I often hear the question of what the main difference between amateur and experienced podcaster is? If I need to answer this simply, I will say patience and focus. But in this post, I will go in-depth about what comes out of this patience, and where the full benefits of having focused vision and execution in podcasting are.
This is the age of podcasts. From comedy to news, music to true crime, self-help, and science, podcasts cover all topics one may think of.
Consequently, there are podcasters of different skill levels across many niches. There are amateurs, who work hard but struggle a bit- they try to bring in the right content but often do not strike the right chord with the audience. And there are experienced podcasters, who know how to win the audience and project themselves better to create their unique identity among the crowd of podcasters.
What about you? Do you know where you stand and where you want to be? What is the way to progress from being an amateur to an experienced podcaster?
Find out where you are so you can plan where you are heading!
Amateurs versus Experienced Podcasters – the things you could do differently!
In this post, I want to tell you about the difference between amateur and experienced podcaster. Let me elaborate on these differences so that you can get an idea of where you stand.
1. Do Things Impulsively vs. Has a Plan
So how did you think of launching a podcast? You had nothing to do one weekend, and your brother’s microphone was lying around. That’s how you recorded an episode and uploaded it on the Internet?
And now you are searching for ideas for the next episode on Google (the modern equivalent of scratching your head).
Amateurs do things impulsively. They get a brilliant idea for a podcast like a lightning stroke, and they decide to execute it without sufficient research, and with no plan to guide them on what next. They don’t know what duration of episodes they want to create, or how their future episodes will look like!
The presence of a plan is the most evident difference between amateur and experienced podcasters. While the amateur acts on whims and fancies, the expert has a roadmap for their podcasting journey, right from the beginning.
Professional launches a podcast only after ascertaining that it is the right choice. When you start, make sure it will help you with your personal and business goals and start with a long-term plan for your podcast.
2. Not sure what to talk about vs. Knows that form is more important
An amateur podcaster often mistakes podcasting as a conversation recorded and aired for the public to hear.
An amateur appreciates the spontaneity of other podcasters but mistakenly believes that this is what podcasting is all about. And without understanding the process well, sets off to launch their own work and starts rattling off in front of a microphone.
It might click with a bunch of listeners, but they are unlikely to gain a strong following and allow a podcast to grow organically.
This is another evident difference between amateur and experienced podcaster. Amateurs have an idea, and often, some valuable content, but they don’t know how to talk about it.
Podcasts, though sound like a free-flowing conversation, involve a lot of conscious efforts.
Experienced podcasters are not merely reading facts jotted down on a paper or having a casual chat with their guest. They give a great deal of thought on their presentation – how to weave a compelling narration through storytelling, laying their ideas (or facts) one by one to bind the audience, etc.
Professional will practice a suitable pace for speaking – giving keen attention to the rate of words per minute and pausing for effect. They utilize sound effects or music to add emotion or depth to their work. Experts know that without good form, a good script would garner little attention.
3. Talks about what he likes vs. Fully understands the audience and talks to deliver value
Amateurs have heaps of enthusiasm towards their work. Usually, they would choose a niche they fancy and cover topics they like.
They assume that others would like their content, or their energy would rub off on them. This is problematic thinking – people may not necessarily want to hear what you are talking about!
Let me tell you all one important thing before I sow the seeds of any doubts in your mind. It is crucial to love what you are working on or talking about. This will keep you going in the long run – your passion, your inclination towards the subject.
But experienced podcasters know that passion doesn’t mean ignoring the interests of the listeners – the episodes should have something that listeners would like and feel connected too. They try to figure out the listeners’ preferences by researching podcasts, blogs, etc. on the theme. Professional incorporates feedback to improve their work – sometimes, they take ideas or questions from listeners and base their next show on them, maximizing listener engagement.
Giving the audience priority while creating podcast episodes is a vital difference between amateur and experienced podcaster. A professional has a listener persona and talks to them.
4. Thinks that Podcast is the key vs. Understands that Podcast needs multiple channels to succeed
Many podcasts enthusiasts jump into the fray without knowing what the journey entails. Their idea of podcasting is making a great podcast, hosting it somewhere, and waiting for people to take note of it. They believe that if their work is good, listeners will discover it anyhow.
This myopic vision can be detrimental. Just have a look at the flood of content on social media. Will they ever stumble across your podcast just because you have uploaded it somewhere? Highly unlikely! You need to actively promote it to get thousands of downloads.
The difference between amateur and experienced podcaster is that the experts know that a podcast cannot succeed in a vacuum.
Listeners need to be reached through multiple channels. They will have a promotion plan ready in their hands, which will be meticulously executed so that their hard work gains exposure.
They are quick to harness the power of the Internet to get their voices heard.
