Podcasting got it’s start in 2004 and has blossomed into a nearly billion dollar industry. Me? I got my start a whopping 10 years in by sitting down in my living room, turning on a laptop, and talking into a mic. It was literally that easy. Through the podcast I was pulling in dozens of listeners early on and got to interview guests like James Arnold Taylor and Jake Lloyd. It was on my podcast that Jake denied the rumor that he hated Star Wars and burned all of his merchandise (puffs out chest in pride). I also took home the “Best Podcast” award from “San Antonio Magazine” in 2017 and 2018 before closing it down in 2019. Not too shabby for some guy who started this by talking into a mic while sitting in his living room.
55% (155 million) of the US population has listened to a podcast – up from 51% in 2019. 65% of monthly podcast listeners have been listening for less than 3 years. There are also over 48 million episodes as of April 2021. Podcasts…they’re everywhere!
Get an idea about how big this is? And all you have to do to get started is sit down and start talking.
There are also plenty of pitfalls and mistakes just waiting for you. Based on my experience, here is what you need to avoid.
1. You have absolutely no idea what to talk about.
Podcasting SEEMS easy because all you have to do is flap your mouth, right? But one of the worst things you can do is sit down, start recording, and…nothing happens. Or worse, you are rambling about nothing. I mean there’s no way anyone can make a show about nothing work, right? Well unless you plan on catching lightning in a bottle like Seinfeld did, you need a concept, an outline, and perhaps even a script. Bust out a basic outline of topics you want to cover and let your creative imagination fill in the gaps. You might spend more time planning (and editing) than actually recording and that’s a good thing!
2. My podcast needs THE ABSOLUTE BEST EQUIPMENT EVER!
If you’re spending more money on equipment than a Kardashian does on shoes, you better rethink things. Yes, a 32 channel digital rack mixer is sexy and screams professionalism, but do you REALLY need 10 fully assignable XLR outputs, 15 output buses, 8 stereo-linkable aux sends, 6 stereo-linkable subgroups, a Main L/R bus, and a headphone output? No…no you don’t. I picked up this when it was on sale, plugged it into my laptop, and off I went. It’s not flawless and I don’t sound like Joe Rogan, but it gets the job done. Have a listen and you tell me how it sounds.
3. I have a whopping three episodes, I’m a superstar!
Podcasting is a long-term game that you’re doing for yourself. You have an opinion or knowledge you want to share with people. If you’re doing this for instant fame and fortune, look elsewhere. There are multiple podcasts that have thousands of episodes under their belt and you may not have heard of them. Take your time, develop your show, and get the bugs out of the way early. It’s better to find out what does not work before you make it big. If you want to be big time? It’s going to take big time.
4. I’m going to talk about the exact same thing everyone else does!
Yeah…don’t do that. There’s a feedspot that talks about the “Top 70 Star Wars Podcasts You Must Follow in 2021”. 70…podcasts…about one topic…for this year. By the way, most of the podcasts in the top 10 of that list have been doing their shows for half a decade or more. Talk about longevity! Another interesting tidbit, I ran a search on the list for “all things Star Wars” and a whopping SEVEN podcasts (10% of the list) have that in their descriptions. Find a niche, an angle, something different, and run with it. Don’t talk about the Cassian Andor series when you have 1138 podcasts doing the exact same thing. Instead, find a way to talk about the series in a way few others have before.
5. People listen to podcasts all over the world so that’s where my focus should be.
No matter where you are, chances are your target audience is right outside your door. There are groups doing all kinds of activities and you need to tap into that. Through local groups you can find guests, support, a loyal following, and help shine a light on what they are doing in the community. They appreciate you and you appreciate them. This symbiotic relationship benefits everyone so go find out what’s going on in your neck of the woods.
6. I upload to this one podcast platform, that’s good enough right?
Does McDonald’s operate in only one city? Does Best Buy only sell movies? Does LeBron James stay with just one team? Nope, and neither should you. When we publish one of our podcasts we do it through Podbean. But you better believe we connect that account to Spotify, Apple, and Amazon. I have my eye on iHeart and Anchor too. Cast a wide net and see what you reel in. Don’t neglect social media as well. Podcast listeners are much more active on social media channels (94% are active on at least one – vs 81% for the entire population). Start a Facebook page, Twitter account, or something more lively like TikTok.
7. Bring the passion in a sincere manner.
Do you need to be the most extroverted person ever to have a podcast? No, but it helps. Can introverts have podcasts? Of course, but you can’t be too far on that end of the scale either. Listen to those around you and take their advice seriously when it comes to which end of the scale you’re on. Don’t bother with comments that poke fun at the show like “oh well no one is listening anyway” or “boy is this a crappy episode”. Present the best version of yourself during all episodes because if you are going to make it big then you can’t damage “the brand”. People turn to you for entertainment, education, value, and advice. They will drop off quickly and find someone else if you start smacking yourself around with a verbal 2×4.
You made it all the way down here? You deserve a bonus tip! Feel free to join a podcasting team where you get support, advice, and help with marketing…like with our team! Slip us a comment if you’d like to discuss launching your own podcast with Geek News Now!