If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few years, podcasting is a powerful tool.
In just seven and a half years, my personal finance podcast has been downloaded 500,000 times, which has led to some amazing opportunities.
So if you’re curious about how to start a podcast or make your existing podcast more successful, keep reading.
These five lessons are based on what I’ve learned so far… and they’re absolutely worth noting if you want to reach a wider audience with your message. Enjoy!
1 – Consistency is key
It takes years to become an overnight success.
Podcasting is an increasingly crowded market, with millions of podcast shows worldwide.
Last year alone, Spotify added 1.2 million new podcasts to its catalogue.
If you’re prepared to be consistent, producing and publishing quality podcast content regularly, you will succeed – but it will take some time.
The famous Chinese proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
While you can’t travel back in time to start your podcast in 2014, you can take action today. Your future self will appreciate that you did.
We’ve reached 500,000 downloads because we were prepared to do something reasonably tricky and do it for an extended time.
2 – Keep your setup simple
Over the years, I’ve spent more on podcasting gear than I feel happy about admitting here.
In the early days of my podcast, I even built a small garden shed in the office, filled it with sound treatment foam panels, and attempted to record episodes from there.
The ‘podding shed’ didn’t last long.
What I’ve come to realise is simple is best, always.
When I’ve used this same kit to appear on BBC and commercial radio stations, I always receive compliments from the producers.
I podcast from a log cabin at the end of my garden, next door to a school where screaming kids enjoying their playtime is a regular occurrence.
Don’t overthink the kit you need to record quality audio. You will get it right using a noise-cancelling microphone and a ‘quiet’ amplifier.
3 – Don’t script your questions
An early mistake I made when interviewing experts for my podcast was meticulously scripting every question.
Doing this results in two things.
Firstly, you invariably stumble over your words as you attempt to read the carefully crafted question.
Secondly, you spend more time thinking about the next question than you do about the answer being given by your guest.
Be present. Listen to what the other person has to say and enjoy the conversation.
The more natural the conversation, the more your audience will enjoy listening.
Today, my producer notes several talking points instead of scripting questions, and I chat with my guest using them.
4 – Get help with the process
Podcasting can be a time-consuming process. It helps to build a time.
Depending on my available time, I still find the guests for myself or make suggestions to Kathryn, who contacts them on my behalf.
Before I record interviews, my producer Lauren conducts research and drafts some talking points.
Once I finish recording, my editor James cleans up the audio and prepares it for publication.
The only way I’ve been able to produce 580 podcast episodes since 2014 is to build consistent processes and delegate clearly defined tasks to others.
I get to do the bit I love doing, speaking to guests, and my team handles the rest.
We also do this for other podcasters! If you would like to ‘just press record’, get in touch to find out how we can radically transform the production of your podcast.
5 – Fight for every subscriber
Podcast discoverability is sorely lacking.
You need to work hard to win every subscriber.
In the early days of my podcast, I would physically take the smartphone from friends and colleagues, open their podcasting app, and subscribe to my podcast.
The more you do, the easier it gets to grow an audience.
Having a long tail of podcast content is valuable, too, because each new subscriber has a more significant number of episodes available on day one.
But, once you’ve pressed publish, your job is just starting.
We do simple things like taking interesting snippets from each episode and turning them into visually appealing ‘audiograms’ to share on social media.
Don’t press publish and expect miracles.
Podcasting can be a lot of fun and very rewarding, but it’s not always easy.
It takes a lot of hard work to produce a high-quality podcast that engages and entertains your listeners.
If you follow the five tips we’ve outlined in this blog post, you’ll be on the right path to podcasting success.
And remember, always start with planning and organising your content.
What action will you take today to start or grow your podcast?