Are You Ready to Start a Podcast? Read This First.

If you’ve been kicking around the idea of starting a podcast as a way to accelerate your brand, your instincts are honed. Podcasting has become one of the most popular outlets for reaching your audience. In many ways, it has surpassed what you can accomplish with an email newsletter or a blog. And while those two initiatives remain important, the power of an engaging podcast cannot be underestimated as more and more humans connect to the medium on a daily basis.

Consider these stats, courtesy of our friends at musicoomph.com. As of August 2020:

  • There are now more than ONE MILLION active podcasts
  • Over 30 million podcast episodes
  • Content available in over 100 languages
  • 80% of listeners listen to an entire podcast episode or most of the episode
  • 70% of the US population are familiar with the term ‘podcasting’
  • 51% of the US population have listened to a podcast
  • 32% of the US population listen to podcasts every month
  • 22% of the US population listen to podcasts weekly

And those numbers have nowhere to go but up. Much like Google and YouTube, it’s pretty easy to search for a podcast on a subject you’re interested in and discover multiple results. Audio learning has become all the rage and services like Audible have made taking in a good book easy to do while accomplishing tasks at home, driving, or getting from A to B via public transportation. Likewise, podcasts fill the same void.

Why else should you start a podcast? Well, for starters, much like a blog or email list, creating a podcast means you’re building an asset that you own. Additionally, you can effectively establish your authority and position yourself as an expert in your niche through an engaging podcast. Also, with so much noise and ‘spam & scam’ running rampant on the Internet today, your podcast can be the vehicle that builds trust in your brand and, ultimately, encourages people to patronize your business in the future, whether you offer a good and/or service or run an establishment like a bar or restaurant.

The key is showcasing your knowledge, your personality, and connecting with your listener so they subscribe to your podcast, listen to all of your episodes, recommend them to others, and become an advocate for your brand.

So all of this said, why do so many podcasts fail?

If you do a random topic search on your podcast catcher of choice (let’s use Apple Podcasts as our example since this is the most trafficked podcast app), you’ll undoubtedly find podcasts that are ‘dead.’ They may only have a couple of episodes uploaded, have major gaps in between published episodes, or haven’t published a new episode in years.

Why? If podcasting is such a tremendous way to reach your audience, why are so many podcasts left on the side of the road like Sonny in Godfather I?

The answer has many layers, but for brevity’s sake: Podcasting is not easy.

Podcasting can be a blast. Podcasting can be fruitful and worthwhile. Podcasting can be all the great things mentioned above. But just like any content campaign you undertake, it’s a commitment. It requires planning. It requires a strategy. It requires time. And just like the failed blogs or dead websites still consuming real estate on the Web, the glitz and glamour of a podcast can be lost, then completely abandoned, if attacked with no plan of action.

DID YOU KNOW: The average podcaster produces just SEVEN episodes before quitting?

DID YOU KNOW: Over 90% of podcasts created won’t make it past their first three months?

Why? Again, because so many people see podcasting as a shiny, sexy medium with little barrier to entry. Little barrier to entry = EASY, right? Not even close.

The following are factors you need to consider for each podcast episode:

  • Will you have a guest or do your show solo?
  • What is the subject matter of your episode?
  • Do you have talking points to keep your show structured?
  • Do you have background information on your guest?
  • Where will you record your episode? Will your guest come to you, do you go to them, or do you connect online?
  • <i>Record your episode.

  • Post-produce your episode.
    • Editing
    • Addition of intros and outros
    • Will you have advertisements?
    • Addition of intro and outro music
  • Market your episode
    • Share teasers and let your audience know what your next episode is about
    • Run paid ads for your show (optional)
  • Share your new episode with the world on all your platforms
  • Promote your new episode throughout the week

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

In no way is my intention to make you think twice about your instinct to start a podcast. My goal is to help you realize what it takes to truly build a successful one.

Obviously, content is important. But understanding the time commitment required is, too.

I have worked on several podcast projects in the past, am currently producing and consulting on podcasts, and am in the process of developing two new podcasts of my own as we speak. Look for more podcast-centric content from me in the near future, but today’s goal is to help you get your podcast started on the right foot.

I’ve developed a Podcast Primer, a guide designed to help you strategize and organize your podcasting goals. Whether your show is nothing more than a nugget of an idea or you’ve already unleashed your podcast onto the world, taking a few minutes to evaluate the necessary actions needed to build your podcast will benefit your show’s long-term growth and development.

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