Talking on the mic is the easy part. When we think about the lifestyle of being a podcaster, we tend to think about the act of recording our show, and sometimes we think about editing our audio or video. I don’t give much time or thought to the blog post that puts my show out there, or the tweeting and facebooking (did I just make up a word?) that goes on after.
But the hardest part of podcasting, for me at least, is the one most people don’t really consider when they start: producing. It’s easy to think of ourselves as ‘talent’ when we first start, but what drives a podcast forward isn’t just sitting in front of a mic and talking, it’s everything before the show. Making the phone calls and sending emails that bring guests on the show. Doing the research on your topic of choice. Getting the information to the other people on your show so you all know what to talk about. Scheduling time for everyone to get together and record. And sometimes, a lot more than that.
Producing seems really easy, until you have to do it yourself. Producers in radio are the thread that keeps the shows together. They are the ones you rarely hear from, and only hear about when something goes wrong. And yet, when it’s your show, you wish you had one to offload some of the work to. They do a lot more than just buffer the rest of the world from a show, they make that show flow.
I wonder if this is why pod-fading is so prevalent in podcasting. Blogs come and go, but podcasts seem to hit a 5-10 episode dip, where it becomes harder to push forward and get the guests and show together. There are plenty of reasons to be a podcaster, but if being a producer as well as recording a show isn’t your cup of tea, I would advise against starting a podcast. That sounds a little harsh, but if the hard part is going to keep you from making your show, it’s better to know that now than to invest your time and money into podcasting and learn the hard way.
As difficult as producing can be, it is also the part of your show that allows you to be more independent and in control of your show. You can follow your own path, create what you want, and in the end, reap the rewards of your work. It also makes you responsible for yourself when things go wrong, but that can also lead to growth if you let it. If you can accept that things are not going to go perfectly every moment of every show, or things that are out of your control fall apart, you can come out the other side stronger.
You are a producer. Like it or not, it’s the hard work that goes into producing that will make or break your podcast. And the more time you spend becoming a better producer, the less time it will take to make your show great in the end. Talking into a microphone or editing a video is only part of your art. Don’t ignore the production side of things.