6 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before you Start Your Podcast
Podcasts are quickly becoming the go-to entertainment, education, and relaxation method for people across the globe. According to Edison Research, 80 million Americans (28% of the population) listened to podcasts on a weekly basis in 2021. And as of April 2021, Ofcom reports that half of adults in the UK have listened to a podcast in the past, and 25% are regular listeners.
With so much evidence in favor of podcasts’ growing prominence, those who wish to share their ideas and promote their work would be wise to step into this space. Landing a guest spot on a popular podcast can significantly boost one’s immediate visibility, but long-term growth requires a consistent approach as well – this is why more and more people are starting their own podcasts.
But before you invest in a decent mic and software and hit “record,” it’s important to have a plan. Like any other large and growing sphere, the podcast space is competitive and highly saturated. Getting started is easy these days, but the most successful podcasters have a long-term vision that informs their decision-making.
With that in mind, here are 6 key questions to ask yourself before starting a podcast of your very own.
1. Why Do You Want to Create a Podcast?
Creating a podcast and sticking to a schedule requires hard work and dedication, so you’d better have a good reason for starting one in the first place. People produce podcasts for a wide range of reasons. An avid podcast listener might enjoy their favorite podcasts so much that they feel inspired to step into the ring; an author might want to use their podcast as a promotional tool for their latest book(s); a musician might want to publicly network with peers by reviewing albums, talking with other musicians, and sharing their own tracks. The list goes on. Whatever the reason, knowing why you wish to start a podcast will help you focus on every other aspect of the project moving forward.
2. What Topic Do You Want to Focus on For This Podcast?
Aside from platform regulations, there aren’t many rules to podcasting. Though not typically advised, each episode of your show could focus on something entirely different – you’re the one behind the mic, after all. Of course, you’ll have a hard time capturing an audience if they can’t cling onto something, whether that’s your unique personality, expertise, specific topic, etc. Consistency is key, so picking a singular topic is a great place to start. Make sure the topic you choose is interesting to you and that you’re knowledgeable enough to speak on it time and time again.
3. What Unique Angle or Expertise Do You Bring to This Topic?
This question follows directly from the previous one but relates more to your unique experience with a given subject. An expert on world religions will have plenty to discuss within that realm – so will someone who’s simply interested in this topic. The difference between these two is that the former can dive deeper and offer valuable insight that the latter cannot (at least not right away). Most listeners will prefer to listen to the expert so they can learn something rather than just hear someone ramble on and on. If you have expertise in a particular field, think about how you can leverage it when starting your podcast.
4. Who Will Benefit from Your Podcast?
Another way to ask this question would be, “Who is this podcast for?” Ideally, your podcast will be for anyone and everyone who’s willing to listen. That said, people have different interests and only so much attention to offer, so it’s important to target your podcast to specific audiences. If your podcast is about the vintage car world, for instance, you’ll want to appeal to those interested in vintage cars and related topics such as cars in general, car shows, car modification, and so on. If your podcast is too broad or too narrow, you’ll struggle to gain traction, so think about which type of people stand to gain the most from your show.
5. How Do You Want the Podcast to Look and Sound?
Like any other medium, podcasting contains plenty of variation. You’ll find short-form podcasts that summarize news events, long-form podcasts that bounce from one topic to the next over the course of hours, and everything in-between. Moreover, some podcasts are highly produced and edited, featuring sound effects, transitions, licensed music, etc., whereas others have minimal fanfare and leave in all the pauses, errors, and background noises. There’s a visual aspect to podcasting, too, and some listeners will choose whether or not to listen to a podcast based on its cover image, logo, name, and color scheme (some podcasts feature video as well). All of these matters relate to your personal brand, so they cannot be overlooked.
6. What are Your Long-Term Goals for the Podcast?
If the statistics mentioned at the beginning of this article are any indication, podcasts are here to stay. So, when starting a podcast, it’s important to think about what you want to get out of it not just immediately but also throughout the years. Some writers, excited to launch a podcast for their recent book release, will create a podcast specifically dedicated to that book, sharing a title and everything – as time goes on and they write new material, they’ll have to decide whether or not to create a new podcast under a different banner or adjust their existing podcast to include their new work as well. You can avoid this conundrum by maintaining a longer view, anticipating how things may change in the future. Thinking long-term will help you set goals and make decisions along your journey, such as landing certain guests, getting your podcast on more platforms, increasing your audience size, using your podcast as a consistent marketing tool, etc.
Ready to Start Your Podcast?
It’s never been easier to create your own podcast and get it out into the world. With proper planning, you can hit the ground running and steer clear of the common obstacles that keep people from launching successful podcasts. If need any guidance with that planning process, we’re here to help.
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