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What you need to know before starting a podcast: 9 tips from the book "Can you hear me?: How to make podcasts in Russia"

Advice from a book co-authored by graduates of the HSE educational program Advertising and Public Relations.

What you need to know before starting a podcast: 9 tips from the book "Can you hear me?: How to make podcasts in Russia"

Podcasts are gaining popularity around the world, and the Russian market is no exception. The results of annual research by the American company Edison Research, which have been analyzing media consumption in digital for 20 years, are indicative: in 2006, according to their data, 22% of Americans knew about podcasts, in 2019 more than half of Americans listened to a podcast at least once in their lives. In Russia, similar studies have not yet been conducted, but the growing popularity of podcasts is hard to miss. For example, during the first lockdown in Russia, the first online podcast festival "SLYSH" took place: more than 70 podcasters shared their experience of creating podcasts, explained how to succeed in this business, talked about the nuances of work - the festival was attended by 10,000 people. Another important detail about the podcast market in Russia: according to a Yandex study, in 2020, advertising placements in podcasts amounted to 160 million rubles, and in 2024 they promise to reach the amount of 1.55 billion rubles.

Many want to succeed on the new market, but face many challenges. How to start recording podcasts, do it well, and find your audience in a highly competitive environment? Yesenia Asadullina and Anastasia Shirokova, graduates of the Advertising and public relations educational program, co-authored the book “Can You Hear Me?: How to Make Podcasts in Russia,” which collected answers to all these questions. They spoke with 23 leaders of the Russian podcast industry and compiled detailed instructions for novice podcasters - with aspects of finding ideas, equipment selection, promotion, and monetization. Now Yesenia and Anastasia are studying in the program "Transmedia production in digital industries" of the Faculty of Communications, Media and Design. We asked Yesenia Asadullina to highlight the most important aspects for those who want to start their own podcast.

1. Don't be shy

Firstly, you need to tell everyone that you are a podcaster, and not be too shy about it. Secondly, if you want to do a podcast, write to the person who makes the podcast you like and ask them specific questions. When we started making the podcast, I turned to my friend Lesha Ponomarev, who did podcasts for Meduza, Arzamas, and asked for feedback

Alina Danilova
host of the podcast "Is This Really Sex?"

 2. Don't choose a long title

Each app trims the podcast description and the episodes' titles differently. Some platforms show the entire name, while others only show a limited number of characters. Therefore, you need to try come up with a title that isn't long

Daria Danilova
editor of the podcast department of MBH Media

 3. Always and everywhere have a voice recorder at hand

One of the top tips from a production standpoint is to record everything and never turn off your microphone. This is very important, because you might think that "okay, now we have already finished", and exactly at this moment the coolest thing will happen

Peter Ruzavin
author of "Voices of the Zone", podcast "Mediazones"

 4. Find unusual solutions

For example, you don't have a microphone. Any smartphone with a voice recorder, a sock and a glass will help you. Place the glass upside down - this is your microphone leg. You take a sock, put a sock on your smartphone - this is your "spit" so that all unnecessary sounds go into this sock. Put your smartphone with a toe on the stand - that's it, the microphone is ready. Start recording your first podcast

Irina Rogava
the host of the "Lifehacker" podcasts

 5. Be sincere

A person may be delusional, but let him be honest in his delusion. If he sincerely believes, it will be interesting to listen to him, in contrast to the situation when he deliberately accepts for the sake of someone and something a point of view in which he himself does not believe

Evgeny Stakhovsky
the presenter of radio "Mayak" and creator of the "Object22" project

 6. Try to surprise your listeners

You must look for what you can surprise your audience with. You cannot stay within the framework of one thing all the time. If you want to make podcasts long-term, you have to constantly look for something new

Vladimir Bukharov
author of the podcast "Bukharog Live", one of the founders of Stand-Up Club # 1

 7. Don't forget about editing 

Always remember that this is not a live broadcast. Everything can be mounted, re-glued, rearranged, overwritten. If a person is reluctant to talk to you, you can ask him lots of questions and then just choose the interesting bits

Gregory Prorokov
author of the podcasts "Blitz and Chips" and "Horror"

 8. Get inspiration from good books, films and music

If you read books, watch movies and listen to music, and the content is good, it somehow leaves a mark on you. It will move your own podcasts very much in every way

Seva Boyko
BBC Russian Service podcast producer

 9. Just get started

Podcasts aren’t hard enough to justify why you don’t start. Everything is quite simple, the main thing is to actually want to do them, and thinking about whether it will work out or not is completely destructive

Victor Nekhezin
correspondent and podcast host of the BBC Russian Service

 To learn more about the art of podcasting, read the book - it's available for free (and legally!) Download here.