Thinking about starting a podcast? Awesome!
Before you embark on this digital journey, I encourage you to think long and hard about what you’re going to discuss (which should be something you’re passionate about), who you’ll serve and why you’re starting a podcast. If your reason is “everybody is doing it” or “it seems cool” or “I wanna have a popular show,” head back to the drawing board. When you launch a podcast for shallow reasons and don’t focus on the 3 W’s, you’re more likely to fall off after a few episodes and/or put out a show that grows at a snail’s pace…which will likely end in you falling off. I’m sure neither of us want that. We don’t get time back so let’s make the best use of it.
Despite how easy it may seem — many assume you just turn on mics and talk — producing a podcast that sounds great and engages listeners requires a lot of work. There’s episode planning, recording, editing, uploading, show notes, image selection and constant promotion so you don’t get lost in the social media sauce. And if you have guests, you can add on outreach, scheduling, and research so you don’t ask them the same things they’ve been asked on every show. Guests are more inclined to share the episode when they walk away wowed.
Knowing your true What, Who and Why keeps you on track. Even if things are going well, you’ll have periods where you struggle with motivation or start drifting into other lanes (one of the biggest mistakes new podcasters make). I’ve experienced both many times over, and a big reason for that was not having concrete answers to these questions. Knowing this in-depth upfront would’ve made life easier.
First things first, you need to know what you plan to discuss. This will impact how you answer the next two questions. Your show needs to be about a topic that you know well, fires you up and/or brings you enjoy. When I’m not discussing podcasting, I love talking about professional development. It comes naturally to me and it’s an easy way for me to help people, which is one of my top values and goals. I’m at my best when others are making progress, so it excites me to talk about work and money (closely related) because I know it’s making a difference in people’s lives. Work affects your money and money affects your options. Options = Freedom, which is my #1 value.
What I don’t advise is trying to be a Jack of All Trades. We talked about a bunch of topics for over two years and had some success thanks to our chemistry. But it wasn’t until we drilled down on our specialities (Career Advice and Personal Finance) that things really started to take off.
If you’re a pop culture junkie and people turn to you for perspective, you shouldn’t wake up and decide it’s time to start pontificating about how to make dope cupcakes. And if you do, that should be a separate show.
A podcast without an audience is a conversation with yourself. When you get started, you won’t have a bunch of listeners. That’s expected. But when your target listener checks out your show, they should quickly be able to determine what you’re about and hopefully love you for it.
Before you get started, you need to know who this person is. What are they interested in? What gets them excited? What’s their situation? And if you’re going for a personal development or professional focus, what are they struggling with?
When you know exactly who you’re speaking to, it’s easier to formulate an approach. If you’ve ever listened to a show and felt like it spoke to you directly, chances are the host(s) was deliberate about their ideal listener.
Knowing Who your audience is also keeps you from drifting.
If you’re spending hours each week (assuming a weekly show) producing a top-notch podcast, it needs to be worth it. Podcasting is already challenging, so without a driving force you’ll find it more difficult than it needs to be. Think about the things that have been most important to you in life. You approach them differently than everything else, regardless of how large or petty they may be. The same should apply here.
You wanna make sure your Why is within your Circle of Influence. You can think of this as the things you can control. Happiness is an inside job and so is podcasting. If you leave your Why to external factors like getting people to like you or trying to have a popular show, you’re putting success in the hands of others. That’s a great formula for unhappiness and a failed podcast.
A simple exercise is to ask yourself “Why is this important” three times. Ideally, it’ll look something like this:
I’m starting a podcast about kumquat farming.
Why is this important?
Because there’s nothing out there about farming kumquats.
Why is this important?
Because kumquat farming is an underutilized method for building wealth.
Why is this important?
Because wealth gives you options.
Therefore, you’re helping people build wealth to give them options. When you have this in mind, it’s easier to create episodes and keep discussing the topic. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
There are other questions to ask and you’ll find them in my free digital guide. If you have questions, hit me up. Let’s get this journey started!