Podcasts are now extremely popular. With this popularity comes a notion that “podcasting is easy”. People around the world are trying to find out how to start a podcast! Anyone can make a podcast. After all, all you need is a microphone and a laptop. To this, I say, yes! It is true that podcasting has a low barrier of entry. Anyone can get their message out without the exorbitant costs of filmmaking or the hurdles of publication. However, as with everything “easy”, the devil is always in the detail. It is what differentiates a successful podcast from just another show in a sea of other shows.
Like with any medium, podcasting calls for time and effort. You have to produce something that is worth engaging with. That means filling a gap in the market. Otherwise, you will be a second rate of the rest. Analyse the podcasters covering your area of interest, figure out what they are not doing well and try to do it better. Be a student of the process. Avoid mistakes and watch yourself flourish. Here are some of the mistakes to avoid when launching your podcast.
Delaying Your Launch Date
Many established podcasters term this as the biggest mistake you can make. Kate and John, successful podcasters from Kate’s take and Entrepreneurs on Fire respectively, insist that you should NEVER delay your launch. It is quite easy to dilly dally and provide excuses as to why you should launch next week or next month instead. You see, everyone has innate fears and it is entirely human. You will find yourself questioning everything. What is no one likes the show? What if my voice is not clear enough? It is easy to surrender to these fears and find validation on why you should postpone the launch.
If you have had such thoughts, not to worry, you are not alone. This is a natural part of our human psychology. It is your brain protecting you from possible failure. However, let us flip the coin and look at what could go right. Your show could be the next big thing. Delaying it might create an opportunity for someone else to fill in the gap. John, from Entrepreneurs on Fire, says he delayed his launch by one month and effectively lost $100,000 potential income. Pick a launch date or deadline and follow through with it. Of course, you will not be perfect at first, and your listeners don’t expect you to be perfect. However, they are eagerly waiting for the value you will give them. So go for it!
Obsessing Over Statistics
This is a common and possibly disastrous mistake. You put in countless hours and every ounce of energy into setting up your podcast, recording, editing and launching it. When you finally make it live, you cannot relax, you want to see how it performs. So you continuously check back at your analytics dashboard to see how it is doing. To your utter shock, there is no significant traffic, yet you have seven live episodes. You start to panic. A feeling of, I knew this would happen start creeping in, and you wonder if it is even worth it.
Don’t get me wrong. It is normal and healthy to check your analytics. However, there is a fine line between obsessing over them and keeping track. Once you pass that line, it is difficult to come back. It is at that point when despair sets in. Many people lose morale and even give up. In short, podcasting does not give instant gratification. You are going to see blanks and low view count for a period. It is just the nature of the channel. People need time to find you, to understand you and decide whether they like what you are offering. Therefore, keep going and don’t let stats define your morale. It will soon pay off.
The same reasoning applies to the craze to feature on the new and noteworthy. Even though it is a dream scenario, it is not the be it and all. Focus on delivering maximum possible value to your avatar. The rest will be added onto you.
Waiting For Your Audience To Find You
This is passive marketing which is equivalent to waiting for an employer to call you for a job you didn’t apply. Whereas it is possible for people to find you, you will see more success if you go to them. Actively marketing your podcast allows you to place the show on a plate for the audience. All they need to do is consume rather than look for it.
The easiest way to market and promote your podcast is through social media. Make use of these networks to push your podcast to as many people as possible. It is important to know that even active marketing will take time. So be active, keep posting and keep engaging. More importantly, make sure that your social media activity promotes the show. Make sure your posts and engagement employs hashtags and call to action that direct the user to your podcast. Social media is your friend and arguably your best marketing asset.
Launching Your Podcast With Money on Your Mind
As with any idea in life, you should never pursue it with money as the principal motivating factor. Otherwise, you are doomed to fail even before you start. Podcasting takes a lot of time and effort, and I know I’ve repeated this severally. Therefore, be patient. Don’t seek immediate gratification. The problem is that, by focussing on money, you lose focus on when things are working or not. Even worse is that, when you focus on money, your podcast loses its core value. The reason why listeners feel the need to listen to you. Moreover, once you lose the listeners, you lose the money and the potential to make money.
If you look around at the most prolific podcaster, they are obsessed with the craft. Not the money. The same applies to all form of content or art. The best content and art is from people who love what they do — money or not.
Over-recording and Over-editing
Unless you are a professional radio or music producer, talking over the microphone does not come naturally. You are not alone. To get better at it, you need to practice. This is the best way to improve as a podcast host. However, most people try to attain perfection right off the bat which is practically impossible. You will end up frustrated and having wasted much time. What to do? Trust the process. Trust that you will get better with time and not by recording the same episode 5 times.
The same reasoning applies to editing. Here is the thing. We are all human. We breath and we say ummh way more than we even realise. All of it is normal. Do not try to edit every single second of your podcast into a false sense of perfection. The audience wants to relate to you. They want to have a conversation-like experience. Therefore, keep it natural and don’t cut out things that make you human. Over time, you can use your editing to improve the quality of your delivery. Sometimes this may require cutting back on those ummh.
Going Too Broad on Topics and Too Narrow with Guests
I saved the best for last so follow keenly. To stand out from the rest, it is crucial that your podcast focus be narrow. It needs to overlap with a subject area on which you or your business can be authoritative in. The aim here is to entertain and inform your avatar fully. Although this might seem like a constraint, it allows you to get a firm foothold with your audience. From there you can diverge as the avatar changes.
When you interview a guest on your show, the reverse reasoning is accurate. Go broad and not narrow. The idea is to link up loose ends, connect the dots and bring a wholesome view on a topic. Why is this important? Not every other day that you will get to interview a guest – assuming that you have noteworthy guests. Therefore, when you finally do, make it worth it. Fill in as much information as possible from your guest. Otherwise, you will have to interview many guests on many narrow topics. Make your interview worthwhile. You can then link back to the interview with a level of authority. In short, make a list of your ideal guests and start right from the top of the pecking order. I’ve not even mentioned the free marketing that comes along with this move. However, there you have it.
Podcasting is easy so don’t complicate by tripping over the above mistakes. Additionally, don’t make the mistake of not coming back for more tips and insights. Seriously! We put out the best and most insightful tips on podcasting ever so often so make sure to come back.