The Power Of Podcasting
Last week I was very happy to have been invited to Media Trust, a charity that helps young people develop their voices and learn the skills needed to thrive in a career in the media. I was asked to host a workshop and I thought doing one on podcasting would make sense! I’ve learned so much about the medium over the past two years of growing Ctrl Alt Delete.
So, alongside the Queen’s Young Leaders and Comic Relief, I did a day-long workshop with BBC producer Shola Aleje to pass on how the highs and lows of podcasting. We taught the day in 4 sections: coming up with your own idea, recording, editing and marketing it online.
I sat down and spoke to Jack Jones who works at Comic Relief and across Media Trust projects, about why podcasting is so powerful and why it’s the perfect platform to be 100% yourself.
Jack: What have you been up to today here at the Media Trust?
Emma: Today we did a podcast workshop. Kind of a 101 of how you can make your own pilot episode, from recording it with the mics to editing to marketing, and then of course all of the stuff around coming up with the idea. It was really fun, I’ve never done this type of workshop before specifically and I guess because I’ve made my own workshop from scratch, I basically got to pass on all of those skills that I’ve just worked out by myself, watching YouTube tutorials and things like that. So actually I would’ve loved to have gone to this workshop a few years ago. So yeah, it was really, really fun.
Jack: What would you say is your highlight of the day?
Emma: My highlight of the day? I think I’ve got two. I think one was just seeing how well the groups worked together because I think, you know, a podcast, I think is quite a solitary experience because you can make one on your own. So actually, to put this task onto a group of about 4 or 5 people with maybe different opinions, or different ways of it working, it’s quite inspiring, because I find working in a team quite hard sometimes and those guys made it look really easy today. Just seeing them work together was really, really great. I think the other thing was just knowing that today was really practical and really tangible because I do a lot of talks, and sometimes you do a talk, and then you go home and you’re like ‘did that make a difference?’, because maybe a few people enjoyed it, but who knows what they can actually do with that information? Whereas today I feel like there’s definitely something that they will have learnt, that they can carry on doing; whether that’s interview skills, whether that’s teamwork, whether that’s editing audio that might inspire them to edit video, you know, it’s all really transferable. It won’t go to waste.
Jack: Are there any of the podcasts that particularly jumped out to you, around the ideas that they covered, the themes?
Emma: I loved all of the ideas. I especially loved the one that really came up with a gap in the market first. You know, I always say make the podcast that you want to listen to. So for example if you’re a massive fan of a certain sport and no one has made that podcast yet, you should go and do it, and make it. I thought one of the groups really sold it to me in terms of no one else is doing it which was a podcast that basically targeted students that didn’t really like going out. I feel like podcasts and radio are really comforting and they make you feel like you’re less alone. So to think about students who don’t like going out or might have anxiety or might not be that comfortable with socialising – I just thought it was quite genius to target those people who might be sat at home and might want some voices and some company, and that could be the podcast.
Jack: Building on that, why is it you feel that podcasting is so important?
Emma: I think podcasting is so important because it gives anyone a voice. I think it’s really hard to get into mainstream media at the moment, especially radio, and you know, going to careers talks and hearing about someone who worked their way up in local radio stations seems really long, and it seems outdated, and it seems that you have to know the right people or have a connection or be able to afford to move to London and do an internship; whereas podcasting is very much really low barrier to entry, it’s really levelled the playing field. Anyone can have a microphone. And I think today I just wanted to show them how easy it is to have a voice and put it out there because you only need to plant a very tiny seed for your voice to carry. So that’s why I thought today it was really important to talk about how to promote your content once you’ve done it because that can go across any medium: blog, video, YouTube, anything. And knowing that this is growing, this is an emerging – well it’s not really emerging, but it’s definitely gathering very, very fast growth. I think you need to get on board when something is taking off and now is a good time. So I think it was a very good thing to do at the beginning of the year.
Jack: Is it especially important for a younger audience? Do you think this is why things like the Hidden Talent programme are really useful?
Emma: Yeah. You can be really authentic on it and be yourself. I was talking today about how I certainly feel like I’m most myself on a podcast, because it’s just your voice, you’re not performing and it’s not really about the way you look. And so I think they really shone today, their personalities really came out as well because we were recording them being themselves and that was really fun.
More information here on the day on the Queen’s Young Leaders website.
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic