The Journey from Beginner to Pro Podcaster Explained #4


Improve Podcast School – episode 4

Why 2 years you may ask?

As data shows us 69% of successful podcasters have shows that are older than 24 months. So by reaching this point in time you are significantly improving your chance of financial success with your podcast.

Whether you are podcasting as an individual or for your company you need to focus to make your podcasting project be successful.

24 months of podcasting is a significant Breakthrough Milestone, which you need to be aiming at. 

You of course could get lucky with your show, perfectly matching the needs your audience has. Or you may have a relevant experience that you can bring to your show, and use it to make the journey to success be shorter.

However, the vast majority of new podcasters, especially all those without relevant past experience, will need to make the 2-year journey, going from beginner to pro and in some cases beyond that level.

Of course, it doesn’t happen automatically, just with the passage of time, but through the accumulation of knowledge, skills, and perfection of your craft, which happens during that period.

There are multiple tools, training, and services available to help you with that.

But the overall journey is something only you can complete.

5 Stages of the 2 Year Podcasting Journey That Is In Front of You

1. Who is an amateur podcaster?

Amateur Podcaster is the first stage in your journey. 

Everything is new for you.

In fact, you may only be familiar with podcasting so far by listening to it. And now you just had an idea for a show, and you want to become a podcaster.

But listening and creating are vastly different enterprises.

The most common difficulties you face are unfamiliar technology, the complexity of the entire podcasting ecosystem, and technical difficulties with all the aspects of creating, releasing, and promoting a show.

Having issues with operating the equipment and your software is also not uncommon.

Connecting a mic to a recording device may sound easy, but once you learn about dynamic microphones, preamps, audio interfaces, reverb, acoustic treatment, etc. suddenly a question “where should I even start?” becomes very relevant.

You may also face common fears, like impostor syndrome, or the hate of your own voice.

This is all very natural and will go away with time.

Instead, you need to bring the needs of your listener to the front. Simply focus on your listener persona, and release your episodes regularly. Those are the things that really matter right now.

The truth is that everyone is bad at something they have just started. That is why we have a learning process. There is no other way to learn than by failing at the beginning.

You need to accept the fact, that your show, might be below your personal standards of perfection. 

Find just a few things you will try to nail right from the start, and then make a long list of improvements you will implement in the upcoming months. And don’t worry, such a list never gets exhausted. You will always find more areas to improve.

2. When do you become a professional podcaster?

Professional Podcaster is a stage you can achieve fairly quickly. 

I know, that you may be surprised to hear this. You probably expected some intermediate stage. But to be honest, the journey from amateur to professional podcaster can last 6 months or a few years.

It all really depends on how much time can you devote to podcasting, and how fast are you willing to discover and accept the things you need to improve. 

Learning how to handle technology and recording high-quality audio are skills you can acquire quickly. If you are not making complex audio productions with sound effects, then learning how to produce a good-sounding show is a matter of weeks.

I mean you won’t be a pro sound engineer but if you manage your recording conditions well enough then editing is really simple.

For me becoming a professional podcaster, is a stage when you actually have podcasting in your weekly or monthly routine, when it is no longer a choir but has a dedicated place in your workflow.

This phase also starts when you start putting emphasis on the growth and promotion of your podcast rather than on the production cycle.

And growth and marketing are the main focus of this phase. You want to start monetizing your show effectively and in the least amount of time.

This is the phase where next to serving your listeners and learning new podcasting tricks you start learning growth methods and monetization techniques.

Because of those ambitious goals, this phase is very difficult for many and they get stuck here, never making that final leap.

It can last for a long time and many creators plateau here. It is easy to jump from amateur to professional but much more difficult to progress into becoming an authority.

3. How to become an authority in the field of podcasting?

You become an authority in the field of podcasting where your primary focus is growing your podcasting brand.

Long gone are the days, where technical stuff, ideas, and content production were the main source of your worries. Your main focus now is marketing and monetization.

How soon that can happen? Probably not sooner than after 1.5 years.

If you are focused enough you can do it relatively quickly.

When you are at this stage you have a revised listener persona, as by this point you are far after the creation of the initial persona template. You can even have more persona to fully embrace the marketing potential hidden in your large audience.

That way you can precisely hone down the value your listeners need, in terms of content you create, and the targeted marketing offer you can prepare for them.

You are not only creating a show for your target listeners but you also create a perfectly matched set of products and services – some of them free and some premium.

At this stage, next to the high-quality podcast and a website you should have a well-functioning email newsletter, and marketing funnel.

You also should have a set of tools to maximize engagement like polls, software testing elements on your website, and even segment your clients.

It is also a bit of a paradox, but you become an authority in the field of podcasting when your skillset extends beyond the realm of podcasting.

You are a brand manager, marketer, and even a product manager.

And this is the situation where you should dream to be in. 

From a monetization perspective, you should be well off by this point.

Full-time podcasting is now your regular job.

I know there are 2 more stages, but those are reserved for just a small portion of people who decide to start a podcast. 

The next stage is the status of podcasting celebrity.

4. How to achieve a podcasting celebrity status?

Celebrity status in podcasting is achieved when your show reaches a massive audience.

We are talking about hundreds of thousands of downloads per episode.

This will of course place you in the top 1% of all the shows.

The success formula here is not easy to replicate.

This usually is combination of very hard work and a lot o luck, where your podcast happened to have launched at the right time. 

At this point, you can expect to be asked for interviews, guest appearances, or be presented with various collaboration initiatives.

When the creators of Chapo Trap House, an American political podcast, published their book two years after their podcast launch, it was quick to reach the number 6 position on The New York Times Best Seller list.

If you are a podcasting celebrity you can capitalize on your popularity as many side projects become automatically successful due to your brand recognition.

You can use your celebrity status to launch any new project you like.

Including some form of a coaching program.

Which leads us to the final stage on a podcasting journey. Becoming a podcasting coach.

5. Who can be an expert and a podcasting coach?

Let’s clarify one thing. You don’t need a massive celebrity status before becoming a coach and expert to others.

This is simply a stage for those who were extremely successful with their podcast, and now are ready to pass their knowledge and guide others.

In fact, many podcasters who are pros and authorities in their field become coaches for others and help develop their careers and their shows.

This is a perfect career path for people who love podcasts but do not need to be celebrities.

To be a podcasting coach for other creators you should have in-depth knowledge of your niche, the entire podcasting industry, and you have connections with other experts inside the podcasting world as well as outside it. Especially you should have a great understanding of marketing tools and access to experts, as well as good knowledge about monetization tools, and a good intuition to advise others which path they should take.

If you ever reach this level, remember your journey with humility and guide those who are perplexed and wondering how to become a podcasting professional in the first place.

SUMMARY

Understanding the journey that lays ahead of you will make it easier for you during the time of hardship when you transition from amateur to professional, to an authority in your field.

And that can be a long process, 69% of successful podcasters needed 24 or more months to become financially successful, so you should expect also a 2 year journey for you.

Finally, when you know what you need to do, when it comes to content development, marketing and monetization, it will be easier for you to gain celebrity status and become an expert and a couch to other podcasters.

Depending on many factors, such as your background and previous experience, skills, the time you can put into podcasting, budget, and naturally luck, this journey may take you a different amount of time.

I would like you to be extremely successful, but we need to be honest. This requires a lot of dedication and hard work. You need to decide if you really want it and then followthrough.

About the Author

Chris Land

I'm the owner and creator of ImprovePodcast.com, the site dedicated to providing actionable solutions for podcast creators. My goal is helping people to develop their podcasts into effective marketing and sales tools.


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