For over 3 years, podcasts have been a big part of my life. I started listening when I got serious about blogging. I began listening to all kinds of online marketing and business podcasts, and I started telling people about the podcasts I was listening to.
The fact that I could click a button on my phone and be learning from some of the world’s best experts in their field was phenomenal to me.
Fast forward a couple of years, and my love for podcasts had continued to grow. I started thinking about the idea of launching my own podcast, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to be. Later in 2017, I began working with a new client who happened to have a podcast. One of my roles on her team was to help support her podcasting process.
I was able to learn all about the world of podcasting from an experienced podcaster. And the more I learned, the more my interest grew.
By January of 2018, it became clear: I was going to start a podcast. For the next 6 months, I researched, learned, and prepared. I created my game plan and began recording episodes. And on July 24, 2018, I launched my own podcast.
Since then, I’ve had many people ask me questions about starting a podcast, so I wanted to share the lessons I’ve learned from launching my own podcast (and from working with other podcasters).
7 Important Lessons I Learned Starting a Podcast:
1. It takes time to create.
Podcasting is a large investment of your time. Just like any form of content creation, you need time to develop your content plan, actually record the episodes, and then produce the episode. And most people want to spend some time marketing their episodes as well, which can also be a large investment of time, depending on how extensive you want to go.
Most podcasters that I have worked with and talked to would say that the average episode can take between 4-10 hours a week to produce. Again, there are exceptions to this. But if you want to have a quality podcast, it’s going to require a chunk of time from yourself and/or your team.
2. It takes time to grow.
Many people think that they can start a podcast and immediately have hundreds and thousands of downloads per episode. However, the more likely scenario is that you’ll get dozens of listeners to start. In some situations, if you already have an audience, or you are able to leverage pre-existing relationships, some podcasters can see quick audience growth. But for most people, podcast growth takes time.
3. It takes organization.
In order to produce a successful and quality podcast, it takes a significant amount of organization. There are many steps involved in the process, and while some people might be able to wing it, you are going to be much more successful if you create a system and stick with it.
As a quick example of some of the steps you may need to include in the process, here’s a look at what is involved in my own podcast production:
- Planning content with my co-host
- Coordinating with guests and scheduling interviews
- Recording the episodes
- Editing the episodes
- Writing show notes
- Creating graphics
- Scheduling episode and show notes
- Creating social media copy & scheduling
4. It’s about people.
When you start a podcast, it’s easy to get obsessed with the download numbers and stats. But you must remember that podcasting is about people. Each download is representative of a person.
- A person who clicked on your podcast and chose to add it to their phone.
- Someone who put their earbuds in and listened to your voice while they went for a walk or folded laundry.
- An individual who took precious time out of their day to listen to what you have to say.
That’s powerful, and that’s what you’ve got to remember. When you prepare to launch your podcast, focus more on the people who will be listening to your content than the number of downloads.Remember that podcasting is about people. Each download represents a real live person.Click To Tweet
5. Quality matters.
There are times I see people posting about their podcast, and they are discouraged that no one is listening. So I go over and check out their show… and I quickly understand why no one is listening.
Friends, if you want your podcast to be anything more than a side hobby, then put some effort into the quality.
You need quality content, first and foremost. People might come and listen if you have good marketing or if you already have an audience. But they won’t stick around if you don’t create quality content.
Second, sound quality is really important. Again, I’m not saying that you need to be perfect or record in a studio. But simply making sure that you limit the number of distractions and you create as much sound absorption as possible will be a step in the right direction. (Note: I currently record my podcast in my closet so that it sounds less like an echo chamber).
6. Hosting matters.
Yes, you can create a podcast by simply recording something on your phone using Anchor and publishing it. And sometimes that may be exactly what you need to do to get started.
But ultimately, if you want your podcast to last for the long-haul, picking a good podcast host is important. Some of the best options are Libsyn (my pick), Podbean, and Blubrry.
You will need to pay for podcast hosting, just like you pay for website hosting. I have the same philosophy with podcast hosts as I do with direct sales companies: if it’s brand new, if it’s free, or if it sounds too good to be true… there’s probably a reason. I’d rather stick with a company that has a solid track record of success rather than saving a few bucks but risking my content.
7. It takes a strategy.
Last, but not least, I highly recommend having a strategy in place when you start your podcast. There are a lot of decisions to make. There’s tons of work to be done. If you jump into podcasting before you have any kind of plan in place, there’s a few things that might happen:
- You might get overwhelmed and “pod fade” like many podcasters do. (A lot of podcasts don’t make it past 7 episodes).
- You might be disappointed with the results because you’ve put in tons of work but you aren’t seeing much of a return on investment.
- You may end up regretting the direction your podcast takes and want to re-start or do things over.