In this episode of Podcraft, Matthew and Colin talk about podcasting and parenting. They discuss the joys of being a new dad, from early morning buggy walks, to “having a good moan” about one's kids.
Parents always think they’re organized and resilient. The same's true for podcasters. Kids are unpredictable, and podcasting can be the same way. The key takeaway from this discussion about podcasting and parenting is to be honest with your audience.
Colin recommends that new parents who make podcasts should plan ahead, but stay flexible, and be kind to themselves during this time.
They discussed episode release schedules, such as podcasting in seasons, as opposed to publishing episodes at random intervals. Colin recommends lining up some episodes in advance of your child's arrival, then publishing each over time.
For parents who can't leave their child unattended, don't try to multi-task. It's better to do one thing well, instead of multitasking a few things, poorly.
Don't Wish It Away
This is a big milestone in one's life. It's worth not trying to do too much for your podcast. When babies are unpredictable and need a lot of care, there's a tendency to, as Matthew says, “wish things forward until the dust settles.” Colin adds that parents should try to enjoy the early days while they can. In 13 years or so, your kids will want to do their own thing. You'll have plenty of time for podcasting then.
As a dad to two kids, Colin says, “the first year, especially the first three months, are hell.” Plus, every kid is different. This isn't a good life stage for the results-oriented. But, he adds, the first six months are when babies sleep the most. Use this to your advantage: grab time for sleep and/or work when you can.
Colin adds that when babies are six to twelve months old, since they're more mobile, they need more supervision. They're more likely to grab things, like mixing board sliders. This is the age to child-proof your recording gear.
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Be realistic about your plans. Think of this time as maintenance mode. Again, communicate clearly and positively with your audience. It’s not going to kill your show if you miss an episode.
Work sessions with shorter periods of time can force you to really focus. Be accepting of the work that you can get done in a shorter amount of time. Colin says, “a task will always expand to fill the time allowed.” If you only have forty-five minutes while the baby's out for a walk or napping, you can't procrastinate, overthink, or be too much of a perfectionist.
Rethink your show’s format. How can you bring value in less time, while still being yourself and making the same kind of show? For example, instead of hour-long interview episodes, can you make fifteen-minute episodes of productive tips?
Again, communication with your audience is important. You can tell them about your big life change and say something like, “For the next three months, here's how the podcast will be different.” Communicate, be consistent, and your loyal audience will stick around.
Recording in seasons and batch recording are good ways to deliver a valuable podcast, while still being able to take time out for your family. Colin advocates for having seasons centered around different sub-topics of your podcast's main topic.
You can also try having a temporary guest host. For example, a co-host or guest who’s been an audience favorite can fill in for you. This is risky; some audiences might feel like they're not getting what they expected (or, if your audience is like Lindsay, who only listens to the StarTalk episodes with Bill Nye, they might really change their listening habits). But, if you communicate it well, and make it clear to your audience when it’ll be over, your audience will be there when you return.
If your podcast has a big back catalogue, and a generous budget, you could hire someone to listen through your episodes and find clips to put together into montage episodes. Remember how sitcoms that had been around for a long time would have flashback episodes, so the actors could go on holiday?
Think about alternate ways to record your show. For example, if your baby likes being in the car, record in the car. Take your podcast and your baby for a walk, using a field recording setup, like a digital recorder and the Rode Wireless Go mics. Perfection is the enemy of the good: don’t be stuck on optimal recording conditions.
Ultimately, a strategy for podcasting and parenting is to be honest, and take a break. Tell your audience when you'll be back. The most loyal of your audience will wait for you. Colin reiterates that you should enjoy the time, and know that every child is different. Because they grow so fast, everything that happens changes quickly.
Helpful Tools for Podcasting Parents
A tool that definitely helps with podcasting and parenting is Alitu, The Podcast Maker. It won't babysit, but it records, edits, normalizes and polishes your audio. It can even publish it for you. Automation can save you a lot of time and headache. Matthew points out how well Alitu's Call Recorder Link works with Calendly, so you can stay organized and record your podcast as easily as using any conferencing software.
The newest feature in Alitu is the Episode Builder. This manages transitions between every clip on the episode's timeline, giving your listening experience more variety and depth. You can hear how good Alitu sounds when you listen to this episode.
Not only this, but also, The Podcast Host Planner Journal provides that tactile and ASMR satisfaction of a job well done. It's wireless, never needs re-charging, and it's touch-sensitive. It eliminates distractions, and doesn't have noises or bright light to wake up your baby. Try it today!