Today, I am chatting with John Zhu, the host and producer of the “Romance Of The Three Kingdoms Podcast”. John is on a mission with his podcast to retell the ancient Chinese novel, “Romance Of The Three Kingdoms” in a way that makes it relevant and accessible to a modern audience. With 800,000 words and nearly a thousand dramatic characters to cover, this is quite an ambitious undertaking.
"Once you get a certain number of listeners, word of mouth becomes a significant tool for promoting." --John Zhu, Host and Producer of The Romance Of The Three Kingdoms Podcast
John's Podcasting Smarter Tips:
- Being born in China, but living most of his life in the Unites States, John wanted to produce a Chinese-related podcast. After doing some research, he discovered there wasn't a show covering classic Chinese literature, and he saw an opportunity to introduce a significant piece of Chinese culture to a Western audience.
- John was influenced by master storytellers he used to hear on the radio in China. He knew he needed to use the podcast to make the novel more accessible through good storytelling.
- John takes 3-4 hours to write a script for each episode! He also provides supplemental resources for his audience like maps, and death tolls.
- John learned that his voice and energy waned after 30 minutes, so he shortened his episodes in order to improve the quality of the show.
- John listens back to his recordings closely so he can make his voice more dynamic. This means doing different takes to get the recording sounding the way he wants it to.
- John tapped into his audience with online forums. Since his podcast covers a niche subject, he was able to find people in history and Chinese forums as well as Facebook groups who were interested in his subject matter.
- John has also enjoyed spikes in downloads after being a guest on other Chinese-related podcasts.
- Although John has received donations for his podcast, he has no plans to monetize the podcast. His rewards come from the creative outlet, and the positive feedback from his audiece.
- John learned several new skills through podcasting that translate well to his career in media.
- Before you record, consider if you will still be excited about your topic or premise 6 months from now. How will you keep going after the initial excitement wears off?
- Don't rush to publish, but start recording now so you can work on getting better. Listen back and see where you need to improve. Once you are happy, publish.
John's Fantasy Podcaster: Julius Caesar
John's Hypothetical Podcast About His Life: East Meets West