So now that we have some actual experience in the world of podcasting, I wanted to share some of the key lessons we’ve learned. I also reached out to my friends who have really great podcasts that you should check out for their advice as well.
So without further ado, here are the 5 things I’ve learned from one year of podcasting.
Lesson 1- Plan, Plan, Plan
When starting a podcast, the easy trap to fall into is “I can make funny jokes so I should have a podcast” and without planning you end up with a show that has no format and it probably 3 hours long.
When we first started “No Experience” our test episode was over 2 hours long. While we laughed so hard we cried, that wouldn’t necessarily be the best listener experience. My own opinion here is that your podcast should be “commutable” meaning I can get the most out of it during a normal commute (think 35-60 minutes).
So plan your episodes. With “We Watch Sports” Graham and I spend the week before we record creating our outline in a Google Doc. This includes our intros, banter topics, sports topics and our reader mail segments. By having clear segments, it makes it easier to have a show that anyone can pick up and enjoy.
Lesson 2- Promote that shit
Here is where you can be that person on Facebook that invites everyone to everything. Look for groups to promote your podcast, and share on twitter, instagram, Friendster, or wherever you share your photos of your food.
Be selfish in getting people to know where it is, and cash in friendship favors to get people to listen and enjoy the podcast. Even when shows are a lot of work, it is really fun to see your audience grow. That will help when going through the grind of being consistent will pay off. Which leads us to lesson 3…
Lesson 3- BE CONSISTENT
When starting and growing a show, the key is to continue to put out content. We have seen our best engagement numbers for our shows when we have been consistent in putting out the shows for people to listen and react to. We are trying to become a part of someone’s weekly rotation, so to crack into that rotation there needs to be a lot of content that is consistent.
Lesson 4 – Don’t be afraid to adapt
No Experience started as strictly a show about online dating, but quickly grew into covering some of the pop culture around it such as movies, and other people’s online dating stories. This is key when building the show, is to find the things that are interesting to you, because they then will be interesting to the rest of the audience that is listening.
If you’re not enjoying the show, then it is going to be really tough for you to continue doing the show over time.
Lesson 5- Write everything down…and then some
Great ideas can come from anywhere, at anytime. My phone is full of voice memos and small notes that I use to organize my thoughts for future episodes.
One thing that has helped me a lot is Notion which has been an incredible way for me to organize my thoughts, and to build out full scripts moving forward.
It is incredibly important that you do everything you can to prep ahead of time and to write and create content that is engaging for your audience. If you try to “wing it” then you’re probably not going to have something that is as engaging as you would like it to be. So write things down, create a script and prep before you begin recording. This is a key way to build the sorts of content that you’re looking for in a successful show.
So those are my top 5 suggestions, but for a podcast it really does take a village. I reached out to my friend James from the Pop Cult Net podcast as well as my friend David from the Piecing It Together Podcast for their advice.
James from Pop Cult Net
“My biggest tip would be don’t get discouraged by low listens and subscribers to your podcast when you are getting started. Instead remember to have fun, be yourself and most important, PRESS RECORD”
David from Piecing It Together
“You should always aim to have one or two episodes in the can just in case life gets busy. It sucks not having an episode to post one week, even if it is just a mini episode or a special episode.”
“Also, less is more when it comes to mastering. It is very easy to just keep adding mastering effects until all of a sudden it doesn’t actually sound good anymore.”