You might be planning to launch a new podcast. Chances are you already have your first script in hand. But have you thought if podcasting is right for you or not?
It is tough to find a person who doesn’t know what a podcast is or has not listened to one. Podcasts are the new radio. You would find people listening to them while driving to the store, or on their daily commute to their offices. You might have once entered a café and found an interesting podcast playing on the speaker (and maybe, that prompted you to check it out on your smartphone!).
Podcasts are popular. Immensely popular! Edison Research estimates that 68 million Americans listened to podcasts every week in 2020. And the number of listeners is rising all over the world. Consequently, many creators see it as a positive signal and want to work on their own podcasts.
In this post, I don’t plan to discourage you from podcasting. Instead, I want you to take it up only after you have made these careful considerations.
1. Do you have a specific aim?
Are you starting a podcast just because you want to be present on multiple platforms?
Or you want to switch to podcasting because of its popularity. It’s not a bad idea, depending on your motive. If you are just trying your luck and jumping from one platform to another, I would say you shouldn’t waste your time recording a podcast.
Podcasting is hard work, so if you are aimless or don’t have a content strategy, your initial enthusiasm will fade away soon.
However, some bloggers and YouTubers started their podcasts. They had a specific aim in mind so that they could expand their presence to another place. A very successful example is the content marketing blog and podcast Copyblogger.
What was started as a blog by one man, Brian Clark, now has its own podcasts. The entire resources shared by Copyblogger on both the platforms are considered as the Bible of Content Marketing by copywriters and bloggers.
If you want to be sure you have a goal for your podcast, it is best to research your idea for a podcast thoroughly. To help you with this, I have those additional resources:
2. Are you a tech-savvy person?
Making a podcast requires a lot more involvement with technology than other media.
A blog is a written media in which the content creator has to play the role of a wordsmith.
Photographers have to capture pictures and do the post-processing. But as a podcaster – you have to research and write your script. Then you have to handle your recording equipment and do voice recording.
After you have recorded your episode, you have to edit the recording to eliminate retakes and mistakes, and perhaps add some engaging music at the beginning and the end. Then, of course, comes the online promotion of your show.
Now the question is, do you have these skills, or are you willing to learn them? You have to do all of these in a specific time-frame! If the concept of immersing for several hours in technology is acceptable to you, then maybe podcasting is right for you!
3. Are you willing to spend on equipment?
Since podcasting is a bit technical process, you require good-quality equipment to get a good output.
We are not talking about a Hollywood movie sized budget, but you might have to spend some amount on a recording set up if you already don’t have one!
You will need to buy a decent microphone and a microphone stand. If you don’t already have one, you will need an ergonomic chair to sit and record. You might have to subscribe to podcast audio editing software and pick the right podcast hosting for your audio files.
You need to shell out a minimum of 200 dollars to get started, and if you have big plans, like having a good-quality set-up at your home or studio, be ready to spend somewhere minimum 1.000 to 1.500 dollars.
Additionally, I have detailed specific guides on:
- review of the best podcasting microphones,
- choose the best podcasting audio interface,
- comparison of the best closed-back headphones for a podcast.
4. Ability to research and have an interesting angle
Podcast listeners are a keen audience. They would be glad to give you their time and listen to your podcast for an hour. But that also means that your content should be informative and engaging.
Podcasting is right for you if you can research a topic thoroughly. If what you have is a mere passing interest in your niche or topic of choice, the odds of making a successful podcast are not in your favor. If you are a person who thinks he or she will google some ideas and write a compelling script, it won’t go on for long.
Can you commit to in-depth research, and:
- read a lot about your topic,
- listen to other podcasts in your niche,
- talk to subject matter experts and listeners,
- unearth facts that may not be present on popular media,
- stay updated with the latest developments, etc. ?
Are you really that passionate about your niche that it occupies a permanent space in your mind, and you do not miss a chance to explore an interesting angle?
The topic should really matter to you, and you must have the patience to know it very well.
I recommend you to visit this guide on brainstorming ideas for podcasting.
5. Do you have Storytelling Skills?
Podcast is an audio medium. What you say is important. How you say matters more! Let’s say you have just released the first episode of your podcast. And a listener tunes in. Now, your storytelling skills will play a strong role in deciding whether the person continues to listen or move over to another podcast.
While the quality of your ideas and knowledge is important, they become evident when a person has listened long enough to one episode. The first impression is created by the way you present them. With excellent storytelling skills, you can get the listeners interested so that they stay longer and find out what you really want to tell.
Unlike a video or a blog, there won’t be any visuals to support your ideas in a podcast. There can’t be images, data charts, or clips to convey what you want. All you have is your voice and your unique way of presentation.
Podcasting is right for you if you are willing to gain some compelling storytelling skills that draw users’ attention, no matter what your topic or genre is. Develop a style that intrigues the audience and is easy to understand, as well.
