The Things Podcasters Wish They Knew When they First Started Out

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Start A Podcast

Hindsight, especially when it comes to podcasting, is 20/20. There’s so much to learn and absorb about how to start a podcast, that it can be hard to prioritize the things that matter the most. Luckily, you’re not the first podcaster to experience the challenges that come with starting a podcast. There are literally thousands of other podcasters there who can provide wisdom and warning.

In this article, we’ll be going over some of the most common things podcasters wish they’d known when they first started their podcasting journey.

1. Focus on Good Audio Quality

Have you ever encountered a podcast with impeccable marketing & copy, gorgeous graphics and an impressive website. But then the podcast itself sounds like it was recorded through a tin can? Branding does not make a podcast, and so many new podcasters forget to focus on the very centerpiece of podcasting. The audio itself.

There’s no getting around the fact that bad audio quality is the quickest way to turn off potential listeners. What’s the point of listening to a podcast that sounds horrible? Sarah Li Cain of Buzzsprout says, “Creating good audio is really key to keeping your podcast listeners engaged. Because no matter how good the content is, if your audio quality isn’t good, it’s unfortunately just going to turn them away.”

These days, it’s easy to achieve much better audio quality with a tight budget, especially with amazing tools like Zencastr and hundreds of affordable USB microphones to choose from. Start a podcast off on the right track by investing the time and cash that goes into elevated audio quality. Your future self will thank you.

2. Content is King

Peter Griffiths of The Mind Takeaway podcast already had years of audio engineering and production experience prior to start a podcast, and he points out that content always comes first. “Don’t overcomplicate it by worrying about all of the numbers and metrics, podcasting is a long game. It took a fair while for The Mind Takeaway to get traction. That was down to having good quality conversations with people and being a good curator, versus just looking at the numbers and getting needy and trying all of the different things that are not going to work unless your content is actually on point.”

No matter how much marketing you do or outreach you conduct, you should always be focusing predominantly on the content itself. This is what keeps listeners coming back and becoming dedicated fans. Many people who start a podcast will become frustrated when their audience or traction isn’t growing as quickly as they’d hoped. But you must understand that it takes a long time for a podcast to gain a substantial listenership. In the meantime, continue elevating and improving the content, and the audience will follow.

3. Make a Solid Roadmap and Plan for your Podcast

Now that you’ve seen just how important the actual content is for a podcast’s success, it’s time to make a game plan. When you start a podcast, the amount of work to do can seem daunting. The more you can plan ahead and manage potential challenges or errors, the more you’ll be able to continue producing without stress and burnout.

Start off by building out a production schedule, including interview dates, recording sessions, and publishing outlines. You can also make a roadmap for all of your social media and other content for each episode. The NPR Project Blueprint is an excellent resource for those looking to flesh out their roadmap. This checklist from Tae Haahr will help you determine what steps will go into each episode.

The most common causes of burnout are scheduling and production conflicts. So mitigate these issues early before they become bigger problems for you and your team.

4. It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect 

Ropafadzo Murombo of the Afro Comb podcast says it, well, perfectly: “It doesn’t have to be perfect! You learn as you go.” Go ahead and listen to some of the first episodes of one of your favorite podcasts. Chances are that they certainly sound (and look!) a lot better now. They’ve most likely experienced their own stumbles, audio issues, and other challenges, but continued creating anyways.

Especially in the early days, it can be difficult to nail down your own podcasting roadmap, process, and even hosting style. There are so many things to keep in mind when establishing a podcast and there are a lot of decisions that need to be made early on. The longer it takes you to mull over these choices, the longer it will take to publish your first episode or season. You just have to start creating. This is the fastest way to learn and improve.

5. Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

Audiences depend on consistency, and this will be the key to having a fanbase that keeps coming back. Audreyonna Sequale of the BLK Podcast Collective says that “releasing your podcast on a certain day and time is a great start. Making sure you stick to that schedule can be difficult but it pays off in the long run because you will have built a sense of expectation with your growing audience.”

Podcasts lose listeners when they don’t have a specific date or time frame for each episode release. Especially if they aren’t communicative with their audience. By the time your next episode comes out in seven weeks, they’ll have forgotten about your podcast if they haven’t subscribed. Even if you only release your podcast once a month, make sure that it’s always released on the same day of the month. Provide your audience with teasers, reminders, and other content on social media to make sure they don’t forget about your upcoming release.

Conclusion – Just Start a Podcast

When starting a new podcast, remember to give yourself time to make the stumbles and mistakes that come with every podcasting journey. As long as you focus on creating excellent content, continuing to improve your work, and keeping a consistent publishing schedule, you’ll start to see your project, and audience, grow

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