In this episode of the Go Far Fast Show, podcast expert Chris Taylor answers your podcast queries, and talks all about helping businesses tell their story one podcast at a time, from finding the guests, to recording and editing it.
Merlie: And welcome to episode five of the Go Far Fast Show, our small business talk show that's designed to get you, our viewers, the answers to the burning questions of today. And we've got a really great theme for today, a really practical one that lots of us, actually, it appears, have been really interested in finding out the answers to. So, Aaron, this is going to be a highly practical, really valuable episode, isn't it?
Aaron: It certainly is Merlie and I can't wait for this one. So as always, the name of the show is the Go Far Fast Show, and that's exactly what we've got for you today. Joining us today is the wonderful Chris Taylor, who is a co-founder of The Podcasterists.
He helps businesses tell their story one podcast at a time. From finding the guests, to recording and editing podcasts, The Podcasterists do it all! We can't wait to ask some questions about how did Oven Ready HR get started? How do you start a podcast? And is it actually easier to produce a podcast to video content? All these and a whole lot more. Then we couldn't let Chris leave without facing our legendary community questions, as you all know, my favourite part of the show - and you guys have all delivered.
Merlie, can you let us know exactly how this format works?
Merlie: Yes. So, Aaron, you summarised it beautifully, we’ll warm Chris up with a few opening questions again, collected up from you, the community. But Aaron and I will paraphrase them just to get Chris into the groove of being interrogated. And then, as Aaron says, we’ll turn over to the real scenario based questions that you've been sending in guys. So, lots and lots of quandaries, lots of hints and tips being sought. So, we'll get through as many of those as we can.
Don't worry, however, if you've sent in a question and we don't quite get to it in the vodcast, then you can hop over onto our podcast channels, all the usual ones, and you can hear the extended version of the show, which will scoop up all the questions that you guys have sent us in.
In the meantime, don't forget to like, comment and subscribe as you go along and also listen out, because if we're not covering something that you really want to hear about, then for Farillio’s community is full of experts, just like Chris Taylor. So we can get you more answers to more questions if you let us know what it is that's keeping you up at night or frustrating you or making you excited and you'd want to find out more. So, Aaron shall we invite Chris to join us and kick off with the warm up interrogation?
Aaron: Certainly Merlie, Chris Taylor, welcome to the show. Thank you very much. Your actually putting us under a lot of pressure here because, you know, we've got a real expert.
Chris T: Oh, no, no, relax. I mean, I've got sweaty palms, actually. I'm quite nervous.
Aaron: Well, you know what they say? If you're not nervous, then you're not ready. So I'm glad to hear that you're ready. I'm glad for that. So, let's start off with a first question then. And let’s give yourself a chance to get warmed up and let us know a little bit about yourself.
So how did you get started with the Oven Ready HR? And where did the name come from?
Chris T: I got started in podcasting, actually, where did the name come from? Do you know what, the name came from that whole sort of Brexit debate about an oven ready deal. And I kept hearing this this term all the time over and over and over again, and it actually drove me insane. And I actually I quite like things that are oven ready. I mean, people think that I'm a really good cook. I'm not a very good cook. I'm a very good sort of putting things in the oven and heating them up sort of person. So, I thought, you know what, I'm going to take oven ready as a as a metaphor for the conversations that I want to have and I want to have and deliver that. So I got into podcasting because if I'm honest, I think I was a bit depressed and I was probably a bit of a frustrated journalist. I never really sort of took that that part of my sort of career seriously. And I wanted to do something that I felt was creative, and actually having conversations with people, from all across the world and different conversations and people that I would never normally talk to I've found that a huge privilege. And it sort of got me out of a bit of a sticky moment in life where I was beginning to look for a purpose and I couldn't find the purpose.
And actually podcasting gave me that and incredibly enjoyed the journey and loved it. I love podcasts and I love every second of it.
Merlie: That is such a fantastic explanation. Chris, I think it's thank you for the candour in answering that question as well. I think many of us wonder how somebody gets to being one of the top UK podcasts with such sort of glamour and success that surrounds it. Indeed, it's exactly why we want to interrogate you today. But knowing the roots of how you came about, setting it up actually is even more powerful, it kind of feels more accessible to us. You know, you can have a bad day, you can be having a bit of a moment and you can still leaver that and create something really successful. And I guess that's where the second question comes from today for you. And that is what, you know, what is so special about podcasts? Everybody seems to be talking about podcasts these days. It clearly takes a lot to get to one of the top slots, as you know well. But should we all be jumping on the bandwagon and starting podcasts?
