Ladies Wot Blog
After thoughts and learnings…

I did an AudioBoo with Carrie Walton when we arrived at Cybher but admit that nerves got the better of me and I didn’t do any more throughout the day. I so should have! Time was limited but I could have snuck a few in and that’s totally down to confidence in interviewing for live audio. I need to shake off the print mentality that no one need ever know if I ask a stupid question. You’re kind of exposed on live audio!

In terms of learning though, I’ve picked up some useful tips for recording audio thanks to the session by the girls (and very clever audio bloggers) from The High Tea Cast. They advised that using Skype to record interviews works really well but that Call Recorder (what I chose to use) isn’t very good. My audio has come out a tad tinny so is there a better option?

Yes, say the HTC girls. Recordng Skype interviews via Quicktime works a treat they say, so I need to try it. Having said that though, I wasn’t terribly disappointed with the audio quality (low standards perhaps!?) but having just read this post and checked my own Call Recorder settings, I’ve discovered my audio quality was set to medium not high. Doh!

My content will sit on a Wordpress site but my audio will need to live somewhere else as Wordpress cannot host. So, AudioBoo is an option (and may well sneak in) but my podcasts will sit on SoundCloud. From here I’m able to add an image, description, tags and links and customise the audio player (pink bits to match the girly pinkness of my site) before adding to my website. I’ve also been able to make the audio private and only accessible to me and my interviewees so they can have a listen before I go live with it. Handy!

With four interviews down, I have just one to go. Peggy Poyser, a mummy blogger, is next on my list. Looking forward to our Skype chat next week.

The photo that peaked Violet’s interest and started her niche hobby… it’s all about the eyes.

Violet’s ‘favourite’ and most heartbreaking photo on The Skull Illusion…

Adding links to my interviews…

Anything that starts with coffee and pastries gets my vote…

I’ve been dipping into tutorials like these of late. After tinkering with Audacity I’ve decided I’ll use Final Cut Express to edit my podcasts. This is for a few reasons - 1) I’m not in love with Audacity. 2) I have (very) basic knowledge of Final Cut already and use it on an ad hoc basis at work and if I am ever to become proficient in it, I’ll need to get on and use it regularly. 3) You can edit audio and video with Final Cut so if/when I need to edit videos I’ll be equipped with the right software to do it.

My strategy has tentacles

I was chatting with Christian Payne, AKA Documentally, on Friday about his unplanned approach to storytelling. For the most part, Christian asks questions on the fly, teasing out a story as the interview (audio is his thang, but sometimes it’s video) unfolds. I want to try and use Christian’s approach with my project.

In my last project, based on communities of practice, I was told repeatedly that it’s best not to pre-interview someone and risk using up all their best quotes before you get to press record on the video or audio recorder. So how can you prepare if you’re not 100 per cent what the story is? And how can you get the story before you’ve spoken with the subject of that story? See my problem?

Luckily for me, my subjects are all bloggers so some of their story is laid bare on the web. But there are loads of unanswered questions and I won’t know what the answers are until I press record and start throwing out questions. Obviously, editing will help tell the story - whatever it may be - more coherantly, but what I also don’t know is how these bloggers will ‘perform’ when I’m recording. In past epxeriences, I’ve spoken with people who have great stories but they clam up when you start recording.

So my interviews will be more like an informal chat, with limited preparation beforehand. Christian says the difference between needing to plan for an interview, or not, is an interested interviewer. If the person asking the questions is interested in the subject, there’s no need to plan, he says. And if they’re not interested, then they’ll need a list of questions in front of them to get the best out of their interviewee.

That’s the first battle won, I’m interested. The second battle will be to tease out those stories in an engaging way so, when I edit out my own voice, they’ll stand alone and make some kind of impact.

And that’s when the 'tentacle media' approach comes into play, a phrase coined by Christian. He suggests using a combination of media - images, text, audio and video - to best engage your audience, with all the individual elements (the tentacles) linking back to one main blog post (the body).

The phrase ‘tenticle media’ describes positioning your content so your audience - even if they only stop by for a moment - leave with some grasp of the story you’re trying to tell.

So, start with an image to set the scene and a few words to explain what your story is about. Then include the audio, followed by more text which the visitor to your site can scan while listening. And even if they don’t listen to the audio they’ll get the crux of the story from the text. And video, if you choose to use this as well, sits down the bottom of the page as an added bonus. 

Say the image is hosted on Flickr, the audio on AudioBoo and the video on YouTube, all of these individual elements of the story should join together in one blog post. And those individual elements should all link back to that blog post. And tenticle media is born!

So that’s my strategy, to produce a quality podcast series enhanced by images, text, links and maybe even video.

Huge thanks to Christian for chatting to me!

Picture credit: Todd Anderson via Flickr