It’s 2016. Podcasting is in it’s prime. People are cutting their cable cords and looking for alternate content to view. Shows like Serial show us podcasting can be a powerful thing. So it’s time for you to pull the trigger on getting your show out.
But how do you do it?
Just like anything, there is saying you will do something and actually doing it. Not only do you have to make the podcast, you have to do some research on how its done so you can get to making the podcast. Well, fear not! Let’s go over what you need to do to not only make the podcast happen, but also make it successful.
First Guideline: Set up a Podcast Business Plan
This is a simple outline of what you want to do and where you want to go in the next year or so. Your goals, ideas, finance, analysis and more should be included to help with success. If you think of your podcast as a business – even if it’s a hobby – you might find you’ll put more effort into it.
The most important part is the financial side. Not just money for podcast gear or hosting plans, but for some serious marketing. A podcast is like a snowflake: unique to others but small and hard to find in a snowstorm. If you can get a focused group of 100,000 people in your niche to advertise to, you can work on the 1,000 that will actually listen to your show.
Figure Out What You Want to Talk About
Many people hit record and talk. Their rambling doesn’t get listeners, so they quit. Let’s face it: most of us don’t stop and listen to the homeless person rambling about how the world is going to end. Even the street musician is in your ear for a total of 30 seconds. So why would someone listen to you?
Sit down and make a list. What you will talk about and what you wont. Every niche has sub-categories. Find the right sub-niche and stick with it.
For example: If I plan to start a Game of Thrones podcast, I might talk about the episodes and what that means with story lines. I could focus on the inaccuracies of the show. I could have guest on and have them talk about storylines. I could reenact scenes using cats.
I talk tech most of the time. For a show like Wearable Today, I have to determine what does and what doesn’t get considered as wearable tech. For a long time, I didn’t include smartphones as wearable technology, although I’ve been wearing a phone since 1998.
Writing a list will give you a guideline to go back to. Best part is if your show includes other people, you can put that list on a shared resource like Google Docs so everyone can view.
When / Where Are You Going to Record? Schedule it out!
Make yourself a schedule and put it on the fridge. Set up alarms in your phone “Time to Podcast”. Whatever frequency you choose, make sure you set up the alerts so you can be reminded to do it. This will help you get in your habit.
For the first year I set up an alarm clock to go off when it was time to focus on the podcast. I let everyone know the day I record so people could get used to me being offline.
A good schedule setup is a constant reminder to do something. You might have one setup to pay bills, maintenance your car or even see your doctor. Have one to help you remember your podcast.
Plan to Review
I am shocked to hear how many people don’t listen to their own shows. You can change the stats curve and become your own critic.
I listen to most of my shows and try to figure out what I did right and wrong. More than just “umms”. I remember one show where I lost track of what I was talking about. When I listened to the show, I realized I missed stating my original point. I then started putting a few keywords down on paper so I didn’t do that again.
Tell Your Friends and Family
The best audience comes from your closest circles. Not all of them will be into the stuff you are, but some might and some will even help spread the word to other friends and family. If you can get 5 people to talk about your show every week, the numbers will increase. If 5 people spark 5 others within 90 days, then 10 turn to 20 and so on. Sometimes it takes a couple years for a show without ad dollars to really break through.
By also telling your friends and family, you are making a verbal commitment, which pushes you to do what you said you would. I am not shy to say “Hey, Mom. Did you listen to my show last week? What did you think?”
I was at a party where a good friend not only informed me on how he enjoyed a recent episode, but he also forwarded it to 2 different friends who consumed it as well. That made me smile knowing I had 3 viewers.
Sponsors or Affiliates
You might think commercialization is not where you want to go with this, but if you have a committed call to action, it becomes a kick in the pants to do a podcast. Even if it only makes you enough to buy a steak dinner once a month, that’s one more steak dinner you didn’t have before.
You can promote anything. Find a company that has an affiliate program and bring it in. Many self-help authors promote their books. Comedians and musicians will promote their upcoming shows. Better yet – ask a friend to promote your podcast and you’ll in-turn promote their business. Get two stones with one bird.
Professional Artwork and Logos
It doesn’t cost much to get artwork and logos made. You might even be able to find it on fiverr.com. Nonetheless, put a few dollars behind your look to show how serious you are. You will find that is the best advertising.
Take a Class or Read a Book
This is pretty important. Just like with brain surgery, the only way to know is to learn. I recommend a class over a book because you are in an environment to learn. If you do choose the book option, schedule times to sit down and read it. Even if you know the material, make sure you still re-consume it just in case. You never know if some new idea is just sitting between the pages.
Beta Your Podcast
These commitments become the grease to your axle, getting the wheels rolling to your new podcast. And just like with any habit, it takes time to get into a groove. Don’t be too harsh on yourself for the first 6 months. Think of it like companies such as Twitter, Facebook and Google. They didn’t make profit until years later, which was part of the plan. Start by being a “Beta Podcast” looking for feedback as you go.
Whatever you do, become the podcaster you want in 2016. Plan the Podcast and Podcast the Plan.