Chris T: I think it depends if it's a hobby, if it's for business, I think you've got to have a purpose and you've got to understand what it is you want to talk about if it's a business podcast and you're representing your brand. So, you know, what is it you want to talk about? You want to sort of bring the brand to life? Do you want to explain the organisation's purpose? Do you want to tell stories within that firm or that organisation?
If it's a personal thing, as it was with me, I didn't set it up to be a business. I never did that. I actually set it up because I actually wanted to talk, and I wanted to have a creative outlet. And if it's just a creative outlet that you're looking for to do, then that's fine. You know, you can just jump straight in and get on with it. But if it's for a business or an organisation, you've got to really work out what the purpose is and what the purpose, you know, and what the listeners will get out of it. So if you can say you've got to put them in the front of everything that you do, because if you don't, you'll just end up producing a show that actually doesn't really have a purpose.
It's a bit like TV shows, some of them work really, really well. And some of them just fall flat completely because they just don't know what they are. So, if it’s for business you've got to drill it down. You've got to be ruthless and you've got to think about what is the purpose of this podcast?
Aaron: I think that makes a lot of sense, doesn't it, because also I suppose if you build the right purpose and you have a reason for people to listen, and that's going to build the community organically, isn't it? And that's what you get out of podcasting isn’t it?.
Chris T: I mean, I think what you can have is I mean, you can have a really, really niche organisation that probably has about 100 customers in the world. Maybe it's selling floor tiles to contact centres, whatever it is. It doesn't matter. But there will be probably a number of people that would be very interested in what you have to say. You don't have to have a, you know, a huge show with 20 million followers and all the rest of it, if it meets the niche that you've identified and if it meets those listeners needs, then you've got a really successful podcast on your hands. It's not about listening the numbers. It's about actually delivering content that people genuinely want to listen to and will come in. You know, every single week or every single other week or month or however often you want to publish, you know, publish episodes. But it's got to draw people in. And if you do it with integrity and purpose, you'll have a successful show on your hands.
Aaron: Oh, that's great advice. I'm so glad you said that as well. I'm involved in no less than 3 podcast at the moment. Definitely numbers are not what I want to be looking at at the moment. So, kind of using that as a subject for the next one, obviously we want to try and progress our podcast, wanting to make it as successful as we can. So what do you think that all the best podcasts have in common?
Chris T: They put the listeners at the heart of every single episode that they produce. If I'm honest, I think they built a community with their listeners. They have they build real fans with their listeners. And I think they sort of share they shared stories really, really well.
Also, I mean, with my listeners I'm increasingly engaged with them. And I often ask for story ideas. I actually ask, you know, do you like the show? Can you rate the show? You know, what do you like about my show? What can I improve? What would you like to see more of? So I think the best podcast shows really, really, really engage with their listeners.
And again, it's this back to purpose. They absolutely nail what they do, what it says on the tin. And if it's a true crime podcast, then talk about true crime. You know, don't deviate too much. So I think, again, it's just bringing it back and being confident enough, because it does take a lot of confidence to when you first start podcasting.
You know, I remember sitting there and I think, well is anyone ever going to listen to this? Does it matter? And when I had my first sort of, you know, two, three, four, 10 listeners, you get a buzz from that. But anything is going to go to 50? Will I get into three figures? So all of those things are really important. But it's the best thing is well, the most important thing, again, is to make sure that you are focussing on your listeners 100 percent.
And I always think for me, the way that I do it, I'm in a pub, I'm in a West End pub, I'm outside, I've got a beer or glass of wine in my hand. I'm having a conversation with someone and we're chilled out when I relax. And occasionally there are the people that, you know, standing outside, too, that we're talking to. It's just a fun conversation. And I think as long as it's enjoyable and it's fun and people you get something out of it, then that makes a really great podcast.
Merlie: I think that super advice, I think sometimes we overthink it. We try too hard don't we? Remember, it's a conversation.
Chris, I wonder if we can pick your experience as well. There seems to be a myth that, well maybe it's not a myth, that podcasts may be easier to do than vodcasts. Is that your experience, is it easier to set up a podcast to do the sort of the video casting. Should we be going Spotify versus YouTube? What what's your advice on that?
Chris T: Personally, I'm a bigger fan of podcasts than I am a video. I think video, you've got location to think about, you've got angles, you've got this, you’ve got all that. You got so many more complex things to go into it.
Having said that, podcasting audio has to work harder. OK. There is no visual stimulation. There's nothing to look at. There's nothing to see. So, with podcasting, you've got to make sure that you've got in a really, really good audio.
Because if you don't, people will get really distracted, because actually, if you've got sirens in the background, you've got mobile phone apps going off or it's really just poor quality that I think people will switch off. There's nothing to look at.
