Podcast Planning

Podcast

Hey guys,

I keep losing things in the FB chat stream so I wanted to create a more permanent document that we could comment on to hopefully coordinate and ensure we’re all thinking about things the same way? Feel free to comment or share ideas on anything I’ve forgotten, something you disagree with, etc.

Pre-launch To-Do

  1. Firm commitments from a critical mass. If our goal is to have 3-4 speakers do ~2 podcasts a month, do we have the numbers to make this happen? Can we commit to this for the next 12 months as an experiment? Not everybody needs to be available for each podcast but ideally you’re making at least 1 a month. Less available people (eg. Kate, Rebecca Trump) can also fill in on occasion. It’s totally OK to bail next fall because it isn’t fun, you’ve gotten an exciting opportunity to pursue, or the listeners aren’t having it. Nobody wants to keep podcasting if the audience is essentially “your Mom” (who BTW thinks your doing a bangup job).
  2. Sort out sound quality. All speakers need to be comfortably audible with minimal (within reason) background noise. This will require purchasing $60 microphones for at least 3-4 people. Which harkens back to point #1 – can we commit for ~1 year? Because $250 is not a small investment.
  3. Create supporting audio/visual files including: Podcast cover art, “drops” to lead in and out of the podcast (music with voiceover). Create pages for podcast on blog and set up hosting provider for streaming audi (integrated on website). Podcast needs a name and tagline.
  4. Create an “about the podcast” page complete with bios and pictures (yay!). I feel we need a term because I’m not describing you guys as “moderators” – what term to use instead? baby wranglers?
  5. Evaluate supporting services and costs – 3rd party hosted streaming and/or the ability to take “calls” from listeners (Mary recommended Speakpipe)
  6. Flush out a calendar of topics. Ideally we have a clear description of the topic and a topic owner who has a few responsibilities to help us all get our thoughts organized. More on that later.

Podcast Logistics

  1. Topic Owner writes 1 paragraph brief on topic as well as 3-7 questions that will be answered in the podcast. If available, share links on topics for further reading. This helps other participants get their thoughts organized AND will be used on the website to provide listeners decide if they should listen to that particular recording. We also need to be mindful of SEO. Meaning whatever the podcast is about (ex. toddlers and bedtime battles) – those terms need to be used in the subject and ideally 2+ times in the text. We write for people but you also need to make sure Google knows what you’re talking about. So while we can rotate through topic owners, there is a bit of homework involved. I’m happy to take the first few if that helps. But I can’t be the ONLY topic owner forever.
  2. Make sure we have min=3 people on the schedule for the podcast. Perhaps this is another responsibility of the topic owner?
  3. If necessary, coordinate with 3rd party experts we invite. I think people will be quite keen to join in if invited nicely. Don’t be shy about targeting big dogs and famous people. Everybody wants to be more visible so this could be a win-win (we promote them, they promote us).
  4. Run podcast (ideally 20-40 minutes top)
  5. Edit podcast. While there is lots of free software to do this (some people use Garage Band but the more popular option seems to be Audacity which is a free download). I know nothing about sound editing and am worried about the learning curve. I imagine the editing is minimal (cut anything boring or off topic, add sound drops). There’s been mentions of some help from the masculine side of families. Do we have a firm plan here?
  6. Upload the file – iTunes, website, possibly iTunes? (probably my job – shouldn’t be hard with dropbox and such)
  7. Share on social media (this is me I guess)

Responsibilities and Obligations ?!?

  1. As mentioned, the big responsibilities is being willing to give this a try for 12 months and doing your best to participate in 1-2 podcasts a month.
  2. Being willing to take on being a topic owner 3-6X a year. This means doing a bit of prep research as well as writing up content to be posted online. Possibly includes coordinating schedule and/or reaching out to other parenting peeps.
  3. Even if you aren’t the topic owner, you’ll need to spend 30-60 minutes prior to podcast to prep thoughts, make some notes, or think of any stores or anecdotes you might want to share. Maybe a shortlist of questions you want to ask somebody else.
  4. Audio editing.
  5. What else?!?

