Task Bundle: Podcast Launch

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Podcasts are more in demand than ever. The number of listeners has not only been growing since everyone is stuck at home due to the coronavirus: many companies have also discovered the potential of podcasts as a medium for themselves.

Whether you’re on the train on the way to work, relaxing on the sofa after work, doing additional training on the weekends or cooking on the side, podcasts are becoming increasingly popular. According to a study by Bitkom, every fourth German citizen (26%) stated that they listen to podcasts. This is because digital radio shows can in principle be received from anywhere. Anyone who owns a smartphone, tablet, computer, or the like can listen to them easily and conveniently.

What’s special about it is that basically any topic can be taken up in the form of a podcast. Many companies have now realised this and are creating their own podcasts, in addition to doing podcast advertising. However, in order for this marketing instrument to achieve the desired results, a number of things have to be considered during production.

We had a chat about this topic with Jan Ollig from New Work Life.
Jan has studied the phenomenon of podcasting in detail and has created his own podcast series in 2019. He has recorded his knowledge and tips in a helpful awork task bundle. In this user story, he presents the task bundle himself and talks about his experiences.

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Hello Jan, could you introduce yourself? Who are you and what is it that you do?

Hi, I’m Jan and together with my wife and business partner Bea I founded New Work Life. On the one hand, New Work Life is a platform for remote jobs at German companies, while on the other hand, it’s a central hub when it comes to remote work itself. We provide a lot of information here and advise companies on setting up home office and remote structures. We do this both in the form of webinars and one-on-one consultations, and with the help of our podcast GO REMOTE!.

As a side note, the basis of our work is our trip around the world at the end of 2017, which is when we upped sticks and went, thus dealing with the topic of remote work even more intensively than before. Our research and findings from this time flowed into our book series called GO REMOTE!, which we published at the end of 2018, together with a publisher.

Wow, it must have been a big step to up sticks and move somewhere else. How did you prepare yourselves?

Yes, it was certainly a big step. I would like to say that we had already tried travelling and moving before. I myself have moved at least seven times in the last 10 years. So, at some point you get a little more experience.

This time, however, Bea and I took a completely different and, above all, more drastic approach. We put our belongings to the test and only kept what would fit into our storage room. Afterwards we set off to Thailand with a one-way ticket. From there, we left at some point without knowing where we were going.

Bea and Jan in Mallorca
Bea and Jan living and working in Mallorca

Could you see yourself working a 9 to 5 job again one day?

Honestly, I wouldn’t demonise a 9 to 5 job. For many people, clearly defined working hours offer a very good structure to orient oneself towards. And just because you work remotely does not mean that you are free from the classic working day. For example, if you work for a remote company as an employee, you will usually have the same working hours as before.

Things look a little bit different for self-employed people. In principle, I can choose when I want to work. That is a great luxury that I really appreciate. But if the going were to get tough, I would have no problem keeping to the classic working hours. What I would very reluctantly give up, however, is the opportunity to choose my place of work freely.

With all this freedom, is there a risk of forgetting things or wasting too much time?

Let’s put it this way, it is definitely an advantage to be a structured type by nature. For example, I worked as a management consultant for years. This time has taught me to work in a structured and efficient way. At the same time, it is important to have the right toolsat hand.

In the beginning, a post-it on the screen may be enough to remember things. But as tasks become more and more varied, an organisation tool like awork will definitely help you. In awork I can structure and plan my tasks well. And I can even track the time I spend on each task if I want to.

Where did the idea of having your own podcast come from?

I’ve wanted to start a podcast for a little over two years now, because I like listening to podcasts myself. My favourite shows include the Tim Ferriss Show and Freakonomics Radio. For a long time, however, I was missing the right topic. This only became apparent over the course of last year.

With our podcast, Bea and I want to share our knowledge of remote structures in an entertaining and informative way. Not everyone likes to read blogs or has the time, but most people will at some point sit in the car, the train or do sports, the perfect time to listen to a podcast.

Were there moments when you underestimated the podcast project?

Good question. A podcast is not something you just do on the side. Especially the format we have chosen is very elaborate and above all time-consuming. I have to admit that at first, I thought an episode could be produced more quickly.

At the same time, I also find solo episodes demanding because I have to think carefully about what I want to say in advance. If you are thinking about releasing your own podcast, I would strongly recommend that you get support for it.

During the launch of our podcast, the tips and expertise of André Christen were especially priceless. Today he continues to support us with the technical side. I couldn’t do without that.

What podcasting lessons could you pass on to us?

A podcast is a lot of work (laughs)!
There are also many small details to pay attention to. At the beginning, for example, we had the problem that our production room echoed too much. This had a negative effect on the recording quality. To remedy this, we placed boxes around the microphone. A solid improvisational solution.

Jan in his quickly improvised podcast studio
Jan in his quickly improvised podcast studio

Why did you want to create a task bundle in awork about launching podcasts?

I did this because I believe the podcast is an exciting medium. On the one hand, a podcast is a great way to share your knowledge and, on the other hand, it is a marketing channel. Since the launch and production of a podcast is not trivial, I wanted to share my knowledge and approach with the users of awork.

Small insight into the Podcast Launch task bundle
Small insight into the Podcast Launch task bundle

Why is the task bundle so helpful?

In the task bundle I have documented all the steps I too have taken in setting up our podcast. When I started, I had to consult different sources and have conversations to prepare myself. The task bundle is the essence of the know-how that I had to gather with great effort. Thus, the bundle serves as a shortcut for all those who are also thinking about producing a podcast.

Jan Ollig’s awork task bundle
Jan Ollig’s awork task bundle

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What do you do if there’s no chemistry between you and your interviewee?

Exciting question. I would have to say grin and bear it. 😉

All jokes aside, in my experience, you’ll usually notice right away how well you get on with your conversation partner. Fortunately, I have not yet had the case that I have not found a common denominator with a guest. What certainly helps is a short warm-up phase. Talk to your interview guest a little before the interview and get a feel for him or her. Afterwards you’ll know what your interviewee is like and if in doubt, you can always cancel the appointment in a friendly manner.

At first, it is not easy to get to great interview partners. What is the best way to proceed? Do you have any tips?

The question I ask myself is, what makes a great interview partner? For me personally, it’s not about well-known names, but rather that my interview partners share interesting insights. I take a rather trivial approach myself and simply write an e-mail to everyone I find interesting. They either agree or disagree. Some don’t react at all, which is okay. This is, by the way, something we already learned when writing our books: asking doesn’t cost anything and in the worst case you get a refusal.

What also works well is asking around within your own network. Often people in your own environment have interesting contacts and they can put you two in touch.

So, you just finished up a great podcast interview, but then you realise that you forgot to record, or the quality of the sound is super bad. What do you do?

This is pretty much the worst-case scenario and has happened to me before. I didn’t forget to record, but that the sound quality was poor. However, I noticed this at the time of recording because my interviewee’s internet connection was very unstable, and I could not understand him or only partially understand him. I asked him about this during our interview. Nevertheless, we agreed to finish the interview.

When we were finished, I agreed with my interview partner that I would check the quality of the recording afterwards and, if necessary, come back to him to re-record various sequences. That was completely fine with him.

In the end, the sound quality was so bad that we had to re-record the whole interview. Since I had spoken openly with him about it from the beginning, it was perfectly okay for my interviewee that we would make a second recording. Since we had already spoken to each other before and all questions had actually been answered before, the second attempt went much faster than the first; this time with excellent sound quality. 😉

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