One of the most popular reality TV shows to ever grace British screens, Made In Chelsea was something of a cultural phenomenon. It launched wider media careers for many of the cast, including Alex Mytton, who co-hosts the Private Parts podcast along with friend and fellow Made In Chelsea star Jamie Laing.
The transition from TV personality to podcast host has been an interesting shift for Mytton, who says he initially didn;t think he’d be able to spend that long talking about himself. Now, however, he says he’s become a lot more at home in front of microphone, possibly more so than in front of a camera.
We sat down with Mytton to talk about the differences between a career in podcasting and TV, the surprising diversity of the podcast’s listeners, and why podcasting is basically free therapy.
How would you describe your podcast?
The podcast’s original intention was to discuss the private parts of our lives; the stuff that we wouldn't necessarily talk about unprompted. In a conversation with a mate, you might divulge some of this stuff when it's just one-on-one, but we format that into a podcast and we get on celebrity guests or guests that are interesting to talk to about all the private parts of their lives, essentially. I'll caveat, it did originally always have a bit of a sexual connotation to it; because of it being Private Parts, it's been focused around sex quite a lot!
Why did you start your podcast?
The podcast was set up about five or six years ago; I joined about two years ago. So the previous co-host was a guy called Francis Boulle and he left because he decided to move to the States. I'd done a few podcasts before and had been a guest on the podcast. And so I was very fortunate in the sense that I was able to join an already formed podcast, because one of the biggest battles with podcasting is getting that initial drive and getting it set up and getting the followers, getting the listeners.
I'd listened to podcasts before, but I'd not really thought of it as a format that I'd ever really want to get into, to be honest. I worry that I'm not gonna be entertaining enough or have enough to say, but it's surprising how you do actually have shit to talk about. It's almost a little bit like therapy, because what I've noticed about modern day life is we don't actually focus and talk for extended periods of time, so to actually sit down with someone and speak continuously for an hour, fully engaged in that, not being distracted by anything else, is actually quite unique. So as soon as I realised that I was essentially getting paid to do therapy, I thought, Yeah, this is quite good.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started?
I think one of the things is always try not to be conscious. I think this is why the format works so well is that it's not like TV, you're not overly aware that you're being recorded a lot of the time. So just try and stay as true to self and as organic as possible. I think there is this tendency for some people to overact stuff and over ham stuff. And actually, I think what people really like about the podcasting format is that they get that true voice.
They're hearing people actually speaking without realising that they're being listened to, essentially. You feel like it's a little magnifying glass, or a little ear piece into someone's thoughts, almost. So I think as much as you can stay true to that, I think it's good. I think teaming up with people that you know well and you have a good rapport with, and you can be genuine with; I think it really helps as well.
How many people does it take to create an episode of your show?
We team up with some guys called Spirit Studios, who basically help us produce the podcast. So on average, we've got us two hosting, we'll have a guest and then we record video on the guest episodes, so we'll have a videographer. We've then got someone doing the sound and then generally, there'll be a producer as well. So there's five of us, generally.
Do you monetize your podcast?
Yeah, we use Acast to sort advertising slots within the podcast. And from having worked in marketing - not really advertising, but I've been part of the whole marketing spectrum just through stuff I've done - I think podcasting as a format to advertise through is quite good. It's quite unique because the segments that we do, sometimes you can't actually tell that it's an ad because it's just us talking.
I mean, some of it is more obvious than others because we're suddenly talking about car insurance, but it's just a bit more informal - and the listen through rate is ridiculously high, and way higher than, for example, people skipping on YouTube. People actually do tend to listen through a lot more than you'd expect. So, yeah, it's a pretty epic format for marketing or for marketers.
How do you promote your podcast?
As with everything these days, social media has been a massive place for us, because what's changed, I think, since when it first started five years ago is that now, a lot of podcasts are obviously being started by people who are massive on social media, and they're using that as their prime driver, trying to funnel everyone from their social media to the podcast. So we're having to use six or seven different platforms. I mean, we were lucky in the sense that Jamie and I as hosts, we obviously have a bit of a following so we were able to use that. And I think that helped the guys start it in the early days as well.
So working out the secret formula, and making sure that you get snippets of content that work well on socials and and obviously, video is quite important these days because for it to exist on social, you need to have video. And what we found works really well is if that little bit of speech or us talking kind of encapsulates within that 15 seconds something that people can take away; so for example, it's a fact or something that they can just immediately digest and they get it rather than just chopping into 10 seconds of the conversation that doesn't really make sense. So yeah, trying to identify content that works really well on socials is a really good driver for us to promote the show.
What have you learned about yourself since starting the podcast?
I think one of the main things that I've learned about myself was that I didn't necessarily like to talk about certain things in my life and having done the podcast, it's opened me up a little bit more and I speak freer about things. I now see the value in doing that and actually, talking about certain things that have affected you that you might not necessarily want to talk about because it's a bit, not embarrassing, but you don't necessarily want to show your emotional side or you don't want people to know.
But actually in doing so, it can help people out, and so weirdly it kind of alleviates the pressure on you. What's that saying? A problem shared is a problem halved? So, yeah, I think that that's one of the main things that I've learned - and also, I didn't realise that you can actually just talk shit for hours on end. I didn't think I had in me!
Who listens to your podcast?
I think the demographics on it, if I remember correctly, it's between 20 to 35 year olds, I think there's a lean towards female; I'm not sure how heavy that is. Actually, I went to go get coffee earlier and there was some bloke in a van, like a builder, and I'd just come out of the cafe with my matcha latte with coconut milk. He shouted 'MYTTON' really loudly, I nearly threw the coffee all over myself!
I thought he was about to jump out and try and punch me in the face but actually, he was a fan of the podcast. It's just people like that that you don't expect to listen to it. It does seem to be quite varied and for some reason I always thought it would be more women that listen. But I do get a lot of guys that come up to me as well. So yeah, it seems to be a nice mix.
What was the last podcast you listened to?
I've been a massive Russell brand obsessive for ages. So it's a bit of a boring one, cause there's so many people that listen to him. But I listened to, I think the last one was him and Eckhart Tolle. He was doing stuff on Spotify, then he moved his podcast to Luminary. Now he's moved it from Luminary to this thing called Rumble. I think obviously because the content and the stuff he's saying is quite controversial and probably against a lot of business interests, in some ways.. So he's had to move it to a more neutral platform, because I think he kept getting shut down on different places.
I also just downloaded something called Blinkist. What they do is they take a book and they condense it to a 15 minute bit of audio and they pull out the main takeaways, essentially, and deliver it through audio. I've listened to some amazing stuff on there.