Batching your podcasts basically means that you record and produce in bulk. There are many benefits to doing things this way, but is it a good idea when you're just starting out?
Matthew: Here's a great question that comes in from Thomas, is batching a good idea for new pod casters? Before we answer that question Colin, what is batching?
Colin: What is batching? Batching is doing a whole bunch of stuff all at once basically.
Matthew: The reason behind doing that is to save time I suppose? Like we're doing now.
Colin: Yeah, totally, lets explain. We are currently, this is obviously season … What is it? Season seven isn't it? Season seven of Podcraft, and we are currently recording the first four episodes of Podcraft of this season all together. We've been sitting here for the last 20 minutes, half an hour and we're on episode four now but we recorded one two and three right before this, so we recording them all at once. That's batching isn't it? Basically taking four or five tasks and turning them into a batch and doing them all at once.
Matthew: Instead of setting up and taking down your equipment four different times, you're doing it once.
Colin: Exactly, yeah.
Matthew: At face value if you're coming in as a new pod caster you might look at that and think this is a really good idea, but there maybe some things that you should consider before you dive in and record ten episodes isn't there?
Colin: Shall we go through? We started on the upsides there, you're absolutely right there are certainly some downsides too, so let’s go through them. Upsides, time saving is a big one, equipment, especially your average pod caster doesn't have a studio all set up, so you've got to get your kit out, you've got to plug your cables in, you've got to get your notes out all that kind of stuff and all that takes time to set up and break it all down again. If you do it all at once then you're only doing that once, that saves a bunch of time.
There's also time saving in planning too I think, because you plan out a set of episodes, if you plan out four episodes all at once, there's a certain mindset you have to get into in terms of planning out episodes and creating your notes all that kind of stuff. I think that by episode two, three, four you are in the flow and you're creating them, the ideas start coming. I always feel that when you're being creative like that, you're creating scripts or planning something out, it always takes me a little while to get in to it. I feel if I do a bunch of episodes, plan them all at once, I tend to get better results and I get it all out quicker.
Matthew: You know that is why a lot of people increasingly now in podcasts are batching their shows. One very famous example is John Lee Dumas, isn't it who does a seven day a week podcast but he spends a Tuesday recording his shows, he's recording one day a week for seven podcasts a week.
Colin: Yeah, he does eight hours in a day, getting them all out in one day, which is hard work. I suppose that's one of the down sides. The last one I wanted to say actually about thinking about benefits, was around practise actually. I don't know, I find … This could be a personal thing, I don't know, you can tell me what you think after. I find that if I spend … If I was to record one twenty minute episode … One minute how am I going to explain this?
Say I was doing a daily show, and I was doing one ten minute show each day. Then I think I find my practise and getting better at something improving at something, I get better or more effective practise spending a longer time once every week, say. If I spend three or four hours just practising one thing rather than a little bit every day. That's probably a bit of a personal thing, I find that I just improve better if I batch things, because I just spend longer on it, it kind of embeds itself in my head more effectively. Just for me that's another benefit, I don't know about yourself?
Matthew: Yeah I guess that's a good point, everyone is different aren't they? You get some people who are like you, a feeling that they're getting better, getting more into their flow the more they do. You'll maybe get other people who when they get to maybe to their third or fourth episode start to feel a wee bit jaded, and their contents suffering from that. When you start out though, I guess it's a really good idea just to make sure that you're confident enough to record an episode because it's a smaller bite to make isn't it?
Matthew: It's less intimidating to record one episode than it is to do ten and it's the sort of thing that could cause procrastination if someone's waiting on that perfect moment to get ten brilliant episodes recorded.
Colin: Yeah, another downside is that I think that I talked about practise there, but maybe that's a little incremental improvements, whereas often when you do an episode, it's a good idea to go away and listen to it and to think about it and spend a bit of time mulling over what went well, what went badly. Just thinking about how you can improve it for next the time. If you batch four, five, six different episodes all at once then they're all going to be the same kind of in terms of your skill, maybe I'm contradicting my practise thing earlier. I think the evolution is a big thing isn't it? Making sure you are picking up on what you did.
You mentioned earlier on that you didn't listen to your own episodes enough. I always recommend people go back and listen to previous episodes, think about what they can improve on, and if you batch stuff too much then you're just not doing that enough I think. You could go if you recorded eight episodes that means you could go two months, where there's really not much improvement in terms of the podcast itself.
Matthew: Yeah, it will depend on your release frequency as well. You're talking about somebody potentially recording two month’s worth of content. What is in that period you were getting a lot of feedback for listeners. Maybe you got a couple of emails in that were really quite interesting, what things you wanted to bring up on the show. You've actually recorded the content for the next two months. The listener thinks they're being ignored and your podcast is denied of this good content for another couple of months, there's that to consider as well. You maybe don't always want to have the next two months content recorded, no matter how experienced you are.
Colin: It's a balance isn't it, it depends about on the type of show you're doing. Sometimes you'll do a show which is designed to be as efficient as possible in that you’re not going to do any time sensitive stuff, no news no updates, you're just literally do one thing that's basically reading through a script. That's the only way keep it efficient, that's the only way to keep it consistent, some people have to do this is a really limited time. That's fine, I think batching is perfect for that I think. If you're trying to do a more dynamic show, react to people's feedback and really try and change it up each time and prove things. Test things, maybe it's not necessarily good for you. I think that latter is probably more suited to new pod casters, maybe that makes the answer to this, is a batching a good idea to new podcasters? No, but you might find it fits really well into you processes later on in your podcasting career.