by Jenna Kutcher
Tune In: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher
The past couple of months have been interesting… to say the least. Productivity and progress look a LOT different for everyone right now… BUT, there are opportunities to lean into the solitude of social distancing and finally go for the things that have been laid on your heart if you have the mental and emotional capacity to do so.
During these strange times, I’ve been keeping a tab on my numbers and as many of you know, I offer four signature online courses to help businesses flourish: one for mastering Instagram, one for launching and scaling an email list, one for driving traffic through Pinterest, and one for starting a podcast.
I was a little shocked to see the sales on my program, The Podcast Lab grow and grow, far above the rest of my courses, but then I began thinking about it… Practically the entire world is at home right now, and while lives are still busy and we still have responsibilities, it’s opened up this opportunity for some to have the time to dream again. And I fully believe that ALL of us have important stories to share, and ALL of us have unique gifts, knowledge, know-how and strengths that can benefit the world.
And one of the best ways to get these messages out into the world? You guessed it. Podcasting. I LOVE that people are so interested in this pursuit because I’m a firm believer that there’s enough space for everyone and we all have something completely different to offer.
Come one, come all to the podcasting world — and heck, the beauty of podcasting is that YOU CAN LAUNCH IT AT HOME. With minimal equipment — especially at first. So if you’re one of those people who’s had this inspiration and pull to start your own podcast, this episode is created for you today, my friend. I am sharing the top 3 things I recommend doing if you want to start your own podcast, and they might surprise you!
Find your special sauce
The first step in starting your own podcast is to just simply figure out who you’re going to serve and what you want it to be about. I say “simply” but really this is THE most important step and will determine the rest of the path of your podcasting journey. So while it’s a key component, I also don’t want you to stumble into overthinking-land where you sit and stew and overanalyze for weeks… or months.
The important thing to remember is that nothing is permanent: you can change your intro, you can change the title of the show, you can change your cover photo. You’ve heard me say it before but done really is better than perfect and if you can establish who you’re serving and what secret sauce you want to bring to people’s earbuds then you’re good.
I mean, you likely have an idea of what you want to talk about and what your ideal audience will be like. But really dig into your special sauce — what will be the thing that makes your show stand out? What will make listeners want to subscribe and tune in? What type of community do you want to attract? If these questions have your head spinning — I have a few straightforward steps for you to walk through.
First, just scroll the categories of podcasting to establish where you could see yourself and even explore your own user habits to dream up your ideal format. To help with this process, it’s a great idea to start with your promise or even your mission statement and then reverse engineer the specifics.
For example, if my mission statement is: “Imperfectly empowering women to pursue their passions and build independent wealth.” Then my broad category would be business, right? And some of the specific topics I could cover within that broader category are female entrepreneurship, marketing, money management, personal growth, women issues, and more.
Once you have your category, mission, and goal outlined, sit down and literally unleash the floodgates for episode ideas and write down every single one that comes to mind in a giant list. One of the biggest things people do wrong when they start a podcast is that they don’t think ahead enough to think of 50+ shows in.
They have all this energy and inspiration the first few weeks and they spill all the beans, and then life happens and as is customary with inspiration, it fizzles out eventually, they start to wonder “what else do I have to say” and with that million dollar questions goes any desire to keep up with this idea they were once so on fire about.
Rather than relying on inspiration to keep you going for the long-term, walk through a few important questions to make sure you’re ready for the commitment: Is this something you can keep going? Is the format you’ve dreamt up supporting that longer vision? How can I share content that will make it easy for me to continue creating? You don’t need to plan every episode out but you do want to think ahead and prepare for droughts in your inspiration, because they will come!
Sit down and just record
Step numero dos: do the dang thing, sit down, and hit record. Yes, this is STEP TWO! I know it feels quick but if you don’t start now, will you ever? Really? It doesn’t have to be fancy and you can literally just start by talking into your phone and doing 10 minute episodes if that’s all you’re comfortable with or that’s all the material you have right now. Seriously, open up your phone on a voice note and hit record. That’s it!
The truth is, you don’t need a studio or the perfect mic or a soundproof office, you just need to get used to your voice and speaking to — well, honestly no one if you’re hosting your podcast solo. It’s not the most natural thing ever, I’ll be honest, and it’s GOING to take some getting used to. It’s probably going to feel weird and vulnerable and super silly at first. Just know that going in, embrace it, and don’t let the funkiness of talking to yourself, by yourself, stop you.
