Starting a new podcast isn’t easy. Especially when you’re new to podcasting in general. Maybe you have a lot of knowledge to share, or people have been telling you to get into podcasting for a long time but you finally feel like you have the time to get into it. Understanding what you need to do before and during the beginning of your journey helps. JJ Flizanes, host of Spirit, Purpose, and Energy; Women, Men, and Relationships and Something to Wine About, and Doug Sandler, host of Turnkey Podcast and Nice Guys on Business spoke with Monica Vidal and Jack Hartzman, two new podcasters, to get their thoughts on the process.
Jack Hartzman believes the podcasting world has been calling him for a while now, and that as terrible as it’s been, the pandemic provided them with enough time to focus on creating and launching one.
Things to focus on before you launch your podcast
- Work with your long term legacy to take the pressure off you. What do you want to achieve with your podcast? What’s your message, and who’s your audience. Understanding this can remove some stress during the launch process.
- Structure the episodes with a through line. Imagine it being written as a book. Could it be done?
- Consider your reasons for starting a podcast. Let them keep you aligned with your mission and message and how you want to help.
- Allow yourself to have fun, enjoy what you’re doing, and care about what you’re doing.
Building the template for your show is crucial to your podcast journey. These are the basics you build everything from. Your title, show description, cover art, welcome episode, open and close, voice over music, finding and developing a relationship with a distributor. Monica Vidal found anything with defined steps easier to do, while Jack struggled with thoughts of how to build a community and monetize the show. Also, Jack was aware that focusing on one could alienate the other. Audio editing was also difficult for Jack to jump into, so instead, they are outsourcing that element and removing something off their plates. They were also figuring out how to open up their community to all creatives, not just photographers like them.
You don’t have to choose between long and short term investment though. You can invest in building your community while developing your client guest relationships for the show. Your story arcs also don’t have to be so strategic, as long as you remember that people need a reason to care to listen to your show.
There’s also the client based benefits podcasts provide because your clients already know you a little bit. Just remember that everyone takes different times to get know, like, and trust you, and getting them there is important for both long and short term investment.
Something you need to keep in mind when you start your podcast is your M.O.M. Market, Offer, and Message. You don’t have to have a concrete plan in place, but a general idea and some flexibility will help you here. You can be like Jack and go into podcasting thinking you have it all together only to find out that you actually don’t. Others know right from the word ‘go’, but moving forward when you don’t is possible.
You’ll keep reconfiguring your M.O.M, post-launch, because of feedback, interviews, and your growing experience. Your Offer will change depending on what your community needs. You just need to start and be willing to pivot when necessary. Change, adjust, course correct, and keep going. It will all work eventually.
Nice Guys on Business has changed pretty much everything but the name based on community needs. The secret is to not let perfect be the enemy of done. Keep moving forward. For the average person this is terrifying, but what exactly are you scared of? Maybe it’s not the money. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s your voice, name, and reputation on the line. But remember, your audience will grow with time, and just because you aren’t immediately (or ever) selling something doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong.
Advice for interviews
Depending on your show, you may have a different approach to how you do your interviews. Doug focuses on rehearsed spontaneity. He wants to have known enough where he’s smart and can have a decent conversation, but still have enough curiosity, where he can be considered “3rd grade dumb”. He isn’t an expert, and his angle is based more on what his community would want to know. He’ll build up his questions, but he won’t do a deep dive.
JJ, however, will do just that. She goes in knowing what she wants to discover and what she wants her community to learn but still gives herself the freedom for more. She doesn’t go in with 20 questions. JJ wants a conversation more than an interview.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to throw out the idea of a set time for your show. People think your show has to be 25-30 minutes. Why? Joe Rogan has a 4-hour show and an engaged audience. Do what’s comfortable for you. Have an estimate for your interview and show, but give yourself flexibility. Not every episode has to be the same length either. Allow yourself to complete your conversation with your guest. If you both have the time, let it end naturally.
Don’t be afraid of controversy if you feel it’s necessary. It also helps show you care about the topic. Push your guest, have them expand on some things. It’s not a lecture, it’s an interview. Lastly, don’t do an interview or choose a guest solely based on your audience. Do it for you too. If you don’t care, if you’re not passionate, they’ll hear it and you’ll risk becoming another generic, vanilla host.
Benchmarks for new podcasters
There’s going to be variation between podcasts. Large audiences and wide cast nets can lead to many listeners but much less conversion depending on your M.O.M. There are also so many metrics by which you could measure success or failure in podcasting
It depends on what you’re doing and what’s important to you. If you’re doing guest to client strategies, have you converted anybody to a client? If you’re doing a community-based show, has anybody reached out to you? An important one is whether you know who your audience is. Many podcasters don’t engage with their audience so can’t know who they are. Podcasting is an attraction based market. How can you know how and who to attract, if you don’t know how and who you’ve attracted?
At the end of the day, whatever makes you feel best is a good benchmark, whether that’s reviews or downloads. What a lot of podcasters find difficult is the one-year mark. What are your goals for your podcast, and what have you achieved? Are you listening to your audience? Engagement is the key to success in podcasting. Get a Facebook page, start a hashtag on Twitter, maneuver your audience online so you can talk with them.
Just get out there and get started. Care about what you do and listen to the advice and feedback you receive. How many times have people asked you about what you’re an expert on or are passionate about? You’ve done this 100 times before without getting paid for it. You’re already halfway there.
If you’d like to listen to Monica and Jack, check out the Visual Wow podcast on Apple Podcasts. If you’d like to reach out to Doug and JJ, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.turnkeypodcast.com to learn more about us.