Wednesday 24 December 2014

How not to start your podcast

I’ve mentioned podcasting before, haven’t I? You see, I enjoy podcasting. And I enjoy podcasts. Some I listen to for entertainment. Some I listen to in the hope they’ll improve my own podcasting by offering tips and techniques I can borrow.

Some – like the ExtraShot podcast for video professionals – are very listenable even when you only have a very basic understanding of the subject. It offers an impressive combination of personalities and production values that kept me listening even when I had no idea what the two presenters were talking about.

And some demonstrate rather spectacularly how things shouldn’t be done.

I won’t name-and-shame the company whose podcast I’ve just heard, so let’s just say they have hundreds of employees and millions of customers. They provide a product and service that’s all about helping you store, organise and present information.

Now let’s jump straight into their latest podcast:

[theme tune, followed by brief introductions of the three presenters]

Voice 1: Those that are paying attention may notice that the last podcast was number 40.

Voice 2: No-one’s paying attention.

Voice 1: No-one’s paying attention. Someone’s paying attention. Who’s that one person, mom?

Voice 2: Not my mom. My mom gave up. She stopped listening to this. It’s true.

Voice 1: Erm. We’re now at 42 because we did record a 41…

Voice 2: …but it was lost forever.

Voice 1: It’s just on my computer…

Voice 2: Oh, it’s not lost.

Voice 1: …and all I need to do is listen to it.

Voice 3: So you will release these out of order on purpose?

Voice 1: I think that is about to happen. Although who knows when this will get released. So…

Voice 2: When did we record 41? It was like a year…

Voice 1: Six months ago.

Voice 2: Six months ago.

Voice 3: Do you have to explain the cliff-hanger then, like…?

Voice 1: You know what’s funny, though? Number 40 – because we haven’t done this in a year – number 40 was about the previous conference.

Voice 2: No way.

Voice 1: And there was a cliff-hanger at the end where we said “We just have too much stuff. We’re gonna do part 2 in the next podcast.” Then when we recorded the next podcast we didn’t.

Voice 2: We forgot.

Voice 1: Because we forgot. [Laughter] And now we’re gonna talk about this year’s conference.

I didn’t make it beyond the first couple of minutes, so the company’s 2014 conference (which took place two months earlier) remains a mystery.

Look, I understand that podcasts need personality. Yes, some of this is ‘banter’ – so let’s not take it too seriously – but it’s also being broadcast in the company’s name on the company’s web site, so I’m not going to dismiss it completely.

Ultimately, I’m left in no doubt that this particular company doesn’t have much commitment to its podcasts. And that doesn’t reflect well on its products, either.