Start Your Own Damn Podcast: 5 Considerations for Successful Podcasting
I think I am still impressing people when I say I host my own podcast. On one hand that works for me, because I like to appear to possess mystical powers. On the other hand, having a podcast show was really just something I wanted to do. I knew it could eventually help build my marketing platform, but it's really the reward I give myself for all of the other hard work I do. What I didn't expect was how many doors it would open for me. By adding guests into my mix of shows I have made incredible contacts!
You may, however, have very different reasons for starting your own podcast. Whatever your reason, there are a few considerations I would offer up before you give this project the green light. The Ponderings from the Perch podcast has been running strong since 2014, and it’s still a blast. But it’s not easy! To address some of the questions I’ve heard through the years, I’ve assembled a list I wish I had when I started. These are my top tips for would-be podcasters: 5 Considerations Before Starting a Podcast. Enjoy!
There is no magic number of podcast episodes. Before you start, think realistically about how often you can podcast. Some podcasts are released daily, some are bi-weekly, weekly or monthly. When you work hard to earn a loyal following, it's important to be consistent if you hope to become a part of your listener's routines over time.
The important thing is to create your schedule and stick to it. It is really about pacing yourself. You need to fully understand how long it takes you to completely create an episode. That way you won’t find yourself running behind and forced to cut corners on the quality in order to stay on schedule. I suggest you completely finish at least 5 episodes when you "start" your podcast. That way you are already starting with some "in the can" as we say in the business. Here’s the cool thing: if you start with a show every other week, and discover you have the demand to go weekly, that’s an easy transition to make. But going the other way might leave your audience hanging. Giving listeners something they can come to expect is a great best practice to follow.
2. Know your Audience
Before you get going, spend some real time getting a clear picture of who your audience is. You may consider a survey of your current followers or contacts, or you may want to do something much more informal. Once you get a clear picture about WHO will be listening and WHO you will solicit to listen you will have a much better idea of the topics you need to cover.
If you have clients or followers already, consider developing bonafide
Ideal Client Personas to guide your podcast development.
3. Have a Process
While having a podcast can be super fun, there are a lot of steps required to getting each show from concept to finished product. Once the production is done, there is still much work to do. You will still need to have have show notes and graphics, handle distribution and integrate several pieces.
I suggest using Trello to create several separate checklists for each episode. We make a separate Trello card for each episode, and those multiple checklists are in the same card. The titles of these separate checklists are as follows:
This should include the idea for the show, keyword research, surveying your audience or potential audience for ideas, or sourcing someone to interview. Don't forget you have to actually give each episode a title.
BONUS TIP: You might follow a convention for your titles, but you can also create something new each time. Mine always starts with "Priscilla..." and then I insert the action about what I actually did during that episode. That repetition creates expectation and expectation creates anticipation. That's just my style.
RESEARCH TOPIC/ORDER NOTES OF YOUR EXPERTISE
Some podcasts cover topics you're not familiar with yet. Initial research should be done even if your interviewee is providing the expertise on the topic. You should always come into the conversation as well informed as possible. If you are interviewing an author you can ask for an advance copy of the book. I honor the author by reading their book before I interview them. It's just a personal thing.
If you are the expert on the topic being covered it is still helpful to order your thoughts even if your show is a bit "off the cuff".
Everyone’s personal recording setup is different - but the most important thing to shoot for is consistency. Experiment with your recording configuration, and make notes or take pictures as you go. When you have found the best possible sound, snap a picture and upload it for reference. Moving the microphone even a little bit can make a big change.
Once the recording’s done, post-production editing can help improve the professional quality of your recording. We don’t overproduce our podcasts. Simple use of an equalizer, noise-reduction (if necessary on Skype calls) and a limiter can ensure that your recording is balanced and loud enough for everyone to hear. Most software allows you to save presets once you have found your ideal settings. If not, just grab a screenshot of your settings and upload them to your Trello card.
BONUS TIP: Don't forget to ask your guests to ALWAYS wear a headset and be connected directly to the internet. These are the two best things to guarantee the quality of your show. Insist on it from the beginning and you won't risk losing your audience based on audio quality.
DISTRIBUTION AND PROMOTION
Make a checklist of everywhere you need to distribute your podcast, so you are sure to not miss one if you get interrupted or as you wait for files to upload.
Be sure to list exactly what channels you want to use to promote your podcast. Are you going to email it to your list? What about all of your social media channels? Posting a snippet of your episode to Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn can spread the love and attract a new audience. It’s not only important to list what channels you will use, but also to be specific about HOW MANY TIMES you will promote it on each channel. Don't forget to include your hashtag strategy as you post, so you can thread your efforts!
4. Create Meaningful Traditions (and then honor them)
Theme music can be a great way to kick off your podcast with something expected. That sound should immediately clue your listener in about what they are getting ready to hear. Don't stop the tradition when the music stops. Consider ways you can integrate traditions into your show. For example, when I have a new guest on I always start with the personalized Venn Diagram to discuss what my guest and I have in common and what we definitely do not have in common.
My listeners have come to expect this part, and it is a way to start what can become a serious conversation with some lighthearted personal fun facts.
5. Have Fun
If you want more joy in your life, learn now to let go of others' opinions about you and what you produce. Too many times we start comparing our work to others, and I see a lot of podcasts morph from something creative and energetic in to something predictable and frankly, boring. Post a sign in your podcast studio that reminds you of the reason you started podcasting in the first place. People want to listen to people who are engaged and having a good time. This little nugget will also help you be popular at cocktail parties.
Want a lesson on how to have fun and not take yourself too seriously? Check out what I think are our funniest episodes of Ponderings from the Perch:
Priscilla Questions China's Central Authority (this is also our first podcast episode)
OR, here's a great blend of funny with marketing insight:
Think you might want to start your own podcast? Interested in how podcasting can help your content marketing efforts? Maybe it's time you filled out a request for our FREE Marketing Assessment.