This article originally was published in Podertainment Magazine last year.
Over the past few months I’ve met a wide variety of people in different phases of their podcasting journeys. They represent the different phases that we see in podcasters, and I thought I would help you understand the pros and cons of each.
The Planning to Plan, after the Planning is Done Podcaster – Too Cold
I’ve done surveys for a book I’m working on and people have stated that have been planning their podcast for YEARS. Years? Yes, Y E A R S. This is insane. At some point you have to press record. It doesn’t matter what you do, eventually you will hate your first episode. Award winning podcaster Mignon “Grammar Girl”Fogarty hated hers so much she re-recorded them. You can’t get better at something if you never start. Bottom line: we all have to start somewhere.
Keep in mind that successful podcasters such as Cali Lewis of geekbeat.tv, and the before mentioned Mignon Fogarty both quit their first podcasts. Then they started a second podcast that fit them better (and went on to achieve great success).
This “eternal planning” person is trying to get to the perfection in their head. They won’t do their podcast without spending 1000s of dollars on the top of the line equipment. They need that perfect song to be their intro. Meanwhile none of these items make any difference without the content to capture people’s attention. Yes, you need to be listenable. Your audio shouldn’t be painful to consume. Your video shouldn’t hurt my eyes. But there are a lot of successful people who started podcasting, and tweaked their show along the way.
While I appreciate this “Planning Podcaster,” they need to press record.
The Ready, Fire, Aim Podcaster – Too Hot
This person is the direct opposite of the planning podcaster. They had an idea. They purchased the top of the line equipment. They sound proofed their room. They bought a DSLR camera for YourTube promotion videos. They had a logo created. They had a custom jingle written. They even bought an “On the Air” light to hand outside their door.
Now they just need to figure out what they are going to podcast about.
This type of behavior is often found in those who have heard about a few podcasters making a really good living. They see all their expenses as investments. They start to count the days when they will get to quit their day job.
All they need now is a topic…
While I love the enthusiasm of this podcaster, they have the horse WAY in front of the cart.
A different version of this podcaster is the one who fired up the laptop computer (hey it has a built in microphone!) and pressed record. They didn’t check to see if anyone else was using their name. They found some free media hosting, or (God forbid) decided to use Blog Talk Radio. They don’t understand a thing about RSS. In fact they don’t know what they don’t know and they don’t care. They just know they want to start a podcast and they are ready to go.
They make their podcast album art using Microsoft Paint (and it shows). Their first impression is so bad most new listeners barely make it through the episode without hitting stop. They spend 18 hours a day obsessing over their stats.
While I admire their courage to jump into the deep end of the pool, this is the person who later finds out their RSS feed is being held hostage, has run out of storage space and bandwidth on their media host, and will basically lose a large of their audience as they will need everyone to resubscribe to their podcast.
The Perfect Pace Podcaster
This podcaster took a few weeks to plan their podcast. They “sharpened their axe” by determining who will be consuming their content and what content that consumer wants to hear/see. They took a few days to check some forums ( or their friendly neighborhood podcast coach) and found out that instead of thousands of dollars you might be able to start a great sounding podcast for a few hundreds bucks (or less). They have written down 10 topics for their first 10 shows (and found they do have enough material. They put out some money (but not a ton) for professional looking artwork. They had an intro and outro produced. In the end they spend about as much money as a parent purchasing an Xbox for their child’s birthday. They put out (about) $30 a month for all their website and media hosting. They realize that this is still cheaper than a 18 holes of golf with a cart.
They know that the best time to start a podcast was 2004, and the second best time is today. That podcasting is not a get rich quick game. They know that the first step is creating great content for the audience. They know that they will be talking to nobody at first, and more than likely will lose money on their podcast when they first start. They are doing it for the love of their topic. They are doing it with the hope of changing their world. They do it to add sunshine into someone’s life who might very well be on the other side of the planet. They do it to boost their business brand. They have a clear path where they want to go, and have defined what “podcast success” looks like. They are the perfect mix of passion and logic, and are on the road to podcast success.
Dave Jackson has been helping people launch successful podcasts since 2005. His podcast “The Morning Announcements” has been downloaded over 1 million times. He speaks at media events and is the author of the book “More Podcast Money” He runs the School of Podcasting (www.schoolofpodcasting.com) and wants to help you with your podcast.
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