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Lessons Learned From The First 4 Months Of Podcasting

Lessons learned from the first 4 months of podcasting

Back in December, my co-host Rico and I launched the PhD Talk podcast (listen on Spotify, Stitcher, Deezer, Apple Podcasts). We’re now a few months into this journey, and I wanted to take this moment to reflect what I’ve learned from this experience. Here are my six main insights from the past months:

  1. I learn a lot from interviewing others: While originally I was thinking of having an interview every 4th episode or so, we now are alternating interviews with episodes in which we discuss a predefined topic. The interviews are so insightful that they now have a more prominent place in the podcast.
  2. Some preparation helps: Getting some ideas fleshed out before recording helps with the overall structure of the podcast, helps the interviewees (if any), and helps avoid repetition of topics. It also helps to see typical questions we want to ask in an interview, and helps (a bit) to stay more on time.
  3. A bit of organization goes a long way: We’re currently just using a shared GoogleDoc for taking notes before recording and a GoogleSheet to keep track of current and future episodes with recording and launch dates. Having a central place for the notes also helps me with then writing the shownotes and description before launch.
  4. Video eats bandwidth: We record on Zencastr, and they recently released a video feature. Before, we’d just join by audio only. The new video feature does seem to eat a lot of bandwidth and freezes occasionally.
  5. It’s difficult to stay on time: Our goal is to have episodes of around 20 minutes in length, but we’ve been moving towards 20-30 minutes for the regular episodes and 40 minutes or more for the interviews. For the regular episodes, it’s hard to stay on time because we want to have the conversation and address thoughts that arise at the spur of the moments. For the interviews, we often find elements we want to dig a bit deeper into to take the advantage from learning from the interviewee.
  6. It’s a lot of fun: I wanted to start a podcast for a long time (say, since 2012), but the initial learning curve of how to record, how to edit the audio, how to host, and all those elements put me off. When I realized I could look for a co-host and divide up the tasks, it all seemed much less overwhelming. And I’m glad I started the initiative, because at the end of the day, it’s lots of fun!

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