Amanda’s podcasting journey
Amanda has just reached her 2nd podcast anniversary for her current show, Great Beer Adventure. However, it was nearly 3 years ago that she started looking at podcasting. She was a teacher, feeling depressed with a very long commute. Her husband recommended listening to Serial, and then one day said to her, ‘You could do this. You could make a podcast.’ Amanda says she never does anything by half so she dived full on into the deep end.
She always teaches herself how to do things before showing others that she’s working on it, so Amanda actually had a starter podcast that she published called Dear Diary. It was her talking into a microphone, learning the process of editing and uploading, but she has long since deleted it. Somebody told her early on that ‘your first podcast will die’ so the purpose of that first podcast was really just to be a practice and to kill it off once she knew what she was doing.
Wanting to go after something she felt passionate about, once she was comfortable, Amanda started Great Beer Adventure in 2015. These days, she is no longer teaching and spends her days doing podcast- and beer-related things fulltime. The podcast itself isn’t a full-time job but Amanda also does social media for a malt company, is putting together an event for beer geeks, and is helping Jessica Kupfermann with a program. Without the podcast none of that would be possible and she’s glad she’s been able to make up her own job.
Podcasting in the wild
First and foremost, Amanda makes a point to go where her people are. She calls it ‘podcasting in the wild’. The show is about people’s stories and their passions around craft beer and she’s talked to everybody in the industry, from malstsers, hops farmers, brewers and the people that clean the tap lines. She wants them to feel the most comfortable so they’ll tell her their innermost fears and joys—if she can make somebody cry, she gets excited—so she has recorded in hops fields, warehouses, breweries, tap rooms and bars. The only thing that ever gets recorded not out in the wild is the intro and outros, and occasionally a special episode via Skype.
Amanda has two set ups of equipment for this type of podcasting. If she’s recording an interview, she’ll set up her ZoomH6 with either ATR2100 or ATR2005 microphones on barrels or tabletops. Alternatively, at events, she uses a leather harness with a mic and Zoom H2N so she can do vox pop (she said popvoxing…but I think it’s supposed to be voxpop?) clips with various people at the event. The feedback from listeners is that they like this because the mics pic up both the voices and the ambiance sounds. Listeners feel like they’re at the event. Plus, in recording on location, the guests feel more comfortable so Amanda finds she is able to get past the PR jargot pretty quickly. It’s been a wonderful way to get to know people.
Despite the name of the show, the guests don’t necessarily talk about the beer that much. Amanda is also clear that the show isn’t about reviewing the beer or talking about the flavors. It’s about the stories behind the beer and the passion people bring to this industry. She’s working on having some different segments and including different voices, including working with correspondents to bring in breweries from all around the world.
The evolution of the show notes
Amanda has done a bunch of different things with the show notes. She says she has done what you’re supposed to do, what she wanted to do and then threw all of that into the fan and let I come out the otherside. Now she gives the raw audio to her editor and instead of just recapping the show, he makes the show notes into more of a story. The blog post that accompanies each episode includes his reaction to the episode. It’s a little deeper than the traditional bullet points or paragraphs people are used to.
Amanda’s goals for the show
Amanda has two main goals for the show. Firstly, she has an insatiable curiosity and wants to know how everything works, so she’s loved being able to do that. Secondly, her goal is to help people learn all that goes into their craft beer, and help new people find and learn to love craft beer. If you like coffee or wine or spirits, there are different beers out there for you.
To do all the recording on location, there is obviously a lot of travel involved. Amanda’s first step was to ‘take Maine by storm’ and at this point she feels she has done that. There are over 90 breweries in the state and although she hasn’t featured all of them, she’s covered a lot.
Engage with your audience where they are
The next step is to take on the world, which means more travel outside of Maine. Whenever she goes to events she will visit breweries and bring her microphone. Recently Amanda went to MAPCON (Mid Atlantic Podcast Conference) in Philly and on the way she visited breweries in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Similarly, she’s done some day trips to New Hampshire and also recorded in Orlando on a trip to PodFest.
Amanda also utilizes correspondents from around the world so that she can share the stories of craft beer from places she can’t travel herself. She encourages people to talk to their local brewers and the people in the tap rooms, to get to know them and submit a 7 – 10 minute piece of audio.
That’s also her advice to other podcasters: find ways to engage with your audience where they are physically located. Think about how you can actually get out there and get out of your own comfort zone!
Find out more from Amanda:
You can follow Amanda on Instagram @greatbeeradventure or find out more on the website, www.GreatBeerAdventure.com