Today I want to address the problems, excuses and reasons why we fail to start our first shows.
Thinking back to the year between “I think I should do a podcast” and “There’s the first episode up and live.”, the reasons for not starting were all a bit sad really. The primary reason, I told myself, was I just didn’t understand the mechanics of podcasting. You can learn this here in a blog post.
Then the next stumbling block was hosting. “But I have a website! Do I have to pay for more hosting? Grrrr.”
Well, “Yes” and “Yes”. And there are good reasons for it.
If you are fortunate and suddenly your podcast numbers explode, the calls on the website server, especially if it’s a shared server, will likely crash it. At the very least your website host will threaten to remove you as you’ll have breached its fair use agreement. This is the case even if you have “unlimited” bandwidth.
An audio hosting service is highly specialised. Many hosting companies have come and gone. A few like Libsyn, my main host and Blubrry have been around for a long while. They charge reasonable fees, starting at US$5 a month for 50megs of uploaded content. This might not sound like much but it is just about enough for four half hour mp3 files at 64kps in mono per month. To understand why these are the best compromise between listening quality and download speed read this post: 3.12 Production Standards.
These hosts and there are others but these are the specialists who I use for my long term projects. Libsyn has many features I’ll cover in another upcoming post. Just know that paying for a professional service, even at the US$5 per month level is both a modest cost and great investment. I also use Podbean. They are similar to Libsyn in many ways but with a “free” option. You get five hours of free audio files. I use this with clients who are financially stressed, for whom I run their back end and for this feed so I can understand the platform. I’ve used SoundClound for these options in the past and no longer recommend it. It’s primarily a music hosting platform and the interface is not helpful, shall we say.
The other big reason for not starting is a fear of having sufficient content. This can be a reality but rarely so. Once we start diving into our subject matter, our niche, we will find many stories. Almost too many and this is were discernment is required. It also where a seasonal approach can help. By creating each ten episode season as a themed production, the episodes hang together in a more coherant manner. ten episodes are more than suffiicent to tell a detailed story about your service. From the intial request from a client through support workers and clients sorting out details and plans to selling ideas to management and the final meeting of the clients request, a great story about your people, all of them, will hit your rss feed. From holiday planning to the acquisition of a new powered wheelchair, all these stories are worthy of telling and so many more.
In summary, start recording, find a publisher, organise your stories around seasons and I’m happy to take DMs on your questions, then start pumping your content to the world. It is in the doing that things are done.
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