These tips were distilled from a discussion among the following panelists at LingComm21 in April 2021:
Identify the audience you want. Who are you trying to draw in: people who are already language experts looking for deep dives, people who approach language from a prescriptive rather than descriptive angle, people who don’t yet know that they’re interested in language at all? Podcasts can be accessible to a wide variety of potential listeners, but know who you’d like your core audience to be. Many subsequent choices will be impacted by your audience’s interests and expectations.
Solicit feedback early, but not too early. It’s important that you’re clear about what you want your podcast to be before risking others changing your mind. Especially in the early days of developing a podcast, friends and family members can be excellent as minimally intimidating pilot listeners, but at the end of the day, they’re not creating the show. Take their feedback into consideration, but make sure that the ultimate product reflects your lingcomm goals.
Don’t underestimate the amount of effort involved. A podcast is a lot of work, especially early on when you’re still figuring a lot of things out. In particular, there is a lot of technical production work that you might not be aware of if you have mostly experienced podcasts as a listener. While it might be tempting to launch a companion blog or an elaborate social media project alongside your podcast, you’ll likely appreciate having the ability to focus just on the podcast while you get the hang of it.
It’s okay not to know everything, about both the behind-the-scenes technical details and the content itself. Part of the fun of making a podcast is discovering new things, including about linguistics! As for the technical side, making a podcast is a great way to learn the ropes. To give yourself a low-pressure incentive, consider creating a few test episodes for select audiences of your friends and family members before an official public launch.
Don’t let the trolls get you down. If you’re attracting attention on the internet, you’re bound to encounter some unproductive feedback that doesn’t help you. The internet is a huge place and not all shows are for all people. Remember who you’re making the podcast for and why you’re doing it, and make sure to notice the positive feedback you’re getting, too.
This post is part of a series of resources from LingComm21: