5 Mistakes I made with my first Podcast

A while back, I started recording my first podcast, “The Junior Developer Podcast”. The podcast originated from the desire to create content that was more personal, by sharing my own experiences on what it was like to start out as a new worker in the tech industry. The reason that you will (most likely) not find episodes of that podcast on Spotify or Itunes today is because when I started out, I really didn’t put too much thought into what it took to actually create a good podcast. Eventually decided to abandon it to start something fresh. In this post, I want to outline some of the biggest mistakes and lessons that I learned in the process.

Doing an unscripted Solocast

My biggest mistake was the fact that I thought podcasts should be spontaneous and I only needed a vague outline of what I would talk about. This is not really the case if you are doing a single person recording. When you are a single person, all the stumbles and awkward silences become much more noticeable. In addition, it requires you to be a lot more entertaining to prevent the audience from getting bored, since monologues are generally harder to listen to for long periods of time. The simplest way to prevent this is by getting a guest on, where the flow of the conversation makes things more interesting and the fluctuation between speakers adds in some needed diversity. Alternatively, you could have a podcast that focuses on high quality scripted, well produced and edited content.

Missing a Guest List

I already mentioned that I was doing a solocast, but I knew that at some point I was going to want some guests on the show. I suggest having several guests lined up before launching the show and at least a few dozen more on a list somewhere with their contact details. These should be guests that you want to ask after you released your first few episodes, to increase your chances with having them on. A guest can make or break an episode, so having many options and doing high quality vetting for your guests will pay off big time!

Not having an Intro/Outro

It didn’t occur to me that I needed an intro and outro with music, until a very experience podcaster told me explicitly at a meetup that it is essential to make your show more memorable.

Lack of Pre-recorded Content

I started off putting out episodes right away, I’d highly advise NOT to do this. Instead, try to keep a backlog of content before launching your podcast. This gives you time to organise new interviews or scripts for upcoming episodes and means you have something to release in case you fall behind schedule.

Using Podbean to host the Show

To host my podcast, I went for Podbean because they allowed for 5 hours of free audio. That’s a pretty decent free trial, but I think you should avoid Podbean anyway, for several reasons:

  • Their user interface is really bad, its like navigating through a maze and finding even basic things like your RSS feed is really frustrating
  • The website they generate for your podcast just doesn’t look very modern
  • Their embeded player is poorly optimized, so it slows down your website
  • You cannot customize the look of the player to the extent I hoped, it will always show advertisements for Podbean

I hope you enjoyed this quick write up! Right now, I am working on a new podcast that I am hoping to launch sometime in the next few months – thanks to the lessons of my previous, I expect things to go a lot smoother. Do you have your own experiences or suggestions that you want to share? Please leave a comment!