, are knowledgeable and hilarious and will bring guests on.

Tales of the Black Badge — A podcast that deals with all things Wynonna Earp. The show, the fandom, the comic, the actors, the writers, the showrunners…you get the gist. Hosts Bonnie and Kevin are a lot of fun.

The Hunner — this one is pretty new. Only two episodes thus far, but it’s pure Clexa Trash from across the pond and I love me some Clexa Trash. Plus, the hosts are hilarious.

Throwing Shade (podcast and vid) — hosts Erin and Bryan (both comedians) take on politics, celebrity, and whatever else in their snarky, fun way.

Tagg Nation — queer news and views.

And if you’d like to find other LGBT+ podcasts try this list at Player FM.

Let me know what podcasts you’re into and why! Share some luv!

Happy Monday, all!

Comments are closed.