Stories create meaning in us when we hear something that interests or relates to you. Sometimes, simply listening to other people's conversations about their lives can be so enriching. Recently, podcasts have been having their moment when it comes to content creation. And, just like YouTube, you don't even have to have technical skills or professional status to put something out.
Almost anyone can start a podcast. However, to have a successful one, you have to kick things off the right way. That's why we took the time to have a chat with 21-year-old Aqi Camagong, who's currently hosting his podcast entitled "Roadside Chat (@roadsidechat)" with his friend Yuuki Hori which launched last September 2019.
They've been listening to podcasts for a long time and have always wanted to start one on their own but only got the courage to do so last year. Since they typically have their sincerest conversations on the road, they decided to name their podcast "Roadside Chat."
While Aqi's in charge of the editing and marketing, Yuuki is the one who decides where to go for the recording. When it comes to the topics that they discuss, the decision should always be mutual. But there's more to hosting a podcast than listing subjects you want touch on. According to Aqi, here are the seven crucial things that you need to keep in mind when starting a podcast!
1. Know your story.
Just like starting your own YouTube channel, launching your podcast is easy nowadays. But the thing that would make your podcast stand out from the rest is the story that you're sharing. According to Aqi, "The story you want to share will influence and dictate how you go about doing your recordings and choosing your topics. If you want to do this in the long run, then find a story that resonates with you and be sure that it's something that you're willing to share."
2. Decide your target audience.
There are tons of podcasts out there, so there's no doubt that you'll find a podcast about everything under the sun. According to Aqi, it's best to narrow your topic down and find your niche. "Listening to an hour-long conversation can be dreadful when you're not interested in the topic. In producing and starting your podcast, determine in advance your target audience. The self-improvement nerds, the feminist, the comedy fanatic—the list goes on. Choosing your audience will also dictate how you talk and interact with them."
3. Invest in equipment.
Although you can start with the mic on your phone and confidence in your voice, you can't expect your podcast to be successful in the long run without great equipment. "You can start now with just any working microphone. But as you go on your journey, you'll find it useful to start investing in better and additional equipment like audio interface and portable XLR recorder. Remember that the listener would be tuning in for about an hour, so the last thing you'd want is to damage their hearing."
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4. Choose a hosting platform.
Once you've finished recording and editing, your next step is to upload your episode online. Now, as much as there are several platforms out there, you should still choose what you think is the best for your podcast. "There's a ton of platforms out there that allow you to distribute your podcast to all the podcast platforms. The one we use for Roadside Chat is Anchor where we easily set up the upload, and it gets distributed to all the major platforms."
5. Learn how to market your podcast.
As much as podcasts are widely popular in other countries, we can't say the same in the Philippines. That's why you have to be more serious about in marketing your podcast. Aqi says, "As the producer of Roadside Chat, I learned that sharing your message through social media or other means of marketing is a must. This way, many of your friends and family will know if you have a new episode up or that your podcast exists. At the same time, there are events you could go to and meet up with other podcasters which serves as a great opportunity for you to connect and even potentially guest in their podcast and vice versa!"
6. Understand that there's no such thing as a perfect episode.
You might get discouraged if your first or second episode doesn't align with what you expect it to be. But you should know that no one reaches their expectations at their first try! "Your ideal episode isn't going to be your first, second, or even your hundredth. Well, the truth is that you won't have an impeccable episode, but having a goal to strive for is always worth considering whenever you release an episode. It keeps you wanting to make something better all the time."
7. Be proud of what you've created.
Having produced the podcast for months now, Aqi already knows how critical the editing goes. You can't see what your editing, and there are even times that you have to backtrack hours worth of recording just to find one word that doesn't fit in the episode. But despite all of the challenges he faced, he doesn't regret starting his podcast. "You get to share your stories in a more personal space. Yuuki and I been having these types of deep conversations about life for years, so to know that other people have been moved by what we said or how we went about a certain topic, it makes us feel that our stories are worth way more than we think it is."
If you're thinking of starting your podcast right now, Aqi wants you to know that the key to a successful one is keeping in mind that you're creating this for yourself and editing it for your audience. "Honestly, Roadside Chat is just a conversation we have been having for a long time. The difference is just that what we release is an edited version of that same conversation made to be more consumable. We understand that everything we talk about isn't going to be for everyone, and that's alright."
Don't pressure yourself to make something everyone will love because you just have to make something for your own satisfaction and share it with the right people. In this way, you'll enjoy the process and be proud of it more!
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