We want to intro you to the creative minds behind Podcast Goals– a comedy podcast aimed at crushing millennial misconceptions through anecdotes, stories and interesting guests! Amy Durrant and Sophie Moran’s podcast has garnered them quite the following in the podcast world and the awesome duo have been featured in both The Guardian and Grazia, whilst being hailed as the next Mel and Sue of comedy double acts * through a snapchat filter. But just how easy is it to start a podcast? How much planning should you be taking into consideration? Where do you even launch it once it’s ‘done’? Amy and Sophie will share this all in their Twenty Mile Club interview- so for all those wishing they’d get started on creating something great, be inspired to take action today and not ‘tomorrow’.
Sophie Moran and Amy Durrant
Age at time of interview
Sophie – 26
Amy – 26
London via Essex and Scotland
Amy is an Associate Creative Director in creative technology and Sophie is a Communications Manager
If you went to university was it a clear-cut path what you were going to do afterwards?
S – I went to university and studied Film and Media, so my degree definitely relates to what I’m doing but I wouldn’t say it was a clear-cut path. I wanted to work in TV, but I didn’t really know what job titles were in reality. I did a lot of unpaid internships to get my foot in the door and eventually got offered a job whilst working in BBC Scotland. I naturally began freelancing, working on lots of different projects, which was actually great as it allowed me to work on lots of different projects and meet lots of interesting people along the way (Amy included!).
A – I always wanted to be a hardcore, report the news journalist. My five year plan from school was to write for The Times. So, I went to Uni and studied journalism. My clear cut path worked out for a couple of years. I became a music journalist, then a design and fashion journalist and then it fell apart when I decided that I absolutely didn’t want to be a journalist! From there, I used the skills I’d acquired during my degree and journalism life to carve out a different path going down the creative route – which is how I met Sophie. And happily, from my journalism days, I can still edit audio (which comes in pretty handy when you have a podcast!)
What is Podcast Goals and when did you launch?
S – Podcast Goals is a comedy podcast aimed at crushing millennial misconceptions through anecdotes, stories and interesting guests. Millennials have a reputation for spending all their money on avocado on toast, not leaving any spare cash to buy a house, so we thought we’d use the podcast to laugh at the ridiculousness of our generation and ourselves. From tinder horror stories and debating things like splitting the bill when you just had a tap water, to discussing the importance of STI tests, we aim to discuss anything and everything that touches the life of a twenty something.
We launched the show in April last year, but were working on it for a good 7 months before we put anything out to the world.
How did the idea for Podcast Goals come about?
S – Amy and I met working together and got on really well. We both had a desire to create our own thing and had different skills to create some sort of output – we originally talked about YouTube as a platform, but podcasting felt more us. At that time, Amy was on the dating apps and would always have ridiculous stories to tell that would have me in stitches. I’ve never been on a dating app in my life, so felt we could give different perspectives on millennial life on a podcast.
A – When Sophie and I worked together, people had always said that we had good “banter” – to use a millennial buzzword. We just enjoyed chatting. And I used to go on HORRENDOUS dates from Tinder. As in the kind of dates where you just want to shrink into your chair. We recorded our first episode as a way to laugh about this and we went from there, aiming for our audience to feel like the third person round the table at a cafe with us. And we’ve never stopped talking.
How did you go about setting up your podcast?
A – When we started, we recorded straight off my Macbook in the least soundproofed room ever. Which was a nightmare. From there, we looked into inexpensive ways to record a podcast that would sound at least kind of decent. I looked into getting some Samson USB mics that could hook straight up to Garageband and we recorded from there. But there was more to think about – like, what were we going to do about a jingle? After traipsing the internet, we found one that fit on Audio Network and got a Creator’s + license to use it on our podcast.
But the main thing about setting up a podcast, is where to record. We trialed a variety of different locations – like our flats, then recording studios and once on the floor of an office block in Canary Wharf. But so long as you’re not somewhere with a terrible echo, lots of noise and you have plenty of cushions around to dampen the noise, just record where feels comfortable to you.
