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Gilly Smith

How to Start and Grow a Successful Podcast

Tips, techniques and true stories from podcasting pioneers

The only guide you need to build a podcast from scratch with tips, techniques and stories from the pioneers of podcasting.

From This American Life‘s Ira Glass and George the Poet to the teams behind My Dad Wrote a Porno and Table Manners with Jessie Ware, this practical book is packed full of exclusive, behind-the-scenes advice and informative, inspiring stories that will teach you how to tell the greatest stories in the world.

This is a comprehensive yet accessible and warmly written book for creatives who are striving to understand how their content could be successfully turned into a podcast, from conception through to execution, distribution, marketing and monetising. It covers:

  • Recognising who your show is for, deciding what it is about and where to find inspiration.
  • Deciding on the format and working on structure and script.
  • Hosting, casting and interview techniques.
  • Production expertise – from equipment you’ll need to editorial tips and determining the ideal length of your show.
  • Distribution – deciding on a release schedule, show art, metadata and how to distribute.
  • Growing your podcast – promotion and building community among fans.

With original material throughout, case studies from podcasters across genres and a companion podcast , How to Grow a Podfeaturing interviews with the pioneers, this is a first in guides to podcasting.

The Trailer

Summaries by AI podcasting assistant, Koseed

Episode 2: George the Poet

George The Poet is the creator and presenter of Have You Heard George’s Podcast? He talks about why he moved to BBC Sounds and why the podcast is for him, the perfect platform.

“The podcast was the answer to a lot of questions that I had for a long time”.

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Episode 3: Jessie and Lennie Ware: Table Manners

Jessie Ware and her mum, Lennie, tell me how Table Manners went from a hobby to one of the UK biggest podcasts.

“I was really obsessed with The Trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. And I thought, well, they have a really nice time. They go and chat, and they go to a really nice restaurant. Could I do something that could work around us going to a new restaurant?”.

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Episode 4: Matt Hill, co founder of the British Podcast Awards

This week I talk to Matt Hill, co-founder of the British Podcast Awards, on producing Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place, The Week Unwrapped and The Modern Mann. He tells us why you’ve got to have a format, how to think laterally about monetizing and why it helps to be a bit of a radio head. 

 “It was incredibly different, difficult to listen to podcasts on a desktop computer”.

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Episode 5: James Ramsden, The Kitchen is on Fire


This week, James Ramsden from Pidgin restaurant from The Kitchen is on Fire podcast, on not trying too hard, having a bit of a ramble with your best mate, a bit of a format and getting on to New and Noteworthy. 

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Episode 6: Jon Wilks on the Old Songs

This week, folk expert Jon Wilks of The Old Songs podcast on hobby podcasting, niche communities and meeting your heroes.

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Episode 7: Ira Glass on This American Life

This week, I’m with the legend of podcasting, the brains behind This American Life and Serial which jumpstarted podcasting in Britain, Ira Glass.  Here he gives us a masterclass in  storytelling and the immersive listening experience, and talks us through the iconic blurring of fiction and non-fiction that has made This American Life the most copied podcast narrative experience ever.  

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This week, I’m with the matriarch of British podcasting pioneers, Helen Zaltzman whose Answer Me This,  Veronica Mars Investigates and The Allusionist podcasts set the standard in home grown talent. She talks about community support, making money in podcasting and where she thinks the medium is heading.

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This week, I’m with the entire team of My Dad Wrote a Porno, surely Britian’s most famous and most unlikely success in podcasting. As Alice Levine and James Cooper listen on, their best mate, Jamie Morten writes the foreword to the book,  told me how it all began with his dad’s secret hobby.

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