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Paul Colligan is the guest contributor of this piece. Paul is a veteran podcaster and podcasting consultant who has been in the industry for more than a decade. His book, How To Podcast 2016 is a #1 Amazon Bestseller and is currently only $2.99 for the Kindle Edition. Paul’s show, The Podcast Industry Report, is available everywhere, including Podomatic.
The old axiom “Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail” is as true in Podcasting as it is anywhere else. Having helped readers, students and executive clients launch Podcasts for over a decade now, I have the unique perspective of seeing a lot of what works and what doesn’t. Too many podcasts start with enthusiasm for what’s possible yet die in a whimper of what wasn’t expected. There is no need for that to happen to you - let me save you some heartache.
Here are the top seven things you need to know before you start podcasting:
Your first podcast will be your worst podcast
NOBODY sounds they way they want to sound on their first episode. You can respond to this reality in two different ways: 1) spend the rest of your life massaging your podcast so that you can release the perfect first episode or 2) get that first episode out the door as quickly as possible and know that you will only be going up from there.
The money doesn’t come without a plan
If you are hoping to see a revenue stream from your show, you better have a strategy for making it happen. The idea that you’ll one day pick up sponsors is, simply, the worst possible approach with the lowest chances of success. A plan for monetization, even an imperfect one, will always bring better results and more cash than no plan. It might change a thousand times before you see your first check but, at the very least, have a plan going into this.
Perfection is the enemy of the podcast
No podcast is ever perfect. Trying for perfection will get in the way of getting out your content - the very reason you started podcasting in the first place. Yes, make your podcast sound as good as it possibly can, but make getting your message out the priority.
You want impact, not downloads
Most wouldn’t consider a podcast with a single download per episode a great success… unless the one download was by the President of the United States. I can’t promise you the President for an audience, but I can tell you if you focus on impact over downloads, you’ll have a much better show in the end.
Always consider Apple
You may have started your podcast because you're a big fan of Apple, or you may be the podcaster without an Apple device of their own. Regardless of your opinion, the fact is that the average Podcast has an audience of sixty to eighty percent Apple users, so you better make sure your presentation looks good on Apple devices and in the iTunes software. ITunes is free to download, even without an iOS device, so be sure to check everything you do against it.
You are responsible for your marketing
Podcasting is not an “if you build it, they will come” venture. Despite, what you’ve heard, being in the directories has never built a real audience. Just like no business would ever have been successful with only their name listed in the phonebook white pages, you need more than a directory listing to reach your audience Work out your marketing strategy before you record that first episode.
Consider the source
Opinions are plentiful in the podcasting space. When you hear something about podcasting, consider the source of the opinion and ask a few questions: Does the person have a podcast? How long have they been podcasting? Are they seeing success in the topic they have opinions about? Are they giving “professional” advice, yet have a different day job? You wouldn’t take weight loss advice from a 400 pound man and I’m sure you wouldn’t trust your investments to a 5 year old child. Consider where you get your podcast information from.