Host of popular podcast Ctrl Alt Delete, Emma Gannon, shares how she went from blogger to podcaster and how you too can find your voice in the podcasting world…

Emma Gannon

At just 28 years old, London-based Emma Gannon is a published author, blogger, and now podcaster. She was recently named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 for media and marketing and her success shows no sign of slowing.

Emma’s Ctrl Alt Delete podcast, in which she discusses work, social media and life with guests including Lena Dunham, Gillian Anderson, Elizabeth Gilbert and Zoella, has been downloaded over 1 million times. It stemmed from her 2016 book by the same name about the challenges of growing up as a millennial.

But how did she go from blogger to podcaster? We asked Emma for her tips…

Podcasting – a natural progression

Emma says the progression to podcasting just felt like the right fit based on what she was doing and consuming online:

“I didn’t wake up and think ‘I’m going to be a podcaster now!’” she explains. “I found it to be a really natural move.

“I’m always led by my curiosity and what I’m consuming myself. I remember when YouTube took off and I just didn’t feel it was right for me, so I stuck to blogging. I started listening to lots of American podcasts (Big Magic, Dear Sugars etc.) and realised I would love to make one myself.

“Podcasting just feels like the right ‘home’ for me on the internet. I love it.”

And she’s not the only one. What started as an 8-episode project, has turned into over 119 and she’s even started a second podcast with friend Lliana Bird.

Choosing a topic and making a start

For Emma, the topic was obvious:

“Once I finished writing the book, I realised I wasn’t finished with the subject matter – social media, digital culture, body image, mental health – so I invited some friends onto the podcast to discuss these topics,” she says.

“It was very low key when I first reached out. I did my first interview via Skype with author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert. The quality is not great, but I still love that episode because of the rawness and the amazing takeaways from the conversation. It always feels like a private conversation that happens to be published online for people to discover.”

How did she link up with Elizabeth?

“I had written a piece about Elizabeth’s book, Big Magic, in Glamour magazine. We connected and then I asked if she fancied being my first guest on the podcast. It was very generous of her to come onto a podcast that had no listeners!”

It’s a great example of reaching out and not being afraid to tap into the knowledge of those around you. But when it comes to choosing your own topic, Emma says it’s so important to make sure it’s something that you love.

“If you don’t love the topic/theme/niche of your podcast, you’ll get bored of it very easily. Pick an easy format and have fun with it!” she says.

Finding and growing listeners

Prior to launching her podcast into the ether, Emma says she didn’t actually think too much about it. Bored of heavily edited celebrity interviews, clickbait and Twitter conflict, she was eager to bring back the art of real conversation – something podcasts do so well.

“I don’t think the podcast is successful because of my story or experience, but I suppose it is successful because of my want and need to talk endlessly about the world around me, the technology that we use, how tech impacts us, and other topics that still feel slightly taboo.

“I love the community I’ve built through Ctrl Alt Delete so much! It’s grown really organically over the past two years,” she says.

“It’s why I love doing live podcast recordings so much. I’ve done live shows at the BFI, book festivals and in clothing stores. It makes me so happy to see people chatting afterwards and meeting like-minded people.

“Podcasting is a really intimate platform, you are talking directly to people in their ears, people feel like they really know you – and they do! I am 100 per cent myself in my podcast.”

Final tips from Emma?

“Make the podcast you want to listen to, that doesn’t exist yet,” she says.

“When Ctrl Alt Delete turned into a job (I get a monthly salary from Ctrl Alt Delete now via my sponsors), I wanted to start another podcast as a total passion project. The idea came about one day when I was with my friend – now co-host – Lliana Bird. We were wondering why Loose Women seemed to be the only round-table discussion for women on TV. So we made our own show.

“That’s the amazing thing about podcasts, you don’t need anyone’s permission to do it!”

As if that wasn’t enough, Emma’s second book The Multi-Hyphen Method! is due for release very soon. Talk about inspiration to Get started! You can check out Ctrl Alt Delete for yourself over on Emma’s site.

Take inspiration from even more great podcasts… Find out what top podcasters are listening to and all the shows you need to hear.

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