Home Affiliate What I’ve discovered from listening to 150+ writer podcasts | What’s New...

What I’ve discovered from listening to 150+ writer podcasts | What’s New in Publishing


Christmas is nearly actually a distant reminiscence by now. Whether or not it was the scent of mince pies and mulled wine or masks and hand sanitizer which stood out, the season is normally marked by everybody and the whole lot slowing down and enjoyable – except you’re accountable for the cooking and presents.

For me, nevertheless, Christmas has began to show into one thing fairly totally different. The Writer Podcast Awards – now of their third yr – normally shut for entries in mid December. Earlier than the entries might be despatched to judges, the Media Voices group does an preliminary longlisting. This includes high quality checks on all 220+ entries, and preliminary judging on aggressive classes.

That’s an terrible lot of listening. Nevertheless it’s good enjoyable. Each time for dinner in December and January began with the phrases, ‘I’ve simply been listening to a podcast about…’ My husband is now armed with all types of random details about what sort of flour the Tudors used to theories about the place all of the water on Mars went. On a facet be aware, in order for you a podcast suggestion, I can in all probability counsel one thing!

All that is very properly, however other than making me an unbearable dinner visitor, what can I draw from it? For publishers, whether or not you’re seeking to begin your individual podcast or have a jam-packed portfolio, there are a selection of learnings I can share from my many, many hours of listening.

Prime quality is now non-negotiable

One of many advantages of podcasting is the low barrier to entry. Anybody with a microphone – or perhaps a cellphone – can shoot the breeze and get a podcast on the market. For publishers although, the stakes are greater. When placing a podcast out, particularly if it’s related to {a magazine} or information model, there are expectations of high quality that almost all podcasters don’t have to fret about.

Audiences have usually been forgiving of less-than-perfect audio high quality, so long as the podcast itself isn’t unlistenable. The early days of Covid particularly noticed publishers grapple with replicating studio high quality in properties. Podcast mics offered out on Amazon, and hosts ended up underneath duvets or in cabinets to aim to keep up high quality.

However this yr’s cohort confirmed that these days are properly previous us. In our first yr of operating the Awards, flawless audio high quality made a podcast stand out. Now, it’s the usual. The podcasts which are main the pack are ones that are enhancing the manufacturing with background music and sound results to create a extra immersive listening expertise. 

That’s to not say I’d advise going utterly bananas and layering each minute with sound results. Nevertheless it’s price excited about how just a few rigorously chosen results or segments of background music may take your episode to the subsequent stage.

As for spoken audio, this now must be nearly as good as attainable. There are many instruments in audio editors to assist fight points from finances microphones and tough rooms. It’s price spending the additional time getting the speech crisp and clear.

Interviews aren’t a drained format

Interviews are the best strategy to do podcasting. Many journalists and writers discuss to individuals of curiosity as a part of their each day jobs. So recording an interview and packaging it as a podcast is a really accessible subsequent step.

The format has been critiqued previously because the lazy choice, particularly when celebrities launch yet one more interview-based podcast speaking to different celebrities. Does that imply it’s not a viable choice for publishers?

Completely not. Interviews had been the most typical sort of podcast out of the 150+ I listened to, and if accomplished properly, they’re nonetheless extremely highly effective. Even simply plain previous one-to-one chats between a bunch and a visitor had been fascinating if the questions and dialogue had been rigorously crafted. 

An hour flew by listening to meals historian Annie Grey discuss on the Historical past Additional podcast about the whole lot from recipe books to veganism. I discovered myself wishing Creator in Your Classroom’s interview with Benjamin Zephaniah was 3 times the size it really was. Brummie Mummies’ fantastic interview with Sophie Cooper very practically had me signing as much as be a health teacher. You get the thought.

In fact, there have been some distinctive podcasts that went past the interview format too. Mattress of Lies from the Telegraph was a stand-out documentary-style podcast, weaving first-person accounts and narration right into a compelling story. The Week Junior’s Mysteries of Science had an entertaining multi-host panel format in addition to contributions from listeners. And Engineering Issues from Reby Media – a frontrunner within the area – has tried a lot of totally different codecs to create its multi award-winning episodes.

There’s no such factor as too lengthy

…however some publishers actually need to be taught the worth of an excellent edit. It’s tough to generalise on classes on the subject of podcast size. Some podcasts can maintain my consideration for hours, others are a wrestle to hearken to for greater than ten minutes. Generally that is for causes utterly exterior of the podcast’s management. However typically, you hearken to an episode and know it might have been significantly better had it simply had an excellent edit.

It’s price approaching podcasts in the identical means you do written content material. Some episodes are designed to be feature-length, with friends that may maintain listeners enraptured for hours in the identical means a multi-thousand-word characteristic may in {a magazine}. Others are stronger for specializing in simply the most effective bits; having the podcast equal of a few killer quotes to hold a narrative from.

That is after all difficult to navigate with friends, particularly in case you have a set format. Hosts have some half to play on this in with the ability to draw out tough interviewees. For publishers with editorial employees in these positions, that may include expertise. 

As radio advisor Valerie Geller as soon as stated, “There’s no such factor as too lengthy, solely too boring.”

However there’s such a factor as too many advertisements

Three-quarters of the podcasts I listened to had some type of promoting in them. The most typical gave the impression to be dynamically inserted advertisements, though there have been mounted read-outs current too. Host-read advertisements had been virtually utterly absent from this yr’s cohort. 

For probably the most half, these advertisements had been pretty balanced and truly fairly related to the podcasts in query. In reality, I very practically ended up shopping for a compost bin from a really well-placed Gardeners’ World journal podcast advert.

However one level to notice was that the amount of adverts had actually began to creep up towards some podcasts in comparison with earlier years. A pair even had 2 minutes+ price of advertisements earlier than beginning the precise present, along with mid-roll. 

It’s tempting to squeeze in an additional advert right here and there. Maybe the pressures are coming from business groups. It is a very delicate steadiness. In contrast to banner advertisements in emails or on web sites, which might be simply scrolled previous or ignored, podcast advertisements take time to get by earlier than attending to the good things. Listeners are usually tolerant – even welcoming – of some related advertisements. However this isn’t an space to start out pushing, or audiences will merely drop off and discover one thing else to hearken to.

Ultimate notes

An excellent podcast might be about completely something, from photonics trade progress to easily narrating a each day stroll. My last studying from listening to all these podcasts is that if you wish to launch or enhance your individual, pay attention as extensively as you possibly can. Word which of them seize your consideration and why. On the very least, you’ll end up some wonderful new listens.

Entries for 2023’s Writer Podcast Awards open in autumn this yr. The group behind the Awards are operating the primary ever Writer Podcast Summit in London in October 2022. This may have classes designed for publishers in any respect levels of their podcasting journey, whether or not they’re seeking to begin their first collection or want to take their present podcast/s to the subsequent stage. For extra particulars on each the Awards and Summit, please go to publisherpodcastawards.com.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here