Upside: Fame and Fortune

  1. There will be no fame and fortune. Let’s be honest. I DO think that we can reach more people this way (potentially) especially as SAHMs seem to really enjoy podcasts. So I consider this a fun project that we hopefully feel good about.
  2. It’s possibly good resume fodder for some of you. Learn some new skills, play with technology, etc.
  3. We will likely make no money. But ParentCast does have a sponsor who pays $200/podcast and they are an affiliate of Audible.com (you only make money if people sign up so assume little or no revenue there). I will also be a sponsor when the book comes out but I’ll be a bad sponsor in that I’m not paying for it.
  4. IF we make any money (seriously, don’t count on making any money – there really will be no money) I’m happy to split it evenly once my costs (hardware, graphic design, software, streaming services) have been covered. Or maybe we come up with some sort of weighted average based on participation? Honestly it’s likely not even worth worrying about because we’re not making any money. For reals yo.

Logistics

I feel like FB chat is a poor medium for coordination. Am open to alternatives? Do we want to continue using a Google Doc for topics, scheduling, etc? Is 2X a month a reasonable target? I feel like 4X a month would be better so maybe we see how much time and effort is involved once we get rolling and possibly adjust upward? What is our audio editing plan? When do you think we’re ready to launch? If our first podcast is terrible nobody will continue on so I feel there is a minimum threshold of quality we need to hit before we go live. We’re still working on sound quality but then what? Do we have a target “launch” date?

So…what do you guys think?

Comments

  1. Ashby says

    I like these logistical details, and I especially like the idea of having a topic owner for each podcast.

    Personally, my biggest barrier is going to be the presence of a toddler in the room. There really is no way around this as not every time we can all get together is going to be nap time. I’ll try to have him well rested, snacked, and toyed, but if he’s not having it one day I don’t know what to do. Also, background noise. How is everyone else planning to deal with the kid in the room situation?

    • Melissa says

      I can easily deal with Dominic but Allen is harder to distract unless he’s sleeping. I think today he’ll be awake during podcast time, so I guess we’ll see how that goes

    • Alexis says

      Is TV an option? If it’s only 1-2x a month? And yeah if he’s just not having it, he’s not. I totally get that. I can be flexible because my kids are old enough that TV is a guarantee “quiet time” activity.

      • Ashby says

        I am totally not anti-TV 1-2 times a month it’s just that my son barely notices TV. But it seemed like it went ok with Melissa’s kids and with the good mikes and pop blockers I’m a little less worried.

  2. Melissa says

    I’m willing to commit. I have a mostly free schedule and I have really, really enjoyed the podcasting practice we’ve done. Maybe instead of moderators we can all be co-hosts? I am pretty sure Nick would help with audio editing, but I’ll see if I can get a firm commitment from him either way. I’ve done a little bit, it’s not totally challenging, but Nick is better at it than I am, but he could probably help me bring my skills up to speed. I’m also willing to share on my social media. Actually, I’ll probably do that whether you ask me to or not lol.

    • Alexis says

      Take a look at the time/effort involved in editing and figure out if that is something you can do. I’ve played around a bit and feel like the learning curve for me is a bit steep. There is also this service: https://auphonic.com/

      Would that do it or would additional editing be needed? I’m guessing additional editing would be needed to at least cut out mistakes, long pauses, etc. and THEN it goes through auphonic? So in any scenario, some manual effort is needed.

  3. CB says

    1. Having a schedule set out long in advance would be helpful. That way we can all sign up for the topics that interest us most, have plenty of time to prepare, and can gauge how much we’re participating.

    2. It needs to be okay for someone to participate in both podcasts one month and none the next, if that’s how their interests line up.

    3. Depending on timing, I may or may not be able to join in. My schedule is a bit more restricted based on the needs of the child/children in my house. Thursdays and Fridays are definitely out for me.

    4. What if someone is not confident enough to be a topic owner or is strapped for time in a given month? Do we have a backup plan? Sickness happens.

    5. Kids in the room. Definite issue, and little way around it. But it might become part of our vibe? We’re all moms, talking about mom stuff, and life happens. We can even say up front if someone has to bow out at the last minute, “Melissa’s kids are sick, so she won’t be joining us today because Momming.”

    • Alexis says

      1. Yes. It also makes prep/research less work because you have more lead time.

      2. Yes. My only ask is that we have at least 2-3 people for each but somebody could take a month or two off if they need to.

