There are a vast number of tutorials for creating a podcast. These cover the technical issues and often include some suggestions to help you be successful. In this episode, I explore your attitude, desires, and whether a podcast makes sense for you. It often needs to be a labor of love. Thus, we start by examing that.
Creating A Podcast Topic
It is probably stating the obvious when I say a podcast starts with a topic. However, that does not always seem to be the case. A general concept or theme exists, but you will often see podcasts wander and even flounder in the early episodes. While it is usually recommended to launch a podcast with three to five episodes ready to go, you are not likely to find your rhythm until you have a dozen or more complete. That does not mean you will have it mastered that soon, just that you will have a solid idea of the podcast topic.
When considering topics for creating a podcast, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- It must be a topic you enjoy talking about and researching.
- Is this a topic that is evergreen or will it be quickly dated material?
- Is the topic too broad to keep a listener’s attention from episode to episode?
- Does the idea of seasons make sense?
- Who is your audience?
These suggestions will seem familiar. That is due to these sort of questions being critical to answer for starting almost any enterprise. You will see a variation of these questions in any book on starting a business, podcast, or blog. I include them here not because it is redundant information but because it is essential to your success.
More Than Talking and Recording
A podcast may seem simple and easy. The best podcasters out there make it look that way just as an expert makes hard tasks seem effortless. However, there is more to cranking out episodes than setting up an interview or riffing on a topic. Interviews are popular with podcasts for a variety of reasons.
- You are not required to come up with material for each episode
- The interviewee brings a community and followers to be introduced to your podcast
- It is a way to keep each episode fresh (more voices than yours)
I prefer to avoid interviews due to scheduling challenges but otherwise, they are less intellectually demanding and I find them fun. Every interview has taught me about the person I talk with and insights into new ways to view a situation.
Whatever option you choose (both is an option), there will be editing and review required before you post the podcast. The amount of effort involved in the edit and review process varies broadly and often gets better as time goes by. You will learn to speak clearly and more in line with your editing process while mastering the tools involved.
The Cost of Time
The best question to answer before launching a podcast is “what am I giving up for this?” There will be the time required to prepare each episode, record it, and post-production. While the amount of time can vary, it still requires you to not do something else. The cost may be your “free time,” or it may impact your job, friends, and family. Understand the cost before you start and ensure you are comfortable with it. Personally, it often costs me some of my professional billable time and has reduced my ability to spend time doing fun things like playing on the PS4 or pursuing other hobbies.
A benefit of podcasting is that you will get better at speaking and presenting ideas. The time spent is an investment in yourself. Your “radio announcer” voice may improve, or you will find listening to yourself less painful. In any case, do not let your voice be the thing that stops you from podcasting. There are all sorts of voices out there, and it is rare that the voice breaks a show with excellent content. While a superb voice can gain you a following while you read from the phone book, the topics you cover are a better recipe for success.
The best thing about creating a podcast is that you can invest several hours and see if you like it. I recommend everyone go through the exercise of starting one. You never know, it may be the key to a lifelong hobby or even unbridled success.