But personally, I think. Yeah, I mean, I'm a big fan of the spoken word. And I you know, I and the fact is, I don't have to look at a screen, if I'm going for a walk with the dog, I'm cooking supper, I'm in the bath, whatever it is, I can actually have this in my ears. And I love the versatility and the intimacy that podcasting brings. And you don't get that with video. You've got to watch it. It has your attention. It's like in the morning, it's like, you know, watching breakfast TV or watching, you know, listening to the radio, I'm going to listen to the radio 100 percent of the time. I know I'm not going to sit there and watch some sort of dreadful, sofa programme from Manchester. I actually just want you know, I just want the information. I want to quick, but I want it in my ears and I want it to be portable. That's what podcasting gives you.
Aaron: I think that's right, isn't it, because I think I remember when I last went to get a car. I think one of my criteria was, can I listen to my podcast easily? You know, has it got the new way in which I can while I'm driving along I can switch between them and that becomes such a vital part now because podcasts becomes part of your lives, doesn't you know? You know, when they're released and you kind of almost plan ahead for long commutes or whatever it's going to be that you've got those and you've got this podcast ready. And I think that's so important, isn't it? And that's the difference between video content and podcasts, where video content is just normally it's just out. And, you know, you've got you know, you don't really set a schedule around it. But as an avid podcast listener, you want to get that, don't you?
So, with that in mind, because I know for me personally, because now I don't have that commute. I've lost that chunk of time that I used to dedicate to podcasting. So now I've got to kind of figure out what all my favourite podcasts and where I can fit them in and everything else. From your point of view, what are your favourite podcasts and why?
Chris T: I do like I do like the true crime podcasts. I really like a human interest story. But the ones I've gone into recently is it's one by Jane Garvey, she used to be a presenter on radio for Woman's Hour, and it's called Life Changing. And it's a really interesting show in this particular episode. And it's an Irish chap and he's got a gambling habit. And she talks about this extraordinary situation in which he finds himself. And he is basically he's gambled virtually all the money that he and his wife have. He's on his honeymoon and he can't sort of keep away from gambling. And he's at the hotel reception using that computer to put bets on. And occasionally he's really successful and makes a lot of money, you know, sort of two or three hundred thousand pound bet comes in and he makes it, but he loses it within about five hours again. And then he steals from his employer. And then he steals about 1.57million euros or something like that, and he goes to jail. And that's an extraordinary as an extraordinary story of a decline, really. But also but what's lovely about it is that there's a redemption to it. So now he's you know, he went to jail, he apologised. He said sorry to everybody. And he's rebuilding his life. And he's sort of re-engaged with his daughter and his ex-wife and his family.
And he's coming back from the other side. And I really like human interest stories like that. So that's that that sort of thing is to me, I really enjoy listening because actually I just enjoy that sort of redemptive story and it's good for the soul. So I don't necessarily want to be sort of, you know, screamed out or shouted out in a podcast. I don't want to see any of that. I don't always want fun. I just sometimes I just want to feel like I'm in the moment.
Merlie: Oh, that’s absolutely brilliant. Well, I hope you like listening, Chris, because I think while Aaron and I have extra questions, we’ll definitely be covering those folks in the extended podcast, questions such as how long should a podcast be? Do you need a series? All sorts of wonderful questions that Chris will be answering for us in the extended podcast. But in the meantime, it is time for Aaron's favourite part of the show, the legendary community questions. So, Aaron, buddy, your first up. Do you want to kick off with the first community question that you've chosen for today?
Aaron: Yeah, definitely. So, Chris, we're going to start off with a nice one here. So I'm a marketing consultant and I've been thinking about doing a podcast for a while. Highly recommend it! But I'm nervous about committing to it because I've never done something like it before and if it doesn't work. Maybe it could be damaged my business reputation? Do you have any advice about how to get started? Nice. Interesting question. That one, isn't it?
Chris T: Good question. You know what? Really easy. Really easy answer. Do a pilot show? OK, so set up a show. Really good quality. Get you know, if you need to hire equipment that you need to do, find a really interesting guest, find a really interesting topic, decide on your narrative, decide on the purpose, and have a pilot show and feel confident about that. But do it really, really well. So the best audio and everything else. And then, you know, get it edited, puts the music to it transcribe it, see what it looks like, see how it feels shared amongst your colleagues, share that amongst, you know, trusted clients or people that you want to talk to or whatever, get some feedback and ask people what they think of the show. And if you get obviously a positive and generally I'm sure you will, if you get a positive response and then you've really enjoyed doing it and you found the whole thing actually quite easy. There's your answer. Have a have a podcast.
