Sharing our experience on podcasting about plant-based cuisine, plant strong lifestyle and the development of independent wellness oriented projects
The original idea
It all started as a joke during one of our lively conversations while having breakfast at Blue Lotus in Thailand. We launched Blue Lotus in February 2017, the first plant-based learning center in Asia based in a resort, Evason Hua Hin. After two years of teaching, we decided with my co-host Ivor Madžar to start in July 2017 by recording just four episodes to share some of our teaching topics and lectures. The upper bar of the resort became our studio.
About a year and a half after, the Blue Lotus Café podcast has about 80 episodes available on every podcasting platforms.
What is the Blue Lotus Café podcast about?
We decided to focus on educational content, to upload a new episode every Wednesday and that each episode will be about 20 minutes long.
Three simple decisions that we kept all along.
Being both educators in plant-based nutrition, cuisine and business, it was an obvious decision to focus on the plant-based world and mostly speak to our students.
is by essence mostly people interested by plant-based lifestyle, cuisine and small business owners or independent workers. Mostly female listeners, 52% over 38% male listeners. Aged from 22 to 44 years old. Using Apple as platform of preference with 76% of downloads, 4% on Spotify and the rest via Google podcasts and Anchor, also our hosting and distribution platform. Each episode has about 50 to 60 downloads as we post them. Some topics did reach beyond our native audience (a list of popular episodes are at the bottom).
The Blue Lotus Café Manifesto
Before starting we wrote down the principles to run our podcast. We limited our podcasting manifesto to few simple rules as a reminder while recording. It did help us a lot to find our own voice and signature.
Why? We are passionate about learning + teaching. We are keen to reveal our Values, Principles and Interests. We are looking to connect with our listeners.
What it is about? We share, what is Meaningful and fun for us + Useful for our listeners. In forms of Practical Things to Learn, Fun Stories, Surprises and Things to Try out.
Format? Easy, short listening experience (20 to 30 minutes). Weekly podcasting. Focusing on our NICHE!
Our Podcasting Workflow
The process to record our podcast is very straight forward, which is one of the key aspect that did help us staying consistent and publish a new episode weekly without any interruption.
- Selection of the topics, mostly inspired by lectures, questions from our students or some of our research and readings. As pure players and educators, we never happened to be short of topics. More often, we had to prioritize and remove some topic ideas.
- Investigating the selected topic, researching, sharing ideas and then mind mapping the executive summary around it.
Since Mind Mapping was at the core of the preparation of each episode, we naturally feature this technique of Mind Mapping to visualize and organize thoughts and notes as an episode of the podcast. Which illustrates the fact, that the podcast was really about everything that we are interested in and practice on a regular basis.
- Sharing the MindMap, as we happened to work remotely, I would scan the MindMap, share it on the cloud, so that Ivor can define the questions that he would like to ask me about.
- Planning the Recording, we share a Kanban Board using Trello with our ideas for new topics, the selected ones for recording and the order of publishing.
B) Recording the Episodes
Each episode is like an open conversation between to two of us. Ivor will introduce the subject and start by asking a questions. From there I will develop our point of view and what we uncover during the investigation. The MindMap serves as a guidance and helps to stay within the given time constraint. We usually cover 4 questions in 5 minutes each or 5 questions in 4 minutes, up to 2 monologues of ten minutes when a subject requires a longer development. We improved by practice and ended-up recording remotely episodes by two (often on related topics) in less than30 minutes per episode and most of the time in one take, like a live. We started using my laptop to record the audio first to finally use the app of Anchor for recording remotely.
We are using the recording, distribution and hosting platform and app from Anchor . It is simple and free to use. Podcasting is basically audio files attached on RSS feeds, which allows to get a very broad distribution. Once you have a hosting platform for your podcast, any distribution platform can reference your podcast. Thanks for Anchor, our Blue Lotus Café podcast is available on Apple, Spotify, Google podcasts and obviously on Anchor itself. For editing the audio files, Ivor is using the open-source Audacity software. For making the visual of each new episode, he is using the online Canva app. Once uploaded on Anchor, the app is doing the work, hosting and distributing it. When a new episode is out, I would just sharing it on social media. I have also a web page to describe the latest episodes. We started weekly live conversations on the Blue Lotus Instagram Channel to complement the podcast episodes.
What I like about Podcasting?
I have to say that this comes from someone in love with listening to radio and a lot of podcasts… My father did some radio shows and as a kid I had the chance to take part of a Wednesday afternoon show and really liked it. I like the whole process of selecting topics, researching, visualizing the topic by making a MindMap and then recording simply like having a conversation with Ivor Madžar. I like that it is such a simple workflow to record a new episode. Obviously the fact that you can use a free platform for recording, hosting and distributing (like Anchor) makes it very easy.
What I enjoy about this experience
I will try here not to repeat our podcasting Manifesto. I guess the enjoyment is mostly related to experimentation with a new media in a simple and accessible way. The simplicity of the format allows you to focus on the content, your message and how you want to convey it.
It has been an incredible platform to get our lectures outside of the classrooms and kitchens of Blue Lotus. It forced me to keep on searching, verifying and experimenting with things that I am interested by.
Some of the most popular episodes
You can find a presentation of the Blue Lotus Café podcast with the last episodes and the platforms to listen from.