What’s it like to make a podcast? The Skills and Education Group’s perspective

This week we are pleased to add a guest blog from one of our clients – the Skills and Education Group – who discuss what they have learned from creating a podcast and how it has been to work with the Research Podcasts team.

You can read the original blog from Senior Brand Officer Tom Hughes on their website here.

The team behind Let’s Go Further – a podcast from the Skills and Education Group produced by Research Podcasts

Over the last 18 months, the Skills and Education Group have been working with Research Podcasts to produce the Let’s Go Further podcast, which aims to challenge the way we think about skills and education.

Following the conclusion of Series 2, the podcast team have been reflecting on what they learned through working on Let’s Go Further. In this blog post, Tom Hughes, Senior Brand Officer, shares insights into the team’s work and what they have gained through this experience.

Making a podcast is easier than you think – but having access to experts really helps

It was as recently as January 2022 when Research Podcasts first visited the Skills and Education Group to deliver an initial training session on all things podcasting.

Fast forward 18 months, and the team have delivered two successful series of Let’s Go Further.

At that first training session, the idea of creating a new podcast from scratch, with zero prior experience, was a little daunting. However, we quickly learned that with decent equipment, a good idea, and the required training, anything is possible.

We began with a desire to tell the stories that matter in further education. The podcast has evolved since Series 1, which focused on how the sector transforms lives, as we switched our focus to equity, diversity and inclusion in Series 2. Looking ahead, we have exciting plans for Series 3 and will continue to challenge the way people think about skills and education.

Research Podcasts have been an absolute pleasure to work with. Chris, Cath and Krissie bring experience and expertise in several different fields, and they really feel like part of the team.

Scott Forbes, Chief Operating Officer (Development and Delivery) and Commissioning Editor for Let’s Go Further

The Skills and Education Group’s reputation in the further education and skills sector has helped us attract significant guests to join us on Let’s Go Further. From Jaz Ampaw-Farr and Alun Francis OBE in Series 1 to Jake and Hannah Graf MBE and Jess Phillips MP in Series 2, we have spoken to key figures from inside and outside the education sector.

The Research Podcasts team has made the process of making a podcast so much easier. Their expertise and training in areas such as presenting, editing, and marketing have been invaluable, and Let’s Go Further could not have become a reality without them.

I was a little wary of (although excited by) the challenge of discussing different ideas and experiences with highly qualified and passionately committed guests in each episode. However, Research Podcasts provided excellent support in the whole process from pre-production, through production and on to release and marketing.

I was especially grateful for the help I’ve received in getting ready to present, ranging from support with researching and framing questions all the way through to little tips and tricks on how to give the best performance.

Joe Mcloughlin, Foundation and External Affairs Manager and Let’s Go Further Presenter

Playing to our strengths reaps rewards

Within the Communications team at the Skills and Education Group, we have different skills and strengths, and working on Let’s Go Further has been a great way to put them into practice.

I have been able to use my copywriting and copyediting skills in new ways. Throughout both series, I have been responsible for finalising the transcripts that complement each episode. I also write the episode descriptions, and it is rewarding to see my writing on major platforms such as Spotify.

My colleagues have also been able to use their strengths through working on Let’s Go Further. Our Brand Officers, Mariama and Katie, have used their design skills to create marketing collateral such as social media graphics, trailers, and mailshots. Mariama also leads on reporting podcast and social media analytics to the wider team.

I enjoy the challenge of trying to grow the podcast and reach new listeners. Working within the team, I have learned the importance of effective communication, collaboration and adaptability to change.

Mariama Dibba Manka, Brand Officer

It’s been great to see Let’s Go Further grow from an idea to a real-life podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts

Katie Dane, Brand Officer

Additionally, Aneka, Head of Brands, uses her organisational skills to support the workload planning within the team, and has also taken on the challenge of audio editing.

What I’ve learned from this whole experience is – SAVE your work continuously. Losing a whole day’s work is not fun! On a serious note, the detail that goes into editing and the time it takes to get a good and listenable episode cannot be underestimated. Plan your time and clear your diary to really focus on the message you’re trying to get across.

Aneka Cann, Head of Brands

Podcast technology is highly intelligent

Working on Let’s Go Further has given our team the opportunity to use new tools and software.

For me, Otter.ai has been essential for producing the transcripts. All I have to do is upload an episode audio file and Otter will then generate the transcript for me. To say that Otter is intelligent would be an understatement; though some editing is required, it is impressive how accurate each transcript is.

We also use Libsyn to host the episodes online. Libsyn connects to major platforms such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts and even YouTube. Therefore, once the podcast and related content is finalised, all we have to do is upload it to Libsyn and schedule it to be published at our chosen time. The finished podcast episode will then go live on all major podcast platforms simultaneously.

Other tools we use include Headliner, for creating trailers, and Audacity, for editing audio. With all this technology to hand, producing and promoting the podcast is much easier.

If you’re interested in creating your own podcast, but need support on getting started, Research Podcasts can help. 

Visit their website to learn more about their work and to get in touch.

The Let’s Go Further team have done a remarkable job of planning, producing, recording, presenting, publishing and promoting the Let’s Go Further Podcast. It’s been an absolute privilege to support them with getting it off the ground. It’s tremendously exciting now to be working with them on a third series!

Chris Garrington, Managing Director and Owner of Research Podcasts and Executive Editor for Let’s Go Further

Have you listened to Let’s Go Further?

Series 2 of Let’s Go Further recently concluded. You can find all episodes on our website or any major podcast platform and read our summary of the series.

Series 3 is just around the corner. Follow our social media channels to be the first to hear about all things Let’s Go Further. You can find us on Twitter @SkillsEduGroup or on LinkedIn.

Listen back to Series 1 and Series 2 of Let’s Go Further.

Let’s Go Further together!

It is a pleasure to work with team at the Skills and Education Group and it is a fantastic example of what can be achieved with our mentoring programme.

If you are interested in our production services contact our Managing Director, Chris Garrington, for more information at Chris@researchpodcasts.co.uk.

Research Podcasts offer podcast consultancy, production and training for researchers and academics. Check out our various training workshops including an introduction to podcasting workshophow to launch your podcast and our more advanced courses on podcast presentingpodcast editing, and how to build a podcast brand

Krissie Brighty-Glover, Director of Training at Research Podcasts