Podcasts are among my favourite forms of entertainment. They often fill in the gaps when I am doing something like cleaning, on a drive to someplace or just kicking back and listening to a good interview or story. One of my favourites is Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast. It’s endlessly funny and is sometimes filled with life lessons.
The format is really simple, he could be responding to emails he has received from fans or he is rambling about one thing or another. The way he does it makes it look easy, and was one of the reasons that I found myself wanting to venture into making one.
Beyond being a form of entertainment podcasts are a really good way of getting your ideas, stories and experiences out there. We all have something that we are passionate about and feel should be talked about a lot more. A good way to get your message to the world is through a podcast.
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If you have never considered starting your own podcast, I hope the following will nudge you to at least thinking about it.
Why you should consider starting a podcast of your own
Podcasts are relatively inexpensive to make. You can use the devices you have already have, the temptation is sometimes to think that you need fancy equipment but that is not the case. Hosting your own show could help with enhancing your brand and add to other services and products you offer.
For example, if you are a blogger or you write then adding a podcast to your offerings will only enhance your message. It’s not always easy to convey tone with words and recording your opinions and thoughts could definitely help with that. Podcasts also help create a better connection between you and your audience because the people who visit your page can now put a voice to the name that is on the pieces or articles. This also applies to companies, religious organisations, social clubs, universities groups, sports teams and many more.
Now, for individuals who have never explored anything in media, the question is often “What would I talk about?”. Well hopefully the following can help you identify the genre that is best suited for you
Some ideas on what your podcast could be about
Experiences and conversations
Life teaching us the same lessons but in different ways. There are many who have endured difficult times and have made it out the other end. The process that you went through, I think, could give direction to someone who is in the midst of something similar.
I understand that this kind of genre isn’t for everyone. Sharing personal stories isn’t always the easiest thing to do. But there are some who are comfortable with giving an account of what they went through and the things they did to make it through. Your story could reassure someone that there is a route to a solution or at the very least show them that they aren’t alone.
Casual conversations about things that are on your mind and the minds of others are important too. We are sometimes profoundly insightful when we are engaging with others. That back and forth could open up someone to a whole new way of thinking and could reshape how they view their own life.
Your line of work or technical know-how
There are learned and gifted people out there who can give insight into a number of fields. We can’t all be versed in the inner workings of every industry out there. One example is policy and legislation, the language in bills and laws is often difficult to understand. Those documents contain rules that affect everyone and a podcast that helps break down what laws and bills mean would be invaluable. Distilling that information into digestible and easy to understand terms would greatly increase our understanding of laws.
Your line of work could inspire those who are following a similar career path. Students in university or those about to go into tertiary education could, I think, do with someone in their field giving them a look into what’s happening on the ground. To add on to that point, your job could also give those who want to switch careers some background on what it’s like out there.
Teaching and education
Sticking with the theme of learning, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the academic year. Now, as much as interaction is a part of teaching, having as much material at your students’ disposal gives them every advantage.
The audio format might not work for every subject, but where it applies I think that material should be available. Students can also learn at their own pace with the reassurance that the information is available in another medium other than words on a page.
Writers and storytellers
I have heard storytellers who weave the most engrossing tales. Some are writers and others just enjoy telling folktales. For me, the Zimbabwean stories are the ones that captivate me the most. It’s always a treat to hear of bygone times and the practices that the numerous cultures in Zimbabwe observe. The audio medium is one of the best ways (at least for me) to capture those stories.
Storytellers in other genres as well can get in on it. You might have a screenplay you might have done and one way to get out there is to run lines with a cast of friends. You can take your work from paper on to another medium to a wider audience. A podcast could help you get discovered.
What you need to get started
If you have a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer you have your recording device. Many mobile devices come with recording software out of the box. For PC and Mac users that might not have, here are some free programs you can try out
If you want to have a conversation with someone abroad or in a different location, ZOOM or any other conferencing software with a record option work great.
After recording your podcast you’d want to have it out there for people to listen to it. There are a number of sites out there but the one I’d recommend is Pinecast. It has a free plan and really easy to use and allows you to host your podcast on platforms like Spotify, Pandora, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcast and more.
The last thing you’ll need
Patience… it all doesn’t happen overnight but if you are patient and persistent you never know where it could take you. We are working on our own podcast called Tisu Vanhu Vacho. The process hasn’t been easy but we are keeping the fire burning and will keep it.
In saying all of that, I may have been preaching to the choir. There may be those among you who have been hard at work on your own productions. I and many others would very much like to explore what you have been up to. You can drop a description and a link to your work and I’ll check it out.