Two Podcasts to Jump-Start Your New Year

As an erstwhile podcaster and content marketing consultant (a career that lets me tell other people how to podcast, to my heart’s content), I listen to a lot of different podcasts. From productions made by two people on a laptop to fully professional affairs, I like to hear what’s out there.

Since it’s the beginning of the year, there are a lot of great podcast episodes on self-improvement being released/re-released, and I wanted to share two that really struck me as wonderfully inspiring.

Hidden Brain: How Silicon Valley Can Help You Get Unstuck

Hidden Brain is NPR’s podcast on social psychology, behavioral economics, and “life’s unseen patterns.” Since these are topics that I teach, they’re also topics that I enjoy learning about.

In this episode, host Shankar Vedantam and producer Maggie Penman explore how design thinking can help when you’re feeling lost and unsure about what’s next in your life (career, relationships, etc.) and how to get unstuck. Full of personal stories and useful advice, it’s definitely worth listening to.

Freakonomics Radio: How to Become Great at Just About Anything

Another show that explores behavioral economics and the impact of economic thinking in our everyday lives, I love the unique perspective with which Freakonomics views the world.

In this episode, host Stephen Dubner interviews scientists and writers to find out how we can become better at anything through “deliberate practice.” Not only does the story that forms the throughline of this episode have a lovely pay-off, but the whole episode has inspired me to be more deliberate in several of my hobbies.

Girls Poop Rainbows (Our Hilarious New Podcast) Episode 1 is Now Live!

If you’re following the progress of our podcast, click here to check out our very first episode!

We’re getting set up on iTunes and Stitcher, so hopefully we’ll be available there too, but in the meantime, you can add our feed manually to your podcatcher of choice. Click through for more info.

Note from Zontee: We’re now available on BOTH iTunes and Stitcher, so search for us or visit the Girls Poop Rainbows website for direct links. 

Things Are Happening in Podcast Land

Hot ChocolateHey podcast listeners and friends, I’m sitting here sipping homemade hot chocolate (chocolate from Guatemala) care of the lovely Michelle Urcuyo, and we just wanted to let you know that Michelle and I have been working on our comedy podcast and our website is up. Episodes will start in the next few weeks, but in case you want to pop over and check it out:

« Here’s a link to the site. »

We’ll be blogging about fun things that catch our eye, so be sure to bookmark us over there too.

HOWEVER, if you’re a listener of our previous show, I just want to give you a quick heads up…this show is very different from our previous (corporate sponsored) podcast. This show is more…sassy and crass. It’s Michelle and Zontee after hours. We’re not shying away from politics, sociology, ethics, alcohol, comedy, or anything in between. So just be forewarned. 

If that sounds like it’s your cup of tea (or hot chocolate) though, pop on over! 

Ask-a-Zontee: 5 Top Tips for Podcasters

I often joke that I’m the person my friends call randomly when they need a good recommendation of a place to take out-of-town guests or to purchase that perfect cocktail dress. With that in mind, I’m sharing my answers every once in awhile, here on my blog. It’s Ask-a-Zontee, so named by my friend Liz.

One of my current job responsibilities is our award-winning* podcast, YarnCraftThat entails everything from writing, producing, and co-hosting it, as well as editing the raw recordings. I’ve been asked about my top tips for people interested in getting into podcasting, so I’ve decided to share them here on my site.


Zontee’s 5 Tips for Podcasters Getting Started

1. Know who you are.

Don’t act like an expert unless you are one—you’re more likely to reach an audience who relates to you. The audience wants you to be genuine, so know your voice and stay true to it. I’m by no means a stitch diva, but I’m a decent yarncrafter with a wide range of skills and interests. I bring in guests ranging from expert teachers and designers to fun characters—they’re the people I’d want to talk to about my crafting, and they’re the people that my audience will relate to best.

2. Get the right equipment.

I’ve heard some podcasts where it’s obvious to me that the host is recording on a headset at his/her computer. What gives it away? The popping of hard consonants like Ps, as well as the very noticeable breathing.

If you really want to record at your computer, that’s okay, but you’ll want to get a good USB mic. Something like this. I’m personally a fan of the Zoom mics, since they’re portable and they have great sound quality.

The right equipment also extends to software. Host on a service like Libsyn or Podbean (podcasts take up a lot of bandwidth). Get some audio editing software (Audacity is free). Create a blog or website as a home base. Get on iTunes.

3. Edit your podcast for “extra” noises.

Whenever possible, I recommend cutting extra pauses, throat clearings, phlegmy coughs, etc. They’re distracting, and while pauses can be forgiven in video (or in real life) because the audience is distracted by other information in the form of visuals, long pauses are extremely noticeable in audio. Plus, if you’re not “live to tape”, it also gives you (and your guests) the opportunity to redo lines that come out awkwardly the first time.

4. Keep it interesting; keep it organized.

There are a lot of podcasts that are a single host waxing poetic. For shorter formats (10 minutes and under), I think that this style is just fine, but for anything longer, I highly recommend other voices. Either have audio essays by contributors, interviews with guests, or consider an interplay between two co-hosts. It keeps things interesting. “Man on the street” is another way to go.

To keep your show moving (again, short format shows can get away without), I also recommend segments. Think about “This American Life”, a show in three acts. My show usually has 5 segments (intro, banter, body, change-of-pace, outro).

5. Plan ahead.

Create a calendar where you can mark down ideas, breaking out ideas for various segments. Schedule interviews ahead of time. Know what you’ll talk about on future episodes. This allows you to tease future episodes on current ones so that your listeners come back for more (and have the opportunity to share comments and questions that you can use for conversation fodder when you record your future episodes).

*PR News Platinum Award Winner 2008, Honorary Mention 2009 & 2010.

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