But I always go with the pilot show first. I'd always recommend everyone does it and then see if you like it, see if you're comfortable, because, you know, you've got to find a host and if you're not comfortable being behind the microphone. That's tricky to begin with, so you need to find someone who can tell stories and who can engage with a guest or if it's a documentary, you know, whatever you want to do but do a pilot show.
Merlie: I think that's cracking advice and probably very good advert for The Podcasterists as well, Chris, because that's exactly what you do. So, if you don't have the equipment, if you're not comfortable being the host and many people who do podcasts and do it very well make it look very easy. It isn't easy. So great advert for you guys.
Chris T: Thank you.
Merlie: I know that wasn't deliberate, but anyway, are you ready for the next one?
Chris T: No, absolutely. No, not deliberately. But I mean, that is what I would do, because. But also produce something that you're willing to put out. Yeah. And it can be a standalone piece. It doesn't have to be some sort of great season of episodes. It can just be a standalone piece. If you're going to do it. Do it with integrity.
Merlie: Yeah. And do it well. All right. So, the second community question coming out and I really like this one, too. Hope you will as well, Chris. My friend and I are both in catering and we had an idea for a - I love this because it just takes my mind to all sorts of places - we had an idea for a podcast that we think is quite different and could be a lot of fun. I'm just intrigued already. I want to hear already. But the question really is how important, Chris, is the title of the podcast and what's the best format for it? And also, bonus question, can we have some advice on how to market it so that people find out about us? That's a million dollar question as well.
Chris T: OK, so the first part, the question is how important is the name, was it?
Merlie: Yes. Yes.
Chris T: I think it's I think it's got to be catchy, I mean, I think you can agonise over things like brand names for show names, and I think that stops you doing it. I mean, you need to settle on something that I think is quite descriptive. So if it's in catering or if it's, you know, within the kitchen or cheffing or something like that, then maybe have some sort of link to that. I do think it's important, but I don't think it's the most important thing.
But the other thing with that is, then you need to design cover artwork. So actually, what does visually what does the podcast look like? That's really important too, so visually how it looks. I think a lot of people will click on it if it's it's bright and looks fun and is modern and it's contemporary. So, make sure that the cover artwork also represents what the show what it is you want to be. So, if you're going to be comedic and funny and amusing until all sort of interesting stories like that, then fine then make it look funny, then make it look like a jolly thing. If it's more serious and more business focussed, then, of course you’ve got to make sure that the cover artwork represents that. And also, the name of the show looks sort of serious. And that rather interesting content. But it depends really, I think, on the content of what you want to produce. Now, the second part of it was that about in terms of how you get it publicised or how you market the show?
Merlie: Yes. So there was one in between which was just format. Are there any particular pieces of advice on formatting?
Chris T: Well there’s lots of different formats that you can have. So, I mean, I tend to do I tend to do me and a guest, but you can do lots of different. Doesn't have to be like that can be more vox-poppy. It can be more sort of documentary. So therefore, you pick a subject and you might over a period of weeks is interview a number of different people about something and then put those put those recordings together and actually have a documentary. And I'm quite interested in those. And I'm actually going to explore that for my own podcast, because I think that's a different way of doing it. And it slightly takes the pressure off of the actual day. So it depends really. I mean those that have I think two hosts I think worked really, really well. But you've got to have a chemistry between two hosts and you've got to make sure that that works well, because, you know, generally we are all in different rooms and we can't see each other. There's no visual cue. So, you don't always know when someone's about to finish something or about to sort of jump in. So, I think it is going to be two of you. You need to get on really, really well to host the show.
Merlie: That sounds very true, doesn't it, Aaron?
Chris T: Yeah, I'm sure you had on famously Merlie and Aaron.
Merlie: All right. And the final question there, or part of the question that Chris was just about marketing so that people can find you.
Chris T: Yeah, I mean, sure. Most of the hosting sites like Buzzsprout where you'd actually host your host your show, they would do a lot of this hard work for you. So they should they will submit your show to all the major directories, you know, the Apple store, Spotify, Google, all the rest of them, and make sure that that happens. Actually, they take the hassle of that away. And I think it's about I think is about twelve dollars a month or something like that. In terms of hosting the show and submitting all of that data so they get the RSS feed they submit it to all these directories, and you will begin to get noticed. But also in terms of marketing, I always do transcripts. I think it's really important. I think it helps with search engine optimisation. And again, that you can use the content on your website, you can use it as a blog post.You've got to think of a podcast as long form content. You can do lots and lots of things, it's evergreen, you know, you can use it in so many as so many different ways. That's the beauty of it for businesses, is it's just not an interview. You can use it in your marketing, your email letters, you can use it on your blog post. You know, you can do audio grammes linked LinkedIn or TikTok, any of those things. So there's lots of other social media to which you can use to engage the audience with.
