The format choices for sleep aid podcasts

Why am I doing this again?

I’m quite a recent convert to the idea of a sleep aid podcast, in fact it was the first one I discovered that inspired me to try make my own which I began before realising there were different format choices available. I’m a huge fan of Sleep With Me, I discovered the show a few months ago and immediately started sleeping a lot better. I usually mention in the introduction of most episodes though that when I have recommended Sleep With Me to people I know it hasn’t really worked out for them. Drew Ackerman the… host? narrator? I’m honestly not too sure what to call him, but he’s the mind and voice behind the show has a very… specific voice that doesn’t work for everyone. The iTunes reviews and feedback he reads out at the end of some episodes suggests this isn’t uncommon.

But I figured I have a very different voice, it’s deep and drony and flat when I don’t get over excited, so I thought I’d give it a bash myself and see how it goes. As of this writing I’ve recorded 9 episodes and while I haven’t as yet made any attempts to promote it I’m starting to build up a listenership. There are subscribers on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, I have received some very kind feedback and I even have a (single 😀 ) patron on Patreon. Again without doing any promotion. The reason why I have the Patreon at all will be covered in another post.

Different Sleep Aid Podcasts and format choices

Because the first sleep aid podcast that worked for me worked so well I’ve tried as much as possible to emulate a lot of the structure of Sleep With Me. This includes the very long intro to every episode as well as the self promotion being front loaded. After all, I’m hoping the listener is asleep by the end, promoting the show’s social media and website at the end wouldn’t be very useful.

I’ve since discovered that there are other formats, there’s another very enjoyable sleep aid podcast I’ve tried out called Nothing Much Happens. It’s a very slick show of original stories written and told by Kathryn , the format is very different. The episodes are much shorter, without long rambling intros and the stories are short and read out twice. Kathryn has a wonderful voice and the stories are very calm and comforting. So if the long rambling format of my show, as inspired by Sleep With Me doesn’t work for you I definitely recommend you try it out.

So, what am I yammering on about?

As I said, I’ve received a small amount of feedback so far, and while most has been positive I did get a message on Facebook that was quite critical, although I can’t disagree with anything the person said. They especially dislike the long intro to every episode. They find it infuriating rather than relaxing. I try highlight in the intro to most episodes that not everything will work for every restless sleeper. I find the long rambling intro to Sleep With me very important. In fact I often fall asleep before I even reach the main story! So in my show I repeat that format choice, because it works for me. And according to some of the stats and feedback it works for other people too.

I’m not going to argue that maybe I can do a better job. I’m still very new to this whole thing and I hope to improve over time, but fundamentally, that’s part of the design. So if you like what I’m doing, We are people of a similar mind. If you don’t try out Nothing Much Happens. And I’m starting to do some story only episodes together for the $10 Patreon level, so if you kind of like what I do except all the rambly intro bits, there is an option opening up for you soon. 🙂

Biting off more than I can chew

I managed for a couple of weeks to do two episodes a week. A ‘couple’ in the strictest sense of the term, I managed 2 weeks. 🙂 Turns out that recording and editing two episodes a week of a sleep aid podcast wasn’t good for my sleep. So now I’m tapering off a bit.

The more free-form improvised episodes I’ve been releasing are more achievable though. If I was going for more formal written episodes like my first two, even weekly releases would probably be beyond me. Full time work at my day job as well as family life means finding the balance.

I also really need a proper mic. My headset works okay, but I need to edit out a lot of disturbing lip-smacking noises that would not help people to sleep. And that takes up most of my time in the edit.

*** Don’t forget to take a look at my latest episode or the archives for a night’s sleep.

So why make a sleep aid podcast?

Why this podcast

It’s been an interesting few weeks since I hit on the idea to make a sleep aid podcast. While there are already excellent sleep aid podcasts I believe that I can bring out an alternative that will help people. Options are always a good thing to have.

While I’ve idly considered making a podcast before, it’s 2019 after all, who hasn’t? I haven’t had any ideas that stand out before. My interests are video games, movies and TV, all of these have literally thousands of options, so trying to get heard will be like shouting in the crowd at a huge sporting event and rock concert.

So I started formulating the idea of this site, and registering on every social network I could think of, while learning the basics of podcasting with what equipment I have available. More about the actual recording process in a future post.

While I want to do this for fun, I would like it to be able to at the very least support itself, so I am looking at unobtrusive monetisation options.

Podcast Hosting Choices

The need to monetise meant that unfortunately my first choice of podcast host, Podbean, fell by the wayside as they only support Stripe payments, which isn’t available in South Africa. For this reason I’ve settled on Libsyn as the terms they provide work well with my requirements, and they support PayPal.

What Libsyn offers that a lot of other hosts don’t is the unlimited archive. For listeners it will be helpful to have an archive to listen to every night, potentially all night. Personally I listen to a sleep aid podcast on ear-buds in my sleep, so if I wake up in the middle of the night they are still running.

So this is my motivation, why am I doing a podcast? And why should you listen? Because I want to help people sleep, and if you need the help, try out Sleepy Time Tales. Give it a few episodes and see if it works for you.