Having your podcast can be exciting but also a real pain, especially if you don't know where to begin. Over the past year, I've learned a lot of little things that have helped Marccella and me get Beyond the Pen where it is today. But I believe it would have been a smoother ride if I had known and done any of these things before my first episode. Note: The opportunity was also dropped in my lap with a week's notice. So, I'm pretty proud of what we've created. Anyway, here are a few things I recommend before you start recording.
Research Your Topic Well
Discovering what your podcast is all about can be very disheartening and overwhelming initially, especially if many podcasters are already talking about your topic. And that's ok. The more people talking about it, the better. That means there are enough examples to pull data from, styles and types to discover and learn from, and even know what's already been discussed. This helps develop a well-rounded platform for you and your guests to build over time. So here are a few places to look besides your favorite podcasting platform (i.e., Apple Podcast, Spotify, iHeart Radio, etc.).
Depending on what type of podcast you've decided on will provide you with a blueprint on how to create and run your podcast. There are eight types of podcasts; each has its pros and cons, but we won't get into them here. They are:
- Interviewing - One or two hosts who speak with one or more guests each episode.
- Conversational - Two podcast hosts having an entertaining conversation about a specific topic or theme.
- Monologue - A single host, usually a subject matter expert, for the entirety of the episode.
- Storytelling/Investigative - One or more hosts tell a story or part of one.
- Roundtable - A consistent or rotating group of hosts providing commentary and conversation about a specific topic.
- Theatrical - A single host narrating a story or an entire cast of performers and sound engineers.
- Repurposed Content - Reiterating a story found on other mediums, such as print, video, and audio.
- Hybrid - Mixing and Matching different formats to create your own.
The Three E's
The three E's are essential to any popular podcaster. These are the pinnacle to keeping your listeners attention the entire time. The three E's (Entertain, Educate, and Encourage) allow hosts and guests to connect with their audience, coming back for more.
- Entertaining - Your audience gets their attention right from the start. It helps to break the imaginative ice in the ether between you and your listeners. No one likes a boring host that reminds you of that educator that put you to sleep in school.
- Educating - This isn't a requirement but provides a way to solidify yourself as a subject matter expert. If you're leaning more towards 1-4 of the list above, this is essential for your podcast to thrive. Look at the Joe Rogan Podcast as an excellent example of this. Not only can he be entertaining, but he also brings guests that'll make you leave knowing something you never knew before. Or it's allowed you to hear someone else's thoughts on a subject different from yours.
- Encouraging - This is the most critically overlooked part of many podcasts that the host(s) forget to do. Make your audience feel inspired after listening to your show. This also motivates them to share the episode with other people. This raises your ranking, giving your podcast a better chance of getting in front of more people.
These are just a few suggestions I would have for you to start on before even thinking of hitting that record button. The more that goes into your planning phase, the better. This will make you look more promising for future guests and sponsors. But we'll get into that another time. Come back for more tips and tricks to transition your vision into the world of podcasting.