Meeting 2: 28 June 2020
This session we got to meet Kate Whitaker, founder and presenter of the ‘Navigating your Twenties’ podcast. Podcasting resonated with us as a collective because we are considering ways in which we can reach out to more young creatives and provide tools that will be useful to them. Assemblage was set up as a symbiotic group to share and create and a podcast would be an exciting way to extend our community. What’s more, Kate offered us some great advice and DIY optimism at a time when we all need some encouragement.
Most of the podcasts I watch are set up by already successful people with a guaranteed audience and plenty of funding so Kate’s decision and success in getting a podcast up and running by herself impressed me. I was not alone: another Assemblage member queried ‘how do you get over self doubt and believe what you have to say is interesting?’ Kate explained that most of us feel like we will be interesting at some point in the future but in reality many of us are brimming with experiences and ideas that connect with others and it’s down to us to find a way to share our voice. So she needs to look no further than her friends for interviews because they all have a story to tell that others want to hear. When she does want an unknown guest, she uses matchmaker.fm, an online platform for podcasters.
Of course, having something to say must then be backed by hard work, and Kate detailed how she solidified her ideas initially through creating a brand that would appeal to people. This involved finding her title, designing the visuals and producing a trailer that would give the flavour of the story she wanted to tell. The episodes themselves need structure and scripted questions for the interviewees before you consider what sound equipment to buy. This needn’t be extravagant (the free audio software Audacity works great and Kate got her mic for a tenner).
Once you have your brand, equipment, guests and of course, a platform to host your show, how to build up a following? Know your audience and market to them through consistent social media posts (use the hashtags) and get people to rate your show. This pushes you up the Podcast chart and gets you more visibility. Kate’s ambition is to be featured on the charts, interview some high profile guests and enter the British Podcast Awards. Fingers crossed!
While many of us tend to be quite single minded in our pursuit of success Kate’s story was a useful and prescient reminder (considering the uncertain circumstances right now) that there is not just one career route or destination and an idea that takes you off course can be more rewarding than a one-way road. Even apparent failures can be turned into successes: Kate’s Youth Music presenting gigs were cancelled due to the pandemic so she came up with new concepts that she could do from home. They liked them and this became her own series ‘Live in Lockdown’ in collaboration with Tiktok and Arts Council England.
What’s more, the failures of life at this early stage are a crucial part of the narrative of Kate’s podcast, so her final message was to ‘say yes’ to all opportunities- each one could carry the seeds of your ultimate success.