What to say and what not to say in your podcast!

Hurrah I'm talking talking this week. Shouldn't be difficult...

But I wanted to chat about what you should and shouldn't be saying on your podcast. This ranges from the language you use and also some of the legal issues you may come across.

Now I am NOT a qualified solicitor so none of what I say should be counted as legal advice. But I do have fairly decent working knowledge so I can at least point out the red flags you should be looking for to make you think twice and seek actual proper legal advice.

But away from the slightly scary stuff let's start with the easy bit - the subject you are talking about.

I am going to assume what you want to talk about is your passion. And the great thing about passions is you know so much about it and you love it.

But you need to pause a moment and remember who you are talking to.

Is everybody listening to you on the same page as you? Do you need to go back a few steps. My husband loves telling me stories about what he does but he never takes me back to page 1, he's always on page 3 or 4. I have to ask him to take steps back. He's not doing it on purpose, he's just so swept up by it he forgets he's further along than I am in the narrative!

Think about language. Most industries have their own shorthand and terms that are flung about willy nilly. If you're talking in a secret code that only you are you peers understand are you serving your audience? It might be that you are talking just to your peer group who know exactly what all your acronyms mean. But if you're trying to bring in new people don't exclude them by talking to all intents and purposes a foreign language. You're creating a community, nothing makes you feel like an outsider more than not understanding what's going on or being said!

This week I've been editing a podcast for a client which talks about the Spine Race along the Pennine Way. I know lots about this race but vast majority of people won't. So I am consciously making sure I don't over edit

What about personal stories? Should you include them especially if your podcast is FOR BUSINESS

There's a really quick answer here. Yes.

You should totally throw in bits about your life and your stories. Be honest a peak behind the curtains to the "real life" of people is irresistible. It's why I spend hours on Facebook - I want to know what's going on.

What I would say is make it relevant to what you're talking about. That just takes a bit of thinking to connect some dots. I carry a notebook around with me to things that happen to me down because I know I can make a story out of them for the podcast or my other content.

Sharing your "real" life is where you'll build those relationships. People buy from people and all that. Equally you'll get people deciding that they don't want to work with you. They'll give you their "no" before making that phone call for your free 30 minute consultation. Perfect.

How personal you go is entirely up to you. Just remember it's really hard to delete something that has been unleashed from the internet. Screen recordings are out of your control even if you can delete your episode and social posts!

Equally remember by sharing stuff you are allowing yourself to be seen as a real person. So hopefully you're listening to me Charlotte, not me Charlotte Foster Podcasts, because I share loads about me. And hopefully it means you feel as though you know me and trust me, heck you might even like me! You relate to me!

When I was presenting on radio I went to Presenter School. It was in Leicester because radio is that glamorous (soz Leicester). And when I was there we were asked to draw up a list of all the things we were happy talking about and all the things we weren't.

There's not a lot on the not happy side.

1 - my husband's name and identity (protect the innocent and all that)

2- a few experiences I'd been through.

Which means over the years I've talked about caring for my dad and nan as a teenager, my experience of workplace bullying and the forums dedicated to me being "the worst newsreader EVER" (I'm not), the struggles I've had with mental health, the struggles I've had with my weight, the grief I've experienced from losing friends to cancer and suicide over the past two years.

And of course my latest drama moving house in a pandemic.

As well as my sidekick Executive Producer Buddy the cat!

But believe me there's bits of me you don't know and it helps in the long run to have a few things you keep for you and your family and friends.

I say I share 80% of me but you get that 80% at 100%

That spare 20% of me is for people I love. And it protects me from taking criticism personally because it can't be about me as a person because you only know 80% me. You can't criticise something you don't know 100%!

Can you be funny?

Well obviously I am hilarious. So I am going to say yes be funny.

But be you. If you would naturally make a joke make a joke. If you wouldn't then don't.

Don't force funny if it's not what you'd do. And if you're as funny as I am and you make yourself laugh - laugh. The most important thing is to be authentic to yourself. If you're slightly sarcastic, self depreciating or like to tell people you're funny (when the evidence backing you up is questionable!) then go for it.

What about swearing?

F*ck yeah go for it. You're not going to get in trouble in the sense that you'll get fined or told off by a watchdog.

But only if it's what you do elsewhere in your content and you think or indeed know that's what your audience expects from you. Now note I said your audience, not my audience, not Gary Vee's audience, yours.