Aaron: I think that's really, really important advice, there, isn't it? And that idea that it's evergreen as well, I think that just that resonates. And the fact that, you know, there is a lot of effort you've got to put in. There's a lot of time commitment. But as you said, it's evergreen that's going to hopefully just it's going to be there for you for a long time. So, yeah, I think that's brilliant. And also, I think with that format of the show, I suppose the other thing is that you can evolve over time, can't you? You shouldn't feel pressured from day one to keep that format forever. So.
Chris T: No, you're absolutely right. The thing is, is that actually, you know, Oven Ready evolved. It was very sort of oh, it's all about HR. And that was rather dull. So actually, it's more now from the stories from the world of work. So I will go into something about, for example, you know, I'll interview an academic from Leeds, talk about, the dark side of workplace behaviours. Now, we don't go in and say, well, this is what you should do as an HR manager, blah, blah, blah. That's boring. Who cares? No one's interested in that. What's more interesting is actually how toxic work cultures evolve. And what is bullying and what does that look like? What does it feel? And I've done recently an episode with Timpson, the high street cobblers, I didn't realise that 10 % of their workforce are actually ex-offenders. Now actually talking to an ex-offender about, what was life like in prison and what has this opportunity would Timpson given you is a completely different story to what I first started out with in Oven Ready. And it’s much more me. So, the show has evolved and you'll always find that your show evolves. Always.
Aaron: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. This next question that really does resonate me, actually, and I promise it's not me that's asked the question, I promise it is someone else in our community. And it's a great question. I started a podcast about two years ago and I put loads of effort into it, but I never got many downloads and it didn't really help my business. I enjoy doing it. And I know other people have had a lot of success with podcasts, so I'd like to try again. How do you get the right followers and how many followers is a measure of success? I don't really know how it works and if it's what if at all.
Chris T: Okay. I think I read somewhere that might be rather much got it wrong. But I read somewhere that if you've got more than sort of 200 listeners or 200 downloads, you're in the top 25 podcasts in the world. You need to look at it in a different way. And I think this is going back to my comment about evergreen comment when I set up Oven Ready. I have a I have an HR consultancy and I've never, ever, ever mentioned my HE consultancy in my podcast, OK. If people want to find out more about me, they will. If they're interested enough, they will. And I always thought, you know, hear my details, follow me on Twitter, blah, blah, blah, blah. So that's great. But if you're if you're focussing on the number of listeners, you're focussing on the wrong thing and forget it, OK? Because, you know, you're not Josh Rogan and you're not going to have 20 million followers and all the rest of it. It's not going to happen. You if you could stand up in front of, let's say, 35, 40, 50 people a week that were interested in your product, in your service, in a room, and you could talk to them for 35, 40 minutes. You’d do it. So, you got to think about it in a different way. If you if you if you have 35, 40, 50, 100, 200 listeners a week every other week, every month, whatever it is, those people are genuinely interested in buying from your organisation. And they are fans of yours, because you know what? They're tuning in week after week after week. You've got to think of that as that is your number that you're going for. You don't want 10000 people who are not going to buy from you. You'd rather have five people who actually will ultimately engage with your organisation. So, forget about listener numbers. This is long form content. It takes a lot of a lot of effort to have a podcast because, you've got to think about how, your narrative, your purpose, your guests, everything about it. It's going to take time. And actually, what most people do is they record, let's say, season six, eight, 10 episodes. Nobody listens. They stop it. And no, we've got no business from it. That's the wrong that's the wrong way to do it.
Merlie: Wow. Well, that was really powerful and actually quite reassuring, I think, for many of us. Chris, thank you. We've got time for one more question on today's standard show. So, I'm going to grab it now and then folks, don't worry. Again, if we haven't got to your questions, you can pick them up on the extended podcast. So, Chris. Drum roll. Here is the last one for the vodcast. And this is another one on the on a similar theme actually.
I've been trying to set up a podcast on my own and I'm excited to do it. But the quality of the recording on mine, I so relate to this. The quality of the recording on my laptop isn't that great. And I heard if the recording isn't good quality, people won't listen to it. What's your advice on the best equipment for a podcast? And do you need any special hosting or editing software?
