Article as seen on Inc.com
When I started my podcast a year ago, I had two thoughts: 1) This will be easy. It’s just talking; and 2) How in the heck will I find topics that anyone other than my wife will willingly seek?
My first big-name guest’s recording did not get saved. Early episodes had questionable sound quality.
After sixty weekly episodes I’ve been fortunate to have grown a solid audience and decent following for my podcast, The Grow My Revenue Business Cast. Of course, there have been many surprises along the way – hopefully ones that you can avoid.
Here are seven things I wish I’d known when I got started:
1. Plan In Advance – Even Farther In Advance
Just like writing, an editorial calendar helps you plan out the audience experience. We avoid chaos by planning out my episodes one quarter in advance.
Before we launched the first episode, we had recorded twenty. We released three episodes in week one, and then two per week for the next month.
Eventually, we settled to one per week. Audiences appreciate consistency.
2. Define Your Format
The average commute in the United States is about thirty minutes. So, each of my episodes runs that length. Our tagline is: Unconventional strategies for selling, innovation, and leadership.
My format rotates through four episodes: One episode is a business case study with a successful CEO. Two episodes each cycle are interviews with subject-matter experts like Seth Godin, Jill Konrath, Michael Port, or Alison Whitmire.
The fourth episode is a fifteen-minute solo-episode discussing sales topics and answering listener questions. To my surprise, the 15 minute solo-episodes are often the most popular.
As a podcast listener, I often struggle to remember the key points from an interview. I include a 30-second recap at the conclusion of each episode. I often receive emails that listeners really appreciate that summary at the end to make the messages actionable.
3. Discover Great Guests
I’m fortunate to have a network of fellow speakers and authors who offer brilliant insights. At a few points in early interviews, the guest’s response left me speechless (something my wife claims doesn’t happen often enough).
My favorite moment to this point is when Barry Glassman and I were discussing how they uncover curiosity while interviewing potential employees. His company was voted a “best places to work.”
I asked a question, jokingly, about Curious George. Barry, a financial advisor most would perceive as conservative, caught me off-guard with his surprisingly profane rant about Curious George (which probably isn’t fit for print). He made me laugh for five minutes straight.
It’s not always the big names that drive the most listeners. My most popular episode remains Alison Whitmire’s episode: Giving and Receiving Feedback.
I’ve listened to that episode several times. Great wisdom.
4. Make the Right Investments
I first thought I could produce the podcasts on my own. Nope. Get an audio engineer.
The first microphone I purchased was the Blue Yeti, a popular microphone that can pickup every sound including the whirring of the fan in your computer. I guess it was “too good” for my purposes.
My audio engineer suggested that I switch to a dynamic microphone designed to capture the voice in a very narrow direction. No more distracting noises or echo. Drop me a note and I’ll happily share which equipment I use.
5. Remember Who You Serve
My first objective is to serve the audience. In my case, CEOs, senior executives, and sales professionals. So, I know my topics have to relate to their world.
My second objective is to serve the guest. How can I showcase them so they are the hero? I had to learn how to redirect the focus back to the guest if they asked me for my perspective. It’s about my audience and guest, not about me.
6. Oh Yeah, Seasons
Somewhere around episode 52, someone on my team asked when we should start season two. The answer: “Today.” The original plan was to have each season contain 26 episodes.
7. Stuff Will Happen
When interviewing Seth Godin, he offered to record on his machine, too. I joked that I had it under control. He said he’d capture it just in case.
It’s a good thing he did, since my copy crashed. I switched recording platforms, and now have more microphones than I care to admit.
Despite occasional technological hurdles, I look forward to learning each time I record a session. I have built great friendships, expanded my network, and am able to serve my audience while they are commuting or working out.
It’s Your Turn
Which podcasts do you enjoy most? What tips do you have to help others? Share your recommendations and advice in the comments or via Twitter or LinkedIn.