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"Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously": Interview With My RØDE Cast Judge Jordon Lott

To celebrate the release of the two most exciting new products in podcasting - the RØDECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio and PodMic - at the tail end of 2018, we decided to kick off 2019 with a bang by launching the inaugural edition of My RØDE Cast, our brand-new podcasting comp. 

We're inviting podcasters of all experience levels to show off their chops by submitting a 2-minute podcast to go in the running to win a share in over $150,000 of prizes, which includes an entire RØDE podcasting studio complete with a RØDECaster Pro and PodMics, plus headphones from Urbanears, subscriptions from Adobe, SSDs from Angelbird and more. 

The podcast can be on any topic and can be in any style - interview, chat show, documentary, whatever you like! The winners will be selected by a panel of judges, who are looking for content that blows them away and leaves them wanting more (there's also a People's Choice award up for grabs, chosen by the public).

Each of the judges is a podcasting legend in their own right, including Mike Dawson, engineer, co-producer and voice of The Adam Carolla Show; Jacob Salamon, co-founder and CEO of WISECRACK; and Jordon Lott, content coordinator at Acast - the world's largest podcasting marketplace - and producer of popular podcast channel, The Thinkergirls.

We had a chat with Jordon about her career seeking out amazing podcasts, what she has found the winning formula is for an excellent show, and where the format is heading in the next 5 years.

Hi Jordon! Tell us a bit about Acast and your role there?

I'm the content coordinator at Acast, making up one half of the Australian content team. My role involves scouting new podcast talent, migrating them to our platform and then acting as their go-to support contact moving forward. Thanks to my background in podcast production, I also am able to help podcasters with audience growth strategies, as I've learnt the tips and tricks having done the hard yards myself.

What kind of audience growth strategies are you talking about?

How to use social media to grow your audience and using analytics from your hosting platform to improve your content are the main two. It's very important to utilise social media in podcasting as a follower tagging their friends in an Instagram post could lead to a new subscriber, plus it's also the most efficient way to announce a new episode is live. In regards to analytics, it's such a great resource in your hosting platform to take advantage of. For example, if you can see that your audience is only listening to 75% of each episode, then maybe consider releasing shorter episodes to cater to audience needs. 

What’s a common thread you see between popular podcasts on the platform?

Connection with their audience. Whether that's tonally through a conversational approach in the podcast itself, or via social media. Podcasters who connect with their listeners, take on their feedback and discuss the content with them are the most successful. If you have a loyal audience, they will encourage their friends, family and colleagues to listen too. Research shows that word of mouth is still the number one way people find new podcasts to listen to. Podcasters should take advantage of that.

In your opinion, what’s the single most important factor for a great podcast?

Content. Content is always the most important aspect of a podcast. You can have the most amazing voice in the world, and the biggest production budget, but if the subject matter is boring, listeners won't tune in. Obviously production value is important, but you need to be engaging and evergreen in your content.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to get into podcasting or who is just starting out? 

Invest in a good microphone, and don't take yourself too seriously. Listeners respond well to a conversational tone, so don't feel that you need to overproduce or script your podcast. Also, do thorough research on your guest/topic before recording. There's nothing worse than being unprepared.

You dabbled in filmmaking too, right? In what ways do you think podcasts are superior to video?

Yes, I have a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Film and Television. Funnily enough, I never ever thought I'd work in audio, and look at me now! What I love about podcasting is the versatility that an audio-only medium allows. When you're working with video, you're restricted by picture. It costs money to build a set or recreate a historical event on screen, but it costs nothing to describe it in a podcast. 

How do you fit into the production of The Thinkergirls pod channel?

I am the producer and editor of The Thinkergirls pod channel. My role involves suggesting and booking guests, guest research, editing the audio, writing show notes, uploading to Acast, posting new episodes to The Thinkergirls website and sharing the release on social media.

At what point do you think getting a dedicated producer on board is necessary in a podcast’s trajectory?

I think it depends on your own expertise and skill level, and your time management. It should be a case of identifying your needs and finding a person to fill that gap, rather than hiring one for the sake of having a producer. There are so many facets of producing a podcast, that having a producer on your team is a massive asset, but in the early days you may not have the workload to warrant hiring one. 

What drew you to the podcasting platform when you first started getting involved in the format?

I found podcasting through YouTube actually. I was (and still am!) a huge fan of Grace Helbig, so when she launched a podcast I had to listen. My work with The Thinkergirls was similar - I loved them on radio, found their podcast from there, and when I saw they needed a producer I had to apply. I met Acast through The Thinkergirls, so when the opportunity came up to make podcasting both my full time job and my passion I had to take it. 

Where do you see podcasting heading in the next 5 years?

Podcasting is growing more and more every day, so there's no doubt in my mind that in 5 years time, everyone will know what podcasting is. Advertisers are realising more and more the power of podcasts in reaching an audience, so with the continued growth of podcast listeners and continued investment from advertisers, I hope that podcasting will be as big as radio is in Australia. Hopefully, I won't have to explain to my grandpa what "this podcast nonsense is" ever again!

Lastly, what podcasts are you digging right now?

I'm currently loving Cher & Retweet from Melbourne LGBTQ+ Pod Network Lipp Media - it's a deep dive into Cher's ridiculous twitter feed. Easy listening and easy laughs, I'm a big fan. 

I'm also very excited about a brand new show from the UK, David Tennant Does A Podcast With... The first episode is an interview with Olivia Colman, and it's wonderful. 

Finally, I just finished bingeing The Good Place: The Podcast. Each episode correlates with an episode of the show, in which they break down the episode with cast and crew members to bring the creative process behind the show to life. If you're a fan of The Good Place, then I highly recommend this podcast. 

Entries to My RØDE Cast are open now and close at midday (AEST) March 12, 2019. Find out more about the comp and Jordon's work at the links below:

https://www.rode.com/myrodecast

https://www.acast.com/

http://www.thethinkergirls.com.au/