Running start… to a great career: Producing a psychology podcast

Early career psychologists share their tips for podcasting success.

By Rebecca A. Clay

Bedford Palmer II, PhD Bedford Palmer II, PhD, used to yell at his television when the news upset him. Now he has a more productive outlet: a podcast called "Naming It" where he and fellow Bay Area psychologist LaMisha Hill, PhD, explore psychology, social justice and blackness.

Launched in 2016, the podcast gives Palmer and Hill a way to bring psychology to the masses and explain how psychological theories inform social justice work. “You get to listen in to two psychologists talking about what’s going on with the world,” says Palmer.

Eugenio Duarte, PhD For psychologist Eugenio Duarte, PhD, a podcast called "New Books in Psychology" doesn’t just let him share his training beyond one-on-one work with his clients. It also helps him market his private practice. “I believe having a podcast has boosted my search engine optimization,” says Duarte. “I’m not sure I came up so quickly on searches or got as many referrals before I started my podcast.” 

Want to launch your own podcast? Use these tips:

  • Choose a topic that excites you. “Think about things you like to talk about,” says Palmer. “It also has to be something that’s ‘brandable.’” Instead of musing about this and that, you need a structure and a mission. The mission of "Naming It," for example, is to call out the “elephant in the room”: power, privilege and injustice.
  • Get set up. You don’t need a recording studio. “You’d be surprised by how much you can do with a laptop,” says Duarte, explaining that his equipment consists of a USB microphone, audio recording software and software that lets him interview people via his laptop. “It doesn’t require a whole lot of technical training.” Check online for how-to articles and product reviews and then dive in and play with your software, suggests Palmer, adding that you can get ready for a couple hundred dollars. You’ll also need a quiet place to record, whether that’s your office, a closet, or even your car.
  • Invite guests. Look for guests who have information that you don’t and who can speak well, says Palmer, who preps guests about what questions to expect. Because it’s an audio experience, he works with guests beforehand on presenting well in an audio format. Everyone can be interesting, says Duarte. “As psychologists, we’re trained to be inquisitive, ask questions and get to know people,” says Duarte, who interviews an author for each of his podcasts.
  • Market your podcast. Duarte’s podcast is part of a network of podcast “channels” focused on various disciplines. Duarte and Palmer also use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to help build their audiences.

“Just go do it,” says Palmer, urging would-be podcasters not to be intimidated. “Know there’s a community around you that you can ask for help.”

For a more in-depth interview with Palmer and Hill, visit the APA Div. 17 webpage feature story on these two early career psychologists.

This column is geared toward early career psychologists working in practice settings. "Running start ... to a great career" features topics typically not covered in graduate school and includes tips and advice from psychologists.