Podcasting is easy to get into. All you really need is your phone. Record a voice memo, upload it, and voila. I think we all know somebody that's started one. Where a lot of people hit a wall, is when they upload their first half a dozen episodes and they don't see a ton of downloads right away. It can be really discouraging.
Because it ends up being more work than it looks like. Say you want to produce a weekly podcast. At a glance, it sounds simple. You just talk. But then there's editing (which admittedly, some podcasts spend much more time doing than I do). You have to find a website or service to upload it with. You might need to book guests. If your podcast is about a specific topic, then you have to find a way to talk about that topic every week without getting repetitive.
Not only do you have to take all that stuff into consideration, but then you have to actually record the podcast. Which means you have to talk. Personally, I found talking to myself for an hour a lot harder than I thought it would be (Which is why I started asking more guests to come on the show). How Bill Burr churns out 2 a week just talking to himself, I have no idea.
And all that stuff is before you try to figure out how to get listeners. As you know, about a million new podcasts pop up every week. You either have to find a way to stand out, or just be happy growing slow and sure every month. When I started last year, I was getting less than 5 downloads per week. That number has (VERRRRYYYYY slowly) climbed, and while I'm still nowhere near the number of downloads I think I'd need to make any money of of it, I'm happy with the rate it's growing. For the most part, I think my guests have enjoyed themselves, and I've genuinely had fun recording pretty well all of the episodes so far.
When I started my podcast, I called it the 'Comedy Odyssey'. My original vision for it was an interview style show, where I'd bring different comedians on, and we'd discuss the business of stand up, and I'd document my journey into the world of comedy. But over time, I found it infinitely more enjoyable to bring friends on (not always comedians), and just have conversations about whatever we want. I'd loosely chalk Joe Rogan's podcast up as a source of inspiration. I think this format will hurt my chance at quickly growing my audience, as there isn't a specific demographic I'm targeting. That said, the number of downloads each week are slowly increasing, and the actual recording of the episodes has been WAY more enjoyable for me. And if it isn't going to generate a profit, it better at least be fun.
So if I was going to offer someone some advice in regards to starting a podcast, this is what I would say: (Keeping in mind, once again, that I have 62 episodes under my belt, and nobody listens to them).
- Pick a topic you're passionate about. If you're not simply going with a conversational podcast, make sure that the topic you're focusing on is something you can talk about and expand upon each week. Otherwise, you'll run out of things to talk about too quickly, and you'll get bored.
- If you're going to have a consistent co-host, make sure you're both on the same page in regards to dedication. If half of the team isn't willing or able to make time each week to record, you'll sink.
- Ignore your download counts, at least to start. Because chances are they won't be great. And that's ok. If you're starting a podcast just to get rich, I think you're making a terrible mistake. You can try to use it as a business, sure, but focus on creating quality content first. The rest will come. (At least, that's what the "podcast advice from good podcast hosts" articles I googled for this blog said).
Podcasting is an awesome way to scratch your creative itch. It's easier than ever, the technology isn't expensive, or complicated to figure out. I knew NOTHING about podcasting when I decided to start, and I spent a few nights with google, and was able to wrap my head around how to go about putting this stuff on the internet. If I can do it, anyone can.
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