- During the pandemic, I decided to make my own podcast a reality.
- I listened to podcasts and discussed with others what I would need to get mine started.
- Out of the Trenches was born. It features teachers telling their stories about getting out of the trenches.
- Over the past two years, the podcast has been successful and continues to grow.
Last week, I received an email request from the Teach Better Team podcast network from Josh Stamper that we podcasters who blog share our stories.
When Podcasting Became “A Thing”
I will now share what got me started with the Out of the Trenches podcast. My first TBT blog post, In the Trenches? What You Can Do to Pull Yourself Out. Some of you might remember when podcasts became “a thing.” For me, it was in June 2009, when I was on a trip to Israel. I was pregnant with my 2nd child and wanted to find some pregnancy tips, so I downloaded a few podcasts to my 1st generation iPhone. I don’t remember much about the quality of the access of listening to those podcasts, but I do remember they had to be first downloaded on my computer in iTunes and then synched to my device. Needless to say, I didn’t become a huge podcast listener 13 years ago.
Some of My Favorite Listens
Fast forward to around 2016 when I started running. By then, it was much easier to choose the types of podcasts you wanted to listen to and to subscribe to those. I started by subscribing to Better Leaders, Better Schools, Transformative Principal, and Principal Center Radio. In addition, I subscribed to a few running podcasts like Another Mother Runner and Ultra Stories. After having listened to these educational podcasts for a few years, in 2019, I was already in Danny Bauer’s BLBS Mastermind. I asked him how he got started podcasting. He sent me links to docs he’d prepared about mics to buy and how to record. Also, he included tips on doing a pre-chat with guests before the recording.I started thinking about how I could make the podcast I wanted to start a reality. Click To Tweet
More Time for Creativity
At the time, I was doing my research for my Ed.D., which I finished in March 2020. Of course, at the time of the pandemic shutdown, creativity sprung in many of us. Because I was no longer working on my Ed.D. and the red tape of university approvals after I had finished writing, I started thinking about how I could make the podcast I wanted to start a reality. The initial pandemic shutdown was really a trench for everyone. And I had experienced many trenches during my educational career (that I managed to crawl out of, time and time again). So I decided to name the podcast Out of the Trenches. It includes this description wherever you download it: Are you in the trenches as an educator? You’re not alone. Hear from those who have been in the trenches and managed to come out intact. Hear their stories!
Finding Guests and Making Accounts
My first two guests were former colleagues of mine who work in Colorado Springs. I also did episode #0 to talk about the premise of the podcast. I started reaching out to other educators on Twitter with bios that caught my eye. Those who I’d like to learn more about and have a chat with about their trench story. Several of my first 10 guests mentioned colleagues of theirs I could reach out to. I took Danny Bauer’s advice and decided on doing a pre-chat (10-30 minutes) for each of the guests I was booking.
The first accounts I made were on podbean (hosting site) and Calendly (scheduling site that integrates with Zoom). I, of course by May 2020, already had been using Zoom, so that is the video platform I used for the recordings. I was using Zoom for free until just recently. It made me upgrade from the free 40 minutes to an unlimited minutes account. I was in the middle of a podcast recording and didn’t want the call to end, and since some of my recordings exceed 40 minutes, I went ahead and paid.
Length of Recording
I go over the main talking points with guests in the pre-chat conversation. Sometimes they tell me their trench story then. Sometimes I tell them they can think about what they want to share in terms of that story before the recording (which is usually within 2 weeks of the pre-chat). I tend to have between 5-1o questions I ask in the pre-chat. Most episodes are on average 35 minutes. A few are about 20 minutes, while a few have gone up to an hour or more. I let the guest “go with it” and share as much as they’d like on a particular topic.
Editing and Episode Release
After recording with guests for about 6 months, I realized in December 2020 that I had so many episodes in the queue that if I only released one episode a week, the ones I had just recorded wouldn’t be out for over 3 months. So I decided to release it bi-weekly. I have been doing the bi-weekly model off and on in the past few months (I have been mostly releasing once weekly now in the summer because I was traveling and podcast listenership in the summer tends to go down).
Guests I record with these days know to expect their episode to be released within 2 months. I always make sure I have their social media links and almost always email them the episode links (especially if they’re someone who isn’t very active on social). I have graphics outsourced by a graphic artist on fiverr, and I am thinking about outsourcing the social media podcast blasts as we approach the beginning of the school year.[scroll down to keep reading]
As of writing this blog post, my podcast has 174 episodes, and it has been live for 2 years and 2 months. There are about 17 episodes in the queue. Every year, I tweak the marketing strategy a bit to attract more downloads. I hope to achieve at least 250 downloads per episode in the near future, but am not quite there. Having guests share the episode with their network helps increase download numbers as well.
If you have recently started your own podcast or are thinking about starting one, don’t hesitate to reach out! You can find me on Twitter @danagoodier and @outoftrenchespc on Twitter and Instagram. I will be at the Teach Better Conference in October on podcaster’s row with swag and opportunities to interview if you’d like to be an upcoming guest.
About Dana Goodier
Dr. Dana Goodier has 20 years of experience in education. She has taught World Languages and English and worked as a middle school administrator. She completed her doctorate degree (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership early 2020. For her dissertation, she researched reasons parents were opting their students out of high-stakes testing at middle schools and how that affected the district accreditation rating. She often speaks at conferences, providing educators with techniques to minimize off-task behavior and to increase time on task. She is the host of the “Out of the Trenches” podcast, which features educators who share their stories of resiliency. Follow her on Twitter @danagoodier and visit her website at: www.danagoodier.com