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Starting my journey to produce content for an audio audience

Why create a podcast?

My main motivator for creating a podcast comes from the fact that I personally can retain more information when I listen; whether that be a person speaking, a piece of music, audio book or podcast — it’s the medium of choice for me. I must be in good company as consumer demand for audio books has increased by 31% (in terms of sales) in the US between 2015 and 2016; the Global audiobook market is estimated to be worth in excess of $3.5 billion according to Good-E-Reader.

There are 3 other reasons for starting this mini project;

  1. I started blogging back in July 2016 and I have posted about one per month since then; since then I’m getting about 93 views on a good week and about 6 at the lower end. As I’m not a prolific blogger; looking at other ways to produce content (quickly) interests me.

  2. In terms of my blog posts, I sometimes re-read them and I’m left with the feeling that I wasn’t able to fully articulate my passion for a particular subject.

  3. Music — I love music of all types — from Bob Dylan, to Mozart, to Queens of the Stone Age back to Bach. My every waking day has music in it. How do I add this passion for music into a blog post?


Podcast inspiration

As an additional motivator for the idea of creating my podcast, I’ll reference two key influences; Matt Alder and Gary Vaynerchuk. For those of you not familiar with either Matt or Gary, I would suggest checking them both out.

Matt is the author of The Recruiting Future podcast and he has just produced his 100th podcast — a fantastic achievement! Matt was kind enough to give me some advice when I contacted him about my 1st podcast, he told me that the key was “tenacity” as it “can take quite a while to build an audience”. Given the great guests that Matt has had on his podcasts and the audience and interaction he has amassed since the first podcast back in early 2015, his advice really resonated with me.

Gary Vaynerchuk, or Gary Vee as he is known on his daily vlogs; is a highly prolific producer of content from blogsvlogssnapstweetsInstagram — you name the platform/medium and he’s producing content for it — and it’s all for free! His business psychology is addictive and his advice is honest, to the point and motivating. Think of him as your virtual career coach pushing you to be better, do more and change your thinking about what you can achieve. I didn’t actually contact Gary Vee prior to this project as I sense his advice would be “Do Something About It” and start being a practitioner.

The podcast idea

The quickest and easiest option for an idea for my first podcast was to convert one of my blog posts; simple idea you’d think, however, when I read back the through the post and then thought about it as a speech (of sorts) it needed amending – it also needed more information and a ‘voice’. I wasn’t quite sure what I meant myself when I thought about a voice, I just knew instinctively that I needed to consider the tone, pace and structure of the podcast – maybe that just came from years of enjoying listening to the radio?

I decided upon adapting a blog post I wrote back in February this year entitled Candidate = Individual; re-reading this post made me realise two things 1). The blog post was quite incomplete 2). I don’t think I’d really made an actual point – it was more of a suggestion. Perhaps I could produce something more meaningful with the podcast as the new medium?

Passion, Pace and Punch

It’s interesting to me that this project might have subconsciously started at the beginning of this year; I read a book back in January entitled Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo. The book details ‘The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds’ and it identifies 3 key areas in public speaking; Emotional response, Novel topics and Memorable moments when you deliver your story to an audience.

The focus on passion in the book instantly resonated with my thinking about audio delivery; in Part 1 — Emotional, Gallo covers the ‘New Science of Passion and Persuasion’. This section details a scientific study on the subject of entrepreneurial passion and states that “Entrepreneurial passion catalyzes full-blown emotional experiences, complete with engagement of brain and body responses” (Cardon et al, 2009). Woah! — I’m not sure I could do this in my first podcast, however, it was meaningful to note that my passion could make a contribution to the audio experience.

Linked to the subject of passion was another subject matter explored in Gall0’s book — the ‘Power of Pathos’; pathos is the act of appealing to emotions. This section was underpinned by Aristotle’s theory that persuasion occurs when 3 components are present; Ethos, Logos and Pathos. Whilst some argue that this model can only be fully utilised in public speaking, my thoughts were that it could be applicable to the context of a podcast as this was a form of recorded public speaking.

Another key area that I enjoyed exploring in more detail was the pace with which I should deliver my audible content; studies have shown that the ideal rate of words per minute for audio books is between 150–160. When compared to over 180 words per minute in an average conversation, you have to take into account the audience of the podcast — primarily, what are they doing when they are listening? — they could be on the tube, in their car, working while listening etc. For this reason, the optimum rate of words per minute has to be below that of casual conversation as the audience doesn’t have the advantage of visual cues like they would if they were conversing with you in-person.

The final section of interest to me in Gallo’s book in relation to my podcast project has to do with punching your words. In the book the best example of executing this technique was offered by Lisa Kristine in her TEDx presentation on ‘Slavery’. Her delivery style was a combination of sheer passion for the topic, vocal intensity and slowing her pace of the delivery to really enunciate key words really clearly. In the context of the TEDx presentation, Kristine was using the technique of punching her words to associate them with a particular image; in the context of a podcast, I became curious as to how could I use this technique to increase the richness of the audio.

Platform for podcast

Quite simply I took a suggestion by Gary Vee on one of his podcasts and checked out Anchor FM; a platform where I could start creating a podcast immediately with very little technical knowledge and a user-friendly interface. The additional bonus was that I could insert music into the podcast if I wanted to — awesome!

What’s next?

In actual fact, this blog post has been written retrospectively as I recorded and released my 1st podcast on the 14th August 2017 on Anchor FM (with words and music). If you’re inclined to find it and have a listen, firstly, thanks for the leap of faith! — you’ll find it at once you log into Anchor FM and download the app.

My next blog post will be able everything I learned from that 1st podcast — it’s amazing how much you actually learn from doing something about it!


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