      3. No problem booking earlier in the week.

      4. If you have nothing to say on the topic it’s totally fair to bow out. LIke if you guys decided to talk about how religious upbringing colors parenting I would have nothing to share.

      5. Maybe we just make that part of our thing, “There are kids in the room because that’s who we are.” Although I think the Auphonic processing will help remove much of that sound?

  4. Rebecca Trump says

    Great thoughts here. I agree that a topic sign up well in advance will help, as will backup plans (like a bench line-up) ready to go just in case things come up – I can always have a work meeting scheduled the day before and, well, it pays the bills 🙂

    • Alexis says

      My thinking (?) is that if we have 3-4 people booked for each, 1-2 could drop off last minute and things still move forward. IF the topic owner had to bail it might get a bit more complicated? But rescheduling is an option. We can say “we’re going to do these the first and third tuesday each month” but let’s be honest – getting THAT organized is likely a stretch 😉

  5. Elis says

    I can commit at least 1x per month, and if we do it early such that it is before my kids’ wake up then I won’t have noise issues. I would like to see how th sound quality on my headset works before committing to the mic, though. And am happy to creat or to be assigned a topic. I had a few ideas that I had already posted on our fab chat; am happy to re-list them or come up with new ones.

  6. Katka says

    1. I agree with all above. I really want to participate, so I can commit or I can commit as much as life with a baby permits 😀 But seriously, the two trial runs we did were so much fun, I had a rush of energy after the second one (yay adult conversation!) so I want to participate and I think twice a month should be doable.
    I too cannot rule out children being heard but agree with Corey that we can make that “our thing” . We have small children, they are a part of our lives, they occasionally can be heard in the podcast.

    2. I’m currently asking around for a microphone, maybe you won’t need to buy one for me.

    3. I coud help out with the podcast cover art. I assume you want to keep the website design?

    1. I will say upfront that I don’t think I would be a good topic owner. I can do the prep work but I don’t feel comfortable being the main host/baby wrangler/baby whisperer of the podcast. I get nervous because I’m not a native speaker and then I lose track of the bigger picture and you need that to steer a conversation.

    2. I don’t know how much time we will need to actually put the podcast out. Say we record on Monday, when does it come out? We could always have some buffer so that if Monday blows up horribly we try to reschedule for Tuesday because podcast doesn’t go out until Friday.

    3. Audio editing – I wrote an email to a friend who recently started podcasting to see if he had any tips. I’m sure between our husbands and us we will figure it out. (Ha. I just remembered I used to mix songs together for our dance choreographies, does that count as audio editing?)

    3. You mean we won’t get rich and be interviewed by Oprah?! Sigh. Yeah, I knew that 😉

    Launch date – I think we should have a few more trial runs at least until we are happy with the sound. Because we went from Ashby sounds horrible but I sound OK to everyone sounds great with their cool new mikes but I sound horrible within a week.

    Schedule – we can always react to any hot topics and articles floating around on the Interwebs.
    OK, baby is up. At the moment I’m not very good at general organising because I don’t remember what happened yesterday but if you give me one small task I can do that.

  7. Rebecca Trump says

    Love “interwebs” Katka.

    I watched the ‘woo’ video today – good stuff. Is there somewhere you guys are organizing these podcasts other than on this website?

    Side note about discussion on the woo chat: We buy into our own crazy ideas (especially ones we’ve invested resources into – like time, money, social capital by telling all our friends about them) thanks to the psychological process of cognitive dissonance. To get super dorky on you: Dissonance leads us to do things like know we made the right choice (about our mate, our college, our kids’ names, our brand of car) because after we’ve made our choice we engage in ‘spreading of alternatives,’ where we convince ourselves that the thing we went with was even more better (yes “more better”) than we thought it was before we chose it. It allows us to move on with life and not agonize every decision after the fact.

    • says

      Hey Rebecca,
      So these are all practice runs that we’re recording/sharing just for our own purposes. They aren’t like…for legit sharing. Although I really like the woo topic and think we should revisit for “real” podcasting.

      Mostly we’ve been trying to improve our flow, get sound quality issues nailed down, etc.

      But I love your point about cognitive dissonance. Maybe we should hook you into that podcast so you can talk about it 🙂

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