Everything old is new again. It seems that the wild west of podcasting is back and alive and that people are all planning on starting a show (I say “all” because of my position in the universe. Your uncle probably isn’t starting a show.) And yet, people are having trouble answering a very simple question: “Why bother with a podcast?”
What Does It Take to Start a Podcast?
It doesn’t take much to start a podcast. You need a place to store files, something to record the audio and/or video, and it wouldn’t hurt to have some editing.
For my show, I use Libsyn for my host (because it does a lot of stuff for me). I use Apple’s GarageBand for my editing tool, though you can use Audacity on Mac, PC, and Linux. I use a Blue Yeti microphone with a little screen to protect against pops. And I record most of my interviews using Call Recorder for Skype (on a Mac).
That’s all the technology it takes to start a podcast.
So What Does it REALLY Take to Start a Podcast?
Ah, a better question. You might want to have a plan for why you’re bothering in the first place. Here are some potential plans:
- Build a media business, where I sell sponsorships or ads.
- Build awareness for my company/product/service.
- Build a growth vehicle for the rest of my platform.
- Chit-chat with friends.
Guess which one most people inadvertently build?
Most times, it’s some weird mental disconnect people have between the idea of “start a podcast” and “use it to build my business.” They understand that people are podcasting, but they don’t understand the real reasons behind the shows.
My show, The Owner’s Mind, serves the following purposes:
1.) Build audience for my newsletter and magazine.
2.) Give me a reason to keep connecting with people in the monchu.
3.) Sell various products and services via this long-tail channel.
In that order. I wouldn’t be doing this if I weren’t at least getting #1 in some form or fashion.
But what else do you need?
What It’ll Take to Keep a Podcast Going
Once you’ve answered your how-to questions, and once you have a firm grasp on why, you’ve got to build your production into your schedule. If you do this “once in a while,” it’s doomed to fail. If you throw episodes together without much care for what you’re doing with them, who cares? (Hint: if it’s junk out, it’ll give you junk back.)
And further, you’ll have to do a lot to promote it. The answer isn’t “build it and they will come.” That was never the answer. You didn’t miss the golden age. There never was that golden age. Your podcast has to be a part of your digital channel development, not something that magically will find you a new audience.
So, should you bother with a podcast? Beats me. What will it do for your business? You tell me.