Chris T: Okay. Right. First thing is, don't record on your laptop. It's the worst thing you could possibly do. OK, because actually audio, as I said earlier, you know, if it's just audio and it's just an audio podcast, then the audio has to work so much harder. People are very unforgiving about poor audio in areas for 30 and 40 minutes is not going to work, isn't it? People won’t listen to it. So actually, get a USB, get a I use a USB mic. I think it's called a Rode. I think Rode the brand make it cost about 150 quid. It plugs in and it's almost studio quality. But also think about your room. Think about where you're recording. So actually, you know, if it's in a bedroom, that's fine. Lots of soft furnishings around, you know, pillows, cushions, close the curtains, make sure everything is sort of rather, you know, deadens the sound. It's really important that you have an environment that will work for you as best that it can if you're not in a professional recording studio. And you know what? I don't have a professional recording studio either. But it's really important to me that I think about my audio. So, yeah, I wouldn't use a laptop if I could best avoid it. What was the other part, sorry?
Merlie: And do you need any special hosting or editing software?
Chris T: No. I mean, there's things like Audacity in GarageBand, which I think are free, which you can use. And I think they will give you a really good editing experience, if that's what you're looking for. I mean, of course, there are other, you know, more ways, but you pay for.
But they'll take an awful you know, they'll take a long time for you to get your head around, whereas things like GarageBand is actually it's it looks a bit frightening when you first start it. But actually, when you get into it, it's not that bad in terms of editing. And again, things like Descript for transcriptions. I'm really big on recommending transcriptions of podcasts because, again, you can do the audio grammes from which you can use on other social media. And it's great for SEO sort of content and optimisation of websites and things like that. So I would definitely invest in something like Descript, as I think actually the free one, that there is a free service. But GarageBand is not bad for editing. I think, you know, for most people is perfectly fine and it's free.
Merlie: That's really, really helpful advice. Thank you. And again, just to emphasise what Aaron said at the beginning and what we've touched on throughout the show to the business that you've set up, The Podcasterists can give this kind of consultancy advice that can get people started. You can hold people's hands through the early stages of the process, and then maybe they can fly on their own. Maybe they actually retain you to support them, particularly if they're busy doing other things for their business that you don't have to go it alone if you're getting stuck.
Chris T: No, I mean we can jump in and be fully on board, in terms of the guest and the narrative and, you know, in terms of everything even hosting the show. But actually, a lot of the work that we do is people's phoning up and saying, look, can you give me some advice? Can I do this? Would you recommend doing that? And, you know, often we get asked a lot about listing the numbers, but also, what sort of format should we record a season? And actually, I think seasonal podcast work really, really well. And you have an app, you know, and you have you have a series of maybe six or seven episodes were eight or ten or whatever number you want, but it's a defined number. And then have a break and then see how it went. Review it, you know. Did it work? Did it do you know? Did it do what we said we were going to do? You know what the listener numbers looking like? Did they grow? You know, do it. Do it by seasons. It don't, you know, don't think actually we've got to keep on doing this. We can say, look, let's have 12 episodes, ten episodes, see how we go. And we're very happy to help with that.
Merlie: Yeah. And I think that makes a really good difference. I mean, the point you made earlier about, you know, you will evolve. I mean, Aaron, I think it's fair to say our shows evolved quite significantly. Season one, we had very specific themes. We had very particular guests. Season two is quite different. And I love that. I've actually really loved the evolution. I've loved the fact we're much more practical these days. We tend to get to grips far more. I mean, we've always had community questions, but even the community questions themselves have changed, and I think there's a magic to that.
Chris T: Yeah, no, absolutely no. I mean, it does evolve, but that's the beauty of it. And you know, it's like TV shows, perhaps you get a different host, then you know that the set changes, whatever it is. Things get creative and things do evolve. And don't be frightened of changing something that doesn't work, because that's the beauty of podcasting is if it doesn't change it up a little bit. Get a different host then or do a documentary, for example, because as I was saying earlier, I'm really interested in this sort of documentary style podcast. I really like them. And it's just a different way for me to do something. So I'm really looking at that for season three for me.
Merlie: Yeah, I think it's fantastic. I'm still in my head going back to the two catering folks, you guys. Brilliant, fun idea. All my imagination goes wild and this I'm like, are they going to talk us through how they make stuff? What they going to talk us through a typical day? Are we going to get the horror scenarios? I think that that could be really fun. I hope that I really have. Guys, if you do this, please let us know that we can fully. But also we can help spread the word.
Aaron: And I think you know that Oven Ready HR I think that really inspires kind of what the naming of a podcast should be. And but it be great to have a little bit more information about why podcasting in the first place, what really put you through there and what made you want to go and do podcasting?
