The podcast revolution happened. Now what?
What advice would you give to journalists wanting to get into podcasting? What are the key elements to make a podcast successful and build up an audience nowadays?
Understand the audio medium – apply its strengths and avoid its weaknesses. Strengths are its intimacy, ability to convey emotion, and its power to trigger the imagination – the ‘theatre of the mind’. All these factors give podcasting the capacity to build connection and empathy among your listeners – they can feel a real relationship with you and the people you feature in the podcast.
Be yourself. Yes, you are a journalist and you need to observe the basic tenets of fair reporting. But there is usually scope to be a human being as well. If they arise naturally from your material, have moments that are friendly/goofy/thoughtful/passionate/warm/regretful. If you are angry about some injustice you’re reporting on, you aren’t going to jump on a soapbox and throw out journalistic balance, but nor should you be a robot. An exhalation of breath and a pause can say a lot. It invites your listener to reflect, makes them receptive to what’s coming next.
Be informal. Stuffiness is a turn-off in podcasting. You can talk directly to a listener, so do that! Imagine a friend or favourite relative and pitch your language in a casual tone, as if they were sitting opposite you. In English that means using verbal phrases like ‘It’s a warm evening in Paris and I’m standing outside a small café…’ (not ‘It is a warm evening and I am standing…” which sounds stilted.)
Use audio’s liveness where possible: tell them a story spontaneously, as it is unfolding before your eyes, rather than by reading a prepared script. (Obviously research your information prior, and maybe have an interviewee lined up, but then play it by ear.)
By contrast, if you are dealing with a complex topic or a series of podcasts rather than say a live in-depth interview, put in the time: investigate all the facts, record key interviews, get location sound, and spend days or weeks cutting it all together into a coherent, flowing shape that has narrative tension. See free how to tips above at places such as HowSound, Transom.org, Out on the Wire.
Help the listener build pictures in their mind by including relevant, evocative sound, where possible: it might be the melee of a streetscape, the buzz of conversation in a café, children playing, protesters chanting. Record these in diverse ways: as separate sound tracks you can weave in and out of your narration, or as background for an in situ ‘stand up’ – a spontaneous voiceover that summarises or links a story.
Include listeners if you can – use social media not just to promote your show but to solicit feedback, follow up relevant responses and include people’s voicemail messages in your next podcast.
Weaknesses: audio does not do data well. Figures and statistics are hard to absorb in one hearing, so don’t overload the listener – pick one key fact and then use imagery to sink it home.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.globaleditorsnetwork.org