Heads up, but I am going to get a bit harsh in this one.
There is a belief that podcasting is one of the most authentic media forms and that through podcasting you audience is most likely to discover the ‘real’ you.
Because of this, many people believe their listeners want to hear the ‘warts and all’ of their podcast and will literally press record and release the first episode they ever record.
They are wrong.
Before you ever release an episode you should have done at least several draft or practice episodes that will never see the light of day.
Radio announcers, TV presenters, MC’s etc all practice with smaller crowds to begin with. They might work in small regional areas, do performances for friends or even have practice with university equipment and studios well before they become big stars so why the hell aren’t you considering practice before publishing your podcast?
If that doesn’t convince you, here are the main reasons you need to practice before publishing.
When you are using a microphone there is an actual technique to doing it properly. This is things like figuring out how far away you should sit so your voice gets the right volume or making sure you don’t tap the desk with your hands and make banging noises vibrate into your mic.
The best way to figure all of this out is to practice, learn habits around how you face a microphone and how you manage your volume with it when you laugh, yell etc.
This is a bit similar to mic technique. Chances are you have just bought microphones, mixers and stands, have put them together and are hoping everything will work out.
You should know your equipment back to front before recording an official episode or you WILL have something go wrong. There might be a bad connection, or you might not have enough space to record and you’ll lose all your audio. So many things can go wrong if you haven’t practised using your equipment in a proper demo episode.
If you’re doing an interview podcast what the hell makes you think you can pull off an interview first try?
Practice with your friends and family first. Please. There is a big difference between ‘having a chat’ and ‘doing an interview’.
When interviewing someone you have to be getting amazing answers out of your guest without letting it fall into waffle about what they had for breakfast, or how good their day is. Too much waffle and a lot of listeners may just switch off.
You also need to practice listening, engaging with what your guest has to say and not just immediately jumping to the next question you have planned.
There is a whole bunch more preparation you can do and you can find my interview tips HERE.
Doing a show with a cohost requires practice too, because you are no longer just ‘two mates having a chat’. You are ‘two mates having a chat while others listen’ and you need to figure out the intricate dance that is engaging creatively and interestingly with a cohost.
You’ll want to ensure you don’t talk over each other, that you expand on what the other person has to say effectively and know when you co-host wants you to speak or when to be silent.
These are also skills that come with practice, and are very rarely just going to be instinctive.
Remember, your first episode is there for any new listener to hear and that may be their first impression of you.
It won’t matter how amazingly you have improved if they listen to that first episode, hate it and then never listen again.