Chris T: Yeah. So I think, you know, I'm a bit of a frustrated journalist and I was never really bright enough to study that and never had the opportunity to. And I always really wanted to interview people. And I think that my earliest memory really and my mother would say what you want to do when you grew up. I always wanted to read the news. I actually wanted to be a news reader. And I find it absolutely fascinating in terms of telling stories. And I tried writing a book last year and I got sort of chapter two, chapter three, and I thought, this is a bit like hard work. And I'm not sure I've got it in me to finish it. Whereas actually doing a podcast and talking to somebody for 35, 40 minutes to me is a much simpler process. But also for me, it's a creative outlet. And I actually managed, it got that out. So, I will be eternally grateful to podcasting to actually allow me to, in a way, follow a little bit of a dream that I had when I was a little boy.
Merlie: So, Chris, how long should a good podcast be? Are we talking? Ten minutes. Are we talking 30 minutes. What are the rules of thumb?
Chris T: Well, my shortest episode was actually nine minutes 30. But generally they are about 30 minutes, I recommend, is about the way you think about someone's commute. I know one not many people are commuting right now, but maybe that will change. But think about someone's commute or the school run. And actually, I would try and build the minute around about 30, 35 minutes. I have listened to podcasts and actually Andy Coulson, he was the former sort of communications director, the guy that worked for David Cameron. He's got one about sort of media crises, but he's go on for about an hour, sometimes an hour and 20. And for me, that's an awful lot of, I mean, I love his subjects, but that's an awful lot of investment in terms of my own personal time to listen. So I would build it around someone's, you know, cooking dinner, you know, putting pasta and pesto on for the kids, whatever it is. I think about around about 25, 30, 35 minutes, I think is the sweet spot.
Aaron: Okay, next question. And this one definitely is a question, Chris. I think for me personally, something I can struggle out from time to time. So how do you pick the topics for your episode? Do you need a theme? And may I ask one more question as well. Do you need to worry too much about the name of the particular episode? You know do we have to worry about ‘clickbaityness’ or anything like that?
Chris T: OK, so in terms of the narrative and the topics, I mean, obviously Oven Ready is telling stories from the workplace. So I very much focus on what's going on in the news right now. So the story that I'd really like to do is obviously interview somebody at BrewDog, you know, with all the drama that's been going on there recently. So that to me is a brilliant, brilliant potential episode. I found the sort of the fallout of the failed WeWork IPO, the shared coworking space company, I find that really interesting. And actually, I did an episode out of that with the author of a book about Adam Newman, the founder. So for Oven Ready, I tend to sort of, let's say, follow the workplace. So, you know, sort of but not in such a dry HR, but really topical, which people can understand that people can relate to that actually maybe not even involved in HR or anything like that it doesn’t to them. But it's just fundamentally good stories from the workplace. So but for anybody show, I think, you know, you've just got to have an awareness of what's going on out there and actually what's topical.
Merlie: That's a really great answer. What about Aaron's question on the clickbaity title?
Chris T: Oh, in terms of the clickbaity. You know what? I'm not a subeditor in any shape or form. So, you know, if I could employ somebody from the sun to write my titles of my show, then I would do it. I think is it important? It depends really. I guess for me, I would say no, not particularly. I'd actually go back more to the sort of the transcription side which I mentioned earlier, is actually to make the most of your podcasts and make the most of the investment that you've made in this long form content. If you've got somebody really creative with titles for episodes, then definitely use it. It's not going to hurt, is it? But for me personally, I don't worry about
Aaron: Thanks Chris
Merlie: Yeah, that's good to know, right, Aaron? I love this question. Have you ever had a podcasting disaster? And please spill the beans about it.
Chris T: Okay. Okay. Podcasting disaster. Yes. And everybody will have it. And if you haven't made it yet, you will do it at some point. So that's what I would say. I was interviewing a very well-known MP, and I had fiddled around with the buttons on my Rode mic, and hadn't taken the time to work out what they do. So I had them all turned down and I was in my podcast and we're all set to go. And he could hear me perfectly, but I couldn't hear him.
And it was the most excruciatingly embarrassing thing I think I've ever done, because, of course, he was busy. He said, look, I can't hang around my and I sort yourself out. I'm a busy MP. I'm a former foreign secretary, blah, blah, blah.
So it kind of was a bit of a disaster. And I had to sort of beg and really beg and be humble and ask him if he could spare another 15 minutes in which to talk to me another time, which actually graciously he did.
But, yes, I mean, it's the tech side which actually I think will get most people. But also, you know, not pressing record as happened before, which is quite a big one. But again, I think that most people are genuinely they're quite willing if, they know that you're new at that most people are pretty forgiving, but you will make a mistake. But the thing is, is you've got to learn from it. Move on and don't take it too personally and don't let it stop you doing it. You've got to keep going.
