TLDR; not if you’re like me.
So, for a little over a year, I ran a podcast called Stop Sucking at Business where I’d dish about things I’ve learned in business as an entrepreneur/blogger/insane person. It was all part of some grand scheme, I think, to become more of a guru than I actually would’ve wanted to be if I had actually thought these things out.
I know podcasting three-ish years ago was saturated, so I cannot imagine it now, but I know that the allure of getting your voice heard (literally) can be strong so if you’re gung-ho about it, here are some recommendations I have for the hard parts:
- Get a Buddy
It’s nice to rely on only yourself, but believe me, it can be a slog when you feel like it’s all you who has to come up with things to talk about. Having a co-host can help relieve some of that pressure and can help bring a different perspective, giving your podcast the opportunity to reach different demographics.
- Outsource Production
Yeah, I know you don’t have any money. But if you want this to be taken seriously, you’ve got to take it seriously and focus on creating the content. Hiring a virtual producer to cut in theme songs, sponsorships, writing the show notes, and getting things published on a regular schedule can save you so much brain space. If you get bogged down in the nitty-gritty, you’ll never get things done. Speaking of…
- Front Load the Shit Out of It
Can you do 4 shows in the span of a day? Yes. Does that sound exhausting? Also yes. Getting content created in bulk, though, can give you the opportunity to account for life events, both scheduled and not, and allow your show to run seamlessly. Don’t think that recording a day before a show is supposed to go live will be a sustainable way to run things. Set aside one day a month and knock it all out.
Okay, if I haven’t scared you off yet, let’s talk about why podcasting might be worth the hassle (just like the title says!)
- All content, all the ways
Podcasting is a great way to find content that can be repurposed across a variety of platforms. Not only will you have content on iTunes, but you can also utilize the power of YouTube to improve your listener numbers (case in point: Joe Rogan…which I almost wrote as Hoe Rogan. It would’ve worked, I think). You can also transcribe the podcast into blog or newsletter content. If you’re super confident, you can also live stream it as a vidcast and add social media streaming as another alternative
- It forces you to feel like a confident person
Maybe this was just the case with me, but I felt like running a podcast set me up as a better public speaker and made me feel more confident in my abilities to be a better communicator. I couldn’t keep up a facade of being a, I don’t know…someone who is super helpful and polite. I swear, I say “like”, and I self-deprecate, and that had to be okay or I wouldn’t have gone very far. I think both this blog and the podcast had forced me to take a look at the way I am and say “alrighty, onward then.” Does that make sense?
- It makes you stay on top of things in your industry
True crime, marketing, puppy toy technology, whatever you want to talk about, you’ll need to find a niche that you’re truly into because you’re going to become an expert on it, which you probably already figured out. But having to constantly come up with content on a regular basis will force you to stay in-the-know, which can further enhance you being seen as an authority in the industry. 6 months of weekly content about gluten-free foods will make you realize you know way more about it than you thought you would and make you stand out against your competitors.
Actual Answers About Starting a Podcast:
How long should it be? Depends on how long you can consistently talk about something. I tried to shoot for 45 minutes per episode, give or take. Sometimes it was an hour, sometimes it was less. Whatever you decide to shoot for, being consistent is the biggest part. Listeners won’t be into 15-minute episodes if you normally offer 1 hour deep dives, and vice versa.
How often should I release one? Again, you’re going to kill me but, it depends on how consistent you can be. Can you reliably release content 3x a week for 6+ months, or does that make your palms sweaty? Do whatever you can in a way that creates consistent content and gives your listeners the ability to create realistic expectation.
What should I use? I have a Blue Yeti that I got used on Amazon, but before that, I had a different microphone that was on a swing arm and required about 4 different cords to get it to record to my laptop. Keep it simple, just get a USB-based mic.
Where should I host it? NOT on your website. Suck it up, get a podcast-hosting platform. I used Libsyn (and still do, the archive is hosted there for $5/month) but there are a ton of options. Do your research and see what’s going to work the best for your budget.
Why not on my website? Your website is built to be a fast content platform. Having iTunes or whatever pulling data from your little Siteground WordPress blog is not sustainable as it will pull bandwidth from the blog, and the blog will pull bandwidth from iTunes. I know it’s a cheap option, but put on your adult pants and invest in your business.
How much should I charge sponsors? Back in my day, I believe the rate was $50 per 1k listens (or maybe it was 10k, anyone want to chime in?). That was a few years ago, so I can’t say what the rate is now, but try to create benchmarks based on data.
How do I find out my stats? Mine were always pulled from Libsyn. Your hosting platform should also have stats available (pay extra if you have to but only if you feel like you’ll want sponsors and such later on).
Is it worth the hassle? That’s up to you (boo, shitty answer, I know. Sorry). It was for me for a while, and sometimes I think about picking it back up, but it’s such a ton of work that I can never pull the trigger again. I think it’s a super-valuable way to get out content, but it needs to be planned out well and executed with discipline. If that sounds up your alley, go for it! If not, s’okay…it’s not me, either.