I know, I’m trendy now. I have a podcast!
However, given podcasting’s recent rise in popularity it is fair to assume that other small business owners have or have considered a podcast for their own business at some point.
I decided in March that I:
- Wanted to start a podcast
- Had zero clue how to do so!
Through a copious amount of YouTube videos and blogs, I was able gather a baseline set of data and set off on developing the topic. I landed upon fulfillment in men because I was personally going through finding some myself, and thought it was a place I could add some value. I also hoped that it would help align my digital marketing business with the proper set of values that I set out to create in my own culture.
I started working with a local Asheville life/business coach, Jon Handleman in the early part of 2020. We spent almost 3 months peeling back different ways that I, as a male in this modern society, be able to reduce some negative behaviors and increase my overall level of satisfaction within my own personal, professional, and spiritual selves.
I found some immediate successes in my own personal experience. So I called up Jon one day, out of the blue, and said, “Uh, hey…So blah blah blah…I want us to start a podcast? You in?” He immediately said yes; and we were off!
I wanted to spend today’s blog focusing on some simple, yet profound things I learned while recording my first podcast and share them with all of the small business owners out there looking for a new way to spark their digital marketing through podcasting.
Lesson # 1 Have the same microphones
We, as I’m sure any small business owner could understand, attempted to make use of what we had at first. Just like my dad taught me, if you can borrow it first, do it! So I texted my musician friend/neighbor with some BS about how are his kids doing, and then hit him with the real request! Can I borrow your microphones?!
Of course, since I’m such a dynamic neighbor, he said yes!
I say the dollar signs fluttering in my eyes! I had just saved us like 300 dollars!
So we set off on recording. One of us sounded great. The other ehhhhh…
We decided that, OK, clearly one of the microphones is inferior. Let’s replace that one and move on.
Not so fast, now the new one was MUCH better quality than the first one.
We ended up recording 4 episodes, that eventually had to be rerecorded due to this (amongst several other) issues!
Lesson # 2 Unless you anticipate flawless performances, have a sound person on-board!
The first few times you hit the “record” button and start your episode, you will stink. Sorry.
However, I thought it would be super simple to edit audio performances. I could just record some conversations, go back and make it a cohesive episode later. Haha, I was so wrong! Sure, in theory it was possible! With my skillset, nope!
The analogy I used is, it was like a child cutting with scissors. Mostly choppy and ugly.
Not only could I barely cut/paste/edit the audio into a usable chunk, I was a FAR cry from being able to reduce any random noises, echo, etc.
The learning curve for starting the podcast was not that bad, but the learning curve for audio editing I could tell was measured in years, not hours! This was going to leave me frustrated and with a less than top-notch podcast. I’d much rather have a polished, high-quality podcast, than a content machine that is not enjoyable for listeners.
We problem solved it by offering equity in the podcast to someone in our network. They will do the basic audio editing for us, and they will own 20% of the podcast. So if/when it takes off and we can sell some ads, they would monetarily benefit. However, that may not be a situation everyone can relate to, so I would suggest checking out Upwork.com. They allow you to post jobs, interview candidates, and make cost efficient decisions.
If going through a free-lance route is your choice, it will still behoove you to make the episodes as flawless as possible. If you need to go in and edit, stop what you’re saying, wait a few seconds, and then go back in yourself using GarageBand (or your audio tool) and personally remove the mistake. I’ve found that to be very simple to do. It will save you on some costs and force you to listen to the episode once through.
Lesson # 3 Create your theme song and opening hook, and exit into one audio file, then add to each episode
I almost attacked my co-host when he asked me to re-record the intro for the 195th time…No, you say it like this…
After we resolved our issues, we decided to add on our ideal introduction/exit to our theme music for each episode.
This allowed us for a much needed break from hearing me repeat, “Welcome…to….Man…Made” over and over. It also allowed for us to have a very consistent introduction to each episode. Finally, it allowed us to save a bunch of time on the editing of each episode.
To be honest, the last benefit was truly the game-changer. Remember, at the end of the day, your podcast will probably amount to Tim Ferris’ level of success. So if you’re not enjoying the process of making it, you’ll never amount to much. Enjoy the process. By quickly finding the things that our team knew would be pain points down the road and eliminating them, we’ve found the process to be very enjoyable (thus far!).
Lesson # 4 BuzzSprout is Worth the Money!
I went back and forth on how we would host the podcast. Given we saw little ROI in the near-term on the project, we were strongly in favor of avoiding any additional costs associated with the podcast. We invested almost 500 dollars into the equipment, which we considered a a sunk cost. However, one-time costs are manageable for us. The recurring costs, even small ones, are the ones that can get away from you and cause you to bleed some cash.
However, BuzzSprout really sold us. They offer a wide-range of affordable monthly plan options. Essentially, they host your podcast, provide a template for providing key podcast details (episode #, artwork files, etc.), and make it streamlined to push out your podcast to all the key directories i.e. Spotify, Apple Music, Stitcher, Google Podcast, etc.
The plans start at the free model, but really didn’t offer too much value. However, it allowed me to see the potential. We immediately jumped on the $12 per month plan, which for now is going to fully cover our hosting costs.
Now, moving forward, I can upload/sync my new episodes to all major directories in under 90 seconds. Super simple and cost-efficient, I highly suggest using BuzzSprout to manage your podcast, if you’re a beginner like I was.
Lesson # 5 Use a framework
Podcasts are a successful medium, in my humble opinion, because they follow a tried/true model of episodic story-telling.
Think of the glory days of TV sitcoms in the 70’s, 80’s, etc.
Each episode had the theme song, the same plot arc, predictable as could be.
People find comfort in this model, and they also become engrossed in the story. This keeps them tuning in. We really used that idea to formulate our podcast format. We want to provide advice, sure, but we also want to tell a story of Jon and I’s personal journey,
We think (hope!) that this will engage a certain demographic of men/women listeners to keep tuning in. We’ve purposely avoided all specific sales tactics, business shout outs, etc. from the very beginning because we want to build an authentic voice. If/when we can build up our credibility, then we could have a frank discussion about sustainable/mindful ways to incorporate our own agendas into the content.
With all that in mind, we scripted each episode into a 3 act framework. This allows Jon and I to create each episode under the same storytelling arc, so as to build some trust with our listeners, but to also guide us into making purposeful episodes each and every time.
Using the intentional framework, Jon and I will draft out each episode in a Google Document. This allows for both of us to work on it at our own pace, but to also reference back to previous episodes, etc. to look at the podcast content from a higher view, when necessary.
If you have any questions about starting your own podcast, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 828-747-9000.