12:30PM Apr 13, 2021
Good afternoon to everybody in England and good evening to everyone on the east and good morning to everyone on the west. Today we have the wonderful Matthew Russell, here to talk to you about podcasting and long form videos. You can take it away, Matthew.
I'm Matt, I run a podcast called the interplanetary podcast, which sort of started off as we it was mentioned earlier, the British interplanetary society, it was a it was part of that and still is I'm still promoting that, but it's, it's gone on to something bigger and promoting space in general. But I thought, really what this is about is to is to sort of say how good podcasting is as a tool of outreach, because one of the things that it has, I think, is the really cheap to enter into it. And you can build up pretty big audiences, using podcasting. Like massive audiences, you know, in the 10s of millions of people if you're if you've got the right subject, but it's, it's also something that can run alongside your own career as well, it can make you seem like you're a leader in your field, that you're someone, a respected expert in the field. And having done this for about five or six years now. And being a space enthusiast at the start, I feel as though I have learned a great deal. I feel as though I've had this sort of six year long research project, because I'm doing this weekend weekend. So, you know, it's massively increased my understanding of the subject as well. So as a as a outreach learning tool, is it's been absolutely fantastic. And 33% of people who listen to podcasts listens to science and technology podcasts. It's the fastest growing kind of genre of, of consumption in terms of news and entertainment, it's, it's unlike the blog, that it still hasn't kind of become a saturated market yet. So there's still plenty of room to get in there with fresh ideas, and start interesting podcasts that can wreak reach out to people. And, you know, seven, 7 million or more people in the UK, listen to podcasts. And they listened to over four or five podcasts each week as well. So that you know, this is it's not a small thing at all. podcast is all so you can you can vary the format, I'll just quickly go through a few of the things that I think are important when it comes to podcasts. And one of them is is a good name. As in the name is really important when you first start off because it will massively. It will. It just makes searching for it the understanding of what it is, is this the branding app of your podcast. And and and really that's the one thing that I think is super important when you're thinking about science communication, and and podcasting in general, is what is your brand of communication? What is the essence of what you do. And I'm trying to stick to it so that it's not confusing. It's not a mixed message. So obviously, the name of your podcast has to relate to all of that it has to be good in terms of its SEO, it's I know how easy it is to look up on things like Google, etc, etc. so that it starts appearing and actually gets out there. There's different formats that you can choose as well. And this is this is the great thing about pod podcasts is they're so flexible, and you can mix it up as well. You don't have to stick to the monologue. You know, there's the monologue version, where it's just you spouting a bunch of facts, which I like to think is the sort of firehose of facts type of podcast, which can be, you know, fantastic, but I think that they need to be extremely well written for them to work properly. There's the multi host podcast, which is essentially what I do, there's two of us, and we chat about space. And what we try and do therefore is to sort of make the make the audience feel as though they're down at the pub with us or at a coffee shop with us listening to a conversation about space. And, and I think the multi host thing works really, really well it requires far less effort in terms of writing the dialogue than a monologue does, because he's instantly got that interaction. There's the interview format, and we do that as well. We interview x experts and you can really dig down into a topic that way, roundtable discussions, which I suppose is quite similar to what we've just sat through The narrative again, just it that's a bit like the monologue version where you're sort of taking on a more essay form type podcast. And then you've got the documentary style, which is, which really kicked podcasting back off again, if you've anyone listened to cereal, or some of those other very, very hyper produced podcasts. But I think the joy of podcasts is that they are, they're available at a low level that you can get into them and do them with reasonably small barrier to entry into this. So I think that's what I enjoy about podcast. How long should the podcast be, this is the best thing about them, you can make one episode 20 minutes, and you can make another episode three hours depending on how much you have to say about a subject. And unlike a radio show, and this is one of the big differences. You don't have time constraints, there is no time slot, it can be it can be listened to in various sittings. And we were talking earlier about how people can can listen to this stuff. And one of the brilliant things about it not being in real time and, and it not being like video that takes a lot of broad broadband actually takes up a bandwidth of data. podcast can kind of be sort of grabbed whenever you're in reception. So anyone in the world with a smartphone, or a basic device that can download audio, would be able to listen to podcasts. Because you can pick it up whenever you're at you know, in public Wi Fi or whatever it would be small enough data to actually receive. So it's, it doesn't matter how long the episodes are in, in in a way, if you have a three hour story to tell one week, then make it three hours. If you've only got 20 minutes of storytelling to do then make it 20 minutes. I think that's one of the great things. You can make it weekly, daily, monthly, ad hoc, seasonal, all those things. So the shedule is really flexible as well. I think that's that's another big difference between podcasting, and radio shows. It is good to have shedule I try and do them weekly. In fact, I have done them weekly, week in week out for five years now for the interplanetary podcast. And that's worked really well you you get a very, very loyal following. And those people get more and more into the subject. as well. You need basic equipment. So if anyone is thinking about doing podcasting, you need a decent mic. I it does annoy me when I hear poorly recorded podcasts, it's it's it's not that expensive these days to get the equipment together to do a mic there to get a mic and just put it into your computer and start recording. I mean, we really could take the audio from this zoom. And it would almost be good enough for a podcast even one that I was kind of looking over by the way, I'm a sound engineer by trade. So that's why I'm especially especially fussy about it. A dead room is always very