I’m reading a book by Mark Sanborn called Fred 2.0 – New Ideas on how to keep delivering extraordinary results. It talks about going above and beyond in serving your community. In it he asks these questions to help you identify your passions:
“What do you love so much that you would do it for free?
What irritates you enough to take action?
What fields of study interest you most?
Are there certain groups of people you tend to be drawn to?
What do you want to be remembered for?
What would you do if you had unlimited resources?”
While we all agree that you NEED passion for your topic, you do need MORE than passion.
It also takes some skills. If I’m having surgery, I don’t want someone who just LOVES to cut people, I want someone with focus, direction, a plan, and skills. Does this mean you can’t start podcasting until you get comfortable behind the mic? Absolutely not. What it might mean, is it might take some time to develop that audience as you build those skills. In the book by Valerie Geller Creating Powerful Radio – Getting Keeping & Growing Your Audience she states, “It takes about three years to build a talk station.” Do you have the passion to do this for three years?
In addition to passion you need to create content that doesn’t leave a rash. Your audio can’t be abrasive. If you’re creating video, you need great audio and great lighting. Do you need a big deep voice, or a soothing voice? No, but it can’t be irritating. What is irritating? Well that is subjective (there is no one size fits all). I unsubscribed from a podcast because the interviewer repeated everything his guest said. The guest would say, “So I graduated and got a job six weeks later.” The host would then say, “That’s great! You had a job six weeks out of college.” The interview was twice as long as it needed to be. I was yelling at the dashboard, “I heard them the first time!” I also unsubscribed from a show where it was just obvious that the host was reading to me. Get someone besides your Mom to listen to your show. For me (all opinion here) it was irritating.
You should be focused on your audience – not you. Your episodes should be about topics that they want to talk and hear about. How do you know what they want? You need to go into that community and discover the hot topics in those circles. This will take time.
Quit “winging it.” Steven Spielberg has an editor. Steve King has an editor. In 2005 when podcasting first came on the scene you could take that stick of a microphone that came with your laptop (or heck just use the built in microphone) and go for it. You could press record and the “two guys, one brain” podcast was launched. We were all mesmerized that it was so “real,” and so “unlike radio.” That was, and IS one the coolest things of podcasting. It’s intimate and real. The more I interview people who are not only succeeding in the download area – but in the bank deposit area, I see where they are taking it serious. They days of using the built in microphone, throwing your episodes on a free web host and hoping for the best will not provide the results they did in 2005. I’ve said it before, Milton Berle was “Mr. Television” in the 1950’s because the dude was up against a test pattern. What were there maybe three channels?
You Still Need To Promote
You need to promote your show. Maybe your last episode answers a specific question. Now it’s time to find out who is asking that question, and let them know it exists. When you are planning on launching a podcast, be sure to factor in just as much time to promote your show as it takes to create it. Do a web search for the question you just answered. See what pages come up, and then go there and make friends. Once you’ve made friends, then (and only then) point them to your episode. That’s a lot of work.
Why do doctors put up with no sleep and 8+ years of school? Aren’t they are aware of the huge medical malpractice insurance bills in their future? Because they have a passion to help people. They put in the long hours, hard work, and endless pressure because of their drive. Without it, they would never make it. Why do we go through the struggles of scheduling people on a global clock, editing, writing show notes, tweeting, tumbling, instragraming, facebooking? Because we have the drive, and we don’t mind the hard work. For some, it’s part of the service to the audience. We enjoy it.
Podcasts are Like Children
When podcasting first came out there was little competition. When I started, Rob Walch had podcast411, and I started the School of Podcasting. That was it for “Podcasts about podcasting.” Since then there have been 22 additional “podcasts about podcasting,” and most of them are DOA. Why? Because it takes more than passion. It takes more than niche. It takes a lot of hard work. I invite everyone to start a podcast about a topic you are passionate about. But I don’t lure you in with promises of giant wads of cash. I want you coming in with your eyes wide open, your sleeves rolled up, and a willingness to work.
Podcasts are a lot like children. They are a lot of work, but they also provide “one of a kind” experiences that you will remember your entire life.
Dave Jackson has been helping people launch successful podcasts since 2005. His podcast “The School of Podcasting’s Morning Announcements” has been downloaded over 1.2 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. Brand new to podcasting, check out his Planning Your Podcast Course on Udemy.com