S- We did a lot of brainstorming sessions to decide on the name of the podcast and then we focussed on a logo design, which Amy did for us. Once we had recorded what we knew was our first episode,we reached out to Acast to tell them about our show and see whether they would be interested in being our platform provider. Amy amazingly moved into a flat below me, which made recording way easier. I would just pop downstairs with snacks and some anecdotes up my sleeve and she would have the mics all set up in her bedroom ready to go.
What things weren’t you aware of that you now know are crucial to the success of your podcast now?
S – Securing social media handles and having enough images to promote the show. Once we had decided on the name of our show we immediately set up our social channels so that we had the @podcastgoals handles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’m so glad we did that! We did a photoshoot (which I was really uncomfortable doing!), but I’m so glad we did as it meant we had professional looking images to post on social media, and the first thing that press asked us for were high res images as well.
How long do you spend on editing?
A- When editing an episode, the general rule is that you double the time it took to record and then that’s the time it’ll take to edit. However, I’m a real perfectionist and I spend way too much editing. To edit a 40-minute episode down and cut out all the ‘ummms’ and ‘ahhs’, making sure the sound is balanced out, it can take me a couple of hours or so. But for the shorter 25-minute bursts and when it’s just Sophie and I, it takes me much less time to edit. We’ve been doing it over a year now and have developed a real shorthand with each other. So even when we record, we speak like we’ve already been edited down. It makes hanging out together very weird.
What successes have you had as a result of Podcast Goals?
S – We’ve met some really cool people and been involved in some exciting events. At the beginning of the year we were invited to 10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister’s Business Advisor – that was pretty surreal. We also featured in the Guardian two days after we launched and in the article they likened us to Mel and Sue through a snapchat filter which was hilarious and very flattering! That was a big win for us and helped us grow our listeners.
A- I mean, people keep recognising me on the tube – does that count?! Alongside all the incredible opportunities we’ve had and being featured in Grazia magazine’s Top of the Pods list, people stop me in coffee shops and bizarre places like outside Boots to say things like “Congratulations on your new relationship”, or “Sally Phillips would also be my dinner guest”. I think it’s the hair – it’s pretty hard to miss.
How much planning do you have to do each week in the lead up to your podcast?
S – Ahead of recording we don’t actually do a lot of preparation beyond picking a theme to discuss, unless we have a guest on. In the early days of the podcast we used to try and script what we wanted to cover but it made things unnatural. Now we just chat away like we would if we were down the pub!
Do you run your podcast alongside full time employment?
S- Yes, we both have full-time jobs – the podcast is our side hustle. My work are aware and are really nice about it. I think it helps that we work in creative industries.
A-It absolutely helps that we both work in a creative space. Podcast is a real passion for us both but we both work a full time job during the day. My work love the podcast and are super supportive. I have people come up to me round the office and chat about the episodes. Even if it’s about Sex Goals…
Have you made any mistakes along the way?
S- I’d say we’ve learnt a lot along the way that’s meant we’ve avoided making big mistakes! We’ve recorded a lot of episodes that will never see the light of day. For example, in the early days we recorded an episode whilst drinking a lot of wine and scrolling through Bumble, narrating the process – who knew that wouldn’t make compelling listening?!
We also tried recording in hired studios as it can be tough recording at home when flatmates are around and you need quiet space, but studios can be expensive. We learnt the hard way that the ones which aren’t as much money cost that much for a reason! We used one that was in a shared building and security locked up before we had finished recording an episode meaning we got locked in. We ended up having to jump the fence to get out- it must have looked so dodgy!
How do you market yourselves?
A-We try to be fun, honest and relatable to young people. Our podcast brand is essentially just us – so we share content on our social that we like and think our audience will too. We’re very transparent about who we are and our fans appreciate that. That’s the best kind of marketing.
What advice would you give others who would like to set up a podcast?
S- Give yourself time – don’t just record one episode and then make it available to people. We learnt so much in the months between having an idea to building it into something. We made sure we had a bank of episodes ready to go when we launched so that we could release episodes weekly. Podcasts are an intimate outlet so don’t rush it just get something out there as people will switch off.