good as well. So if you're doing it in your bedroom is better than doing it in your kitchen. And just a few things like microphone techniques, Bob, I'll brush over that you need a bit of software to edit it down. But there's lots of free online things now that you can use to do that. So it's again, that's becoming easier and easier to do and the tools are becoming easier and easier to use. And often people have already got something like Adobe Audition already in their toolkit as it were that they can use for doing stuff like this. That's all it is just audio isn't doesn't have the pain that comes along with doing video. And then editor uploading. You can do remote interviews, via zoom or squad cast, or Skype or discord or Zen caster. There's there's so many of them. Now, I use i have to say i use zoom just like we're doing now, because it does multitrack audio and things like that. So it's easier for me to edit afterwards. And you can get some very, very decent sounding interviews as well. From zoom. So I've got two podcasts, slightly different in format, one music one space. The first episode is the one that I spend the most time on. It's for the Queen one. Anyway, I spent most time on that because I wanted to capture the audience. And it's your first chance to capture the audience. And so I spent a lot of time putting together the first three episodes so that we launched with a very, very good product to start with. And I think that's important. You'll see the results from that in a second. You need a host for your podcast. So The host, so you don't host on iTunes and you don't host on Spotify. It's something like SoundCloud or pod bean or buzzsprout, that you host the podcast and it gives you what's known as an RSS feed that RSS feed, you then tell all the services like Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, etc. Hey, I've got this RSS feed, look at that every time you update your podcast, then all those different services go. Brilliant, we've, you've got an updated podcast, and it instantly becomes available. So you've just got one site to deal with. And it propagates out to all these other sites. Got to be careful with file types. But mp3 as long as you can get it out into an mp3. That's pretty much the standard now to upload in. But most of them will accept lots of other formats. But let's not get too bogged down in that artwork, it's worth spending some time on some artwork and getting some good artwork together and making it seem interesting and look like it's something that you would want to listen to. And then yes, you just got to go and get it listed all these different places go round going to Apple, Apple still is the king really. And when you launch, it's trying to make apple work for you, the best you can so that so I released the last time I did a podcast and started it. I released three episodes in the first week and completely went to town in telling all my friends to listen to it and go off, please, can you listen to it, please? Can you listen to it. And the best thing about that is that it that it gets you into the charts and makes you visible. So here's my podcast, and you'll see that it's actually at number one in the music commentary, charts on iTunes. So I was able to get it above, you know, big, big companies like Vox. And so therefore the outreach is really fantastic. The interplanetary podcast has entered the charts a few times. So it's got a number 67 in the UK, number 30, I think in France and things like that, so and it's gotten to the top 20 in America a couple of times. So when it becomes visible, more and more people go, Oh, I want to listen to that. And as an outreach tool, obviously that that's, that's fantastic, because it gives you free, kind of free boost. So these charts are quite important. So I do concentrate on Apple stuff. And the spin off from doing the podcast means that I've been able to do more a region and other things that I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise, I'm not really in the space industry. But the space podcast has allowed me to do things that are space related, and that I really enjoy. So I've been on YouTube as part of lad Bible me arguing with a flat earther. So that's 1.6 million views there. So that was quite nice. Being on radio five, being on Al Jazeera was in sky at night, last month with a pick of the month for the pod for the podcast itself. And obviously I do things like this as well like talking to people, and hosting panels, and etc, etc. so that it's been fantastic. But I the one thing that I absolutely love is the connection with the fans on one of the best things I've ever done is Patreon. And Patreon allows allows the people that listen to the podcast to say I love this so much I want to be involved and they put they put some money in and then they can get involved. And it's been absolutely fantastic. So a lot of my patrons actually work for NASA Isa and places like that. And they come on and help me with the content and they've been co hosts etc, etc. So it reaching out and making the listeners part of your society, part of your group is been absolutely amazing. And the other part of it is that we get emails from people who've changed their lives in and gone back to college to study space. And in other words, it's working, it's out there, and it's enthused people enough that they want to go out and, and study space again and get and get involved. So for me, that's that that's been the best part of it. That's been the best part of the podcast. For me getting those emails is the validation for it all. And that's kind of that I think, I think I think that's it. So yeah, we have just just got over half a million plays on the interplanetary podcast. So that that for me is is is means that I've reached, you know, half a million people have heard something about space. And and hopefully I've inspired at least one person.
That's wonderful. Thank you so much, Matt for such an amazing talk. I don't see any particular questions in the chatbox but I do have one small question before we jump off back to the main room. How do you find your niche or your content? Or that one audience that constantly sticks with you? Because there's so much content out there, whether it's YouTube or anything? How do you find that small audience?
I think it's really important that you start off with, with that kind of branding exercise that you think to yourself, who do you want your audience to be? But who what is the essence of your show? The one thing I got wrong was I didn't really ask myself, am I a journalist? Or am I a science communicator? And it's only recently that I've really sort of said, I'm a science communicator, not a journalist. So I've totally abandon any any sort of claim to wanting to do something journalistic. So I so you know, that was an important step for me is to kind of think about that. So I think I think literally doing some form of brand pyramid or something like that as you start just to sort of really isolate what it is that you want to do the essence of your thing.