‘I don’t even know where to begin!’
‘I have a podcast idea, but literally, freeze with fear at the thought of actually doing it!’
‘I want a podcast, but don’t know how to start a podcast!’
We hear it all the time and we totally get it. You want to start a podcast, but there’s one big problem standing in your way.
You have no idea where to begin.
What mic do I use? How do I host it?
Gah, so many questions 😕
It’s so overwhelming, isn’t it? So much so, that sometimes those heebeegeebees stop you from taking those first steps.
But what if we told you, that we have a way that you can get yourself on the road to starting a podcast – in just 3 steps?
Oh, and it has nothing to do with tech, equipment, or hosting. There are some things you need to do before you worry yourself with all that malarky. Seriously – stop thinking about microphones hun – now’s not time.
This is what we at MIC Media call the ‘big thinking’ bit – and it’s part of the pre-production slash planning phase of making your podcast.
These are the 3 things you need to know before starting a podcast.
We want you to think about 1) what your podcast is about 2) why it exists and 3) who it’s for.
Let’s delve into these further,
1. The What
You wouldn’t believe how many folks start a podcast without having a clear idea of what it’s about. This is the first ‘big thinking’ we want you to do.
Grab a pen or chunky marker, because we want you to take some notes!
We’d like you to define what your podcast will focus on; what theme or topic are you or your guests going to talk about? If your podcast subject area is broad, what’s your point of difference? Do you have an alternative take on it?
You’ll hear often that there are 2 million podcasts in existence. Now don’t get sweaty palms, you’re not competing with all 2 million of them. But, you are competing with the podcasts that are in your corner of the world – and we don’t mean geographically – we are talking about your niche.
Drilling down your subject matter is where you start ‘finding your niche’, which may result in a more dedicated following for your podcast (more about audience under ‘3. The Who’). And who doesn’t want to find their niche? It sounds dead fancy and professional, doesn’t it?
For example, you have an idea to start a podcast about fundraising. Now, that’s a mega, big subject, with a bit more refinement the idea could be narrowed down. Perhaps your expertise is all about earned income and your ideal audience is those guys doing that job in 3rd sector organisations.
So, how about a podcast about the earned income side of fundraising? There’s still scope for lots of episodes, but by narrowing the subject matter you’re carving out a niche in this broad subject matter.
2. The Why
Why does your podcast exist? Like an annoying toddler, you need to keep asking why?
This is the thrust of your podcast, the very reason that you’re making it in the first place.
When thinking about the why it might help you to ask yourself these sorts of questions; What’s the purpose of your podcast? Are there reasons why you want people to listen to what you have to say? What’s the point of your podcast? Why would people want to listen?
On the theme of Why, we proper fangirl over Simon Sinek. He has a great Ted Talk and a book about finding you’re ‘why’. When we work with our clients, we often share his mantra “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”
Let’s take that earned income podcast for example; the why might be around sharing best practices and stories to inspire the third sector to source alternative and sustainable income sources. The overall goal might be to contribute to a sustainable and bright future the VCSE sector.
Your why is the golden thread that runs through everything you do with your podcast – from your contributors to your social media marketing.
3. The Who
The next thing you need to know before starting a podcast is all about the audience. Could you tell us who your ideal listener is? What do they like, what job do they have, how do they get to work? Ok, so it might not be as granular as that…but you’ll find many great podcasts know their listeners (if they’ve been going enough to learn who their listener is) or they know who they want to reach.
When you know the answer to either of these two questions, you can create content, book guests, pick topics to discuss, basically craft your podcast around your listener. You can then design your marketing and messaging to your listener – and attract more of your listener.
Newsflash, Your podcast isn’t for everyone.
Meredith Hill sums it up in one of our favourite quotes,
if you speak to everybody, you speak to no one.
So please, never say “well my podcast is for anyone really” or “my podcast is for people who like helping people and stuff”. Drill that audience down. Who are you really speaking to?
Seth Godin also put it another way
Everything gets easier when you walk away from the hubris of everyone. Your work is not for everyone.
So once you have an idea of who you’re speaking to (or want to), you can then engage and serve your community of listeners better. Lots of podcasts have a growth mentality; “we must have lots of listeners, we need thousands… we need to attract, grow, grow..” Well, what about flipping this and serving the ones you have better, and making the growth of listeners less important?
So there you go, 3 things you need to know before starting a podcast – before you even think about picking up a microphone! Then, once you’re on board with this, make sure that you’re podcasting buddies are, like your co-host, team, or anyone else that’s involved in making your podcast with you.
Having clarity on the big thinking bit will help you to plan your episodes, guide your content, guests, and marketing. You can then use this to help you to write your podcast pitch, description and shape how you start telling people about it!