The rise of podcasting right now makes me think about the Jerry Seinfeld Show, the episode where the focus is on car reservations.
Jerry makes a reservation ahead of time and later arrives at the counter to pick up his car…which is unavailable. This doesn’t make any sense to him, and he says something to this affect:
“You know how to take a reservation. You don’t know how to hold a reservation. And really, the holding is the most important part. Anyone can take a reservation…”
That’s how I feel about podcasting. Anyone can do it, but there’s a huge gap between the ever-increasing crowd and the pros. And there are some crucial things you need to know if you’re starting your first podcast.
First, as a service to you I’m going to provide you with a healthy list of podcast training resources:
Countless podcasting tutorials and courses
Rainmaker’s Jerod Morris and Jonny Nastor, hosts of Showrunner the podcast, also lead the Showrunner Podcast Course. It’s a $645 course.
2. Pat Flynn
3. John Lee Dumas
The man at the mic of Entrepreneur on Fire—the man everyone references as the most successful podcaster around—hosts Podcasters’ Paradise. It’s $1,950.
4. Cliff Ravenscraft
Widely respected as the godfather of podcasting and better known as the Podcast Answerman, periodically opens up his Podcasting A to Z course. It’s $1,999.
The point here is that you can spend a huge sum of money on podcast training. Yes, you’ll be trained by experts. But you will spend an arm and a leg.
You better be in it to win it if you’re going to spend more than $600 on training.
Here’s what you most need to know about podcasting
If you’re in it to win it, you’ve got to be better at most when you come out on the other end of training that expensive! Because these are the facts:
No one is going to listen to a show with no real point, and no story to tell.
No one is going to listen to a show with no personality or flair.
No one is going to listen to a show with poor audio quality.
No one is going to hang on the hook for a show with spotty frequency.
There are enough articles telling you that you should start a podcast. I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t rush to do it, because there’s a harsh reality you have to face.
And, finally, here’s what they don’t tell you about podcasting
What they don’t tell you #1
You’ve got to bring something new to the table.
It’s really hard to get a show to stand out already. Yes, you can line up guests, interview them, slap an intro on it, and spin it into your RSS feed. Folks, anyone can do that. There are so many interview shows out there already.
At Freelance to Founder, we’ve got a model that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I interview guests who have an interesting story to tell—not just a name, and not just a product to sell. I deliver that story as a narrative episode. it’s a sort of audio documentary over the course of 24-28 minutes.
We move you from the past to the present, and we look ahead to the future, with our guests.
Whether you go the narrative route, go bold with a one-person show, or stick with a traditional interview, you better bring something new. And don’t think ‘winging it’ is the new think you’re bringing to the table.
What they don’t tell you #2
It’s harder to connect with listeners in a real-world way.
I listen to dozens of podcasts. I’ll devour about 5-10 new ones every week to hear show formats, host personalities, and interview styles. Say what you want about the failures of traditional radio, but you could always say this about radio hosts: they know how to talk to you as though you’re right there with them, in the room.
We’re just not there with podcasting yet. Two-person shows are usually more consumed with each other than listeners.
If you’re going to succeed with podcasting, you’re going to have to really connect with people who aren’t there in front of you. It’s a skill that can be learned, but only if you actually practice it.
What they don’t tell you #3
Editing can be the death of you if you’re not on the ‘good enough’ bandwagon.
Unless you’re Michael O’Neal of the Solopreneur Hour, who spends only about five minutes ‘producing’ his incredible episodes) you’re going to spend a lot of time editing. You’ll do this because you’ll over-obsess about your “uhs” and “ums” and “you knows” despite what some experts tell you. The ones who tell you to edit them all out will prevail over those who tell you to let your show be more natural.
So, if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself spending three hours editing a one hour show that should have taken 15 minutes at most.
Ready to quit podcasting before you begin?
I don’t want that to happen. I actually want more quality shows out there. And you may have the personality, expertise, or talent for interacting with guests that we need to hear right now.
In our case with Freelance to Founder, we’ve taken some key feedback points from season 2 that we’re incorporating into season 3 in September. We’re so excited about it. It won’t be significantly different in style, but ‘cleaner’, professional, and much tighter all around.
Prior to Freelance to Founder I ran another podcast for about two years in a niche industry. We brought on some tremendous guests that normally we would have no business getting time with. Ultimately that show just couldn’t get to the mountaintop due to that thing about being in it to win it.
Don’t let that happen to you either.