How Writing Skills Can Create a Good Podcast

Monday, April 17, 2017

A few months ago, I interviewed a local broadcaster who had left her job as a radio announcer and decided to channel her energy into creating a podcast about a topic she was passionate about. When I first got the assignment from my editor, I thought, “Podcasting. I still don’t know what this is really all about and I hope I don’t sound like an idiot when I start the interview.”

She set me straight right away. First, she had me open the native podcasting app on my phone and browse around until I found a few podcasts to check out later. Then we discussed her own award-winning podcast, which she developed to discuss Type 1 diabetes because she is a parent of a diabetic child and couldn’t find a podcast with the information she was looking for. It struck me that she wasn’t doing anything a blogger or reporter wouldn’t do. She uses her writing and researching skills to organize interviews with celebrities with diabetes, awareness advocates, and updates listeners on the latest innovations in technology, among other things. She has also secured some great sponsorships and writes the copy for those spots. When I got home and finished listening to a few episodes, I was impressed by the quality of the writing and the mix of information that kept me listening.

This past weekend I started listening to another podcast I had loaded on my phone while packing for our upcoming move. This one is called “Up and Vanished,” and it was created by documentary filmmaker Payne Lindsey. He decided to explore the unsolved disappearance of a Georgia beauty queen and teacher Tara Grinstead. Cold cases are right up my alley, and after the first podcast I was hooked. He layered interviews with private investigators, local residents who knew Tara, examinations of the crime scene findings in a way that actually prevented me from packing because I was so engrossed. There was also a bit of creepy background music that added to the ambience. (Spoiler: Before I started listening to the podcast, I knew that some suspects had recently been arrested in the case). There are fans of the podcast that are pretty sure the investigative work of Payne Lindsey helped crack the case open. “Up and Vanished” has been covered by national media outlets and Season 2 is in the works.

Good writing and reporting can be used in many forms. Personally my writing blog has languished and I’m trying to figure out if developing a podcast might be a way to kickstart my creative juices. Sure, the technology aspect of podcasting does intimidate me, but there are plenty of helpful articles out there on the best software to use and ways to get started.

Do you listen to any podcasts? I’d love to hear some of your favorites and why you like them. Better yet, if you have your own podcast, what kinds of content do you produce?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who is now searching for the next great true crime podcast.


Theresa Boedeker said...

I had only listened to several podcasts when my pre-teen son suggested I start a podcast for my funny stories. I started listening to podcasts as I shower and dress in the morning, when I drive in the car, as I make dinner. They are fun because I can do something else and listen at the same time. It took some research and a steep learning curve, but it really isn't that hard to learn to produce your own podcast. On my podcast, "Life as it Comes" I tell funny stories, because everyone needs a smile . . .perhaps even a laugh.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I've heard too much about podcasts--especially that one about the murder case that EVERYone was listening to--that I guess I finally need to succumb... and at least listen to a few.

My hesitancy: I hate audio books. Will I think differently about podcasts?

I know there are teachers who use them. That's certainly a lure.

And now you're nudging me. I guess I'll have to check them out, Renee. Thanks for the little push. ;)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Oooh, I'll have to check out that podcast, Renee! I'm not a heavy podcast listener, but I do a lot of driving around LA and every drive is over an hour, so I listen to Marc Maron's WTF, which is hilarious, and Ira Glass' This American Life. They both have 24/7 podcasts on TuneIn Radio.

Mary Horner said...

Renee, this was the right blog post at the right time. I am also interested in learning more about podcasts, but hadn't really made the commitment to do so until now. You motivated me!

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