5 tips for making narrative podcasts | Tech Help for Churches

5 tips for making narrative podcasts

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On today’s Tech Help for Churches, 5 tips for making narrative podcasts

Maybe you’ve heard of the popular podcasts “Serial” and “Startup”. Unlike most podcasts before them, they’re part of a different genre. Like NPR, they’re highly produced and use interviews, natural sound, and a voice over from the reporter to tell the story, but how can your church replicate this type of podcast? Here are 5 tips.

1. They’re a lot of work. Unlike sermon or talking head podcasts which may require very little editing, a narrative podcast will have interviews, voice overs, natural sound / b-roll, and other elements that need to be cut down to a coherent story. This isn’t a fast process, so don’t expect it to be.

2. Go to record with a story in mind. People will talk about whatever you ask them about, so don’t go to record your interviews hoping that a story will develop. It might, but it’s possible it won’t either. Plan to ask questions to lead to information to develop that story.

3. Record a lot of nat. sound / b-roll. It’s better to have too much material to give the feeling of the place than to be editing later and wish you had something else. As such, record more sound and video (if you’re doing a video podcast) than you need in order to get everything that you need.

4. Be open to other stories. When you’re asking questions in your interview, be open to more interesting stories. It could be that you’re planning on telling one, but a better one surfaces. Be open to that if it fits the podcast.

5. Don’t make snippets too long or too short. While your goal should always be to “leave the audience wanting more,” you can over do this in editing. Cutting a long interview down to one or two words may be doing just that. Maybe that’s all you can use, but if there’s a sentence that will work instead, consider using that. On the other side, don’t use a 5-minute snippet with the interviewee saying the same thing over and over and over again. Try and balance out your pieces to make the most interesting story.

So, now it’s your turn. Is your church planning on making a narrative podcast, what tips have you found helpful? Answer in the comments below:

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Paul Alan Clifford, M.Div.

Paul Alan Clifford, M.Div. has been a tech volunteer with Quest Community Church in Lexington, KY since 2000 and is the founder of TrinityDigitalMedia.com, llc. He became part of the technology in ministry team when his church’s attendance was around 200 in one Sunday service and has witnessed it’s growth to 5,200 average weekly attendance in one Saturday service, four Sunday services in one online and two physical campuses. He literally wrote the book on podcasting in churches, twitter in churches, & servant-hearted volunteering, as well as writing various articles for publications like “Church Production” and “Technologies for Worship” magazines.