Congratulations. Seriously. You deserve it. You decided to jump into the big deep waters of podcasting. It is an adventure, and you are going to get a lot out of it. However, how do you start? How do you create your podcast?
That is a great question. There are a lot of ways to start a podcast. Sometimes two great friends are talking at lunch about a subject they are passionate about and then one of them says, “We should do a Podcast!” Sometimes, a Blogger gets such great feedback on their written words, they are told by their community that they should do a Podcast. There are lots of ways that spur someone to that eventual conclusion, “I should create a podcast!”
However, how do you translate that great energy and primal motivation into Action? I have thought long and hard about this. As I have stated before on this blog, I think the process for technically crafting a podcast are very well documented on the web. There are a ton of How To Videos out there that show you tools, services and software for making all the magic happen. There are even tons of blogs and videos on WHY you should podcast that range from personal fulfillment to smart business cases filled with graphs and analysis.
However, in all my time living and working in the Podcast community, I find there is very little discussion given to creating your podcast. Sometimes, I think Podcasters who are successful take what they do for granted. Especially when they start talking about the Craft of Podcasting. We talk more about Craft and less about the ART of Podcasting. We can unfortunately make it seem like good shows just grow on trees. One must simply pluck the ripened fruit from the golden Orchard of Podcast wonder! Bite Freely, my friends, for you too can pull magic from the Podcast Ethos!
It simply does not work this way. A good Podcast is actually somewhat hard to make. We spend so much time futzing with the technical when we start learning about podcasting, that we rarely have time to stop and think about what we are actually going to SAY or PRODUCE when we have finally hit record! What are you going to say? What is your show about? And if your answer is, “I’m just going to copy what <insert the name of you favorite podcaster here> does!” You need to stop. You should not pass go. You will not collect $200.00. That is the worst idea you could possibly have.
Your show should come from you. You are valuable. You may not realize it, but you are why your podcast will be successful. Your voice, your energy, your inherent qualities will make your show great. So, you cannot copy another person’s format and idea. It has to come from your thought, intention and heart. Now, you may feel unable to do this, and this is why we are doing this series. I want you to know how to create, produce and craft a good, if not great, Podcast.
Therefore, I decided to create this little blog series called CREATE YOUR PODCAST. We are going to discuss how you take your desire to podcast and develop that into an actual show. We will discuss writing, formats, niche examination, etc. so that you can create the type of content that people want to hear. Hopefully by the end of this series you will be able to take your idea from desire to production with confidence.
Before we begin I highly encourage you to read this POST I put out a few weeks ago entitled Four Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Start Your Podcast. I will reference that blog post and those questions a bit more in this Post, so you want to make sure you are caught up. You will see why shortly.
Chances are you have an idea what your Podcast could be about. But what makes a Podcast work with an audience? There is a whole bunch of wizardry and magic behind what makes a successful podcast. At the end of the day no one REALLY knows why a podcast is successful, but if you tried to pull the pieces apart you would note that a Good or even Great Podcast does two things and sometimes both. It speaks to an individual’s Passion or it fulfills a Need.
The Second of the four questions I recommend you ask your self is simply, “Are you Passionate about your subject matter?” I think Passion begets understanding when it comes to a particular topic. For example, if I am passionate about the Art of Wood Working, I will read every blog I can, study design concepts, by books by famous wood workers and eventually… eventually I may get a crazy Idea to do a Podcast about Wood Working, and when I start my Podcast I will know so much about my subject my listeners will find value and hopefully be inspired to go make a cross cut sled. (go look it up).
Your Passion for your subject matter will create knowledge and that knowledge will be instrumental in building the format and structure of your show. Also, it will come THROUGH in your writing, presentation and performance. If that listener is also equally passionate about your subject they will become not just a subscriber, not just a patron, but your advocate to their other friends who share this interest. People can tell if you LOVE something. They can feel it when they hear you talk about it, and that is important. If you do not have the PASSION for your subject matter, then ask yourself, why am I doing this?
The answer to that question is really important. Because at this stage in your movement towards becoming a Podcast Producer you need to understand why you are doing it. If you just want to cover something you think is popular and could make you some money, you will fail. I guarantee it. So, make sure your show has an inherent love and passion for the subject.
The other important thing a good or great podcast does is fulfill a NEED. If you pick up any solid book about business (I recommend this one) it will tell you that a successful enterprise first and foremost fills a Need. For example, here is Buford. Buford really like to read books about Wood Working, but the local library has too few books and he read them all. The nearest book store is kind of out of his way, and they do not have many books. Boy, wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to just order almost any wood working book ever written and it would be delivered to your door? Good news, there is a website that does that. It is called Amazon, and while Buford is at it, he can order up that Coping Saw he needs for his next project. Amazon is successful because it filled a need.
What need will your Podcast fill? Will it provide valuable information and news to a specific segment of folks who are underserved? Will it give comedy fans another great show to download so they can laugh for a few minutes as they do the laundry or commute to work? The answer to this question is specific to your own show, and only you can answer it, but I highly encourage you define an answer.
These questions and their answers get us to that all important word that people LOVE to discuss, Niche. Does your show provide value to a specific type of person with a specific type of interest. This is a Niche, and when you can become an expert or a trusted voice to a Niche Audience, you have really hit upon something. You have created value for people. Creativity can add value! Who would have thought it?
Before we close, I just want to speak to those of you who may find yourself struggling with your answers to these questions. You might already have doubts about your choice for a show topic and you may feel a bit discouraged. Here is what I would say to you. Good! That is great! If you doubt your commitment now, you should re-group and perhaps pivot. It would be better to start from scratch before you get knee deep in producing a show that you do not have a passion for or fails fulfill a need. You would rather fail fast than fail slow.
Now, you may have read this an thought, “Ok, I get this and I know my answers to the questions! What do I do next?” The next step is to pick a format for your show, and we will discuss that in our next installment of this series, and that will come soon enough. Until that next post hits, I would love to hear your feedback on this article post. What stood out to you? Are you having a hard time answering these questions?