At Bengo Media, we meet a lot of people who tell us they want to start a podcast. Only a fraction actually do. At our new podcast workshops, we’re trying to remove the mystique from podcasting, and empower people to get started.
Call me a masochist but I love the look on people’s faces when I say the following words:
“By 5pm today, you’re going to have brainstormed, planned out, scripted, recorded, edited, marketed and published your own podcast”
The facial expression is often followed by “Oh god!” or a worried glance at the person next to them after realising that they’re in this together.
But as much as the masochism is fun, it’s not the point of the one day workshops we at Bengo Media have started to run this autumn. Instead, we’re trying to remove the mystique from podcasting, and empower people to get started.
Why? Well, I meet a lot of people who tell me they want to start a podcast. Only a fraction actually do. They stop short for different reasons. Some are struggling getting their idea into some sort of shape. Others are worried about what equipment to buy. Most are spooked out by editing. And even the ardent Googlers scratch their head at the prospect of registering their podcast with Apple and the other main directories.
So, firmly believe that doing is the most effective form of learning, we’ve created a one day workshop, called Podcast 101, working through the process of launching a podcast, step by step.
It works like this. We take a prop, or a theme, and in groups we ask people to dream up a podcast series inspired by it. The venue for our first workshop was Uncommon Ground – hipster coffee shop in Cardiff’s Royal Arcade – housing a row of beautiful vintage salon hair dryer chairs. So a stimulus for the day was either coffee or hairdressing.
So, device sorted, it’s then onto dreaming up an idea, working out who the podcast is for, what format it needs to be in and what its USP is.
Next, it’s all about scripting, how to write for the ear and how to craft those perfect introductions and end links. Then, it’s onto a show and tell about equipment. Questions tend to centre around both ease of use and cost here.
So, having removed a few of the initial fears – and having had a spot of lunch – everyone sits down to record a podcast of up to ten minutes. Then after a listen through, we decide what needs chopping out before doing a tutorial on the gateway drug of editing software, Audacity.
After that, we moved on to making that podcast look and feel attractive to people. Creating a killer elevator pitch, good shownotes and how to create artwork for free. One attendee simply wrote “YAAAS!” on her notepad when I demonstrated Headliner, which is pretty much sums up what I felt like when I first stumbled across it.
With a bit of explanation about the benefits of a podcast host and how to get on which directories, it was time to press publish. A limited access publication you understand, this is a soft play area after all! But it was a punch the air moment nonetheless.
One of our podcasts saw business leaders questioned for the time it took to drink a cup of coffee. The other, wes an anonymous, reveal-all interview with a person that hears everyone’s gossip: or to put it in terms of the title, Confessions of a Hairdresser. Well, I’d listen!
And with that we were done. Time will tell how many people leave this room and become podcasters or, for those already doing it, regular podcasters. But just giving people a glimpse of the possible makes this a very fulfilling exercise indeed.
Steve Austins is Director of Bengo Media. The next Podcast 101 workshop is on November 15th in Cardiff. There are still Early Bird discount rates available.