After six years of regularly hosting an every-other-month, themed storytelling event among friends called Story Shuffle, I’ll be sharing my favorite stories over the next six months in a weekly podcast format.
From more than 200 recorded stories told at one of 36 live events held in houses and apartments, I am launching this as a project to learn more about podcasting and to give this storytelling event of mine a final goodbye. I’m billing this podcast as a ‘first draft’ storytelling series, as people regularly told their stories for the first time. It was authentic and fun and earnest. It’s something I want to see more of online.
So subscribe on iTunes or on your podcatcher of choice (or on the Story Shuffle website). Let me know if you can’t find it somewhere you want it.
Below I shared a few notes of what I already learned, though I know I’ll have plenty more lessons after the project is over.
Here are a few notes for the future:
- Test your feed with a preview: Before I told anyone the podcast was out, I published a preview to test the feed and its distribution to places like iTunes. It was a low risk test. It worked, and so I was ready to launch.
- Define why you’re unique: There are tons of storytelling events and podcasts, so I put some real thought into whether and why Story Shuffle might matter. I came to the idea that ours was a ‘first draft storytelling effort,’ both for me and other storytellers. We were figuring it out and honest about that. This podcast reflects that, as I outlined in our first episode.
- Give value: In addition to the two stories we share each episode, I’m proud of my push to also include some dissection of each of our stories. The goal will be to make the episodes more personal and also to give some value, to make this a learning experience for the listener too.
- Find help: I couldn’t devote the time necessary to launch this thing on my own, so I found a friend. I brought on a production assistant — the sweet and precocious Michaela Winberg — through my alma mater. She is an enormous help.
- Allow imperfection (if it fits your brand): Since we were a ‘first draft’ storytelling podcast, I feel comfortable moving quickly. That means, frankly, Michaela and I are still working out some of our technical and logistical shortcomings. The good news? The episodes will only get cleaner as the series goes along.
- Be upfront about an end: I do not like taking on a project without a definite end. It’s daunting and likely to result in a broken promise. That’s why I always planned to make this a learning project with a clear end: six months from now, as I’ve sketched things out in an elaborate spreadsheet.
- Go weekly (I think): One of my biggest lessons from our six-month-run with a Technical.ly podcast (I was particularly proud of this contribution) was that to succeed, we needed more regularity: I only wanted to go weekly with a podcast in the future. That’s what I’m trying for with this to aim to build a habit.
- Order of contributing your podcast feed: Start with iTunes and Google Play, perhaps try Stitcher later. Most other podcatchers will follow. There are other relatable lessons here.
- Think through analytics: I do not have this figured out yet. For now, I’m using the Simply Podcasting WordPress plugin and trying to figure out PodTrac for analytics — find more here. RIP Feedburner. There are lots of conversations about podcasting, like here and here.