Want to make your own podcast?

Learn the ropes from Dropbox and Cosmic Standard

By Tiffani Jones Brown, Executive Editorial Director, Dropbox

Illustration of a woman sitting on a chair with her feet kicked up, wearing a headset and working on her laptop computer..

When the world went remote, we at Dropbox quickly realized we had a lot to learn. We did a ton of experimenting to figure out how to make Virtual First work work, and we also turned to the experts—scientists, scholars, journalists, even comedians—to learn about the topics we were struggling with, like staying connected and rebuilding our daily rituals. 

This is how our Remotely Curious podcast was born.

Learn from the experts

For Remotely Curious, we were lucky to work with Eliza Smith and Jacob Winik from Cosmic Standard, an award-winning crew who’ve produced podcasts for everyone from CBS to NPR to Disney. 

They taught us everything we know about producing podcasts—from how to turn your closet into a sound paradise, to how to write for radio. 

So many people have told me that they’d like to make a podcast too, so for my virtual session at Adobe MAX this year, I figured I’d let Jacob and Eliza school us on the subject. 

You can tune into our session for the full scoop, but for now I’ll share the basics.

Lesson #1: It’s not as easy—but not as hard—as you think

If you’re like I was, you might assume that making a podcast is as simple as grabbing a mic and finding an eloquent guest. Turns out it’s a bit more complicated.

For Remotely Curious, it took half a dozen producers and many more smart brains to bring our work to life. Each piece of the process—whether booking guests, preparing for an interview, weaving audio cuts into a story, or getting the sound just right—involved multiple people and multiple rounds of feedback. It took 9 months of critical thinking and planning before we launched a single episode.  

Sounds intensive, but good news: There’s a standard formula for making a podcast that anyone can use. 

Lesson #2: Four steps to audio excellence

Whether you’re recording from your bedroom closet or a real studio, producing a podcast comes down to a few basic steps:

  1. Creative development. At this stage, you’ll dig into big questions like: What’s your show about? Who’s going to host it? Is it a straight-up delivery, informal conversation, or two-way interview? How often will you release episodes? Who can help you make a marketing plan? These conversations require a good deal of critical thinking and discussion, so you’ll want to give yourself some time to work through them.
  2. Pre-production: Here, you’ll lay out your production calendar, choose and schedule your guests, and prep your interview questions. There’s a lot of coordination and communication that go into this step, so lean on your teammates with strong planning and writing skills. 
  3. Production: If you’re a writer, host, or producer, this will feel like the “meat and potatoes” of the process. You’ll record your interviews, write scripts, assemble episodes, gather feedback, edit again, re-record bits that don’t sound right (“pickups”), and edit some more. This stage requires technical expertise with tools like Dropbox and Adobe, so you’ll want to get familiar with whatever you’re using—or lean on the experts like we did. 
  4. Post-production: This is the most technical step, involving scoring, mixing, and mastering. It’s what makes your podcast sound listenable and professional. As with all the other steps, this one involves a lot of back and forth. So you’ll want to brush up on your creative feedback skills

Learn more about Virtual First work as Tiffani Jones Brown talks with the experts.

Listen to the Remotely Curious podcast