In a digital age, our time is precious. Although a 750-word blog post can be read in 5 minutes, there is also a myriad of distractions and pop-ups after your attention too. By contrast, a 30-minute podcast will deliver over 4,000 words (over six blog posts) while you are commuting to the office, exercising, cooking or walking the dog.
There are currently around 500,000 active podcasts compared to the 31.7 million active blogs expected by 2020. It’s easy to see why podcasts are rising in popularity with those wanting to make their voice heard online. The good news is that anyone can now broadcast their thoughts by simply talking into a microphone and beaming their message across the globe.
There are many reasons for wanting to start your own podcast but don’t be tempted to rush in without thinking about why people will want to listen. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently joined the increasing number of people launching their own podcast. Contrary to popular opinion, the process of starting a podcast does not begin with a Google search for the best podcasting microphone that money can buy.
Investing $400 on a microphone while not spending any time thinking about the structure of your show or your target audience will leave you looking like someone that has all the gear and no idea.
For example, the first episode of Mark Zuckerberg’s podcast clocks in at a daunting one hour 45 minutes. The subject matter was a little dry and is much much more about Zuckerberg than the audience it was created for. A podcast should not be all about the host or choosing the right equipment. It’s about your audience. Your role is much more about listening and learning from your guest.
“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” Larry King
Most people learn these lessons the hard way and give up after a few episodes. But if you are serious about committing to creating a podcast that will be active for years, rather than weeks, don’t rush into hitting record and publishing an audio stream of your thoughts just yet.
Listen To Podcasts
If you really want to launch your own podcast, your journey should begin with listening to other shows, rather than creating your own. Here are the beginning steps you should take before even thinking about buying a microphone.
Before you add your voice to the audio landscape and be the soundtrack to someone’s commute, you need to do a little exploring first. Listen to podcasts both in and outside of your niche. Make notes about what you like and dislike about all of the podcasts that you hear. Is there something missing?
Why did some shows keep you coming back for more? Was it the structure? The host? The guests? Or something else entirely? By removing everything you don’t like about podcasts, adding what you do and finally adding your unique voice, you should have the foundations for your podcasts.
Finding Your Podcast Voice
When you understand the podcast landscape, you should begin to understand where you will fit and what value you will provide your audience. Your audience will know instantly if you are going through the motions by the tone in your voice, so make sure you choose an area that you are passionate about and excites you.
Finding your why and the reasons for starting a podcast are crucial. This will also help you understand what value you can deliver to your audience. Remember your podcast is not all about you; it’s about your listeners and how enthusiastic you are about your content.
Who is Your Audience?
You probably have a long list of things you want to talk about and have so many ideas buzzing around your head. But who is your content for? What are their likes, dislikes, motivations, and aspirations of your audience?
There is a long list of things to think about before buying a microphone and hitting record. Those that skip these simple steps are the ones that seldom make it past ten episodes and or deliver a 120-minute self-serving episode rather than delivering value to their audience.
If you are thinking of starting a podcast, I can help you launch your own show, edit your episodes or even just point you in the right direction. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.