A- Think about what it is you want to communicate with your podcast. Podcasting is so much fun but it can also be hard work if you put the time in. But don’t be afraid to push it and be really brave about what you want to chat about. Your audience will appreciate your honesty. And if you experience set backs, like getting locked in a studio or realising that your audio is completely unusable from an episode, don’t worry. You can always delete the episode and try again! You’re in control.
What platforms should we be using to promote a podcast if we were to set one up and is it free?
S-Well, it depends who your audience is. Our best platform for promoting episodes is Instagram as that’s where most millennials are, but we also promote it across Twitter and Facebook too.
Do you have mentors?
S- I don’t have an ‘official’ mentor, but I definitely have people that I look up to and have learnt from throughout my career.
A-As well as a variety of people I’ve met during my time in the industry, Sophie’s my mentor. We look to each other for support and push each other forward. Sometimes the best mentors are the ones you work with.
S- Aww, thanks. I am a wonderful mentor to be fair.
Who do you seek out for support and advice (if not a mentor)?
S- When it comes to the podcast we’re always asking friends and family for feedback and advice.
A-Yeah I’m constantly asking my mates and girlfriend for feedback. And any new listeners who we speak to. In our first season, we used to do these ‘Five Minute Fix’ episodes – but people weren’t super keen on them, as they wanted longer content to get into to. So we listened, switched up our style and took the advice on board.
What do you think, is the best thing about running a podcast?
S- Hanging out with my best mate, chatting all kinds of nonsense, and bringing hundreds of listeners along the way with us. We had no idea how successful this would be when we launched and it’s been so much more than I ever expected. I think we’ve got more ballsy along the way.
A- The snacks. You wouldn’t believe how many different snacks we get through when we record. But no seriously, getting the opportunity to reach thousands of new people all around the world, who you’d ordinarily never interact with is incredible. And of course having even more reasons to chill out with Sophie and talk about ridiculous things that have happened to us.
What is the worst thing?
A- I love podcasting but editing can be a nightmare. Particularly if you just keep recording and by the time you’re into almost 2 hours and you’re aiming to get it down to a 40 minute episode, it can take a bit of time. But I can’t really complain – it’s a laughto do and it’s fun listening back once it’s recorded. And I’m all about a good jingle, so that’s an editing bonus.
Is there anything along the way that you wish you had done differently?
A-No – we learnt from anything we thought was a mistake and it helped the direction of our podcast. The most important thing is just to try new things and experiment with your style. If you’re not shifting and moving forwards then you’re standing still. So make mistakes – they’re great.
What’s a typical day for you working on Podcast Goals?
A-Lots of laughs, guests, snacks and the occasional bottle of wine. But there’s no typical day – every episode is different.
S- We really do laugh a lot. Quite hysterically.
What do you think is next for Podcast Goals in the next year?
A-We have no expectations for what comes next. Podcast Goals is an amazing ride and we just love being on it. We’ll see what happens!
What’s the dream?
S– If radio 1 ever want us to cover a shift then that would be a DREAM. Our own office with a sausage dog running around would also be lovely.
A-Or maybe two sausage dogs. They could be mates and start their own #DogcastGoals.
Just for fun…
In your twenties the three things I tend to think about are…
S -Money – I’m terrible at saving, I cannot relate to those people who say ‘I’ll just dip in to my savings’ – you lucky thing. Food – because I’m obsessed and love eating, and I actually think about the podcast quite a lot!
A –Plants for my flat – I try to look after them and I really want to brighten up the place, but it’s a constant battle to keep them happy. How I’m in my twenties – I spend too much time saying “Oh my god, how am I 26 already!?” And definitely podcast – having a space dedicated to twenty-something life means you think about it a lot!
When I look at my bank statement after a night out I usually…
S- Close my eyes. I generally avoid checking my bank balance after a night out!
A- That’s a terrible thing to do after a night out. Stop doing that.
The Twenty Mile Club is….
A bunch of ambitious, non-lazy millennials doing cool stuff and having a great time!
Read about that time they were likened to Sue and Mel here
Follow them on Insta here: @podcastgoals
Check their website out here