I LOVE Podcasting. I love sharing weekly episodes that collect my thoughts on a particular subject. I love seeing positive feedback from close friends, family or fellow creators. I love interviewing other people and hearing their life stories. Of course I’m always keen to be on this journey, but boy has it tripped me up a few times along the way.
I come to you today with some considerations for starting your first show. Some of those I did discover going into my first recording. But others I didn’t consider that, quite frankly, I wish I had.
Research and Planning
You may find yourself chatting with a potential co-host about a cool idea for a podcast. “Hey, let's sit down and talk about movies each week.” “Yeah, that sounds awesome!” So you connect up your laptops, hit record and then publish an episode. Only to find that your dad, brother and dog Chewie are the only ones listening.
When planning a show, it’s essential to take your initial idea and develop a unique selling point. Consider a more specific concept. For example, ‘We discuss movies that didn't do well at the box office and explore why.' Now I'm intrigued, as it's a niche take on a broad subject.
When it comes to finding a topic, find one that you are truly passionate about. One that you could discuss for hours, on a regular basis. Podcasting is a long-term project. Will your show’s premise last at least 100 episodes?
When it comes to finding a topic, find one that you are truly passionate about.
Along with that, figure out a schedule for recording and keep it consistent. Will you record on the weekends? Can you commit a certain amount of time to it each week? What program will you use to edit it? Logistical questions should have realistic, sustainable answers long before you hit the record button!
If you have a co-host, establish responsibilities at the start and delegate tasks. As fun as two or more voices sound on a show, accountability away from the studio needs to be balanced. Perhaps one of you can edit while the other manages social media activity. Deciding in advance who brings what to the podcasting table will help you avoid conflict and resentment down the road.
Make Patient Investments in the Early Stages
Your favourite podcasters may use a Rode mic or a Shure SM7B, but don't be tempted into buying the fancy gear at the start. Yes, your show will sound great, but there are plenty of affordable, high-quality options for beginners. I still use the Samson 2QU! Not only is it reasonably priced, but it has USB and XLR connectivity. Double win!
You need to see that your show has honest potential before upgrading to professional gear.
You need to see that your show has honest potential before upgrading to professional gear. Ultimately, it all comes down to content. Make sure what you offer is engaging and special so that you can reward yourself once the show is more established.
Network, Network, Network
If you assume your show will attract an audience right off the bat…well, the reality is going to sting emotionally. Some of the best friends I have to date are those that have shows about similar topics. Introduce yourself to them, either through a Facebook comment/message, a Twitter retweet or – even better – a good review.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way and people will remember your kind words. (They may even invite you on their show!) Listen to other people's work, as you would want them to listen to yours. Share thoughts, plug each other’s shows, support them on social media, and the list goes on.
The value of networking is absolutely golden in this age of social media and content creation. Start your networking early, be humble about your presence, and treat other podcasters how you’d like to be treated.
Lastly, just enjoy it
Once you take the leap and begin the journey, expect the unexpected. Guests may cancel at the last minute. Background noise may interrupt your best interview. Chewie may eat your microphone windshield. It happens.
But continue on, knowing that every episode you make contributes to getting your message out there. The love of the craft should drive you to create more, learn more and build on what you have.