If you are reading these words you either host a podcast or you are thinking of launching one. If you aren’t either of these, you’re welcome to consume these words. What’s the worst that could happen? Well you could end up launching a podcast, that’s what!
I over exaggerate, it’s all good, but believe me, it can be a lonely old place.
Lonely, with all those listeners, the coveted loyal audience, surely not? Read on.
I decided to launch the Industry Angel business podcast in late 2015, after ‘writing my list’ during the Christmas break. I had been influenced by a few shows, all with a lone host interviewing a guest. I enjoyed that dynamic, I’m not a fan of multiple hosts, clambering to speak over each other with witty banter. I much prefer lessening the risk of not being the most entertaining speaker!
I meticulously planned my podcast launch, always working back from the Shangri-La of ‘New and Noteworthy’. I won’t delve into those plans today Kemosabe, I’m sure you’ve read many a strategy and no doubt a better game plan than mine (but hey, I did reach N & N).
Planning a launch is an exciting phase, albeit met with huge apprehension. What if I crash and burn? What if I don’t receive any downloads? What if people think I’m weird? etc. Unlike Tonto, you just need to take off the mask and embrace the world!
The steps to launch were all completed by myself, the research, the strategy, the interviews, the execution, everything. I often hear of aspects of this being passed to a Virtual Assistant, but I couldn’t see how a VA could have an input at this stage. It wasn’t the cost of a VA that was putting me off. I had been approached by a very reasonably priced and experienced service in the Philippines.
For this ear herder, it was a personal opinion when editing, disliking the sound of my voice at a particular section, the st-st-stuttering of words, saying something that (I think) makes me sound like a crazy buckaroo. A VA just wouldn’t understand, would they? Being a control freak doesn’t help!
I did of course understand the benefits of using a podcast editing service who have expertise in noise reduction, audio enhancements etc. but after a few YouTube tutorials describing Audacity, I was ready to saddle up.
Post launch the excitement ramps up, hi ho Silver, away! Watching the downloads rise, the feeling of accomplishment, receiving feedback from friends and family. This feedback of course whilst nice, isn’t what you yearn for. We seek the email from ‘Bob’ in Wisconsin, who went and launched his own launderette company, after feeling good about your episode on content marketing.
Following the initial months, you can feel pressured to record content and release episodes at your set duration, no-one wants pod-fade. There is also the urge to produce good content rather than just a tick in the weekly release box. A set routine with a structured record-release process really helps here. Juggling this with a full-time job of course adds to the pressure.
Dolly Parton told us “if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain!” The podcasting positives are amazing, the opportunities are surprising, the feedback, addictive. There are many ways to balance all of these feelings.
The numerous support channels help keep lone rangers’ spirits high, it is great to bounce queries off seasoned podcasters and help the fresh new and noteworthys. I find Facebook groups great for this and I wish I had found these tribes well before the plan and launch phases. Simply typing ‘podcast’ into Facebook brings up many useful groups such as ‘podcasters hang-out’ and ‘podcast community’ with around 5,400 and 7,000 members respectively. Ideally, I would love face to face pow wows with like-minded rangers, but being based in the North of England, it’s quite a ride to some of the saloons where the podcasting posse meet.
Initially I released my interview based show using Skype calls and recorded them using Pamela software. This method seemed to face regularly compatibility issues when Skype released an upgrade, subsequently knocking out the Pamela integration. After missing four weeks of releasing episodes I turned to the aforementioned Facebook resources. Within days I had subscribed to Zencastr and I was once again riding over the plains thanks to my Facebook friends.
These communities also share experiences around podcast promotion and describe tried and tested methods to receive feedback from your audience. Engagement with your audience is paramount, always respond to feedback, this is your oxygen.
Take time to keep up to date with podcasting techniques, ignoring the voice telling you “you’ve launched, you no longer need to research”. Platforms and software products are updated frequently and it’s inevitable you’ll need help. It is reassuring to hear other hosts processes and strategies.
Engage on the Facebook groups, watch YouTube videos and read podcasting articles to be an active part of the community. Twitter is also invaluable to seek out other podcasters. There are some well used podcast related hashtags such as #podernfamily to utilise and you’ll find other show hosts retweet your posts that link to your episodes. Help them by sharing their posts too, it’s good podcasting karma.
It is surprisingly reassuring to be part of the podcast network, don’t be a lone ranger. Yeehaw!
Article originally featured in Issue 36 of the Podcasting magazinePodertainment
Social Media influencer, business coach and Entrepreneur, Ian Farrar is the founder of Sales & Marketing consultancy Far North Ltd.
Based in the UK, Ian hosts the chart-topping, motivational business podcast ‘Industry Angel’ covering all aspects of entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, social media and technology.