The good news is that the MyKitaab Podcast was launched in January 2016, and we have nearly 10,000 downloads for over 70 episodes. Not fantastic numbers, but that’s the way we had planned it. Below is the post I had originally written on Medium on the day of our launch.
In spite of hitting the refresh button to track the stats on Libsyn several times today, my wife and I could not see our excitement die down.But soon, we thought “what are the things that we did not get right?” So here is the list that we came up with.
The 5 Mistakes I Made During OUr Podcast Launch
Mistake # 1:
Launch delayed by nearly 2 months
Our original plan was to launch the MyKitaab podcast in the middle of November, just after India celebrates Diwali, the Fesitval of Lights. For a variety of reasons (I was in a full time job till end of December which slowed down the editing and post production process, not incorporating in time, floods in Chennai delaying the incorporation process further, etc.) the launch got delayed by 2 months. As on today, for a 3 x a week podcast, we could have released nearly 25 episodes, today we have three. John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire podcast has written a post in which he says that a delayed launch cost him thousands of dollars, because he lost out on sponsorship for a month. While we wish we get sponsors soon, lost opportunity for sponsorship is a good enough reason to kick ourselves.
Not understanding the finer aspects of audio recording well enough
Maybe it was an oversight, or the zealousness of jumping into recording. This mistake has cost us the most in terms of time and effort. Sound recording is, as we learnt, not an easy beast to train. We live near an airport and a train line passes close by, not to mention there is construction activity in one apartment or another where we live in Bangalore. But most of all, not thinking about soundproofing has really been a huge oversight. The helpful editors from Upwork (formerly elance/ odesk) are trying their best, but the feedback is consistent: “Try and reduce as much echo/ background noise, etc. during recording”. This goes for the guests as well as for us. Maybe more for the latter, because we can re-record the questions should the need arise. I just wrapped up an interview where there was construction work in the background, a barking dog, and flying aircraft coming from the guest’s end. Most likely I will either have to re-record, or scrap the interview altogether. Have done it for 2 guests out of 35 already. That is an avoidable waste. It is only from January that we have invested in a much better recording environment. Still my living room, but the recording is far superior.
I wish I knew the right settings for hardware and software
i.e. How to conduct the orchestra and not just focus to tune an individual instrument
I use Skype for the calls, and use Skype Call Recorder for the recording. Microphone is a ATR USB 2100, with a pop filter. And I use audacity. Overall, a workable system, and it does work. But little did I know that I had the wrong settings for the Skype recording, The result: lot of echo, voice getting muffled, etc. That was because of some issue with hardware detection and also with the recording frequency. It got resolved over the weekend that went by. Last night, a musician told me about recording in ogg versus mp3. I did not understand much, but I changed the setting to ogg, and I absolutely loved the way the recording came about. If we add the effect of changed settings, and the soundproofing, the raw audio sounds 5 times better now. Which would mean lesser back and forth between the editor and I, and faster turnaround time!
Mistake # 4
We had too long a runway
i.e some of the episodes recorded 3 or 4 months ago are already dated!
We thought that it would be great to build atleast 2 months’ worth of pipeline (i.e. recorded shows) before launch. The first interview was recorded in last week of August, followed by another block in September, and November onwards, there has been a steady stream of interviews. As on date we have nearly 35 recorded episodes. that is a great ‘runway’ to have, (as someone mentioned it to me) but when I factor in the timeline, a lot of interviews or episodes are already dated. And the huge pipeline of episo0de launches ahead of me means that I cannot record more interviews till middle of March, that too, for shows that will go on air in end of April. That means saying ‘no’ to a lot of potential guests or rescheduling confirmed interviews to a future date. Not good.
Not preparing for the best
i.e. Sir, your website is broken,and iTunes and TuneIn have thrown a surprise
This was a most recent and most callous of the mistakes. My wife and I were simply unprepared rather underprepared for a situation like this, and we did not have a Plan B. I am not quite sure what happened, but 2 days ago, all of a sudden, a lot of blog posts disappeared from the website. Turns out that they were in wordpress, just that the links to the files had changed. How? I wondered. Around the same time, to my surprise, both iTunes and TuneIn approved my podcast feed in less than 12 hours. I was told by the wise and those in the know that it can take upto 48 hours. In other words, instead of celebrating that the podcast is live before schedule, I am worried that the blog posts, the links and the shownotes are not available. lesson learnt- have a Plan B in place (in this case, maybe a simple wordpress site would have served the purpose till the website for the podcast was up and running again?)
Hope writing about my mistakes will help a podcaster or two in the future from repeating them!