Are You Making One of These Lesser-Known Podcasting Mistakes?
By now, you may already know some basic tips and tricks of podcasting: know your niche, don’t use a dollar-store microphone, be consistent, and don’t use copyrighted content. Below we’ve compiled a list of some lesser-known podcast mishaps — avoid these, and you’re well on your way to becoming a podcasting expert.
1. All-or-nothing structure
While it’s always a good idea to prepare some form of a script in advance of your recording session, one mistake we often see podcasters make is relying too heavily on that script. Strictly staged discussions are great for audio dramas or documentary-style podcasts, but can come across to your audience as disingenuous when you neglect to leave room for authentic reactions, questions, and comments from your guest(s). If you’re concerned about maintaining a steady, smooth pace and not going overtime, consider working in an extra 5 or 10 minutes to your outline to allow for any deviation that might occur. You should also be sending your guest(s) the outline or script ahead of time so they’re able to adequately prepare, which cuts down on unnecessary “um-ing” and “hm-ing”.
Alternatively, “improvised” podcasts can suffer from foregoing a script entirely. Although the goal may be to foster a natural, organic conversation, it’s obvious to your audience when you hit that big red button completely unprepared. Even if you discussed the topic with your guest(s) beforehand, there’s no telling whether a rogue comment will derail the conversation and lead to some dreaded pregnant pauses. Although it may be tempting as a podcast host to adopt a late-night-talk-show-host kind of cadence with your guest(s), the best way to record a podcast that’s listenable, authentic, and relatable is to treat every conversation like a job interview. Come prepared with notes and ideas, but don’t force a topic or a joke if it no longer feels natural.
2. Forgetting to bring out “The Bell”
Anyone familiar with speech class or speech forensics is familiar with The Bell — for those who haven’t undergone this unique brand of torture, The Bell is used as a training mechanism for un-learning filler words such as “like”, “um”, “uh”, or “y’know”. When giving a practice speech, the bell is rung each time the speaker utters a filler word. The bell is disruptive and irritating, which is meant to mimic the reaction your audience has when you fall into such speech patterns too often. Although many of us pepper our speech with similar habits, a podcast is not the medium to make such a mistake. It comes across as unprofessional, and subconsciously tells your audience that you’re uncertain of your words or are scrambling for a response.
You can help avoid this faux-pas by practicing with a friend: sit down with them and tell them a story from start to finish, inviting them to ring the bell (or blow a bullhorn, or any other interruption that works for you) each time you use a filler word. It takes practice, but over time you’re guaranteed to find your words faster or simply pause each time you find yourself reaching for filler words. The end result is a discussion that sounds cleaner, more eloquent, and more listenable overall.
3. Neglecting your audience
Just because a podcast is a pre-recorded event doesn’t mean you can’t involve your listeners! If you have a podcast but no social media to accompany it, you’re missing out on an invaluable opportunity to not only build your audience and gain subscribers, but also to make your fans feel part of the conversation. Direct them to your Instagram for exclusive photos relating to the topics covered on your show, or invite them to participate in a Twitter poll to decide what to cover next. You can also start a free Gmail account to allow fans to send in questions and comments, which you can then read on the show. Just like calling into a radio station, people get excited about the prospect of hearing their voice on their favorite show. If you’re tech-savvy, you may even consider inviting listeners to share their own audio with you as opposed to a traditional written letter-to-the-editor format. This is a great way to foster conversations that your audience is guaranteed to be interested in, which in turn helps extend the lifespan of your podcast. It’s a win-win!
Ready to give podcasting a shot? The team at Mr. Thrive Media is ready to bring your ideas to life. Reach out today to start telling your own story.