I recorded my first 20 shows in my car with just iPhone headphones, so don’t overthink this. Allow yourself to be a novice, because you are, and leave room to mess up, practice, and just start to get things moving.
Podcasting is sort of like doing an internship to learn rather than learning in a classroom. As you record, you’ll pick up more effective techniques and tricks and good-to-knows than if you sit and plan, plan, plan. It’s just truly one of those things that gets better with time and practice — you can’t read or think yourself into getting better here, you simply have to DO.
As someone who’s started a lot of things over the years, there’s a tendency to want to wait to record until everything is perfect. You want to have the most beautifully styled podcast graphic, you want to make sure your podcast name perfect, you want to have perfect studio sound quality. There are a million things you probably WANT but the truth is, you don’t need them. Do you want to look like a podcast or HAVE an actual podcast because if you want to have a podcast then you simply have to hit record and start talking.
If just starting and talking into the universe feels funky and you’d feel more comfortable leaning on some sort of script or outline, look at the content you’ve already created in other areas of your life or business. Do you have a blog? A newsletter? Even an about me page on your website that could be tweaked to feel like the first episode of your brand new podcast? Start with what you already have while you’re getting comfy behind the mic.
If you put recording towards the top, it’ll serve you better. There’s a method to my madness, because let’s think about it — if you spend all this time primping and perfecting, and then you start recording, you’ll have an immense load of pressure and an unrealistic expectation for everything to be seamless. And I can pretty much promise that things will go wrong. If you plan for perfection and execute less than that, it’s going to be a disappointment. But if you can let yourself jump in with an open mind ready to groove and learn as you go, you can only go UP from there.
Create a plan to share it
The final key step to starting a podcast is to create a plan to get your show into the ears and hearts of those who need it. How are you going to be sharing this podcast intentionally with your followers, friends, subscribers, and so on?
Yes, there are things you’ll need just to launch your podcast like a cover photo, a show description, and an intro, but let me console you and tell you our intro has changed 3 times over the years. Our thumbnail for the show? The same thing, I’ve changed it MULTIPLE times.
Let yourself rest peacefully in the option that you can change all of those little details that probably feel really important and heavy in this launch phase. But it doesn’t have to be perfect to be published.
The biggest thing to think about is how you’ll actually land in people’s ears. Where and how are you consistently going to promote each and every episode? How can you get the episodes that you worked so hard on into people’s ear buds? Can you interview someone who will share their interview on your show with their following?
Then ask yourself in what ways you can reuse the content from current and past episodes to continue sharing them, pointing back to them often and keeping them fresh in your audience’s minds. Can you repurpose the show to create a blog post? Can you share or re-share the episode on social media? Can you post the graphic on Pinterest?
In order to get momentum, and this is important: you want to spend more time figuring out the promotion piece than you do on the recording bit. Most people spend 90% of their time recording and creating content, and this is across all platforms, not just podcasting, and then only 10% promoting.
I think because of the nature of how we move through content creation chronologically, from the idea phase to creation phase to publication phase to promotion phase, quite honestly it’s easy to lose energy and drive toward the end. But in reality the promotion part is JUST as important as all the other parts. Promoting can feel more like an afterthought when it’s the last step in this mentally draining process of content creation, but if you can flip that and create a system for intentionally sharing and repurposing the content, you’ll be more successful.
Remember: what good is your content if no one is consuming it? Map out your plan for sharing (and re-sharing) your show to get your episodes into the ears of the people you’ve created it for.
The Big Picture
So, there you have it! That’s it for launching your own podcast and creating a structure for it to be a lasting and growing platform for you that allows you to lead conversations and connect with people in a whole new way.
I absolutely love podcasting because it’s given me access to learn from thought leaders and business people that I deeply admire and it’s allowed me to branch out, connect, and meet you where you are, whether that’s on your commute, on a run, or in the kitchen as you cook dinner. It’s just so cool to be able to talk to my audience, show up on a weekly basis, and share the things that I’m learning and that are bringing more value, insight, and fun to my world with YOU.
What other podcasting questions do you have for me? Head on over to @goaldiggerpodcast on Instagram and leave me your top podcast Qs on our latest post, and I’ll do my best to get back to each and every one of them!
And if you’re interested in learning the rest of the real nitty-gritty details of launching, promoting, scaling, and monetizing your soon-to-be new podcast, we are now offering extended payment options for The Podcast Lab — and all my other courses, too! So get started and to learn about how to grow your own podcast — without the guesswork and headaches.