Aaron: Great advice. Great advice. So, we're going back to the community questions. So, we got a couple more to go through. So, do you need a guest? And how important is the identity of the guest to your success?
Chris T: I think you don't have to have a guest. There's lots of different podcasting formats. There's no reason you should have a guest. Most people do. But I mean, you can have a round table sort of format. So, I mean, or you might just have to host a talking to one another, or you might do a documentary. There are lots and lots of different podcasting formats. It's just not me and the guest always, but that's how I usually do it. And that's the most common format. How important is a well-known guest? Yes, I think they can be very important in terms of putting your podcasts on, you know, getting it known and getting it widely shared. But they tend not to want to. They tend to make less effort in terms of sharing it around. So the guests that I have of who've been well known make less effort, the ones that are less well known, are really good at sharing it between their networks, to be honest. And I think that's really good. So I wouldn't get too hung up about having high profile guests. Not personally. It depends on your subject, of course. If you do, you know, if you're doing something about, you know, sort of film and TV, then of course, it would be great to have people who have been on film and TV. But in terms of the podcasts that I've done, it's not that important. To be perfectly honest. As long as they've got credibility and they can talk about the subject. That's kind of what you want.
Merlie: I like that. Again, very reassuring. Chris, thank you. OK, next community question. I did a podcast last week with someone really awesome, but the recording is rubbish and I don't know what to do. My goodness, are you going to relate to this given your podcasting disaster! Anyway, the viewer goes on, I'm really embarrassed about going back to the guest and asking them to do a retake. Have you ever been in this position and what did you do?
Chris T: Yes. So, I think I think, yeah, I have done it and it has been a poor recording. And you know what? If you don't put it out, they're going to ask you why you haven't put it out. So, the fact is, you've made a recording. It isn't as good as you'd like it to be. That's okay. But if you don't do anything with it, they're going to wonder why you're not doing anything with it. So, I think you've got no choice, really, but to fess up and go look, go back to the guest and say, look, I'm really, really sorry it hasn't worked or there was a problem with the audio, whatever it was. These things happen. People are forgiving and see if you can get them to do it again. I'm sure they will. And you know what? If you want me to ring them up, I'll ring them up for you, if you want me to do it, I’ll do it. So, I think it's okay. Be brave. You know, it's part of the experience is part of the journey. Sometimes things go wrong. It's OK. Don't worry about it.
Merlie: Oh, just I could listen to you forever.
Aaron: I mean we’ve still got some big questions to ask in the extended podcast but Chris, you’ve been brilliant. I mean, some of the question that we’ve posed to you are not easy questions at all, but you’ve handled them so well. And I’ve certainly taken away some great little tips. I mean I didn’t even think about transcribing before but I think you’re absolutely spot on there.
Chris: It’s really important because I’ve learnt how to do it and it does take a little bit of time but it’s so important if you want to use the content in lots of different ways. Because you’ve invested in this medium and you’ve invested in an interview and you can make it so much more on YouTube, or TikTok, or Instagram and all these different things. You’ve got so many other ways in which to put that content out, and having audiograms really helps, it really helps bring the listeners in. And a final thing I’d say is I really like doing highlight shows. I’ve got Oven Ready Reheated and I love my reheated shows and I go back and I compile the best bits from, let’s say the last 12 episodes, and I do a couple of compilation episodes and again they’re brilliant in terms of bringing people back to listen to the full episodes. SO just thin about how TV does it, think about how successful TV shows do well. Those specials on Only Fools and Horses, they’ve got millions and millions of viewers, but they really put together a beautiful thing. And think about your podcast in that quality. You can do it with minimal investment. To be honest, you can do it. Be brave.
Merlie: We will, we’ll be brave. I mean that is Farillio’s motto in any case it’s the communities motto too. What a wonderful way to end a fantastic show. Chris thank you so much for joining us this morning and submitting yourself to interrogation, it’s been a real pleasure. Folks that’s it for today’s vodcast show, hop over to the extended podcast if you want to hear Chris being interrogated more about the length of podcast, series or no series, all sorts of other community questions that we haven’t had time for in today’s show.
It just leaves me to wish you all another great week ahead, whatever you’re doing, wherever you’re going, whatever you’re listening to, I hope it’s us, as part of your podcast selection. Do let us know if there’s anything else we’re not answering that you’d love us to talk to another one of our spectacular guests about. In the meantime, that’s it from us for today and don’t forget to Go Far Fast.