Category: Creative Qualifications

6 Mistakes Made by New Podcasters (& How to Avoid Them)

August 20th, 2021 by

Mistakes aren’t inherently bad. In figuring out the stuff that doesn’t work very well, you’ll often be led to the solution, the optimal path, or the best option for your own specific situation.

This blog has been guest written by our friends over at The Podcast Host.

The problem is, it can take a lot of time and resources. Too much trial and error can lead to costly mistakes, as well as frustrations enough to make you quit your show altogether.

There’s an old saying about how the wise person learns from the mistakes of others. Podcasting has been around for a few years now, and there have been plenty of mistakes made along the way. With that in mind, what are some of the most common missteps taken by new and aspiring podcasters? What can you learn from them, to help smooth the road for your own journey?

1. Expecting Overnight Success

Many new podcasters will publish their first episode, then immediately start comparing themselves to someone like Joe Rogan. If you go into podcasting knowing that, for the first few months at least, nobody is going to care about your show, it’s a big weight off your shoulders.

This lets you stop ruminating about how your show is a complete failure, freeing up time for the tasks that’ll make sure it isn’t one. All you should be asking yourself in these early days is, “what content best serves my target audience?” and, “how can I bring it to them on a consistent basis?”.

2. Trying to Cover a Wide Topic

The more things you talk about, the more people are going to be interested in listening, right? You’ve got your movies section which brings in all the film fans, your sports segment, the bit about travel, and then a tasty serving of some cooking chat at the end. The problem with this is that the audiences who’re all interested in this stuff already listen to podcasts dedicated entirely to them. And, they’re doing a better job of them than you are.

Unlearn everything you ever saw on televised variety or magazine shows, and choose the topic you want to podcast about. Don’t stop there, though: go even narrower. It’s not enough to do a general gardening or fitness podcast. If you want to have an impact, add a second layer to your show. Are you the gardening podcast for people living in urban areas, with only a window box and a 1 metre squared plot to work with? Or are you a fitness podcast for full-time carers?

You might ask, “but doesn’t this limit my audience?” I’d argue that there’s nothing limited about the dedicated audiences that grow around these niche shows, though.

3. Doing Interviews by Default

I was surprised the first time I heard the question, “is it possible to do a podcast without doing interviews?” But, I’ve heard it a lot more since then.

An interview podcast, done well, can be great for the podcaster and the listeners. There’s a fresh perspective each week from an expert or authority in your field. If those folks go on to share the episode out with their own followers, you can continue to pick up new listeners.

But, aspiring and new podcasters can miss out on a big opportunity if they just start doing interviews without a second thought. One downside of the interview show is that the guest is the expert. Depending on your big goals and motivations, you might prefer to position yourself as the authority instead. For example, if you sell coaching services or courses on your topic, why not talk directly to the listener instead of bringing on other experts? This doesn’t mean you should never do interviews. Throwing in the odd conversation that adds value will enhance your show. Just don’t go down the “every episode is an interview” route by default.

4. Learning by Trial & Error

We tend to romanticise someone plugging away at something, making loads of mistakes along the way, but gradually learning important lessons and figuring it all out. There’s definitely a place for just getting on with it, alongside a healthy caution for over-planning. But, you can avoid so many costly and time-consuming mistakes with a bit of learning or training.

It’s not just about making fewer errors, too. It’s about setting yourself up for success. Working towards an internationally recognised podcasting qualification via RSL Awards is an excellent option for new and aspiring podcasters who want to make the best use of their time and energy. Or, you might opt for using The Podcast Host’s step-by-step ‘how to start a podcast’ guide, as a framework for your planning and organisation. Whatever route you choose, just be wary of the “I’ll figure it all out on the fly” approach. A new podcast is only ever one big costly mistake away from being an abandoned podcast.

5. Spending Too Much Time on the Tech

There’s an unlimited number of ways to record, edit, and publish a podcast. From the mic and gear that you buy, to the software you use, and the hosting provider you upload it all to, there are loads of variables. Aspiring new podcasters can get bogged down here. But, you don’t need to spend a fortune or become an audio engineer to make a great sounding podcast. USB mics these days can go toe-to-toe with many studio setups, and you can be set up and ready to go for less than £100. ‘Podcast Maker’ tools like Alitu make editing and production easier than navigating your typical social media website. Technology is a means to an end in podcasting: the bulk of your focus should be on creating engaging and compelling content that your listeners will love. Get the tools you need to do that, and you’ll barely even need to notice them going forward.

6. Running on the Weekly Treadmill

Similar to when we talked about interview shows, having to release a new episode every week is another assumption made by many new and aspiring podcasters. Putting out weekly episodes can be a powerful thing as you build yourself into your listener’s habits and routine. But, it isn’t the only way. If you have other major commitments in your life, be they job, family, or something else important, then it might not be realistic to expect to get an episode out every 7 days. If you have a bash anyway, become overwhelmed, then quit, your target audience has missed out on a show that could’ve been life-changing for them. So, what’s the alternative?

