Putting it Together – Podcasting
Putting it Together is my Monday “artist talking about art stuff blog”. The title comes from “Sunday in the Park with George,” the best (and possibly only) musical that is entirely dedicated to an artist talking about his art. Is that pretentious enough?
Two years ago, I knew of Podcasting as a thing other people did. I didn’t see the value. Well, I’ve come a long way to understanding why it is a benefit to me as a performer and as a creator.
A global energy crisis of epic proportions notwithstanding, the internet is here to stay. As a creator, I have to remember that when I produce a play, my audience may be local. However, there are a great many other things I do that can have a global reach. The Internet is the tool I use to reach those people.
Podcasting is a way to get yourself into other people’s lives in a way that no social media outlet can. It reaches back to days when people spent hours of their lives listening to the radio.
Writing is great but you lose so much nuance when you write a blog post. Sure, your grammar is (hopefully) better and there aren’t all sorts of awkward pauses while you figure out what to write next but you also lose inflection, tone, cadence, and so many other qualities that make speech a far more effective way to connect emotionally with an audience.
Podcasting allows you to talk to your audience. It allows them to get to know you in a far more personal way than a bunch of 140 character tweets or thousand word blogs.
In the nearly two years that we’ve been doing Geeks Without God, we have reached more countries than we ever thought we would. We’ve heard from fans in Australia, Ireland, Germany, and even Malta. Many of them have deeply personal stories to tell us. It’s amazing that three nerds talking about atheism, comics, movies, games, conventions and television shows can somehow make so many international connections.
These people have listened to us for so long that they feel like they know us. And after almost 100 episodes, they really do know us. One has to be careful to provide an entry point for new followers, though. If all you do is say “well, you’d get this if you’d listened to Episode 12 and 47,” you may well lose listeners.
The rules for doing a worthwhile podcast are pretty easy, I think. The most important is consistency. If you tell people you are going to have a podcast out every Tuesday, have a podcast out every Tuesday. People keep coming back when they know they can find you each and every week.
Same thing if it is once a month. Make sure you tell people when the podcast will be available (say the 3rd of every month) and have it ready on that date.
You also need a theme. If you want people to listen, they need to know what they are likely to hear. The theme can be very broad or very narrow but the best podcasts I listen to all have a clear focus.
You should make sure your theme is something you are are really passionate about. If you aren’t interested in what you are talking about, how can you expect anyone else to be interested?
I’d also suggest taking the time to understand just a little bit about sound editing. It isn’t hard and it will help the podcast sound ten times better. We’ve had shows where I’ve had to edit a few long pauses or background noise. It is simple to do and makes your show sound that much better.
Even if you just learn how to edit out long awkward pauses, your work will sound so much better.
If you are co-hosting, learn how to pay attention to your other hosts. Try to avoid interrupting them in the middle of a thought. I can’t say that I’m perfect at this but I know that our episodes sound better when we are conscious of each other.
For me, podcasting is a way to connect with new audiences but it is also a way to explore things I find interesting, it teaches me new technologies, and it is a ton of fun. I’m a convert.