And the things I’ve learnt so far…
Having been both writing and DJing for a while, a Podcast was one of those things that felt like a very natural next step. The thing that put me off, was the amount of work involved. Not because I’m lazy, but because I have a tendency to take on too much and I didn’t want to create one until I was ready to go all in. Ready to create something I could stand behind.
And boy, does it take up a lot of time! It’s been three months in the planning stage, before getting the first six episodes live. I’m now working at a release pace of one a week – record one every week, release one every week, with about a three week turnaround between record and live.
Below is an overview of the equipment set up i’m using as well as some important things I’ve learnt so far. It’s the start of what I expect to be a long and transformative journey for me and I hope the below is valuable to anyone looking to do the same.
I live in London and there are an increasing number of studios opening up, specifically for podcast recording. However these can be really expensive – upwards of £100 a session.
I had initially thought I’d be able to get some simple equipment together for around the £50 mark. How naive. It ended up being closer to the £250 mark. This included:
2x Microphones (Samson SAQ2)
1x Sound Box, which you need if recording with more than one person (Focusrite Scarlett 2i2)
These came with the necessary wires which plug direct into laptop. On my laptop I use Audacity to capture the recording and edit. It’s free, simple and I’d already learnt how to use it but it is not the most reliable.
The original podcast I wanted to create didn’t just include music. It pretty much centred on music with a bit of talking in between. I wanted to introduce artists and songs. However, I noticed there wasn’t a great deal of music played in the podcasts I listened to. Hmmm…
I was really lucky here having had a friend who worked in music licensing who gave me some really useful pointers and this useful link, but the essence is, if you want to be on Apple Podcasts/Spotify etc., unless you have a big budget and a licensing manager, you can’t use most known music. You can buy tracks from a stock music library or download royalty free music, which people have made available online. Another option is to connect with upcoming producers and see if they’ll make you some beats.
While you may have the most exciting idea for a Podcast in the world, and be a natural interviewer, organising Guests can be a right logistical palava! People can initially be interested and then get distracted and it’s also really hard and to get diaries to align. As with any creative project, it can also be quite a wounding part of the process. “Why don’t they like me?!” feels.
The flip side is that guests themselves are really helpful in spreading the word of your podcast and having a podcast gives you an excuse to ask questions you want to know the answers to, to people you want to speak to!
Mainly, I would say, go broad, go big and expect to be let down a bit in the early days.
I recently partnered up with someone to manage this side of things for me, and having worked as a journalist in the music and entertainment industries, having her take that over has really improved my whole experience!
With remote equipment, I now record every Tuesday from a members club/co-working space in Central London. It’s professional, has free tea and coffee, private rooms, and flexible!
ACast is one of the biggest in the UK and was recommended by a friend who has a very successful podcast. You used to have to pitch to have a show hosted by them but that’s not the case anymore. They aren’t going to do any of your marketing work for you but the team are friendly and their chat service works well.
No-one to really compare them to, but so far my experience has been positive.
After all the above… Hot Girls (my podcast) is live and now my biggest challenge and focus, outside of the weekly recording cadence, will be marketing. I’ve heard that you have eight weeks to try and break into the Apple Podcast popularity algorithm – no time like the present!