I personally enjoy a well used swear word, but 20 years of radio means I can't bring myself to swear in my podcast. Or on social media (unless in extreme moments).

However a very good friend of mine hates all swearing at all levels. I remember she said one of the mildest swears on the planet and the room went silent in shock! But I won't swear in front of her because I know it upsets her. So here I know my audience. You know yours and yes swearing is divisive but getting it right means you'll be talking the same language as your audience and they will love you for it.

But this is very important - do make sure your podcast is marked explicit or expect trouble from Apple if you get complaints from listeners.

I really like a book, poem, song lyrics, essay, newspaper article. Can I read it out?

No. Don't.

You'll hear people talk about fair dealing and being able to use X amount of copyrighted stuff for podcasts as long as you credit the author etc.

Ignore these people because it's not that simple unfortunately. This is because your podcast is heard globally. All those rights need to be cleared or have applicable fair dealing agreements in each country. And forgive me for the sweeping assumption but I'm fairly certain you haven't got time to do make sure you hit all the right people. It's not worth the risk of legal action.

The good news is you can summarise or tell the story in your own words. So if I was talking about productivity and wanted to share with you the great email inbox hack that's spoken about in "The Productivity Ninja" By Graham Allcock - then I could. I could explain that you replace your inbox folders with 3 folders.




you put the emails that need a response that takes longer than 30 seconds in Action, the emails you want to read and peruse in Read and the emails that you've actioned but are waiting for a response from somebody else in Waiting.

Because I've given you my version while telling you where I got the information from and fully admitting it's not mine you are absolutely fine. If I'd just read the pages out it would be infringing copyright. (And not as good a listen).

Always credit the title and author of the book and be nice and put a link to buy it in your show notes (amazon affiliate link if you're feeling super snazzy).

Legal bits

There some really important things that you don't talk about on your podcast. But before I go any further I need to tell you again that I am not a solicitor and this does not constitute legal advice. You should 100 percent get advice from somebody who is qualified in this sort of thing.

My knowledge comes from working in the broadcast industry - where I always had access to somebody more qualified than me on particularly tricky calls and decisions and I would ring the duty lawyer in a heartbeat if I had concerns.

But in very general terms here's what you need to stay well clear from.

DON'T discuss or speculate on active criminal investigations - that's from arrest until trial. In particular naming suspects and naming victims if they've not been named. Debating whether you think somebody is guilty or not or speculating on what happened.

You risk not only being charged with contempt of court yourself but you could prevent any trial from taking place at all.

DON'T tell lies or spread rumours about somebody or their business. Even if you don't name them directly. In fact not naming them directly can be worse because others (who you're not talking about) could claim you are talking about them because you've been vague and they fit the vague description you've given. Let's say you're accusing a shop on the high street of deliberately short changing customers every single transaction.

If you said "well I'm not going to say which shop it is on the High Street but there's only 3 shops on the high street that accept cash then you are pin pointing out those three for suspicion. And all three could sue you for defamation. Ouch.

You are allowed to be critical of others (for example restaurant critics, theatre critics, reviewing a service) but it has to be your honestly held opinion. You can't be critical of somebody because they got a job you'd applied for once and you're getting your revenge.

Your podcast is not an advert

Yes you are using your podcast to sell, but it is not a 10, 15, 20 minute long sales pitch. If you are asking your listeners for their time you've got to reward them with some value.

Pop a call to action in your podcast somewhere. Whether thats getting listener to sign up to your email list, join your facebook group or buy something from you.

Your podcast is for an audience of one. (at a time)

I know I say this all the time but this is important. Podcast listening is done by people listening on their own. Quite often in the car or with headphones on so treat it as a one to one conversation.

It's you and them talking in the same way it's you and me talking now.

There's lots of little things that you can do to really focus on this, but for starters just talk to one person and say "you". You'll notice I'll address you as you. This is so you know I am talking to you.

And hopefully you'll take action because you recognise it's me talking to you.

Now FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS PODCASTING please do not start your episodes "hello everybody". Every time I hear that I look around and go "no I'm on my own".

It riles me and makes me angry and most importantly it distracts me from listening to you. Just say "hello"

While we're on the phrases that don't pay here's a few more 'All my lovely listeners" "all of you", "so listeners this is what we'll be talking about today.."

I hope you're getting the picture. Just talk to ME. Please.

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