A professional will share the podcast on their social media handles as well as pages they have specially created for their podcast. They will probably have a website or a landing page ready for the podcast. They will use platforms like Pinterest and Youtube to get exposure for their work.
5. Launches a website after months of podcasting vs. Launches a website months before publishing the first episode
Amateurs often take the right step at the wrong time (or very late!).
That’s due to their tendency to focus on their podcast, and nothing else solely. Something as important as having a dedicated website for their work can seem trivial, or they feel that they are just beginners, anything apart from the main podcast should be handled later. The later comes too late, and sometimes, it never comes at all.
And this is where another difference is evident between amateur and experienced podcasters. Experienced podcasters know that a website lends credibility to their brand, and it is a place where links to all their podcast episodes can be displayed together.
They can also use it to share episode transcripts or display their other works – like blogs, offline events, promotional videos, etc.
The experienced podcasters know that their landing page can position them as an expert; hence, they might even launch it before the podcast itself.
6. Think mailing list is a relic vs. Understands the power of mailing list
To the uninitiated, a mailing list is a list of email addresses to which you send the same email. You must have often received an email from your favorite brand of clothes, financial services, or magazines.
That’s because once you share your email address with them, most likely, on their website, they use it to stay connected with you.
Many of us, including amateur podcasters, might feel that mailing lists are no longer useful.
Newbie podcasters think – there is social media, videos, etc. to promote the podcast. What good would a mailing list serve? This is a point of difference between amateur and experienced podcaster.
An experienced podcaster knows that a person may not open Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher every day, but will surely check mails on a daily (or more frequent basis). Most people have notifications turned on for new mails. So by sending an email, the podcast will be on top of listeners’ minds.
Podcasters can drop in a link to the new episode in a weekly newsletter, and introduce it in 3-4 lines. Perhaps one can tell the listeners how to access extra content or lead them to a landing page through email.
Mailing lists are especially useful when you want to make a special announcement (change in schedule, new guest coming over, etc.). The mailing list is a great way to inform your audience if you are on more than one platform.
7. Learns only about Podcasting vs. Learns about Business, Marketing, Psychology
Another difference between amateur and experienced podcaster are the skills they focus on.
An amateur thinks only about podcasting. They will go to lengths to research and write a great script, convince experts to come on the show, hone his voice recording skills, etc.
While recording a stellar episode, of course, is at the heart of running a successful podcast, but it is not limited to that.
An experienced podcaster knows that he or she has to wear many hats. To be a successful podcaster, one must rather act as an entrepreneur and treat the podcast as a business.
8. Thinks that a high number of downloads is the goal vs. Understands that you need to know how to convert traffic
Amateur podcasters get thrilled by the number of downloads. They believe that a higher number of downloads is the ultimate podcasting goal. They are elated when people share their work – for them. It’s the fulfillment of their dreams.
Needless to say, a high number of downloads is necessary for a podcast to be successful. But experienced podcasters know that it is a tool and not the end goal of the podcast.
The aim is usually more meaningful, and those downloads lead to achieving the aim.
The difference between amateur and experienced podcaster is that they know how to convert this traffic to make the podcast bigger, and the work sustainable.
Experienced podcasters would focus on tapping on the people who download these episodes – one way is to persuade them for a paid subscription to the podcast itself. They will make pitches to sell their products or do affiliate marketing. Or take the listeners to their web page.
9. Dreams about making money with ads vs. Understands that you can make money in many different ways
Amateurs think that podcasting can fetch them revenue only through advertising. While advertising is easy to make money for podcasters with a very strong following, it is just one of the many ways.
The difference between amateur and experienced podcaster is that experienced folks know that there are more ways to monetize a podcast, and they use more than one method in a complementary manner.
They would ask for support on Patreon, sell their own merchandise, courses, or services through their podcast, etc. They might even organize offline events and cash on their popularity.
10. Uses cheap gear vs. Has Pro Gear and skills to operate it correctly
And their lies another difference between amateur and experienced podcaster. Amateur podcaster tends to ignore the finer aspects of sound recording. They have faith in their content, but they often forget that presentation is essential to engage the listeners. And they have never considered allocating a budget to podcasting gear. Hence, their setup is often makeshift or rudimentary.
Whereas experienced podcasters know that sound quality is vital for an episode to hold listeners’ attention. They are aware that professional gear can make their work easy, and the recording will sound rich.
They also work on their voice recording skills to improve the quality of their work.
To the amateur podcasters- I would strongly urge you to come out of your narrow vision if you want success in podcasting.
Podcasting is all about evolution. So folks, no matter where you stand today, you can progress and move up the ladder over time. The difference between amateur and experienced podcasters may be many, but you can tide over them by broadening your horizon and learning with an open mind.