- It’s somewhat easy to do.
- There are a lot of really popular and successful podcasts who do that.
- It can be fun and rewarding.
BUT those are the same reasons I think you should explore a new way. If you want to keep people listening to your show you need to keep pushing the envelope. There are so many options out there just like this. You need to find a way to stand out.
We need MORE CREATIVITY.
Most people I talk to always say they LOVE any NPR show and the mothership for those is This American Life. So if you have a “normal” podcast how can you make a podcast like This American Life?
Most people don’t even get this far as they think they need a team of producers and engineers helping them put it all together. And although it would definitely cut down on the time…
It’s totally possible for you to do it… All by yourself.
At Just Hit Publish we had to come up with a system to work within to create an audio documentary podcast (I use this term to characterize the This American Life style podcast)
There are two ways to go about this…
#1 – Start with an interview.
#2 – Start with a topic. Have a specific agenda you want the episode to cover.
In this article I want to talk about how to tackle the first way.
Audio Documentary Podcast – Starting with an interview.
#1 – Do the interview
No agenda just sit down with someone and have an interview. No need to hold back and just let it go. You won’t be using the entire interview so feel free to keep it casual and interject. Asking questions a second or third time until you feel like you’ve really gotten a great answer.
You’ll probably find you have some of your best interviews with this mindset… It’s different than trying to have an overall good interview. You’re looking for those amazing moments, (10-15 minutes) instead of the entire 30 minutes being good.
*Bonus Tip – Often times the best tape comes after the interview is “over” and you’re just talking with the interviewer. Make sure to ask if you can use that!
#2 – After your interview is over have that interview transcribed.
#3 – Selection
Run through the transcription and identify the major topics in the episode. You’ll find that even though you remember the conversation just rolling along without any specific topics – when you go back and read through it you’ll easily find different topics that can be focused on.
Select 2-3 different main topics you want to cover. These should be a total of about 15 minutes in length if you’re shooting for a 30 minutes show.
#4 – Commentary (another opinion on the podcast’s topic)
There are a couple of ways to go about doing this. If you’re an expert in this topic you can rely on yourself to add in color commentary on the topics.
If you want to capture a bunch of perspectives and really create something that will keep listeners engaged – Reach out to 1-3 different folks to add their thoughts on these topics. Simply ask them their thoughts on a specific topic that was originally talked about.
Again we’re looking for amazing soundbites. Not the overall conversation, so really focus in on getting a great story, example, opposing opinion, anything that provides great additional commentary to the topics from the original interview.
#5 – Transcribe those interviews.
#6 – Selection Round 2
Be ruthless in your selection and only bring in the very best “commentary” from your additional guests. Make sure it’s totally relevant to the topic that it’s being added to.
If you’re bored… You’re listeners are bored.
#7 – Scripting
We have a bunch of clips from interviews… Now what?
It’s time to add the narration and transitions that will bring this entire thing together. Instead of going in and trying to make it up and record on the fly I highly advise you write it all out first. This way you’ll keep things on track and extremely clear. When you improvise we tend to add in extra phrases and thoughts that aren’t really needed.
Here’s an example of what a script might look like.
#8 – Record your host script
Record the “host” audio that you’ve scripted in the previous step.
#9 – Audio editing
Cut it all together with music and make it flow!
There you have it! A simple framework you can work within to create your own audio documentary style podcast. If you do I’d love to hear about it. Make sure to comment below or send an email to – cordie [at] justhitpublish.com
However – If you don’t where to start on your own and think it’s something you might want help with… I’d love to talk with you.
We’re passionate about creating amazing content that is totally unique to the marketplace. If you’re on a mission to engage, education, and make a profit for your business let’s start a conversation.