What have we learned from our debut?

We arrived into the podcasting realm on a whim, fuelled by a desire to venture into the unknown. It was this impulse that gave birth to a labour of love.

But what have we really learned from our debut episode? Quite a lot, it turns out.

You may have seen us posting on Twitter and Facebook last week about some of the technical challenges we had after the first episode was ready for distribution. Or the nervous ticks in the episode itself.

To be honest, we would have had this episode done well-before Sunday if we had only taken the time to get things right from the start.

Here are four key lessons we learned from starting a podcast.

1. Write a script.

Honestly, we didn’t want to script it. There’s something about a script that makes the show robotic and monotone. We wanted to speak to you in a manner that was more genuine – via the intuition of our gut as opposed to the calculations of our mind. Even though there was an outline for Episode #1, we found that it was taking us an entire weekend to produce a 21-minute podcast. We were literally working from morning to night, three hours sleep over 2 days of recording. The end result of this method produced nothing. We kept deleting the track and going right back to re-recording.

Putting the script together allowed us to mentally visualize how the show would flow. Everything from the language disclaimer at the start of the show to the musical interludes between blocks, the script allowed us to neatly fit everything into their proper places in the episode. Being able to visualize the show like that gives me the ability to go through the script with a little more confidence.

2. Online presence matters.

Even before we published our first show, the website was ready to go and our social media presence was developed with custom artwork. We started tweeting updates about our upcoming debut even before the show was ready.

Having our online presence established before our first show allowed us to focus on what really mattered: putting the show together. With all of the leg work already done before we released the show, we quickly realized that it made everything so much easier when the show was eventually published. Sure, our website looked incomplete, but we weren’t really driving that much traffic to it before we released our debut episode. Once the show was ready and published, we made the necessary updates to the website and it had the look and feel of a completed project.

3. There is a technological learning curve.

Publishing the show proved to be challenging. We didn’t realize initially how much work was required in actually setting up a distribution network and putting together a dedicated podcast RSS feed. Ultimately these challenges led to a 36-hour delay in actually releasing our debut episode.

It sucked having a completed podcast episode and resorting to watching YouTube tutorials on how to actually releasing it to the world. When things eventually did come together, we felt it was 36-hours well-spent. The lessons we learned in this area are invaluable as we prepare for the production of feature podcasts.

4. Having a defined format helps structure your show.

Once we have a few episodes out, listeners will become accustomed to the format we have adopted. The show starts with a content disclaimer (which isn’t really necessary since the show is listed as “Explicit” in our distribution network), followed by a cold-opening. We then hit the music and outline what’s in the show. A short musical interlude separates our A & B blocks before we close out the show.

It helps with the content planning for the show as well as timing. Our first interview comes is at Episode #2, and we’ve noticed how staying true to the format we’ve come up with helps with timing and content planning.