Last year during the World Cup, I got a WhatsApp from one of my best friends, Sarah Batters, simply asking:
“Do you think next season we should do a fantasy fooball podcast (lol)”
Without even thinking about it, I replied: “Yessss, great idea.“
We’d both been playing fantasy football for nearly a decade, are avid football fans (Sarah supports Man City and I’m a season ticket holder at White Hart Lane – that’s where Tottenham Hotspur play for those who don’t know…) and we love podcasts. So a natural fit right?
Except we had no idea what we were doing. And yet within 2 weeks, we went live with our podcast aptly named “Fantasy Football Wives” and our first episode, all 22 minutes of it, could be listened to on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and other various channels, complete with website http://fantasyfootballwives.com/ and social media handles.
27 episodes later, we have nearly 1000 followers on Twitter, some very loyal fans, have featured in Grazia as a “Top of the Pods” recommendation and have learnt a lot.
So as we prepare for Season 2 of the podcast and I am building my fantasy football team complete with 3 players from Tottenham that will definitely see me beat Sarah this season, I thought I’d share the 4 things I learnt from launching a podcast and hoping this will encourage anyone who is thinking about starting one to take the plunge and do one too.
- “Just get on with it”. As already mentioned, we had no idea what we were doing, and despite being very enthusiastic, there were a ton of barriers to overcome like how do you actually record a podcast, will people listen to us, what if we suck? We pitched the idea to my dad, who is cynical at the best of times, and he just said: “Just get on with it girls”. So Sarah being an expert at all things digital, quickly taught herself how to record and edit our podcast recordings (we live in two different countries), found and bought a jingle, and launched a website and all social media channels. I found us a name and worked on the format of the show and content whilst listening to other podcasts for ideas. Even though it felt daunting, we ultimately had nothing to lose and just getting on with it helped us to record that first episode and go live during the World Cup.
Tip: If you’re doing the podcast with another person, divide and conquer the tasks based on your strengths. Listen to other similar podcasts and write down what you like about them and how you can incorporate similar features into your own.
- We aren’t Gary Linneker and Danny Murphy. From Day 1, we asked anyone and everyone to listen to the podcast and tell us what they liked and didn’t like. It became clear early on that people were not listening to us for our expertise on the actual Fantasy Football game (we both finished in the top 10% but are far from gurus) but we’re still very opinionated and passionate so we needed to incorporate that in a genuine and relevant way. Listeners also needed and wanted consistency and structure, which led us to setting a format for each episode and having regular segments such as “Good Week Bad Week” and the very popular “Fun Fact”. We also realised that it was good to break up the episode every now and again by having a third person on and introduced a guest segment, which involved anyone from my family to other fantasy football podcast content providers and has provided some of my favourite moments on the show so far.
Tip: Continuously ask for feedback. Ask your friends, family, and followers to let you know what they like and don’t like and keep adapting until you get the right balance. Also, don’t be shy to ask listeners to rate and review the podcast as this helps you get a better position on iTunes.
- Know when to blow the whistle. Preparing and recording a podcast is actually a lot of work. I probably spend 3-4 hours every week reading, watching, listening and researching football and fantasy football, as well as responding to followers on Twitter preparing for each episode. We originally wanted to record once a week in line with the Premier League fixtures but I just couldn’t keep up in terms of delivering good content and maintaining high energy and was beginning to feel stressed about recording each week. It can also take Sarah hours to edit recordings and given we both have full-time jobs and children, something had to give. So we moved to a bi-weekly podcast and haven’t looked back since. It’s better for us and our listeners to record really good content every fortnight instead of something average every week.
Tip: If you find that you are getting anxious about recording or the energy doesn’t seem right, take a step back and work out what’s causing the upset and how you can resolve this. It’s more important for you and your listeners that you create something you enjoy vs sticking to a schedule.
- Find your squad. I rediscovered Twitter thanks to the podcast and have absolutely fallen in love with it. There is an entire community of fantasy football managers (#FPLCommunity), sharing advice, swapping their thoughts and overall giving you encouragement, whether that be on your potential team for a double gameweek or our latest episode. On many occasions, we have kept bringing out new episodes purely thanks to the amazing support from our followers. We have got to know some lovely people from all over the world and even had a number of them as guests on the show. And most importantly, witnessed incredible acts of kindness such as donations to the Stroke Association when one of the Fantasy Football pundits suffered a stroke earlier this year or generously offering an FPL Manager a place to go on holiday for free with her son and husband who is sadly battling cancer. Getting to know the #FPLCommunity has in fact been the most fulfilling part of doing the podcast and am really looking forward to reconnecting with everyone over which budget defender to get in for the week ahead and much more.
Tip: Build a community by engaging with listeners on social media and weaving their questions and thoughts into your podcast.
Above all, enjoy what you’re doing and don’t fall out with your co-host! I am lucky to have the best co-host in the world, and even though we have had the odd disagreement (anyone listen to the post Champions League semi-final recording – Episode 25), we’ve always resolved it quickly and “just got on with it” as we love doing the show and we don’t have time for arguments unless it’s to do with fantasy football.
So what are you waiting for? Swallow all those “what if’s, hows and buts” and start that podcast now!
And for those who fancy going up against Sarah and I in fantasy football this season, do your team, join our league (code is wyn1im) and tune in every second Thursday for our take on football, fantasy football and everything in between.
See you behind the goal.