'Is It Time You Spiced Things Up A Bit?'
Last week, coming to you as part of the History Podcasting Platform of course, we established that you need to believe in yourself if this is going to work. By that, we of course didn't mean that an ego was necessary, but what is necessary is enough self-belief to get through those hard times, when throwing in the towel can seem easier than sticking it through, and remembering why you started.
This time, we're going to look at our first bit of what I hope is useful advice for you guys - how to spice up your show, your schedule, and hopefully your interests as well. In a sense, I feel a bit cheap talking about this, because it's blindingly obvious is many ways, but on the other hand, I get that we don't always think outside the box when we're podding within it.
Ready for it? Here it is...
Put your schedule on hold, whatever it, and however tightly you have bound yourself to it in the past, and tackle something - even if just for one episode, since that's what I do - completely different to what you're doing right now.
Why would you do such a thing, you may be wondering, and maybe you don't think that the idea is particularly good at all. That's grand, but let me explain first why I think it's a good idea, and why I have made use of it in the past with WDF THINKS.
I can give three reasons:
First of all
Changing from your schedule can give you the chance to learn something new, and can also give you the opportunity to sink your teeth into new historical meat which you maybe had your eye on, but had been hesitant to look into until after your current series.
Are you reluctant to interrupt your current story, and are you worried people won't be able to keep up? Don't be - the vast majority of your listeners trust your judgement when choosing historical topics. If they didn't, they wouldn't be listening! Considering that, I'm sure they'll rely on you to navigate choppy historical waters in a new field.
Don't overthink or dumb down your audience, even by if it's not deliberate. Do you really think they won't be able to cope with some fresh content? It doesn't mean your work is stale, all that it means is that you're flexible enough to recognise that not everyone will be captured by your current series, which brings me to my next point...
It can bring in new listeners, which is surely the goal of all podcasting initiatives, right?
This can work especially well if you promote it to the nines as a fresh, exciting new episode (or miniseries, if you are feeling liberal with your time), looking into something you've always wanted to look at, or maybe something topical which people have been asking about. You may be able to use this new episode as a hook for potential listeners, who maybe wouldn't have jumped at listening to your current series on constitutional law in the history of Mali, but who will be eager to listen to an episode on why X is the way it is.
If you can reel a new listener or listeners in, then all you have to do is charm the pants off them, and ideally, they will stick around and discover that they enjoy listening about your series on the constitutional law of Mali, mostly because they like you.
Experimenting with new topics can show you what your pod's life cycle will look like after your current train of thought is over. If something receives a really good reception, then why not elaborate upon that topic for a larger series, and go down those rabbit holes you had avoided the first time around? If you're worried about how a new topic will be received, a teaser type episode by giving one standalone take on that topic is a great way of seeing how people will react. If it's a topic you're passionate about, then the odds of them liking it are much higher. If you're in need of a confidence boost though, then this act of testing the waters can be really beneficial.
Do you think it's an accident that I released a WDF THINKS episode on Peter the Great, when I knew how prominently the Russian Tsar of the early 18th century would feature in Poland Is Not Yet Lost? It was not an accident, and the enthusiastic response from my listeners made me further convinced that a podcast on Polish history in the 18th century is the right way to go!
On the other hand, I released a WDF THINKS episode on Elizabeth I and her foreign policy with the Portuguese Pretender in the 1580s, and that was a purely selfish romp through an era of history I find interesting. So why not do both? Be selfish and smart, and you will go far! Wait...oh you know what I mean...
That's all for this week history podders, but make sure to tune in next week for the next installment of this HPP. If you're enjoying this series, why not share this article, or tell other people about it simply by word of mouth? We've got some more great advice on the way, so stay tuned!