Instead of running on the treadmill of weekly releases, you might try organising your podcast episodes into ‘seasons’. These are blocks of around 6-12 episodes, and will usually focus on a subtopic within your overall podcast topic. So, now our urban gardener show might build a season around edible plants you can grow in a window box. Or our full-time carer fitness show might kick off with a season on exercises you can do at home without the need for any equipment.

Theming and organising your episodes this way creates a good listener experience. Plus, this makes your show accessible to brand new listeners who’ve just discovered you. They can even be repurposed and sold as self-contained products further down the line. Most importantly though, they let you as the creator produce bodies of work, then take a step back to focus on your other commitments in life. Then, you can come back refreshed, to tackle the next one. If your show is unsustainable, it won’t last long. But, with a seasons approach, it doesn’t have to be.


Podcasting has changed a lot from the “figure it all out yourself” medium it was 15 years ago. Most podcasters start out because they want to get their message out there, not because they want to immerse themselves in technology. These 6 common mistakes are easily avoided, and will help free up time to focus on the stuff that really moves the needle. So, whether you choose to utilise a podcast maker tool like Alitu, or embark on a podcasting qualification to help you learn the ropes, you’ll reduce the chances of frustrating or costly mistakes. Your podcast will only fail if you quit, so put these things in place to ensure that doesn’t happen!

Simply drop your name and email below to access your free Podcasting Starter Kit. Happy podcasting!

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    Download your Vlogging Starter Kit Today!

    November 2nd, 2020 by

    We’re celebrating the launch of RSL Awards’ Creative Qualifications in Vlogging by creating a Starter Kit to introduce you to the wonderful world of vlogging!

    Why vlogging?

    Since YouTube’s rise to world domination in the mid-00s, vlogging has become one of the most popular types of content available online. With a huge variety of videos that cover everything from gaming to politics and everything in-between, there’s a whole world of wormholes to get lost in. Famous YouTubers like PewDiePie and Zoella have amassed huge followings and consequently been able to monetise their videos, making remarkable careers for themselves along the way.

    Simply drop your name and email below to access your free Vlogging Starter Kit!

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      We want to take the accessibility of making a vlog and create opportunities for you to get recognised for your content creation. That’s why we’ve launched an unprecedented series of grades
      in vlogging, from debut to 8, under the banner of Creative Qualifications from RSL Awards.

      We have applied the same pedagogy of progressive mastery that has been used to learn musical instruments for over 100 years in order to build a framework around the art of vlogging. After all, the first Rockschool grades were designed to reward and benchmark popular musical instruments where no framework had previously existed. Now we’re once again helping to formalise the informal and equip you with the skills you need to get industry- ready, pursue a fun hobby, or simply make great content!

      So what’s in this guide?

      This guide will help you get to grips with some of the basic principles that all vloggers use. You’ll learn how to define your audience and the type of content they might like, and how to research existing vlogs to see what’s out there already.

      Stumped at how to script, edit, and record a vlog? Don’t be. We’ve demystified the whole process and given you some helpful pointers on how to get your content popping. We’ve even thrown in some helpful tips from our marketing whizzes on releasing your vlog in a slick, professional way.

      You don’t have to be an expert to start a vlog, but we’re hoping that by the end of this guide you should have a good idea of how you can take your first steps into the wonderful world of vlogging.

      You can buy your Vlogging E-Books right here!

      Simply drop your name and email below to access your free Vlogging Starter Kit!

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        Creative Qualifications – Early Access and Free Webinar

        September 22nd, 2020 by

        RSL Awards are delighted to announce the upcoming launch of Creative Qualifications.

        Creative Qualifications are a brand new suite of graded qualifications in digital communications, spanning Debut through to Grade 8 in Vlogging and Podcasting.

        Designed to advance the creative professional, these new qualifications in Vlogging and Podcasting are world firsts in the graded qualification market. RSL have teamed up with GoCreate Academy to create expert e-publications and learning materials that support each grade.

        Click here to jump to the sign-up form for early access and to book your webinar place!

        RSL’s Creative Qualifications are complementary, alternative qualifications that can be taught within and/or alongside curriculum offerings. A Vlogging or Podcasting grade provides recognition in ability at benchmarked levels and offers flexible progression routes into further education and the Creative Industries.

        Empowering both independent and group learning, Creative Qualifications enable learning in both a specialist and non-specialist environment – whether that’s self-study, private tuition or group-study led by an instructor.

        Creative Qualifications: Vlogging

        Vlogging is so much more than a quick piece to camera. Vloggers and online personalities have become so popular due to the communities they’ve built around their content. With Creative Qualifications: Vlogging you will progressively master the art of vlogging, from creatively treating your productions to a high professional standard, to learning how to tailor your content for your audience and distribution channel. Create, inspire, influence.

        Creative Qualifications: Podcasting

        Tell your story, inspire debate or share revolutionary ideas, all whilst progressively learning how to capture, edit and creatively treat audio to a professional standard with Creative Qualifications: Podcasting. Captivating audiences through storytelling is at the heart of all great podcasts. Now it’s your turn. Put your voice on record with the world’s first benchmarked and regulated graded qualification suite.

        Sign up for early bird access and a free webinar on Creative Qualifications…

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