Start to finish: A podcast in 3 weeks
It’s not particularly impressive, but I think it’s a relatively quick turnaround. I started sprint 4 of my #LifeSprintProject on Monday the 8th of November, wherein I wanted to create and publish a new podcast mini-series within 2 weeks.
Clearly I failed. But 3 weeks ain’t bad.
Some quick context
I’ve made one podcast before, years ago — Startup Fodder, a podcast about non-founders in startups. It only lasted 5 episodes, of which one still remains unpublished. So this wasn’t my first time, and I didn’t need to figure everything out from scratch.
But why am I doing any of this in the first place? The short version of the what and why of the #LifeSprintProject is that I wanted to finish more creative things. And 2 week deadlines felt like great urgency to help with that.
Every podcast starts with a format and a topic
Since this is a 2-week-limited project, a self-contained mini-series was the only format that made sense. I wanted to tell one story drawn out over multiple episodes, because those are always my favourite podcasts to listen to. And since I’m no master storyteller with a sterling reputation of making incredible podcasts, I needed each episode to last a relatively short period of time (say, 5–10 minutes), so that the limited audience I do have has the least friction to give it a try.
Topic, though? That’s more open-ended. And I could’ve spent weeks or months dwelling on this. But that’s where the beauty of the #LifeSprintProject comes in — I need to deliver fast. So I quickly realised the easiest story I could tell, that has some vague sort of interest in it, is how I went from zero marketing qualification and living on one side of the world (Australia), to being a senior writer at a tech company on a different side of the world (the UK).
It’s one of those classic ‘it sort of just happened’ journeys, but with the power of retrospect I could see there were a few milestones that were leading me closer and closer to this conclusion.
You really don’t need much to get going
A lot of online guides I’ve read about podcasting in the past suggest all kinds of software and hardware, but I’m MVPing this thing. £0 is the ideal total cost here. And the least amount of time spent is, too.
Here’s everything I used:
- LibreOffice Writer (you can use Google Docs if, unlike me, you’re a normal human) — For planning the podcast out
- MacBook (admittedly a ridiculous cost, but I already had this) — For recording audio (yep, using the built-in mic)
- QuickTime Player — For recording audio
- Audacity — For editing audio
- Affinity Designer (not free, but you can use Canva) — For creating the podcast art
- Kid3 — For editing each episode’s metadata (I’m a super novice about this, so this could be a dumb choice and I wouldn’t know better)
- Spreaker (which has a limited free plan) — For hosting and distributing the podcast
Then here’s how I did it
I started by dumping a bunch of raw notes out of my brain and into a text doc. It eventually resulted in a skeleton for a 5-episode series. Covering these phases on my journey to where I am now:
- University and grad work
- Some big life changes
- My first job in marketing
- Making senior writer
I wanted to script each episode because I thought it’d help me tell a more engaging story (and it definitely would have). But that’s a time-intensive task and, with life throwing a couple of curve balls my way, I didn’t end up with enough time to do it.
So on the night of Friday the 19th of November, a couple of days out from my deadline, I sat down at my computer, opened up my document of raw notes, and just bashed out about 2 and a half hours of raw audio recording (which meant I didn’t quite get my episodes as succinct as 5–10 minutes each).
I think I edited and uploaded 2 of the 5 eps by the time the deadline arrived. Super light touch editing — just importing the raw audio into Audacity, and cutting as many “ummms”, “like’s”, “you know’s”, stuttering, silences, and repetition as I can bother to.
A little bit of a bummer I didn’t have all 5 done by the deadline, but it is what it is. Now, a week later, I have the remaining 3 done and uploaded.
Say hello to: The In
How do you go from zero marketing qualifications to a senior writer at a tech company? This is the story of how I did it.
You can listen to it on:
- Apple Podcasts
- Or anywhere you get your podcasts (just search “the in brad ewin”)
So what’s next?
I’m not quite sure. I’m a week behind right schedule right now for sprint 5. I think I might do something to do with sketching. 🤔