Because a few friends are doing them, I’m now listening to some podcasts on Podbean and Stitcher. I haven’t taken the plunge yet to do any of my own but that might change in a few months when my wife and I become empty-nesters. Why?
Well, you see, my office is in my garage, and while I love it, you have to take a perilous journey through the wreck of my garage to get to my little slice of paradise. Once the last kid moves out, I’ll be moving my office into one of the bedrooms where I can comfortably invite people in for group recording.
So why is this on a writing blog? Because writing touches everything. I told a class of teenagers that if you can write well, you’ll always have a job. It was challenged by a kid who planned to be a millionaire curating his YouTube channel (he probably is, too). So, naturally, I had to defend my assertion.
Writing teaches you everything has (or should have):
- A beginning, middle, and end
- Clarity of thought
- Clarity of speech
- A point of some kind
- An “argument” or thesis to be proved.
Blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos should all have these. Random, gargled ‘casts and videos are quick to fail.
To take it further; every business requires writing and a lot of it, from marketing and franchise documentation, to technical writing and instructional content. The skilled writer can enter a job almost anywhere and end up in a writing role as they stand out from their barely literate coworkers.
On a different point, blogs and podcasts help you build a platform, so a word about them.
- Have a unifying theme
- I maintain a blog that is a drain catcher – it’s about whatever grabs me, but while that blog has some followers, this blog, about writing, publishing, and creativity, gets more hits. We, as audiences, have our hot themes and will follow a humor blog, or a movie blog, or a spirit-filled podcast, but you have to be firmly established to get away with random stuff.
- Make the unifying theme something you’re excited about, not about trends (unless you love trendy stuff)
- It starts slow. Winners are those who keep at it. All it takes is an influencer finding it to make your blog or podcast explode (quick story, a lady I’m acquainted with posted some high-end diaper covers on Etsy. A Kardashian liked it and her popularity soared. It could happen to you).
- Inform people about your blog/pod through social media. An audience will accrete.
- Use tags.
- Distill the point of your content to a single sentence “All about writing” “Movie industry history” “Ghosts, Vampires, and other things that don’t exist.”
- Don’t go it alone.
- The best podcasts have two or more hosts. It evokes interplay, tension, conflict, banter, humor…
- Get creative. I listen to The Industry, a ‘cast on the movie business, and Dan goes it alone… sort of. He’s the only host, but he includes interviews he’s either prerecorded or got permission to use.
- Be contentious.
- Conflict makes things interesting. You can do so by having a co-host who doesn’t agree with you completely, or by giving a fresh viewpoint, or introducing a little known fact or historical event.
- Unless you’re Robin Williams, spontaneous, unfiltered, stream-of-thought stuff doesn’t work. Aron Osborne is the only speaker I know who doesn’t ever “um” “uh” or mangle a word.
- Clean up your audio by reducing room noise, removing ticks and breathes, maybe equalizing and adding a touch of reverb for warmth.
- Audacity is free and is easy to use. A Snowball Blue is a USB microphone that works really well.
- Have fun!
- As is true with most things, if it isn’t fun, it isn’t worth doing.
- Don’t stress about being perfect.
- Learn as you go. It’s actually fun to listen to a podcaster get better and better.
- But still monetize it!
A parting thought: I can’t think of a better personal title than Writer, however, begin there and recognize that you are also a Content Creator. Work the mediums into your schedule and you’ll accomplish more than you think. (Another quick story; I know a guy who’s a guru in one field, is now making videos, has written a book, and also does podcasts. I don’t know where he finds the time, but he’s clicking on all cylinders and is an amazing example of dedication. Darin Slack, you inspire me!).