Here is a step by step guide on how to improve your storytelling skills for podcasting.
6. Patience before you find success
The internet is full of quick success stories that talk about writers, bloggers, and podcasters, who made money overnight. And let me be honest with you, those stories really undercut their years of hard work.
If you are hoping to make some quick cash and wondering if podcasting is right for you? If you want my opinion, I would say no!
There are undoubtedly many proven ways to make money podcasting, but they require patience.
Podcasting is a long journey, and you will need time to master your skills and gain visibility among podcast audiences. Building up organic followers is a long process, even for the best of podcasts.
Let’s do some quick math. A podcast may have a 40 to 60 minutes duration, but you will put in nine-ten hours to create and market an episode.
I assume that you plan for a weekly schedule. So you have to spend 520 hours in a year working on your podcast.
I am not saying you can’t earn anything from it. But monetizing a podcast is a long-term process, so it will be a while before you can make decent revenues.
If you think you will start podcasting and in a few weeks you will get enough money to replace the income from your day job, you are headed for disappointment.
If you are not very patient and what to see results fast I have two useful tips for you:
7. You like interacting with people
Podcasting is right for you if you love interacting with people. That’s because it would make the podcast more exciting and the process easier for you.
A spellbinding podcast cannot be created in a vacuum. You would have to interact with people at multiple points to enrich your work:
- To include the views and experiences of other individuals can add depth to your work. To do that, you will have to interact with experts or guests for the pre-interview and the interview process.
- Even if you don’t want to interview anyone for your podcast directly, you will have to interact for researching new ideas and corroborating facts. It could also let you explore new angles, as instead of solely working according to your set ideas and viewpoint, you will get to know what others feel about the topic.
- To have great interviews for your podcast or to let people share their opinions and experiences with you, your conversation should be spontaneous and genuine. This will make the person whom you are talking to feel comfortable and be more honest about things. And listeners prefer a real conversation to a scripted, monotonous interview.
All this is possible only if you enjoy talking to people.
8. You have marketing skills
You need to be willing to learn how to promote your show online to gain a substantial number of subscribers. It is not rocket science, so if you are ready to put in some time and effort, podcasting is right for you. If you are someone who swears off social media or is not willing to aggressively share your work online, it might be challenging to attract an audience.
There are fewer podcasts than there are blogs and videos. Still, podcast directories have a long list of podcasts in different genres. A newly launched podcast may not grab enough eyeballs at first. Most likely, your first bunch of listeners will be people, you know. So it’s essential to share the link to your podcast on your social media handles.
You need to reach out to people everywhere – be it Facebook or their mailboxes! Only when you gain a certain amount of visibility, you can hope to see yourself featured prominently in a podcast directory.
The good thing is that you can always improve your marketing skills. Here are a few guides that can help you with starting:
- How to drive traffic and promote your show,
- Guide to help you grow your show organically,
- Improve listener engagement guide.
9. You are open to criticism
If you are planning to launch a podcast, you must have already chalked out a long-term content strategy. Perhaps you have made blueprints for a promotion plan and monetization ideas. And it really helps to plan out things well in advance.
However, planning should not be confused with rigidity. You should be open to criticism from different sources. If you are, then podcasting is right for you. Criticism often points towards improvement. Feedbacks from your friends, your audience, and other podcasters will help you improvise along the way and grow.
You will get to know what listeners want more, and want they are not interested in hearing. It will help you explore new ideas for episodes and be relevant to the listeners. Be ready to learn and evolve continually.
10. You should enjoy the process
If you personally don’t enjoy podcasts, then I don’t think podcasting is right for you. It won’t matter whether you can research very well or create amazing scripts. Your deep voice and excellent recording skills won’t be of any use.
Regardless of your skills and knowledge, if you don’t enjoy podcasting, your enthusiasm will fizzle out pretty soon. You will eventually come to a point where you start questioning yourself – Hey, why am I doing this? This is draining my energy. Oh God, now I need to work on more episodes?
Podcasting is not a 9 to 5 job that you need to do to pay your mortgage. You start podcasting by choice. You need to captivate listeners. If you don’t love podcasting, it will become a tedious task, and you would find yourself calling it quit within a few weeks. If you are someone who loves blogging and not much interested in podcasts, I would say focus on your blog!
Podcasting is the new global rage. And millions are tuning in to their devices to listen to podcasts.
But that is not a reason enough to jump on the podcasting bandwagon. Even if you want to use a podcast to promote your brand or sell your virtual courses, there are many things that you need to be assured of if podcasting is right for you.
Podcasting should not be a tedious task – if you ask me, it should be a combination of passion, hard work, and skills. So think long, take your time! Because there should be no ifs and buts once you start podcasting!